A couple years ago I had the opportunity to visit a service at one of the mega Church’s in our town. A couple of friends joined my wife and I as we just went to see what the big deal was. It was a great experience and an incredible blessing to see what is in place in their church to recruit, entertain, and educate their visitors.
I want to start by ensuring that this was not a visit because I am “searching” for another church to attend or that I have doubts about my Catholic faith. I have always been one that is open to learning from others. I knew one thing, this church was great at evangelizing and people who went their were excited about it. I went to learn. These are seven things I saw that were great.
I should also note that I am not intending to compare this service to the Catholic Mass. I do not believe we need to change the Mass. I believe though, that the way we educate and minister, especially through our youth ministry programs, needs a lot of work. Why not look at those who do it well and learn from them?
1. Hospitality Was Off The Charts
I sort of laughed because when we were walking in the doors there were people outside greeting, they had a sound system outside blaring loud music, and people were talking before they even got in the door. I realized later that I wasn’t sure why I was laughing, it was actually pretty cool.
While we there, we were greeted by about 10 different people who knew that we were not typical attendees, even by high school youth. The gift of welcoming others was deeply rooted in many of them.
2. Families Attend As Families
For the teaching they separated the children, youth, and adults. It just makes sense, time-wise, to have everyone there at the same time. It also sends a great message to the children about their parents.
3. The Welcome Packet
I did sign up to be on their mailing lists and receive their latest news. When I did they gave me a free packet with a worship CD done by their Church and much more. The welcome packet is a great way to welcome people and let them know that they have been waiting for you!
4. They Stayed Connected
How many times do we follow up with those youth that are interested in more? They took my home address and my email address and I receive stuff from them all the time. How many times do we have someone who shows up for youth group once and we never reach out to them again?
5. They Had A Coffee Shop
People go where the good coffee is. You want people to come to Church, be the place where the good coffee is. Oh, our welcoming packet included a coupon for a free Latte as well.
6. Their Teaching Was Systematic
We walked in on week 3 of 4 from their series that they were in. Doing so, kept people coming back for the rest series, but also brought excitement each time there was a new series.
7. Their Teaching Was Dynamic
Their preacher was very dynamic. He used media, he was organized, and was clearly a learner. Are we using the most dynamic speakers we can find to teach our youth? How can we help them be more dynamic?
What are some other simple and obvious ways we can grow in educating and ministering to the youth and families in our parishes? Please comment below.