The Gospel Is Offensive. Nothing Else Should Be.

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29 Responses

  1. Back Pew Baptist says:

    What if putting up a section of pipe to block off seating offends a guest or a long time member? I understand the concept of filling the seats in the front, but some people honestly prefer sitting to the back (im not branhhing off to the sides. I concur with this being sectioned off until needed). What if they find the music too loud? What if they need to duck out early to go serve on another team for the next service? What if they know they will need to use the facilities halfway through and don’t want to cause commotion? What if they focus on the sermon more by being a “Back Pew Baptist”? I know this is a touchy topic for some. I am just looking for insight. Some will argue that where you sit shouldn’t matter because the focus is God, but others might have trouble focusing on God if they aren’t comfortable.

    Release the hounds. Or comments.

    Sidenote: The Summit does and excellent job on making people feel welcome. It is very comfortable and inviting. From parking to greeting to seating to leaving, it’s a very wonderful experience. And we don’t dumb down the sermons. So it’s good to be comfortable everywhere else.

    • Danny says:

      Jon, that’s actually a really good question. For a guy who makes so many lame pirate jokes, I’m proud of you for being so astute (that’s another word for pARRRRceptive).
      This is a tension that we wrestle with, and did so recently with the change up of some of the new “crowd control” barricades in the back of the North Venue.
      On the one hand, blocking off back sections allows us to move the early arrivers towards the front, thereby eliminating the need to walk latecomers down in front of a crowd of people. It also gives us wide-open spaces that we can open a section at a time to deal with the late-arriving rush (they always seem to come in waves).
      But what we know is exactly what you’ve observed and felt: how do we deal with those who prefer the back? That’s why we’ve intentionally left some spaces open in the back of both middle sections. Those spots are not “piped off,” they’re just open for anyone to sit there.
      The key is in training otherwise-eager First Impressions team members to “anticipate, design, and respond” to folks with that preference. While we always need a plan to seat the crowds, we can’t overlook those with a particular need. I hope that’s what you’re seeing and experiencing, but if it’s not, I’d like to know about it so I can make someone walk the plank.

  2. Joshua Pearce says:

    I’ve done seating a few times, and that’s a dilemma. The easiest way for people who want to sit in the back to achieve it is to wait until after the first song to enter. But that’s difficult to communicate and they probably don’t want to miss any part of worship.

    One problem is that there are a lot of people who’d like to sparsely populate the back and when you let two or three people by the pipe, it can quickly turn into a stamped.

    If there were a visual clue for when a particular section would open that would help — maybe a digital countdown timer on each pipe.

  3. Joshua Pearce says:

    Seriously though Danny, God’s revealed to me that this concept also applies in my life. I don’t think my co-workers and acquaintances are inclined to hear the gospel from me if they’ve been on the receiving end of a bunch of my wise cracks or hear me make offensive remarks about others. I’ve come to realize that real relationships are based on trust rather than trying to get people to think I’m cool. Folks want to know that they can be themselves around me and trust that I’m not going to use, take advantage, or make fun of them.

  4. Jon Thommarson says:

    Danny,

    I completely understand. I just like stirring the pot sometimes.

    I actually used to get a little ticked off when I couldnt sit in 201-26-C and 201-26-D with my wife (yeah I just named my seats like at a sporting event) but then I decided I needed to focus on worshipping God and he doesn’t care where I sit. I sitll think some people can struggle with this as its more of a comfort or convenience factor for them.

    I apploaud our church for making it about the Gospel when you come in. If we have all the tiny distractions/annoyances throughout the course of any given Sunday (not the movie) gusets and members alike will miss the Gospel being preached.

    Sidenote II: Online ticketing for your seats. Win.

  5. Jon Thommarson says:

    Sidenote III: I need spellcheck.

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