Wednesday, August 7, 2013

It's about MISSION. Period. OR ... "Why is your church better than sleep?"

Please forgive me.

I'm just not feeling in the mood to be polite or compromising or parsing my words. Blame the heat. It is insanely hot in Houston, Tx. It's the kind of heat that makes things like going and buying a kiddie pool, just to fill it up with 17 bags of ice from Buc-ee's and lay down in it, seem perfectly reasonable. Our Southern politeness just tends to melt, y'all.

There's all these articles that have been coming out. "Millenials are leaving your church!" "What people want in a church!" Oh, the list goes on and on.

And ultimately, what it comes down to is MISSION.

I'm going to take it one step further ... you know all those studies showing that evangelical churches are growing, and liberal ones aren't? I don't think it's because of conservative vs. liberal.

It's like that recent study that showed that the problems crack babies experienced weren't because they were crack babies, it's because they were raised in poverty, and most babies raised in poverty had those problems.

The more conservative an evangelical church is, the easier it is to define its mission. Right? Right! Liberalism, whether you're talking political, religious, social, or what-have-you, is always broader, always more inclusive.

The problem is when we allow that inclusivity to also mean that the MISSION is broad, not specific, attempting to encompass every possible thing that a person might feel strongly about.

That's kind.

It's also unfocused.

People want focus.

What is your focus? What is your mission? Why the heck do you think that people should wake up early on a Sunday, a SUNDAY for goodness sakes,  and come to your church?

It's not about competing with the church down the road. And so, consequently, trumpeting that you are most definitely not the church down the road ... is going to get you a "Meh?" response.

Your competition is the cheap brunch and Sunday morning shows and THE HARDEST COMPETITOR .... SLEEP.

Why is your church better than sleep? What is the whole reason it exists?

2 comments:

  1. I agree people want focus (myself included), but how do you get that focus when everyone feels that THEIR's is the most important? Personally, I am ok if that means some people leave, but that doesn't seem to be the prevailing thought. I also feel we try to cast our net too wide. What do you suggest? Should be have more congregations with different foci instead of one larger congregation with a wider view?
    PS: I very much enjoyed your Red Pill Brethren workshop at GA.

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  2. Always a challenge, isn't it? I think the first step is to get people to put "here's what I think is most important" to the side and ask about the neighborhood. Those three questions (I know you've heard them, but I'll repeat them for anyone who is reading) --
    * What is the greatest asset this neighborhood has?
    * What is its greatest need?
    * What is the church the neighborhood needs?

    But see, now I'm getting into the missional model of church, which is different than the attractional model.

    How to get people to move away from "The church that *I* need would focus on _________________"? Well, that's a biggie. But I know this. Those evangelical churches that are growing aren't looking at that question. They think they need to save the world. (Which doesn't mean they don't take care of their own -- look at the Mormons. But that's not their mission.)

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