I’ve always wanted to be a part of a church that encompassed growing Christians as well as providing an environment where “rookies” can come and feel like they haven’t stepped into a foreign country. That is the greatest challenge that we face and I feel like we are succeeding.
It’s unnerving to step foot inside a church for the first time. I didn’t grow up in a Christian family and I vividly remember my beginning steps on this journey with Christ. There are a million questions and a million uncertainties. What’s going to “happen” to me? Can I get out if I need to? Is this some religious cult that is going to ask for my firstborn child? What is the person next to me doing and should I be doing that???? Is everybody going to know that I don’t fit in here?
At North Creek I think we have created an amazing environment for people who don’t know much about church. And we haven’t done that by watering down the stories of the Bible. They are real, life changing, and presentable as is. That being said, just taking a little extra time to give a new guest some framework can make all of the difference between feeling lost and learning.
I also think that sacred cows need to be slaughtered and replaced with culturally relevant ways of informing our guests about who we are. In other words, just because “we’ve always done it this way” doesn’t mean that we always need to do it that way. For example, we don’t have bulletin boards or pamphlets to communicate with people in our church. Twenty years ago that would have been unheard of. What resource will people have to understand our doctrine if we don’t have an information center with a rotating pamphlet holder? It was a necessity.
Now we have our doctrines online and a link to the Bible. You can email us, be our friend on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and watch all of our messages online from the comfort of your home before you ever make the leap to attend.
We also provide Starting Point for people who have questions about God. It’s a ten week discussion-based class that allows people a fast-track to understanding why we believe what we believe. What a gift for those who want to jump in that way! In a matter of weeks, we sum up our culture to people who are fresh on the starting block.
So, if you’ve never been to church before, come. It’s surprisingly comfortable, and other than the general awkwardness of getting orientated to a new environment, you’ll leave feeling relieved. Wear your jeans, grab a cup of coffee, and enjoy the service. No pain necessary.