Saturday, April 21, 2012

How Do We Get People to Keep Coming Back?

I attended a meeting tonight, and listened to a talk by a church leader who had the opportunity to meet with the inter-faith coalition in his city. They told him that they had heard about a temple open house being held in Utah, and wished that they had been able to attend the open house of the temple in their city. This church leader contacted church headquarters, and arrangements were made to take these inter-denominational leaders to a temple open house in Utah. At one point in the trip, they were taken to a BYU building for a meal, and noticed a chapel. They asked if they could look inside the chapel, to get an idea for what kind of chapels we have. This church leader of ours promptly took them in to the chapel to let them look around. These people of different faiths had many questions for him. One of the inter-faith council members noticed an organ and piano in the chapel and asked, "Is this all you have?" Our church leader said yes. I guess they were thinking we would have other musical instruments including drums and such. Another of the council members said, "I notice that you don't have any multi-media equipment in the back of the room." Our church leader responded that we do not use multi-media equipment in our chapels. Another of the council members picked up one of our hymn books and remarked, "You still sing these old songs?" Our church leader assured him that these are what we sing every week. Another council member asked, "Who preaches each week?" Our church leader responded that speakers come from members of the congregation. The council member then asked, "Are they any good?" Our church leader laughed and said, "Not always." Then the most telling comment of all came from a council member who said, "How do you get people to keep coming back?" I think there is great wisdom in the way things are done in our church. There is a great feeling of reverence that comes from singing simple hymns. There is great reverence that comes from quiet talks instead of loud flamboyant preaching. There is great wisdom in allowing members of the congregation the opportunity to prepare a talk on a given subject. They learn much from that experience. Being that our church has a lay clergy; one that does not get paid for their service, we are given a chance to strengthen our faith through serving. So in answer that poignant question, I would like to give my opinion on why people keep coming back. One of the reasons people keep coming back is that they feel the Spirit during our meetings. The Sacrament is the most important part of our meetings, but again, it is a very reverent, non-flamboyant ordinance that gives us a spiritual experience. The benefit of the sacrament ordinance is highly personal, and is a quiet, reverent moment for the individual. People keep coming back because coming to church strengthens them, and helps build their faith. I would like to personally invite those who are not of our faith to come attend one of our meetings. Everyone is welcome. It may not be the energized, highly excited experience that can be felt in the services of some other religions, but I believe that if you come prepared to worship on a personal and private level, you will feel the Spirit, and will understand what keeps us coming back.

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