Nobody Cares About Your Church (part one)
Recently I was in a meeting of church leaders from around our state. We were hammering out details for an initiative designed to help churches of all shapes and sizes bring outsiders in and help them find Jesus. (Not that he’s lost. You get my drift.)
But it was in the middle of that discussion that I was hit with the cold, hard reality: nobody cares about our church. Oh sure, hopefully the people in your church care (even that is questionable at times). But outsiders? Fuggedaboutit.
Nobody cares about what you name your initiatives / projects / events. Most of the time we brand them with cutesy, quasi-religious names that mean nothing to our community anyway.
Nobody cares that you spent half the annual marketing budget on a mass-mailing, slick postcard, where you misspelled the church’s website.
Nobody cares about programs that they don’t understand. We love things like AWANA, Men’s Fraternity, and our fill-in-the-blank Fest / Jamboree / Extravaganzawhatever, but our community doesn’t. Chances are, those events aren’t even drawing outsiders, they’re drawing other church people.
Nobody cares about your church’s success or failure. I drove by a church sign recently that said, “Help us grow our church…new members wanted.” That bugged me, even as a pastor. I don’t know you. I don’t know your church. Why should I help you grow?
Nobody cares what you name your series or how much you spent on the new drum set or what flavor coffee your serve at your coffee bar.
It’s not that they don’t care because they want to see the demise of your church. In all likelihood, they don’t wish you any harm. They don’t care because it’s just not on their radar. The typical unchurched person in your community doesn’t scan the religious section on Saturday to see what’s going on at Second Baptist. (“Look Martha! A Wild Game Dinner! We gotta get in on that…”)
So what makes somebody care about your church? That answer’s coming up in the next post.
this blog has some bite…
i actually do kind of care about the coffee.
I care about the coffee too. And when is that wild game dinner?? I scanned the Summit www site and can’t find it. We have plenty of deer and squirrel in our neighborhood that I’d like to contribute.
Seriously, though, I read your post yesterday and will continue to check for Part 2. You have a way of really bringing reality home. I agree with everything that you say.
I believe that building relationships is the best way to get people to see that you have something that they should look into – or not. Then it’s up to us to let them know what that something is. Cutesy sounding programs are for us insiders.
Now – the dilemma is how to reach the masses. I can build relationships with a few un-churched individuals at best over a period of a couple of years. I try not to turn them off by talking about the propitiation of our sins or other churchy language that I’m not even sure that I understand. If I can get them through the church doors then hopefully they see that we’re not a bunch of nuts with some hidden agenda like taking their money and that we truly care for them as individuals and want them to have the best that life and eternity can offer. You, J.D., and the other staff do an excellent job of presenting apologetics in a straightforward, logical way.
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIiii like where this is going….