The Ten: Tips for making your church an inviting community

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1. Make the jump

Becoming a missional church requires making the decision to actually reach those who are not already there. It won’t happen via osmosis and it may alter a church’s DNA, but it will be worth it!

2. Look at your signage and greeting ministry

If someone walked by your church, would they know it was there? Once people get inside, will they know where parking is or where the restrooms are? Does your greeting extend beyond the front doors (ie, do all members acknowledge/welcome first-timers)? If you’re unsure, make a change!

3. Watch your language

While saying “Happy Sabbath” and “God is good” gets our Adventist juices flowing, first-time guests will have no idea what we’re talking about. The minute we start to use our “in” language or tell Adventist jokes, we isolate anyone who isn’t in our crowd. Be mindful.

4. Don’t assume they know anything about Christianity

Assume first-timers know the bare minimum. Don’t say in your service “we all know *insert Bible story, song or a funny story about a member*”. They don’t. You can still include these stories and songs, but give context, so everyone understands.

5. Pump up your children’s ministries

A clean, fun, AdSafe-compliant children’s ministry is a brilliant asset in reaching families. Let the first-time guests know the ministries on offer, the safety mechanisms in place, and where their kids will be. If kids have a great time, parents will want to stick around.

6.espect doubts and different beliefs

When your service starts, make sure guests know they are in a safe space to air questions and doubts. Watch your quips—cheap shots at atheists and other faiths may get a laugh from your fellow brethren, but you can guarantee the struggling atheist in your pew won’t be back.

7. Needs come first

Ellen White says, “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’” Look to needs first, Jesus did!

8. Stop calling them “unchurched”

Yes, we know we’ve broken our own rule, but if you’re going to reach individuals in your community, you need to stop calling them unchurched (or non-Adventist, non-Christian etc). They’re people . . . and Jesus loves them.

9. Get involved in your community

The Christian life isn’t restricted to Sabbath and neither is your church. In essence, church is not a building; it is a community. When you go out to work or university, you are the church. Join groups you’re passionate about and do life with people in your community.

10. Preach the gospel

Make sure your church lives and breathes the gospel. Adventism has beautiful doctrines, but if people leave our services without coming face to face with the good news of Jesus Christ, we have preached in vain. When we lift up Jesus, people will be drawn to Him (John 12:32).

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