You have probably heard the old saying of give people what they want, but sell them what they need. In my experience, I have found so much truth in this. In 2021 people are looking for peace, comfort, and community. In a recent Forbes article, the idea of two contradictory trends were shared – cocoon and consume. In the pandemic, people learned how to stay at home to be safe but still have all their needs met. Folks transitioned to work and learn remotely and interact with one another digitally. On the other hand, people not only shopped remotely for their basic needs, but many used the time at home to provide for more self-care and home improvements to make their space more comfortable and fitting for these new and more time spent at home.
As the church, we believe the unchurched should just naturally want what we represent – what we offer. Yet, churches who are meeting people where they are and provide what people want, are better able to provide them with what they really unknowingly need. As Christians, we have come to know and need our ever-deepening relationship with Jesus Christ. Yet, those that have never experienced this relationship, don’t know that is what they need – their heart’s deepest desire. So, this deep longing seeks to be met in all sorts of other pathways.
How can we share with them what they need and desire? Provide what they want! People are searching for peace, comfort, and community. How is your faith community providing these? How are you doing so by being in relationship? It is through providing what they want while walking alongside them in relationship that you are most likely able to provide what they truly desire. This may mean starting such opportunities as new secular-topic gatherings in the community, providing speakers for coping with stress, or workshops on self-care.
Offering the same ministries in these new emerging post-pandemic times as we did pre-pandemic, will likely attract only churched people at best. But providing new relationship-building opportunities addressing where people are hurting and/or looking for answers will likely be much more effective. When we do this with authenticity and transparency in the community, we are even more effective.
How is your church immersing itself in providing what people are wanting in your community?