To me the most important part of the LifeWay research report was buried at the end. I’m not a church starter, pastor or evangelist, but Lindsay Cofield has taught me one basic thing. If a church is going to reach people, its membership must engage people.
So where are unchurched people? The LifeWay report has some answers. Here’s where it says unchurched people like to “hang out.”
More than three times as many people chose a sit-down restaurant (47 percent) rather than any other single response. Other locations that topped the list include: a bar or nightclub (15 percent), a local coffee shop (13 percent), and a sporting event or recreational activity (5 percent).
According to the survey, the reasons they meet with friends where they do is because these places are relaxing (62 percent), casual (55 percent), and fun (29 percent). When asked to describe in their own words design features of the kind of place they’d like to meet a friend, 16 percent of respondents referred to a quiet environment. Another 14 percent mentioned comfortable seating as a factor, and 12 percent said that the spaciousness and openness of the setting was important.
Sounds a lot like places Christians hang out. We go to restaurants. We go to coffee shops. We go to sporting events. Don’t tell anyone, but some Baptists even go dancing at nightclubs. If we build friendships with people God places in our life, they’ll allow to engage them in spiritual conversations.
Invite a neighbor out to eat. Go to the game with a co-worker. Who knows where it might lead.
What’s the research say to you?