What do People Want in a Church?
I was having a conversation with a couple of men from my work when they started talking about a new church that they had joined. Apparently they had both joined the same church (I am guessing some protestant variety) at about the same time very recently. I was very interested in what they had to say and was expecting to hear some kind of conversion story. The things that they mentioned that they liked about this church were quite interesting.
What appeared to be the most important thing to both of these men was that the church was very 'laid back'. They mentioned this several times. I eventually concluded that what they meant was that the church was very light on doctrine and even lighter on practice. I would guess that if this church had a motto it would be 'come as you are, leave as you are'.
Another aspect of this church that was talked about was that the church conducted a youth service at the same time as the main congregational service. This meant that there were no kids under 10 in the main service.
Another thing was the band. This church had a band. They thought it was funny that they had hymn books in the church yet never used them - the band took care of all the music.
The last topic I can remember is they liked that the entire time spent at church was about 45 minutes.
During all this description I kept my mouth shut and listened. I thought about telling them that my church was quite heavy on doctrine and even heavier on practice. I thought about telling them that mormons had lots of kids and that they are all in Sacrament Meeting screaming their lungs out. I thought about telling them that we have no band and did a lot of singing. I also thought about telling them that our church services take three hours and that is just the beginning of the demands on your time. I didn't say any of this. It was probably my finest missionary experience - keeping my mouth shut.
But how disappointed I was in their reasons for joining this church. Not a word about prayer, or truth, or spirit. Nothing at all like a testimony let alone conversion. I have to say that I am much more impressed with the conversion stories I generally hear in our church than what I heard out of these two men.