Monday, September 22, 2008

Being "Cool" is Not Our Main Attraction

I believe, and always have, that God has called PCC to be a real church made up of real people - not to be a cool church. While we are progressive, we have never tried to use cool as our main attraction. We have always stuck to the basics while honoring Christ in a progressive environment. In fact, one of our core values is to be authentic – no pretense, no pretending to be super spiritual, no false piety, no trying to be cool.

We have always emphasized relationships – with God and with each other – authenticity.

When we first started PCC we didn’t even have a web site. I didn’t own a computer; in fact, I had never even turned one on. I used a typewriter to prepare sermon notes. We didn’t have a budget. Renae played on a plastic keyboard. During the song service we used an overhead projector with transparency slides to project the words. We were a brown-bag operation in every sense of the word. Other churches were leap-years ahead of us in technology, resources, staff, and facilities. But underneath the surface of our simplicity, we just tried to be real. We stuck to the basics – kind of a “meat and potatoes” church service. We offered worship music, Biblical teaching, and something for the kids on Sunday morning. We didn’t take ourselves too seriously, but we have always taken God (and His Word) very seriously. And we grew in an authentic manner - reaching the lost - which is authentic kingdom advancement.

Now we have our own building, and state-of-the-art technology. Some people might consider us to be a “cool” church. But the constant value that we have maintained through the years - the “brown bag” days and up to this day - is authenticity. That’s why we have grown, and it explains why we are are STILL GROWING. We grow IN SPITE OF our enviroment.

Let me explain a little more….

Church leaders are prone to believe that certain things will cause people to keep coming back to a church once they start attending.

For example, being relevant. Or being “cool.” Or having great music or great preaching, or a great children’s ministry, teen ministry, or a great production each week. Will good coffee do it? Great facilities? What makes church compelling enough to come back to?

To be fair, all those things DO matter to some extent. But cool doesn’t last. The video game you bought for your 12 year old was totally cool twelve months ago, but now sits in a pile on the garage floor for the next garage sale.
  • Most restaurants have better restrooms than the average church
  • The mall is more attractive to teenagers than a typical church
  • i Tunes has better music than most churches
  • Even the radio has better music than most churches

So what makes people stick in churches? Answer: Relationships - authentic relationships with God, and authentic relationships with people.

That's why none of our ministries are built on the “class room,” false piety, or academia. Rather our ministries are built upon groups, i.e., small groups, ministry groups, fellowship groups, discipleship groups, Bible study groups, etc, - with groups being the operative word.

We have used this strategy since day one: We want to GROW LARGER and SMALLER at the same time - Larger in the weekend services, and small through small groups.

It takes a great deal of effort to pull this off. We want visitors and guests to walk through our doors for the very first time EVERY single SUNDAY. So we’ll keep cleaning toilets, presenting out-of-the-ballpark music that makes goose bumps stand up all over your skin, and offering first-class children and teen’s ministries as an attraction. We’ll use state-of-the-art technology for ministry effectiveness. We WILL do everything we can to make a positive first impression and hopefully cause the “wow” factor. If that makes us cool, that’s okay too.

But above all, we will continue to prioritize relationships – our relationship with God and with each other. That is what causes people to stick together for the long haul.

After all, that's what a family does.