The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater. (Haldir)
We’ve been going back to church lately, to Grandview Christian Assembly (GCA). We first went there early last year, before we even moved into Weinland Park. GCA doesn’t do a lot of marketing save one yard sign in front of the office building they rent. I woke up one morning and while I was taking a shower felt like God pretty clearly said to me that we should get going, to that church on the corner. So we did. We went back a few times after that. We had been to a rockstar church plant around the corner just a few weeks before, and a typical Willowcreek plant, too, and even the most local branch of the Columbus Vineyard…and GCA couldn’t have been more opposite.
It’s hard for me to visit a church, and we hadn’t been for a long time. Most of the people reading here know me as WordPress Angie, or Internet Marketing Angie. But you may also know I was a youth pastor, or if you know me more than that, you know I also did Assimilation and Integration. From the second we step onto a church campus, I’m looking for all the ways they could improve systems and service(s) to more easily and gracefully move a guest towards membership, or um, Jesus. It is VERY hard to turn that thing off. Yeah. Snap out of it, Angie.
The “problem” with Grandview Christian Assembly is that they just don’t DO any of that. It’s just ALL “broken.” The band is kind of “awful” so there’s no working on transitions and lighting and video packages and creative storytelling. There’s no way to find information about small groups or classes without calling or emailing the pastor, so the whole guest information services is out the door. When you drop your kid off in the kids’ area, they just ASK your name, and your kids’ name. And when you pick them up, they just say, “Nila, your parents are here.” There is no checkin system – that’s just “dangerous”. They don’t even print a general order of service in the program. They take the offering at the very end of the service, and don’t play a song while they pass baskets. It’s just the LAST thing that happens, an after you touch the basket church is kind of over. It is just a hot mess.
And it’s kind of great. I don’t have to worry about any of that stuff. It’s all so stupid anyway. I mean, it’s NOT if your church is a bajillion people, but here’s what important about this story.
This church, this “broken” “awful” “dangerous” church, they remembered our names. Not just after a week. Not after two weeks. But after four months, when we hadn’t even been in three months, when we bumped into them at a local festival. They remembered all of our names. And then eight months later, when we still hadn’t been back and bumped into them again at a restaurant, they still remembered all of our names.
You know what’s even better (and WAY easier) than an amazing parking team with Cat in the Hat hats making people unexpectedly smile before church? or a kids’ checkin system that would make even the NSA blush? or a drama team that reaches you at the depths of your soul? or all of the wheels and cogs it takes to make that whole crazy beast of a machine work?
Are you known at your church? Is it even possible for you to be known?