At one of the churches we attended, the pastoral staff frequently attended conferences. That resulted in a church that flowed on the tides of the latest trends espoused by the mega-churches and their gurus. This church was forever tweaking their mission statement, ministry names, and structures. At the newcomers’ lunches they talked about how they were different and I almost choked as I began listing churches in my mind that were near clones. They all went to the same conferences and read the same books. They all had the same rockin’ church band, the same practical teachings, the same titles for various staff members, and the same discipleship pathway.
To make matters worse, mega-churches started birthing satellite churches which were exact clones of the mother church. Some of them even video-cast the sermon from the main church. Churches are not factories and we are not producing a product, we’re dealing with people! Every community is not the same!
All of this indicates that there has been very little reflection about what each local church should be like as they consider their people, their time, their place, and their opportunities.
What if before any pastor was allowed to go to a conference, he first had to talk and pray with people in his own community to find out what was going on and what they needed? What if he had to work with a team at developing an approach that was right for his unique community?
People have gotten so tired of cookie-cutter churches, they don’t even check out a new church in town because it will be like the rest. But when church leaders start praying and talking with people, they have the opportunity to do something that will have outsiders taking notice about what an awesome contribution the church is making to community life.
– An excerpt from my soon to be published book, An Irreligious Faith.