A lot of people are disappointed by the church. A lot of people have been burned and hurt in very real ways by the church. A lot of people are simply bored of the church, for good reason. The reality is, for the most part, what people hear they will get and what people actually get from their church experience are two extraordinarily different things.
Here are some things churches often “sell” themselves on:
- Life changing community
- Awesome worship
- Great sermons from their super gifted pastor
- A big new family
- Being a part of something bigger than yourself
- Fun programs for your kids
The list could go on, but these are all common things people hear when invited or told about church.
What do they usually get?
- Community than can be very powerful, but often times pathetic
- Worship that is probably pretty good but doesn’t connect
- Sermons that are typically singles with the occasional home run (nothing wrong with that)
- A big family that probably feels a lot like the crappy, broken family the person is used to
- Very little vision and direction on what they are actually supposed to be a part of
There are two primary problems here:
1) There is typically very little talk of Jesus and worshipping our great God when talking about church.
2) We always seem to “sell” who we want to be, not who we are.
The key here is knowing that whenever we are selling promises based on what man can do we will always under-deliver. When we are selling promises based on how great and glorious God is underselling isn’t even an option.
To do that, though, requires us to talk a lot less about ourselves and a lot more about Jesus. Why makes your church great? Jesus. Right? There are a lot of things I love about my church. The primary thing is our fixation on “looking to Jesus” the founder and perfecter of our faith. We are a pretty messy church, like every church. There is nothing inherenty “awesome” about my church or any other. We gather together in church not because of how awesome people have made it, but because of who God has made us- his sons and daughters.
If we, the church, want to stop over promising and under-delivering to our culture we simply have to start talking a lot more about Jesus and a lot less about ourselves.
If we are going to talk about ourselves let’s at least be honest. We are all a bunch of broken, jacked up people that desperately need God. This way people come in looking for God, not for all the “awesome” things we pumped up to get them through our church doors.