As I work the Senior Pastor in trying to find out how best to help transform a church, I've been thinking about how new people come to church. The answer has long been that new people come to church because they were invited by someone they know.
So, that usually means that pastors get to trying to get their members in declining churches to invite people to church.
Easy as pie, right? Wrong.
I can't remember where I read it, but an article once stated that in congregations that have older members, trying to get them to invite people to come to church isn't going to work. The reason being is that these older folks are already set in their ways and besides, most of their friends are already going to church.
This then means that for a declining a church, a lot of the work of inviting new members is going to fall on...you guessed it, the pastors.
Which then leads me to ask this question: how does a pastor like myself with Aspergers learn to invite people to church?
So much of being a pastor is relational. So much of it involves person-to-person contact. One of the things I try to do after service is try to talk to people after worship. It's one of the hardest and most tiring things that I do, but it is part of being a pastor. Some pastors can thrive on this.
It's interesting talking to new church pastors who basically have to go to places and meet people. If they have the skills, they can succeed.
There are things I would love to do that might be appealing to newer people: starting some kind of small group that meets someplace like a bar or coffeeshop for instance. Or maybe start some kind of ministry at the University of Minnesota campus. I can do the whole event thing. I can plan and do the worship service. I can even do a Bible Study pretty well. But trying to get people to come? It is a mystery I am still trying to unravel.
It's funny: I can do some of the more technical skills. I can perform weddings and funerals. I can preach. I can teach. I can lead mission activities. But that whole meet-n-greet aspect that is so essential to ministry is still a work in progress.
But God seems to have record of using folks that weren't perfect. Maybe, just maybe God can work through me.