Two Separate Conversations

A Genesis church weekly celebrates services that are relevant to and transformational for its community.

What time is it?” I asked the man on the street as I was hurrying to run errands.

“Where are you from?” he asked me back in rapid Dominican Spanish.

“The U.S.  But do you know what time it is?” I wanted to be polite, but still remind him of my original inquiry.

“I’ve been to New York once,” he offered.  “Cold up there.  I’ll bet you’re from New York.  You’re probably warm down here, huh?”

Exasperated on the inside, but trying to hide it on the outside, I told him, “I’m from Kansas City.  I’m a missionary down here and I love the weather.  Sorry to bug you, but I see you have a watch.  I just need to know if I have enough time to run one more errand before I go home.”

“I got this watch from this guy three blocks over,” he told me proudly.  “No, wait.  Four blocks…”

Have you ever talked with someone and come away thinking you each were having two separate conversations? It’s frustrating to ask questions that never get answered, isn’t it?

A lot of churches I have been a part of spend a great deal of their time carrying on passionate conversations using church vernacular and addressing important churchy things and inspiring all of the church-goers.  The problem is that this is not even close to the conversation that the community around them is having.

How can I make ends meet and be a good parent as I work two jobs?

Is homosexuality ok? If I am homosexual, will I feel at home in your congregation?

If God is loving and also all-powerful, why is there so much evil in the world?

These and many other questions are never addressed in thoughtful ways by many churches.  So the tendency of our communities is to think that whatever happens in that church building has nothing to do with my daily life.

The first characteristic of a Genesis church is that it weekly celebrates services that are relevant to and transformational for its community.  The corporate worship service is the habitual gathering of believers in one place in order to praise the Lord and be transformed by Him.  It is the public, joint expression of the worship that every individual and family has been doing in their neighborhoods, schools, and jobs throughout the week.

The weekly worship service should be a primary access point for those who do not know Jesus to come to know him.  They should feel welcome there.  It should be a time characterized by excellence, joy, and contagious expectation.  What is the God of the universe going to do today?! How is he going to speak into my life? And how does he want to use me this week to make a difference in the world?

Answer these questions honestly:

Ø  How many people come to know the Lord each month in your worship services?

Ø  Does the service feel like a program to be followed or a strategically orchestrated appointment with your Creator?

Ø  Are your church’s music, sermons, and even announcements and décor up-to-date with the culture around you?

Ø  When was the last time that what you as a church did “in here” (worship service) made a difference “out there” (in your community)?

Ø  If you knew nothing of the Bible and of church culture, would you feel at home at this service?

Essentially it comes down to this: Are we just answering questions that no one around us is even asking?


A Genesis church weekly celebrates services that are relevant to and transformational for its community.


- Scott Armstrong, Missionary in the Church of the Nazarene