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Should the church be like Target?

Here is a interesting post from Church Marketing Sucks...

What if Church was Fast, Fun &Friendly?
Brenton Balvin recently went to work for Target and noted that Target strives to be a 'fast, fun and friendly place to work and shop' and maybe churches need to be fast, fun and friendly.

In the light of our current series on church visitors these are great concepts to keep in mind:

* Fast - You'll probably accuse me of being too consumerist, but how many visitors can sit through a 45-minute sermon? I know I can't.

* Fun - Has church ever been fun? And would an outsider consider it fun?

* Friendly - We all think we're incredibly warm and friendly, but that's because you know everybody.

(HT: Church Marketing Sucks)

Should these be characteristics of a Sunday morning worship experience? I appreciate CMS' thoughts on this subject, but I am not sure I agree with the parallels and applications between Target and a church visitor's experience.

Fast - We are already a fast and hectic culture, especially in North Atlanta. Sunday morning worship shouldn't be intentionally rushed. Sunday worship is a time to worship and reflect. In saying this, I am not necessarily advocating 45 minute sermons, but if we are only concerned about time, we may neglect and overlook important and meaningful elements of the worship experience (i.e. we take the extra time to have communion every Sunday).

Fun - I am not sure fun is the best criteria to measure a guest's experience. I think other measurements have more value. Were guests inspired by the worship? Were guests compelled and challenged by the Word of God? Did guests feel as if they were ushered into the throne room of God during the worship? I think that Sunday worship should be a rich, enjoyable and meaningful experience - but I don't feel comfortable measuring worship using the word, "fun".

Friendly - I don't have too much problem with this criteria. Of course, we should be friendly. We should take a genuine interest and initiative toward our guests on Sunday morning. No argument here.

These are my two cents here, what do you think?


I think we should enter in God's house on Sunday's with a Spirit of Worship to Him. I think we should greet and get to know visitors invite them into our so called world. Smile, greet let them know we are glad they are there. I know I came back to church years ago when a missionary in a Sunday School Class invited me to sit with her and after the class she and her family invited me to sit with them.
Hence, I felt warm and welcome.

On 45 minute sermons. There is the saying your mind cannot handle more than your rear can take sitting for a long time. Something like that. However, I think all church's should spend more time in God's Word, so if it takes 45 minutes so be it. I think all of us should just let God be God. If he lays it upon a pastor to keep preaching then keep on. We live in a hello, how are you, goodbye world. I don't think that honors Christ. It is unfortunately the world we live in. Church should also just not be a Sunday event but the Great day of the week to worship God with others and then throughout the week we don't stop till the next Sunday.
We do as Christ would have.

I think it is wonderful to have really great music, I came from a church that did and drama. I do not think that should be the focus of our worship. Also, coffee is great, but we don't have to have coffee to talk and pray and meet new visitors. We do have the ability to ask visitors to lunch with us after church is over, to get to know them and discuss the service,stuff, whatever to make them feel even more welcome. The Gospel is always the point. The feeling of being wanted or glad the visitor is there should not end at 11:30 or Noon whatever.

Praise and worship songs are wonderful and great. I love them. They should not be the focus of the sermon though. Or take the place of the sermon. They should be related to the sermon and we should have them, different ones, hymns at times, changing, not the same ones every week, I love them. I have been in a church where during the music time you saw God work and the music went on a very long time. It was an awesome site to see around 2000 people all in one accord with God. I still remember it and it gives me chills. But after that did it make the sermon time shorter for the pastor no, people wanted more of God's word a good 45 minute sermon. Then as our services are over in our church's, yes we all have plans, but bolting out the door to see uncle John should not be one of them. Why not bring uncle John to church and if he won't come then invite some visitors or people a couple and go pick up Uncle John for lunch, so he can feel and hear a spirit of worship, and let God draw him in.

Personally there are all kinds of church's. We should remember though the focus no matter how long it takes is on God. Me I like 35 to 45 minute sermons, I love music. I like to really be fed and dig deep on Sunday mornings into the word of God. I know that many would disagree with me and that's okay. Personally I could stay in church all day on Sunday's. After all it is as we say the Lord's day. Then we say a day of rest, so why not spend the day resting in the Lord alone, with others.
There was a time when I did, Sunday School, Prayer time, Church, lunch with visitors and others then to a bible study then back to church in the evening and more prayer time then home Sunday was truly the Lord's day, and at the end of the day you felt so close to God it made you want to reach out and each day until next Sunday do as He would do. More and more now in so many church's we see the few worship songs, a quick sermon, communion and a bolt for the door. To me it makes God look easy. Jesus was not easy, He took His time, He lived with a great passion for people, he longed to spend time with them and pray and talk to them and present the Gospel and if it took 45 minutes or longer then so be it. Time was not the driving force behind anything. God's love was and is and can be again in so many church's. Also, one more thought, I know Jesus never ever bolted for a door. But then these are just my thoughts.
God Bless,

Hi, Bill.

Fast, yes, if fast means cutting out all the unnecessary and "cringe" moments. We've experimented and found out we don't suffer too much when we sing for 25 minutes compared to our usual 35 (sometimes more). It's amazing how much time you can save with good planning. That's the "problem." Good planning requires more time. Preaching shorter takes more prep. time. And would our people give us that time during the week? Time given to more prep. is time not given to other needs. People want shorter sermons, but not at the cost of the pastor's availability. Hard call here.

Fun? I'm not sure our regular attenders have fun. At least their faces don't show it. How could we then expect guests to have fun? But go into Target and all the workers are smiling. Even if they're faking it.

Your comment on friendliness is well taken. What we think and what the records show don't often match. If we really are the friendliest church in town, why aren't we keeping people? Why aren't we the biggest church in town?

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