I was thinking the other day about what I miss most about having church in-person. There are many things to miss about not being able to gather in-person and when we do, I suspect church will look different for the foreseeable future. It struck me that I really miss church door conversations. Now, I know a few of you out there typically go out a side exit of your church so you don’t have to have the conversation (or you don’t like standing in line.) I’ve always liked being at the church door greeting folks and having those quick conversations. It’s like continuing education for ministry every Sunday. The following is six of the things I’ve learned at the church door.

People are not their social media profile- Over the years, I’ve had some of the best conversations with church folks at the door. You can have a meaningful conversation in a very short period of time. Later I will run across their social media posts and wonder if that was the person that I have been meeting at the door all of these years. Which version of ourselves is true? I’ll lean into it being the person I meet at the door. I believe that to be the best version of ourselves. I’m grateful for these conversations because they let me know there is more to each of us than our social media profiles.

People listen to their doctors– When I ask people how a doctor visit went or how they are either recovering or preparing for a surgery, I typically get a ton of medical information. I’m truly impressed with how well people listen to their doctors and remember what their doctors tell them. It means they value their health. Medical professionals take heart, your people are listening.  I’m also amazed at what people will share with their pastor. I guess it means people trust us!

Kids are more honest than the rest of us– No offense adults, but It’s true. I’ve been told by a kid at the door, “hey you have no hair” more times than I’m willing to count. Kids will also be honest about where they have seen God, what truly moved them during the week, and how they are feeling about the world. Plus, they are more likely to draw you a cool picture during worship. Some of my most favorite church door conversations have been with children and for that, I am grateful.

Church door conversations are essential to relationships- I’ve longed believe that a good sermon begins a conversation rather than settles one. Often, those conversations begin at the church door. “Tell me more about what you said,” or “I’m not sure I agreed with that point in your sermon.” Some of my most meaningful church relationships started with these statements. I like being able to suggest we grab coffee or visit together that week to talk more. A good sermon begins a good conversation.

The worst thing that you can to a preacher about the sermon is that “it was a nice sermon.”- I debated whether to include a negative, but I thought you should know. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who put the time, effort, and heart into preparing a word on behalf of God who desires it to be nice. The socks you received from your Great Aunt at Christmas are “nice.” I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but let’s shelve the nice talk.

…and finally

 People are incredibly gracious. It’s true. It can be hard to see through the haze of daily life, but people are gracious. Gracious towards others, gracious towards the church, and gracious towards those doing their best to design and lead a meaningful worship service. There have been many days where I felt down and disappointed by worship, only to be picked up at the door by people sharing the ways they were moved by the Spirit. My own discouragement has been met with encouragement by those at the door. Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, and even Florida fans have offered nice words on a Sunday after defeating Georgia. We have an amazing capacity to be really good towards one another.

*note-picture is a typical church door, not one where I’ve served. Hopefully it represents all church doors. I also left our Georgia Tech fans because they don’t beat Georgia. Just kidding Tech friends! 

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