Answering the question “what should a church be known for?” is the beginning of a thought process that has the potential for growing your church. Why? Today, everyone’s faced with the availability of too much information. So, communication noise forces people to ignore anything they perceive as unimportant or irrelevant. Sadly, local churches discover their communities aren’t listening to them anymore.
Your church is known for something now. But what should a church be known for? Is your perception correct? Probably not. That’s why your church must identify what they should be known for so your community might pay attention again. Their souls could depend on it.
Sure, a Bible-focused church will eventually be known for the Gospel. But introducing spiritual things too early will risk shutting the conversation down. Instead, decide what idea best engages with your community so they’ll be open to discovering more about you and the Bible! CAUTION: to be known for something, resist the urge of being known for too many things! Here are 4 critical things to consider:
- A place that loves. In John 13, Jesus states it simply to His disciples: Christ’s followers should be known for love. That means, selflessly caring about someone other than yourself. This is about them; not about you! So stop promoting yourself non-stop and start listening to the things that are on top of their minds. Then care enough to help. If a church is only known for what we’re against, then people won’t want to listen. Be known FOR something. Ensure it feels like love.
- A solution to a need. Do what you can to get your community and congregation talking. How? Ask about their pains. Then, do you care enough to notice what they need? When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well (someone who normally wouldn’t engage with a man); He started the discussion about water — the item she needed enough to trek to the well daily! Of course, that just started a conversation. What should a church be known for? Their pain expert. That knows the solution.
- A balm to a concern. When something’s weighing heavily on a heart and it’s noticed, to make it a bit better, it’s perceived as love. Your community has general concerns keeping them up at night. Some even wake them up in the middle of the night! The symptoms of these concerns are everywhere; as they’ll do what it takes to overcome the concern (drugs to alcohol). Be known for asking and listening. Resist quickly jumping to the Gospel as the answer. They first need to know you care.
- A path to a goal. Most people have complex goals they struggle with. As much as they’ve tried, they can’t seem to get headway. They need someone to help. It’s rare someone will not share goals with someone who asks. Or perhaps their goal is finding purpose. We know you can’t do that alone! They need Jesus. Be known for leading them practically and aspirationally. Walk with them, disciple them, and keep their eyes on their goals. This is about them. Not about you.