10/13/13 Dan, David, George middle age
While out of town, a variety of circumstances brought me to a huge suburban “seeker friendly” mega church this morning, a contrast to the small, urban congregation where I normally worship. The worship time had an entertainment-oriented rock concert feel, which I understand to be part of the attraction for young seekers, and I found the teaching to be very biblical and relevant. However, after the service everyone seemed in such a rush to leave, but I noticed two men still sitting behind me, so I climbed up the auditorium steps to reach them, stuck out my hand and said “I’m new here and didn’t want to leave without connecting with someone, so I just wondered if you’d be willing to tell me your story – how is God working in your life?” David and Dan were glad to tell me their stories of redemption that were a blessing to hear, and we ended with an encouraging and wonderful time of prayer together. But it was strange to look up after our prayer and see that we were all alone in the huge auditorium, not more than 20 or 25 minutes after the service. Walking out in the lobby with its coffee bars, bookstore and café areas, I saw it was rapidly emptying out too, but I found a man named George whom I reached out to in the same way, and this conversation also ended up being an encouragement to both of us. Again I was struck afterward by how empty the lobby now was, and the once packed parking lot that was now barren with less than a dozen cars. The church service was carefully orchestrated to last an hour, and people were very quick to leave. I understand that most people come with family or friends and don’t want to make one another wait around with lunch and afternoon activities waiting for them. But I guess my point here is that we don’t have to limit our after-church relationships to short, shallow conversations while we head for the door. At church, we are among friends even if we don’t know everyone personally. Most people would love to share their stories if asked. If we can’t start these conversations at church, we will never be able to start them out in the world.