It’s been a while

It’s been a long time since I wrote something here. My last post was something I wrote almost entirely in my mind and needed somewhere to put it. But it’s been too long since I sat down at A Parched Soul, took a deep breath, and exhaled something that felt good. Continue reading

Back Row Moments

Every now and then, it happens. I’m driving home listening to the radio, usually the local NPR or classical stations, and there’s a moment so powerful, so arresting, that I find myself sitting in the driveway, unable to move.

Maybe it’s a beautiful piece of music, or a story about an afflicted group of people. Whatever it is, it’s a moment when what I’m hearing is so powerful that it forces me to stop. Forces me to listen. And then moves me to reflect.

It’s what the public radio business calls a “driveway moment.” A moment where you’re unable to leave your car because of how riveted, how captured, you are by what you’re hearing.

And it’s what they hope to create for their audience. Sure, they want more listeners and higher ratings. But they also know that each driveway moment is a person captivated – and a person willing to tell someone else about their station.

When a radio station is really nailing its content, when it best understands its audience, driveway moments happen.

And this made me think about the church – my church, specifically.

Over and over again, I’ve heard stories of transformation from different people in the church. How lives are changed, marriages are healed, and souls are mended.

The details are different, as you would imagine. But I started to notice something in all of them – a common thread. What was it?

The back row.

My church goes after the people that don’t care anything about church. It’s a hard mission, but one we obviously feel is worth it. So it can be difficult to get some of those people to church.

But when they do come through the doors, their approach is almost always the same: come in late, don’t talk to anyone, sit in the back, leave as soon as the doors open.

And that’s how most of the stories we hear start out – including my own.

That’s not everyone of course, but on the whole it seems to be how much of our community starts their experience at our church.

And we love it.

In fact, we try and make it easier for them. We don’t force them to talk to anyone, we ask them not to give, we don’t ask them to move down so more people can sit near them, heck, we don’t even force them through a greet and seat anymore. To us, the back row should should be the best experience in the whole auditorium.

Why? Because the people in the back row represent the clearest view of who we’re trying to reach.

Would we love to talk to them? Of course we would. But we’d love for them to come to know Christ even more.

And we’ve found that if we let them come and sit in the back row long enough, one day they’ll show up at the Connection Center, in a small group, or in a serve team.

We’ve found that if they keep coming, keep listening, then one day it’ll happen.

One day there will be a service so powerful, so arresting, that they find themselves in the back row, unable to move.

A moment where they can’t leave their seat because of how riveted, how captured, they are by the God they just heard about. And then they’re moved to reflection, maybe even repentance.

They have a back row moment.

And it’s what we hope to create for our community every weekend. Sure, we want more people to come. But we know that each person that has a back row moment is a person captivated by God – and a person willing to tell their friends about it.