Why are many churches so aggressive about making a little thing into their ultimate thing?Our conclusion was ultimately that churches often feel the need to set themselves apart. In a consumer market in which all churches find themselves and each must decide to what extent they are going to play that game, many churches feel like they need to not just make Jesus their thing (every church gets to claim Jesus) but Jesus + something else. This something else makes us unique.
Enter the church of which I'm blessed to be a part - Sunrise Community Church. Since we are non-denominational, pretty new to the scene (ie. new to being a church), non-sectarian in our doctrine/beliefs, thankfully our people are pretty much immune to the pressure of distinguishing our church according to "+ something else." Right? Mmmm...not so much.
This became clear to me during our search for an associate pastor. Not only did the other elders and myself find ourselves describing & distinguishing our church in ways that weren't just about Jesus, a truly cautionary tale made it clear to me that even churches trying to keep the Big things Big and the small things small can get caught up in this. One of our pastoral candidates mentioned, off-hand, that should he come to visit & preach, he would wear a tie. I cautioned against this primarily because I've never seen anyone in our church wear a tie and people feel weird when I wear dress shoes twice a year (cuff links three times - but that's only because a dress shirt I got from a TJ Maxx Clearance Bin that lacked sleeve buttons...Get it together Van Heusen!!). This caution crystallized how many of us promote our church according to the following terms - we are casual, welcoming, wear whatever you want, & 'not legalistic.' And in promoting it we might become just as rigid as KJV-mania in keeping to it - how accepting would we really be toward someone who regularly donned a formal, full-length dress or a coat and tie (especially if he was one of the pastors!!)?? At the very least, there would be looks and whispers.
What about your church? How do you describe/promote it to others so as to make it sound unique, different, distinguished?
So what does God's Word say should make unique the gathering of God's people? That's the subject of my next post: What makes a church unique? The glory of uniqueness.
As I discovered this week, the whole Bible (yes, including the Old Testament) echoes a consistent theme.