Eutychus :: Prayer Of Jacob, Warren W. Wiersbe
The church-growth people have been bandying about a new word: anonymity. At first I thought it was the name of one of the early church fathers. Instead, it seems to be the new idea that visitors (or "the unchurched," as we call them before we "church" them) don't want to be recognized in the worship service. They presumably decline to stand, raise hands (there's a concept that's always causing trouble), speak, or be spoken to. Blundering ecclesiastical types like myself are enjoined to be cautious about every worship move. One false step could well send The Unchurched scurrying back into the Forest of Unchurchedness like frightened deer.
At one time I had thought "The Friendly Church" was a great slogan. Now we're thinking of going with "Sneak in for an inconspicuous time of worship. Or if you don't want to, that's okay, too. Forget we said anything. We're not trying to be pushy."
Instead of visitor registration cards to fill out, our furtive friends will find sunglasses and fake mustaches and beards in the pew racks. A very gentle, low-pressure brochure will be handed out in a brown paper bag. And if you visit Sunday school, you will be assigned a name tag: your choice of John Smith or Jane Doe.
So come, Unchurched! A Sunday with us will be almost like not being here. Your visit will be kept in the strictest confidence, and no salesman will call. Fair warning, however: If you leave your headlights on in the parking lot, you're on your own. I'm quoting, of course, from the writings of Incognito, one of my favorite early church fathers.
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