What myth about the Unchurched surprised you the most? How will your new knowledge about characteristics of the Unchurched affect your ministry?
The author introduces nine powerful myths about the unchurched people and their attitudes to churches, leaders, and insights offered. Each myth is a unique approach to the understanding of religion and its role in human life. However, the myth # 5 surprised me the most. It is said that “the pastor must be a dynamic and charismatic leader for the church to reach the unchurched” (Rainer 44). In fact, I always believed in the role of a leader in religion. This book teaches me that it is not necessary for a leader to stay dynamic, but it is enough to “be faithful with the gifts God has given” (Rainer 44). Besides, my new knowledge helps to comprehend that the unchurched still have a positive attitude to pastors, and the ministry has all chances to involve people in the church and share their positions freely.
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Of the eight issues relating to pastors and the Unchurched, which one (or more) do you believe is most lacking in pastors? Name at least two practical ways a pastor can improve in this area
Out of eight issues relating to pastors, the issue that a pastor should be a ‘real’ person seems to be the one many modern pastors lack. Nowadays, some pastors still try to pretend to be someone they are actually not. Therefore, pastors have to focus on their real opportunities and possible effects on believers and the unchurched and use such practical ways as either the development of the friendship with ordinary people or humor that unites people (Rainer 60). This area may be improved, and pastors just have to believe in their real skills.
Family relationships are the most influential factor in bringing the Unchurched into the church. How can a church actively support family members in reaching their unchurched family members?
Without any doubts, family members play an important role in bringing the unchurched into the church. However, some churches still neglect the fact that they could support family members in reaching non-believers. Therefore, much attention should be paid to the possibilities churches could use to support family members. For example, churches should think about new invitations for ordinary people and introduce clear and interesting reasons for why church’s attendance should matter. Besides, the church may pay attention to significant religious events and holidays to make people informed about their opportunities.
Which “First Impression” mentioned in Rainer, chapter 4 do you believe presents the biggest challenge to your church and why? Propose two or more solutions to overcome that challenge
I believe that effective greeters and welcome centers remain to be one of the biggest challenges to many churches. Some people feel uncomfortable and confused when they have to enter a new place where they are total strangers. They try to ask for help and search for a special person to communicate. In our church, an older member usually greets people. This tendency has to be changed and improved because younger members may be in need of a conversation with young representatives of the church. Besides, appropriate greeters have to share common values and principles with the unchurched. Finally, newcomers should have different options: to communicate with a representative directly, to learn everything independently, or to participate in discussions with similar newcomers.
Rainer lists six issues in regard to retaining members and encouraging return visits. Which do you consider most important, and what strategies would you/do you implement to address that issue?
For me, to have a purpose means a lot. I cannot imagine this life without a clear and definite purpose. Therefore, I believe that Rainer’s issue of the clarity of the purpose in regard to retaining members and encouraging return visits should be the most important for discussion. The unchurched have to understand that their church visits and beliefs may have certain outcomes. Such strategies as keeping people informed and providing them with further opportunities are the best solutions to be offered in work with the unchurched. The church has lots of benefits, and people should know about them in order to make correct decisions and the right choices.
Rainer, Thom, S. Surprising Insights from the Unchurched and Proven Ways to Reach Them. Zondervan, 2001.