I haven’t attended a church service in well over a year, maybe two years. It’s just too triggering. This morning I delivered some books to a church where my boss was speaking. I got there about 30 minutes before the service was to start.
As I carried in one of the boxes through the door and again as I was leaving, there was this group of 10 people standing on both sides of the door to “greet” those coming in. They were right on top of the doors, clearly smiling and very eager to serve. They were “on.”
The problem is that for the first time this came across as overtly manipulative. This was their volunteer duty—to be excited and greet people the moment they walk through the doors. It wreaked of Christian manipulation to me and I couldn’t get out fast enough. My heart raced on the verge of a panic attack for about 30 minutes.
I could remember all the staff meetings where we planned the Sunday morning experience for attenders. Now, I see we were manipulating emotions from the moment they walked in until they left. And if membership or visitor numbers dropped, these serving volunteers were basically accused of not doing enough. We never dared to question if it was the preaching or if our church had other issues.
I don’t want a church with official door greeters in my face as I walk in, trying to give an appearance of love and friendliness. I want to just walk in and as people are going about their business, they are very friendly. See the difference? Church should be church, not an experience. We should treat people as people, not consumers.
More time should be spent praying over the message than conjuring up the most impressive sermon illustration. The worship team should reflect the body, not be only the very best and performance based. It’s worship, not a performance. Greeters, performers, pastors using neuro programming language no longer look like church to me. It’s eye opening what you begin to see when you step out of the system. I’m yearning for messages and community like in Acts.