I recently had a conversation with a woman who used to be a church-goer when she was young, but hasn't found herself in a church setting in a while. When I told her I lead worship at a nearby church, she was interested in coming to visit. We in the church have theories about where we go wrong in bringing new faces into our buildings. Out in the world people go about their everyday lives, and we watch to see if they are a part of the church or outside of it.
A friend of mine forwarded a link to a recent Huffington Post article about the most and least religious cities in the United States. Interestingly – but hardly surprising – you have to scroll waaaay down the list to find my current city of Portland, Ore.
“Looks like you have your work cut out for you,” he said. He’s right; I’ve met folks here who work in churches that tell people they work at a nonprofit when asked what they do, leaving the bit about the nonprofit being a church until they get to know each other better. And of course, we knew this when we came to the Pacific Northwest.
In fact, that’s part of what made me want to be here.
For some, there is great appeal in coming to an “unchurched” community, mainly because of the notion that this means there are that many more people in need of saving. And while this may or may not be true, there’s a lot of presumption that goes into saving those without religion, while assuming those who claim a faith are the ones to do the “saving.”