Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bad User Experience #002: The modern day antiquated church

The purpose of this article is to present you with an example of a common poor user experience that has rooted itself deep into our culture, and is likely not going anywhere any time soon.

I'll remember forever being in Jr. High and High School. Friends, adventures, romance, chores and homework... That was it. But wait, there was something else that I was part of that has forever since effected the way I see myself, my life, and the way I run my family and interact with others. And yes, it is riddled with service design opportunity. It is when I first chose to identify my self as a Christian.

The path that lead to that choice is what this article will really focus on.

Growing up, I remember my mom making me go to church like every Sunday. Irritating. I didn't like having to dress up in nice cloths, or having to sit in those uncomfortable pews, or listening to the old guy in the row behind me snore every now and then. I liked the music just fine, but there were SOOO many unlikable things for a 4,5,6th grader.

When I reached my 7th grade year, I was beginning to view things in a different (testosterone colored) light. Arguments were common in my house, voice changes were happening, and yes, I started to notice girls.

picture of youth standing together
One Sunday, I remember my mom taking me to church TOTALLY against my will. When it was done, she took me through the gym, which had classrooms surrounding it. My mom took me towards a desk where there was a lady smiling and greeting different people. As we got closer, I remember eyes turning towards us.

She said, "Hi Shelly, is this Mike? Hi Mike." She then called over to 2 or 3 girls that were my age and asked them to take me around and introduce me to some of the other kids in the Jr. High group while she talked with my mom. I figured she had some business to discuss with my mom, so I didn't suspect anything.

Soon, I found myself with new friends. Learning about who Jesus was. Learning about how my decisions effect my life. Learning about all sorts of stuff.

Many years later, I decided that I wanted to serve as an adult volunteer in a Jr. High and High School Group in hopes that I would have the opportunity to be a part of that memory for a young person, have a part in the way the love of Jesus is spread, but also to just have some fun (my goals as an adult volunteer). When I started, I worked under a guy that wasn't much older than me. As he spoke to the students, he used modern technologies, music, and stories to capture their attention. The games they played were old but still good, and his effort with relationship to the volunteers was great. He seemed to understand the needs of the different users of his service.

It wasn't until he moved on and was replaced by an older, less skilled leader that I began to notice how our modern Christian church is simply suffering from being stuck in the past.

Yes, the bible was written in the past, but after reading the full Holy Bible cover to cover, I am a firm believer that the content is needed more than ever today.

There are two ways to look at church today. The church is the people, but then there is the church as an organization as well. The church as an organization has the goal to grow and expand. The people on the other hand have many MANY goals of their own.

The people come to church to be a community where they can grow in their relationship with the Maker, but also for a plethora of other reasons.

youth group related words shaped into a word cloud where more popular descriptive words are larger than less common words.The reason why the modern day antiquated church made the Bad User Experience list is that it is not done nearly enough to understand the needs, expectations, or limitations of the people of today.

Through a greater effort in researching the various demographics that surround the church's building, they would have a much better opportunity to create those opportunities for friendship and relationship. Through better understanding of the goals of the people, they can better organize those who are willing to serve so that goals can be better met.

I love my church. I love the church people. I even love that there are different denominations. After all, God gives us liberty to worship him and follow him in many different ways. So why are we so stuck on the ways of the past... Because they work? Well, they worked... but do they still work?
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