Who is this ministry environment for?

I wrote a post last week about jokes in a sermon and got this thoughtful e-mail in response from a family friend:
I love jokes in a sermon because I think the unbelievers relate to someone who is humorous and sets them at ease. When I bring an unbeliever to church it also makes me at ease. I want my friend to want to come again.
She has certain expectations for her ministry environment.  She expects the church service on Sunday morning and the sermon to be accessible to folks who don't know Jesus.  And I love that.

So many Sunday morning environments are geared toward a Christian-only crowd, a grew-up-in-church-only crowd.  We're surprised when our people don't invite their friends to church.  We're surprised when our friends don't want to come to church.  Why are we so surprised?

Christian churches have been scrapping for years, arguing between "seeker oriented" and "seeker sensitive" and "seeker aware" models.  These theoretical conversations impact real people.

And I think it's interesting, telling, eye-opening to see that something as small as telling a joke can help someone feel comfortable in a church.  And a joke can help someone feel comfortable inviting a friend.

If you're strategizing about your church service or campus ministry meeting, asking "Who is this ministry environment for?" is a great place to start.  If what you're doing isn't drawing in the sort of people you want to connect with, consider making a change.  But remember, the change can be as small as telling a joke.

Think about your church service or campus ministry meeting ...
Who is this ministry environment for?

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