The recognition and praise of numerical size can drive some to emulate what Large/Successful churches are doing.
American culture leads us to the false assumption that bigger is always better. This also spills into churches as we recognize and praise the numerical size of a church rather the spiritual depth that exists at a church.
Greatness is not found in numerical numbers or percentage of growth. Although, I will argue that growth is a strong byproduct of greatness.
The recognition and praise of numerical size can drive some to emulate what Large/Successful churches are doing. There is nothing wrong with looking at the successful churches to see what they are doing right. However, when you copy them, trying to emulate what they are doing is when you lose sight of your unique calling and purpose.
I recently was speaking with some church leaders and the discussion began to revolve around the church in the area that averages 15,000 attendees per weekend.
All of us talked highly of the church, its reputation and how it serves so many people. In fact, one of the leaders said I love the look of their stage especially their new set. In fact, I like it so much I am trying to get our volunteers to build one just like it.
I have seen the set on the stage at the large church and it is gorgeous! It also really fits the DNA of the large church.
I also know that it costs thousands of dollars to build. Feeling bold and also having a strong relationship with this group, I began systematically questioning first why that church wanted to copy the set and then how they planned to do it.
We didn’t get very far past the “it looks so cool” comment in regards to the why of building it. Then the how and how much it would cost question pretty much shut down the discussion. I was not trying to be the dream killer or wet blanket, but I thought it was prudent to first fully understand the why.
I then asked the following question, “if you had one more $, one more staff member or one more square foot of building, would you automatically grow spiritually or numerically?”
The first shot back at me was “It would sure help!” Following the laughter after that comment. I retorted “yes, but would it automatically cause you to grow?” The discussion that followed was about how all of those things, $, staff and building follow growth, but doesn’t really cause it.
Our discussion also led us to ask the question Why?
Why did the large church have this cool set? Our speculation was that the large church knew why they designed and built the set, it fit the sermon series and the overall impression that they wanted to make. The church who wanted to copy it was doing it just because it was cool. There was no real why.
I have found some successful questions to ask to help get to the Why?
1. Does it enhance your mission and your message?
If your mission revolves around bringing in the poor a $100,000 led wall and huge production is sending the wrong message and most likely alienating and confusing who you are trying to reach.
2. Does it bring engagement. Does it draw people into worship?
Does it cause people to engage on a deeper level? A friend of mine uses this litmus test after each service. He asks the simple question “Did people worship”?
3. Does it show creativity, is it an artistic expression?
Creativity is a gift that God has given us. I really enjoy when someone uses the creativity entrusted to them in a way that draws me into worship.
4. Does is evoke an emotion or deep feeling.
The most powerful times that I have in worship is when my intellect, my heart and my spirit are in unison praising God. The environment is helpful in drawing me into that deep, powerful worship.
Answering these questions can help you determine if the next set, moving light, production element…. Has purpose and meaning. In other words, you’re not just doing it because you think it is cool.