Why American churchgoers like to shop around
Last week I read an article by Andrew Santella at Slate.com
Andrew introduced the topic of church shopping based on the story of the Obama family still shopping for a church in Washington DC.
The article describes the discomfort for the way growing churches attempt to attract spiritual shoppers. Gone is the simple marquee in front of a church saying something like, "Prevent truth decay: Brush up on your Bible." Now there are focus groups, surveys, giveaways and my favorite, "mystery worshippers" who covertly attend services and evaluate them as if they were first-timers looking for a new church.
However, with the prohibition against establishing an official state religion supported by the government we now have a "shoppers' paradise that is our religious marketplace." Santella goes on to say that this leads churches and pastors the need to recruit and keep a flock to support the church.
I agree. As a pastor, it is easy to fall into a marketing mindset thinking that people will come because of great colors, websites, music, follow up, etc. All those are important. We do need to have quality ALONG with genuine, sincere lives that reflect God's love. I can't let marketing and graphics be more important than God.
After a year with Sarpy, I realize that what truly appeals to guests who come on a Sunday to church, is that there is warmth, smiles, acknowledgement of their presence as well as acknowledging that God is real and active.
We will continue to say and believe that here at Sarpy, "No perfect people allowed"