church n00bs

A “n00b” is a techie word for “newbie.” (In case you didn’t know)

As you probably know, a “newbie” is anyone new to using something -like all of us the day we buy our newest cell phone. Like your mom on the Internet. (Not my mom; she’s on Facebook.)

And, as Seth Godin pointed out today, there are n00bs to your church, too.

I mention this article (it’s short; you should read it) because his first conclusion is quite relevant:

  • Don’t “dumb down” what we offer to the public so much that it loses some of its “mystique,” but…
  • Make it VERY, VERY easy to ask questions, to get help, to find one’s way as a n00b.

After 152 church worship services this year, I can note a few things:

  • Few churches actually “dumb it down” so much that an unchurched person would be completely clear on the procedure. I know that’s probably not what you’ve heard, as people mischaracterize / caricature Seeker-Sensitive churches. But most of those are simply “sensitive” or “user-friendly” and therefore smoothER for the unchurched. Few churches have removed all difficulties; like Seth, I think that’s okay.
  • On the other hand, few churches also make it easy to ask questions. Even fewer make it easy to find answers. (Those are not the same thing.)

His second conclusion, toward the end, is a little tougher to apply to churches. He encourages product-makers to be okay with products that lose the n00bs, that by their very features make it known that this particular product isn’t for you.

Of course, that’s tough to suggest when you’re talking specifically about churches. Do we really ever want to tell visitors that “this might just not be for you…”?

And of course, I’ve seen lots of churches that do this, whether they mean to or not.

Hopefully I’ll get to write about all this someday.

Written from Glorieta Conference Center (near Santa Fe, NM)

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