Daily Riches: The Unfriendliness That’s Killing Your Church (James Emery White)

“The Technical Assistance Research Program study for the White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that 96 percent of unhappy customers never complain about rude or unfriendly treatment, but 90 percent of those unhappy customers will not return to the place where that unfriendliness was manifest. Further, each one of those unhappy customers will tell nine other people about the lack of friendliness and courteousness, and 13 percent will tell more than twenty other people.  …Now, we all know that every church thinks it’s friendly. I’ve never met a church yet where the people said, “Yeah, we’re mean and proud of it!” No! Every church thinks it’s friendly. But what that means is …they are friendly to each other …to people they know …to people they like …to people who are like them. That’s not friendliness; that’s a clique or, at best, a club. To prove the point, another recent LifeWay Research survey found that while three out of every four churchgoers say they have significant relationships with people at their church, they admit they don’t make an effort with new people. In fact, only one in every six even try. That’s not very friendly. …If you are going to reach the nones [the religiously unaffiliated], they are going to come to you as a none. That means they will come as couples living together, as gay couples, pregnant outside of marriage, addicted, skeptical. Is that going to raise an eyebrow? Or is it taken in stride in a way that makes the person feel instantly at ease? At Meck [the author’s church], it’s just another day of normal.”

“I was a stranger,
and you invited Me in.”
Jesus in Matthew 25:35

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Stand back and watch people interacting before and after the worship service. Are people being ignored by others? …gathering in familiar cliques? …”stranded” – standing alone in silence, during the time of greeting?
  • Do you make a point of regularly speaking to people you haven’t met?
  • When you attend church are you looking for opportunities to show the love of Jesus to others – or just for your friends?
  • Have you been included – or even worse, in the “inner circle” – too long to remember what it’s like to “break into” a new church?

Abba, use me, and all your people, to embrace others with your love.

For More: The Rise of the Nones by James Emery White


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

One thought on “Daily Riches: The Unfriendliness That’s Killing Your Church (James Emery White)

  1. Excellent observations. You are on point about the inward focus of friendliness that is in most churches. The welcome for the unconverted and non-conformist are generally lacking. Carlton Coon @ carltoncoonsr.com


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