Being Ghosted at Church … and I ain’t talking about the Holy Ghost

Each weekend, I explore a little more of the WOW – ‘Woke on the Wonder’ of worship.

A modern phrase has entered into several of my conversations in the past week – Ghosted.

Now previously, this phrase was connected to Patrick Swayze’s response to Demi Moore in Ghost …. where he only said “ditto” to her “I love you.” But it has evolved to being totally ignored and blocked by someone else … not returning texts or calls, blocking on social media, etc. – basically treating someone like they are not even there, ergo, a ghost. People who no longer want to date someone will ghost their former partner with no communication of explanation.

It has moved in the business world where employees or new hires will ghost their job offers … not showing up for interviews, just disappearing even if offered a job, and not giving an explanation or even trying to make communication. USA Today even did an article on it. It is also done in the reverse. Potential employers will not acknowledge applications, make no attempts to follow up, and ignore all attempts of communication by the candidate … not even form emails (which are so easy in this tech savvy world.) I’ve experienced this from churches where I don’t even know if they’ve received my resume or not. And months will go by, follow up emails sent ignored, positions are filled, and still no word or even a ‘thanks but no thanks.’ (I’ll write more on this on a later date, today is about church worship and church life.)

In church life, this exists as well. Members will disappear with no communication at all. Now I get it at times, we get upset, might feel lazy, don’t want to cause waves, or maybe even get sent into witness protection. But churches should be better at relationships. We are the family of God and should be cordial and quick to show grace and forgiveness like we’ve been shown. (editor’s note: tune in Monday for a bit on forgiveness!)

And churches should not be ghosting our guests. Have a process in place to discover and connect to those who attend worship or community events, view websites, or just live in the same community of a church. Don’t ignore them, be quick to connect, follow up promptly, and let them know they are important.

A powerful and effective ‘connection center’ in the lobby should never replace connections outside the walls

This is not the staff’s job … this is every member’s job. Sit next to that guest, give them a way to connect to you, and maybe get their email or social media connection. Don’t just get that info, use it – send a text, a birthday greeting on Facebook, invite them to coffee, anything. Many guests will go weeks before they fill out that connection card – so when they do, churches need to do something with it. Too many connection attempts are only done within the Church walls – but a powerful and effective ‘connection center’ in the lobby should never replace connections outside the walls.

And staff members – if you get a connection attempt, don’t ghost ‘em. Very little shows lack of caring then ghosting a person. I speak as a staff member who has blown it at times, but also as a church guest who has been ignored, rebuffed (very blatantly so), and ghosted. This is not a small church or large church issue – this a relational and a common courtesy issue. Do you value people? Then let it be very clearly seen that you do!

So, if we do talk about ghosting in church, may it be about the Holy Ghost getting active … can I get an “Amen!”

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