Friday, July 13, 2012

St. Francis was on to something

St. Francis* is my homeboy
I said something on twitter the other day that got some attention, and I wanted to expand a bit on it. I am officially past the honeymoon of moving. :) I do like Norman, but it is certainly an adjustment.

One of the hardest parts-ok, THE hardest part- is being so far away from friends and things familiar. And I have not been bashful about talking about how much I hate visiting churches.

The other day on twitter, I noted that I can go to any dog park and I'm greeted and welcomed, but I can go to church and no one speaks to me. Some good conversation sparked from that, some wondering why and what we can do to address it in churches. I honestly don't know why this is. Maybe having a dog is such a common denominator that people feel more free to open a conversation with it.

But surely at church, where the common point is loving God and each other, we can find SOMETHING to talk to visitors about.

I will admit that I'm not the most approachable person. I'm a loner at times. I've had enough negative experiences visiting churches that I really don't radiate sunshine when I go. But generally what happens is I go in, no one speaks to me, unless there is that forced, awkward "greet visitors" time, when the people behind me will find out my name, and then I sit through the service and leave.

One person- hello @billyadams- has invited me to visit the church he goes to here in Norman, so I can't pass up the only offer I've got. :) 

All in all, maybe churches who are so focused on being the slickest marketers and using the latest jargon should take a visit to the dog park to figure out how to make people feel welcome. Just a thought.

*Patron saint of animals


Alyson said...

I definitely noticed that churches in the Bible Belt were less friendly. Seems counter-intuitive to me, but it was true! The greeters at our church are so friendly, they just about drive you crazy getting in and out the door! :)

I highly recommend going to a smaller church where every member is a vital member and there's a stronger sense of community.

Shyla said...

I agree. When Clay and I decided to finally leave Memorial Rd for a church closer to our home (we live in Moore) it was hard to find a church that felt welcoming. May I recommend Oakcrest. It may be a bit too far north for you but there is a great group of folks in our age group!

And yes, I think it's easier to talk about your dog than to actually have a conversation that matters!