There are spiritually curious people within driving distance of every local church—people with questions, or regrets, or a hunch that there must be something more to life. But the local church isn’t seen by these folks as a safe place to speak up.
If they are brave enough to walk through the doors of a church, how do they ask their hard questions? With whom can they be honest that they’re not sure about God, or Jesus, or the Bible? Do they interrupt the pastor’s sermon? Whisper their questions to the guy in the next seat over?
We think the church should be the best place, the safest place to have hard conversations about faith. Seekers, doubters, and questioners should have permission to show up and speak up.
So that means the church must be intentional about creating a safe space for these conversations. Here’s how Andy puts it, talking about the launch of North Point:
“We knew that if we were going to build a church that unchurched people loved to attend, we had to be ready if they actually showed up. Part of being ready was creating a safe environment for them to explore their questions about faith and God. Starting Point is that environment.” (Deep & Wide)
Here’s the important thing: we’re providing a conversation, not a presentation.
We simply create an environment where spiritually curious people are comfortable enough to have a conversation—to put their doubts into words and to hear from others. And it happens in the context of community, where each person in the circle feels noticed and worthy.
We call our environment Starting Point and we use this 8-week curriculum to kick off the conversations. You can join the roster of churches who do the same.
But those details aren’t what’s important. What’s important is that your church intentionally provides a safe next step for the (hundreds? thousands?) of spiritually curious people within driving distance of your doors.
So where do you point the seekers, doubters, and questioners who show up on a Sunday morning? You might be surprised that many are already sitting in your rows.
We’re hosting a 2-day conference to dive deeper into this topic. Join us in Atlanta on October 23–24, 2016 for a gathering of church leaders discussing how to engage the unchurched. Read the session descriptions and register at npmleadlab.org.