Our church designated a particular Sunday as a “Family Service.” The whole morning worship service was kid-friendly. Kids were to sit in the front third of the worship center with their parents. Much of the emceeing, Bible reading, prayer, and worship was led by children. Children were provided with musical instruments so they could make lots of loud noise during worship. Instead of the normal sermon, there was a puppet show.
This church service was also deliberately designed for us to invite non-Christian friends to. The puppet show had just as much for the adults as it did for the children—much like a movie like Shrek does. If your friends showed up, they enjoyed a fun, relaxed, kid-friendly worship service where the good news of Jesus was clearly, creatively, and sensitively communicated.
There was only one problem. Our service is at 9:00 a.m. In my experience, most of my friends cannot attend something at 9:00 a.m. on a Sunday. They’ve been up late the previous night. This is their chance to sleep in. No one goes to a church service at 9:00 a.m. unless they really have to. Worse, it was a Chinese church service, and our friends were not Chinese.
Very optimistically, my wife and I invited about five families to come. At 8:50 a.m., I nervously looked at my watch, wondering whether they would show up. What was I thinking when I invited them?
But one by one, the families we had invited showed up. They had a great time. They enjoyed the service. And I could tell that the parents, as well as the children, heard the gospel clearly. Afterward, we talked for a long time outside on the church lawn while having morning tea.
I still struggled to understand why they had bothered to come. (Did I mention the service was at 9:00 a.m.?) But as I looked around, I saw one mother whose birthday party we’d attended. Another family came from our son’s weekend football team, where my wife was on the barbecue roster and I had been on the running-the-water-on-the-sidelines roster. Another family came from my son’s school, where my wife was involved with the PTA.
Suddenly it dawned on me. We were always going to their things, so they were happy to come to one of our things. We hang out normally. We’re part of their village. This would be one of many things we would be doing together anyway. Today, it just happened to be a Sunday worship service at 9:00 a.m. at a Chinese church.
Chan, Sam, and Ed Stetzer. 2020. How to Talk about Jesus (without Being That Guy): Personal Evangelism in a Skeptical World. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Check out our Bible Study on Sam Chan’s book How to Talk About Jesus. It is on Amazon as well as part of the Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.