One of the stumbling blocks to persons unfamiliar with church trying church is, well, being unfamiliar with church. It’s hard to feel at ease when there’s a bunch of stuff one doesn’t understand. There are a lot of reasons why people claim themselves as “spiritual but not religious,” a way of saying there’s at least something appealing about faith but an institution organized around faith is a turn-off.
I get that. I’ve been there.
I also think that, aside from many of the ethical and moral issues these people may have with religious institutions, there’s another reason that’s not often explored as much: for someone who hasn’t been in a church in a long time or ever or with much regularity or beyond Christmas and Easter, knowing what’s going on and why can be a frustrating stumbling block that can leave one feeling excluded.
That sucks because exclusion isn’t what the church is supposed to be about.
Today I came across a new series of videos via a Facebook post by a pastor friend and I instantly fell in love with it. It’s called “Chuck Knows Church” and it’s produced by the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church (“You down with the GBOD of the UMC?” “Yeah, you know me!”). In each video, Chuck approaches aspects of Christian worship tradition and practice in a clear, simple, and humorous way. In less than three minutes, someone can learn not only what the liturgical colors are but why they exist. Or figure out what’s the deal with why pastors still wear all of those robes. Or why there’s this wreath thing at Christmas or the difference between a pulpit and a lectern or what’s a narthex, anyway?
Chuck Knows Church is another step forward in helping persons trying out a worship service to feel included, not excluded. Again, I get that the ritual and tradition of the religious institution can be a turn-off. But maybe one of the reasons is because we don’t know what they mean. And these traditions? These rituals? They’re for everyone. Church is supposed to be accessible and welcoming. I think this video series can go a long way in helping that happen for more people.
If you’re new to church or it’s been a while or you’ve been there a while but have lingering questions, check out Chuck Knows Church.
You can read the press release for this fresh new series and take a look at a few sample videos below.