I don’t mean “not good looking.
I mean, not attracting others.
In the Church sense.
See, a lot of the missional leaders I read and post from have come from some pretty large church experiences. They have planted churches that have grown exponentially. They have built church empires. They have gone into the “church as entertainment” world and had the biggest praise bands and largest screens. And, even if the churches they served weren’t all that big, many of the practitioners out there were pretty successful at the “Attractive Church” model. Whether it was because of the number of guitars they had, the variety of worship experiences, or whether their pastor was just that much cooler than the surrounding clergy, they did well. They attracted others to come to them.
And, for many, they realized that disciples were not being made through all of this, even if they were growing. And so they started to think smaller. They started thinking more about the surrounding community and the culture. They found ways to get the church out of the building and think missionally in their environment. It’s a very different way of doing church.
This got me thinking though. What about those of our churches (I’m thinking of the ones I presently serve) who aren’t very “attractive?” There are already cooler churches out there in our environments who have the louder praise band, the hipper pastor, and all sorts of different worship experiences to meet everyone’s needs and desires. It’s not that our churches aren’t filled with beautiful people who are wonderful followers of Christ. It just means that we haven’t yet found the elusive formula to get all those unchurched, dischurched, or habitually church-hopping people to come to us.
But, could that be an advantage? Without having to maneuver a larger church body into rethinking how they do church — and, by current metrics, seems to do church “well” — we could shift the focus of the church and play to one of our strengths — our small size.
Perhaps it’s just wishful thinking.
However, it’s what I’m telling myself today.