We have a tradition of lighting candles at Advent. This video explains what that’s about:
Scot McKnight directs some gracious words to people who bring their kids to church:
When you are here, the church is filled with a joyful noise. When you are here, the Body of Christ is more fully present. When you are here, we are reminded that this worship thing we do isn’t about bible study or personal, quiet contemplation but coming together to worship as a community where all are welcome, where we share in the Word and Sacrament together. When you are here, I have hope that these pews won’t be empty in 10 years when your kids are old enough to sit quietly and behave in worship. I know that they are learning how and why we worship now, before it’s too late. They are learning that worship is important.
There’s a monthly feature in Outreach magazine called “Mystery Visitor.” I keep waiting for them to cover Jewel Lake Parish. In the meantime, if you’d like to try being a mystery visitor yourself, here’s my attempt to work backwards from a column (the September/October 2013 issue) to reconstruct it as a questionnaire.
Did people welcome you? Where?
Did people invite you for coffee?
Was it obvious what you should do if you had children? Were there instructions?
Were there children in the worship service?
Was child care located in an obvious place?
Was there visible diversity in the congregation?
Did you see or hear anything to suggest that diversity is valued by the congregation?
How would you describe the type of music?
Were there parts of the service that you didn’t understand? What were they?
How long was the message?
How clearly did it relate to your life?
How clearly did it connect with the Bible?
Rate how friendly the congregation was on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 is “cold and aloof,” 3 is “just right” and 5 is “needy and desperate.”
Considering everything, how likely are you to return?
Here’s an interesting story that completely misses the point: going to church weekly is good for you:
Religious attendance … boosts the immune system and decreases blood pressure. It may add as much as two to three years to your life. The reason for this is not entirely clear.
Oh, I don’t know. Jesus said he came that we might have life (John 10). Think of this as a down-payment.
What do you do when the multimedia presentation gets out of sync with the worship songs? Jon Acuff investigates and lays out your options:
You look up to belt out the next verse of “Blessed Be Your Name” and you’ve got nothing. The screen is blank. There are no words. This has happened to me a number of times at church over the years and these are only 4 possible things you can do in the audience: