One of the many blessings that came out of my heart transplant was the ability to attend the church as a visitor. To be able to experience the church from the street entrance, to the parking lot, into the building, into the sanctuary and through an entire worship service was eye-opening. When you are in the midst of something every single day, you lose a much needed perspective of what it is like for someone who has never been there before. I was able to simply come and worship, just like so many other people who come to the church every Sunday. I recommend this experience to anyone. Not the heart transplant part, but the ability to see your business, your organization, your family, your friends, your church from the perspective of other people. The ability to see what it is really like to visit your church, to eat at your restaurant, to search out information and contact your company, to be your friend, to be your child or to be your parent. I found it to be very enlightening.
The first thing I realized is that my church’s campus is very quiet on a Sunday morning as you are walking from the parking lot to the sanctuary. Quiet would be great on a church campus if that campus wasn’t located on a busy street corner. The sound of cars passing by was almost deafening and it didn’t set a good mood for a worship service. Answer, a sound system strategically placed in the center of the campus which plays music all Sunday morning. This gives people coming to worship something to focus on, other than the noise of the outside world, as they walk from their cars.
The second thing I realized is that the worship order started with a welcome and announcements. Because of this fact, most everyone either stayed out in the lobby talking and drinking coffee or were sitting in the sanctuary chatting away. Meaning that a large majority of the people in attendance heard neither the welcome nor the announcements. Easy fix. We now start the worship with music and by the time the song is done, everyone is in the sanctuary and plugged in. Thus, that is the perfect time to do a welcome and announcements.
Lastly, one Sunday I heard this announcement: “The Finance Committee will meet right after worship, in the Nursery.” Now I knew why this was the case. The Nursery held the only large conference table in the church. The table doubled as a craft center for the preschool kids on Sunday mornings. For as long as I have been a part of this church, meetings, outside of Sunday mornings, happened in the Nursery because they could use this large conference table. Yet, on this Sunday, as a visitor to the church, it sounded so funny to announce that a Finance Committee meeting would be happening in the Nursery. From a visitor’s perspective this seemingly harmless, somewhat funny, announcement told me that the church didn’t make kids a priority. Simple fix. Move the offices around in order to create a Conference Room. Move the conference table into that room for any and all meetings. Move a smaller, kid-friendly table into the Nursery to be used for crafts and rename the Nursery “Kidz Club”.
Now I realize that most of this means nothing to you. That is unless you are a member of Beneva Christian and you have been wondering why we are doing things differently since I got back in the saddle. The point that I am trying to make is that everyone, now and again, needs to take a break and separate yourself from your normal routine of life and experience things from a different perspective. This is true for a business owner, a sales rep, a parent, a teacher, anyone who lives their life providing some type of service for others. We can get so wrapped up in the way that it has always been done. We can get so accustomed to molding ourselves to a certain style or perspective. We can lose sight of what kind of service, experience or product we are truly providing. Figure out how you can step outside of yourself and your daily routine so that you can see your life, your business, your family, your friends, your world in a different way. Again, I wouldn’t recommend the heart transplant route, but God has definitely used it to open the eyes of this fractured, faulty, sin-stained pastor.