I was a fully unchurched, never-attending teenager when I visited a church for the first time. I had all kinds of questions, but I didn’t know whom to ask. Consequently, I sometimes struggled needlessly.
Here are some questions I would want to ask as a never-churched person attending church for the first time (though I’d probably keep my questions to myself):
- Am I a “guest”? I see something called “guest parking” when we pulled in, but I don’t know whom that includes. I’m a visitor, for sure, but maybe the church has other guests today.
- Where’s the right entrance to the church? I thought I’d just follow the crowd, but the crowd’s entering several doors.
- Where do the people gather for the service? Maybe this is a case where I can indeed just follow the crowd. Maybe.
- Who’s that person talking up there on the stage? I’m sure the church knows who he is, but I don’t have a clue – and he didn’t introduce himself. In fact, there’s more than one person I don’t know.
- Am I the only one in the room who doesn’t really “get it”? It feels weird, actually. A lot’s going on in this service, and I’m always at least one step behind. Everyone else seems to have his or her act together.
- Is it wrong if I don’t sing? Most everybody else seems to know these songs, but I’ve never heard of them. It’s tough to figure out the melody when only the words are on the screen.
- Do I have to give money? I don’t carry much cash, and I’m not prepared to give much. Is that okay?
- Does it matter that I don’t have a Bible? All these people appear to have their own Bible, and they’re following along with the speaker. Is it a problem that I don’t have one?
- What’s “Exodus 1:8” [or any verse]? The speaker said to “turn to” that in the Bible. I see the others turning to that page, but I wouldn’t know how to get there even if I had a Bible.
- What’s that word mean? When you don’t know some of the words in the sermon (like “justification”), it’s difficult to understand all the points. I’m embarrassed asking somebody to define the words.
- What am I supposed to do now? I think we’re supposed to do something now the sermon’s over, but it’s not clear to me. I need clearer directions.
- Where are my kids? I know I walked with you to take them to their classroom, but I’m not sure I can get back there by myself after the service. What if we can’t find them?
- Where’s my car? I thought I knew where we parked, but I guess I got turned around in the building. Whom do I ask for help?
What questions do you think a never-churched person might ask when he or she attends your church?