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Planning to Plant - Visiting a "Secular Church"

Visiting a church for the first time can be a very daunting experience!  But those of us who have been in church for a while can very easily forget what it’s like to visit a church, be surrounded by the unfamiliar, and feel like an outsider.

Here’s a tool to help Christians get a sense of the experience of being new in an unfamiliar gathering, and then having had that experience, to begin thinking through what lessons can be learnt for making people feel welcomed in our churches.

Visit a “secular church”!  A secular church is just a place where people gather!
Think of Ikea, a betting shop, a decent pub, specialty coffee shop, sporting club, or a restaurant. Visiting a place like this that you’re unfamiliar with is a great way of being reminded of the feelings and experience of visiting a church for the first time.

This will give you a chance to ask questions like:

What are the “regulars” doing? What does “fitting in” look or sound like?

How did you find out what you needed to know to make use of or benefit from this place?

Make a note of the language you hear and see; verbal, signage, etc.

Are there unfamiliar words or phrases?

Is there a way of finding out the meaning of any language you don’t understand?”

Plus many more useful questions in the PDF worksheet! Download it now