In that environment, our church members wearing fake beards and bathrobes singing Christmas carols or reciting the Easter story doesn’t capture anyone’s attention.
Besides, we’re not supposed to be competing with other churches, anyway.
4. They Don’t Work Like They Used to
Not only are churches like mine competing with a better show at Disneyland, Hollywood and local megachurches, but churches in even the most out-of-the-way places are trying to draw people’s attention away from TV, the internet and the phones in our pockets. When we try to compete with Netflix, YouTube or ESPN by offering a better show, we lose.
But the good news is, when the church does what only the church can do, we truly have no competition.
For these reasons and more, our church no longer holds "come and watch" events for newcomers.
What We Do Instead
When an unchurched person decides to come to church for the first time, it isn’t because they want to see a great religious stage show. They’re more likely coming because they want something more authentic, applicable and challenging in their life.
So that’s what we try to give them in every way possible, including the following five ideas:
1. Come and Help
We love serving people in the community. When we clean a neighbor’s yard, repair and paint the apartments in an abused women’s shelter, or throw a Christmas party for Marines and their families, everyone is invited to come along.
When a person’s first exposure to our church is working with us to serve people, they get the idea that the church cares more about reaching out to others in Jesus’ name than being a passive audience.
2. Come and Give
Every year our church prepares birthday boxes for foster children, takes Christmas bags to impoverished kids in Mexico, fills baby bottles with money for our local pro-life clinic (which also offers parenting classes, newborn supplies, housing- and job-search assistance) and more.
When we do these projects, we encourage everyone to help – whether they’re church members, guests or entirely unchurched.
When unchurched people join us in giving to causes that don’t line the church’s pockets, they start trusting us a little more – and they’re open to trusting Jesus more, too.