Shiny Plastic People, Part 2

In yestarday’s post I talked about how people in the church tend to smile when they are at church. Often times this leads outsiders to say that Christians are fake and that we pretend that we don’t have any problems when we go to church. At the end of that post I asked how visitors to our churches could find out that we really do have pain and that we are willing to share it. I then promised to give that answer here. So, here is the answer:

Small Groups

Ok, I know that this may be a little to simple, but it is true. People in the church do have pain, and we do share it. However, moping around on a Sunday morning is not the way to do it. Trying to find someone to talk to among 300 in a weekend service is not the way to do it.  I am not trying to convince people that small groups are the way to do church. I am not going to try to tell people that if they are not doing small groups that they are doing  church the wrong way. That’s not the point of that I am saying. Really it isn’t about small groups. Rather it is what happens in small groups:


This is really the key to seeing through the appearant masks that church people where on Sunday morning. This is the key to seeing the pain that we feel. People sometimes say that church people are fake, but I let me ask those people a question. Do you share your pains with strangers? Do you make a habit of talking about your problems with people you just met? By saying that, because we won’t share our hurts with you, that we are fake you are asking us to do this.

If you come into my church on any given weekend I will be so excited to see you. However, we just met and I will not be sharing my struggles and pains with you. I would love the opportunity to get to know you and to establish a relationship that will lead us both to a place where we can share with each other. But, I’m not gonna do it on your first visit to my church. Likewise I don’t think your going to either. There is a level of trust that must be established before this level of intimacy is possible. This level of trust can not be established on your first visit to our church.

So, when you arrive at my church and I smile at you  understand that there are a few reasons why I smile:

  • Church is my favorite place to be.
  • My favorite people are there.
  • I’m happy to see you. I really am glad that you are there and that makes me smile.

There may be more reasons, but I think you get the idea. If you show up in my church and I smile at you please understand that it does not mean that I am hiding my pain. I am not pretending that I don’t have any problems. If you wonder why I smile, see the list above.

Matt Norman

Thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. To ensure that you never miss a post subscribe using the space on the right side of the screen.

I am a Christian, husband, father, pastor, church planter, nurse, and freelance writer.

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