So you want your church to reach unchurched people. That’s wonderful because that’s basically the mission of the church: to share the love of Christ with the world in hopes that everyone will come into a relationship with Jesus.
The challenge is that unchurched people aren’t exactly flocking to most churches, and many Christians seem stumped as to why that is.
There are many reasons, but a surprising number center around one thing: Christians who treat the church as if it’s their private club.
The gravitational pull of human nature is toward self, not toward others, and churches behave the same way. You will focus almost exclusively on your needs and wants unless you decide not to.
And that’s exactly what far too many churches do: focus exclusively on the needs and wants of their members.
OK, it’s worse than that. Maybe it’s not even about needs and wants. Maybe it’s about preferences.
So many church leaders (staff and volunteer) struggle to lead beyond the preferences of the church members. And as soon as they try, they get inundated with complaints and angry emails. Too many Christians feel like it’s their right to have a church that caters exactly to their tastes and whims, and millions are paying the price for that (including unchurched people).
Catering to the preferences of members is a terrible idea for three reasons.
First, it’s killing the church. Attendance continues to stagnate or decline as people drift further and further from Christ (here’s a five-part blog series I did on declining church attendance).
Second, it’s an unwinnable game. Even in a church of 100 people, you’ll never be able to please everyone.
Finally, and most importantly, it’s just wrong. Since when did the personal preferences of members become a legitimate reason to keep people away from God’s love?