Are You A Church For Everyone?
Your church is not a church for everyone. It’s not. Mine isn’t either. Sure, we are welcoming to all, but not everyone will connect with the church I pastor. Not everyone will connect with your church. And that is okay.
You are not a church for everyone, but you are a church for someone.You church is not for everyone, but it is for someone. Click To Tweet
I’m not sure how that statement hits you, but I can tell you when you believe this it frees you up to do what God has called you to do. There are lots of times where someone new comes with an agenda to who they want the church to be. They will lead with their laundry list of things they are looking for in a church. They seem like they would be great volunteers, they give financially, and they love Jesus. If you are like me we could use people who want to volunteer, give financially, and love Jesus. It feel counterintuitive to lead them in another direction. Here is what I have found…when you know who you are you know who you are for. If someone doesn’t fit with that then it’s empowering to communicate that.
Specifically I say often, “We may not be the church for you, and that’s okay.” People are always caught off guard. I don’t say it with a mean spirit. In fact, I believe I’m saying it out of love. In the end I want people to thrive. If they want something I don’t offer they won’t thrive. Most of the time they quickly say, “Oh, I’m not trying to find another church. I like this one.” At this point it’s clear that we are glad they like us but we aren’t not for everyone, and that’s okay. They now have the choice to make. Are they okay with learning to love what we have or do they need to find a different church?
It’s like this. If you are a big fan of Chick-fil-A and you go to McDonald’s it is unfair to expect McDonald’s to live up to Chick-fil-A standards. I know some people who love McDonald’s. That’s okay. I know some people that don’t love Chick-fil-A. That’s okay…except for the fact that it’s Christian chicken and will be served in Heaven. Besides that it’s okay if you don’t prefer Chick-fil-A. The point is we have options. It’s only a problem when a church doesn’t know who they are for.
3 Ways to Tell Who You Are For
- Who are you trying to reach? I know the temptation is to say everyone, but you can’t reach everyone. At the church I serve we hope that everyone is reached by a church, but we know that our church cannot reach everyone. We go after those who are de-church, or did not grow up in the church. The ones who get the most out of our services are the people who did not grow up in church. It doesn’t mean that those who grew up in church hate our services. We have many that grew up in church and love our services. When someone complains that we spend too much time explaining who “Paul” is our answer is simple. We may not be the church for you and that’s okay.
- Who are okay with leaving? I know we don’t want anyone to leave, but there are some people that when they don’t accept the vision of your church they will become a hinderance to fulfilling the mission. If someone comes to me and says they want a service with prophecy I can kindly let them know we aren’t the church for them and that’s okay. I will tell them about a church that may be a better fit. I’m okay with someone not loving our church if they truly want something we don’t offer.
- Who are you attracting? We attract who we are. When someone comes to your church and sticks what do they have in common with others? I can say I want to reach the unchurched, but if the only people I’m attracting are traditional church people then I have some inconsistency.
I know the temptation is to try and be all things to all people, but if you want to reach more people you will narrow down in who you are for. When you find that out it becomes less painful when some people leave, and it becomes clear as to who you are planning services for.