The Real Competition for Your Church

One of the biggest dangers that any church faces when trying to reach people who are far from God is comparing itself to other churches.

How good your preaching is compared to them.
How good your worship experiences are compared to them.
How good your videos are compared to them.

This is dangerous. But probably not for the reasons you’re thinking. Yes, the dangers of jealousy and competition are there. But that’s not what I’m talking about.

It’s dangerous because if you want to reach other people for Christ, your competition isn’t other churches. It isn’t a matter of if you have better music than other churches. Better videos than other churches. Even better community than other churches. That’s not your standard of comparison.

Why? Because none of the people you’re trying to reach are going to those churches. When a lost person walks out your doors, their first thought probably isn’t going to be “man, that was better than that other church.” They haven’t been to that other church. Or possibly any church.

The point of comparison for lost people are things that lost people see. That lost people listen to. That lost people experience.

That’s your real competition. So for example, when we decorate for Christmas, I don’t want it to be as good or better than other churches in town. I want it to be as good or better than anything they’d see at the best mall in town. Because that is what every person who has never stepped foot inside of a church before is consciously or unconsciously comparing us to.

Now we do have something that is incomparable and unbeatable: Jesus Christ. I’m not saying we have to make Him look better because He’s not up to the job. And obviously the movement of the Holy Spirit is not dependent on how we measure up to the outside world.

However, we do have to communicate Jesus through certain mediums. I believe these mediums should actually live up to the message and person they’re communicating. And be something that people can relate to. So all of them have to be at their best.

Some people might think that this is shallow. And yes, it is shallow. But that’s where people are, and we have to meet them there. Or we might meet them nowhere.

I’d rather be considered shallow and be surrounded by people who have found life in Christ than be considered deep and be alone. Or surrounded only by people who knew Jesus long before they ever knew me. Lost people can’t become deep Christians until they first become Christians period.

And if part of making that happen means us raising our game and showing the world that the people of God can be just as creative and excellent in what they produce, why would we hesitate to do so?

Read more from Steven here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steven Furtick

Steven Furtick

Pastor Steven Furtick is the lead pastor of Elevation Church. He and his wife, Holly, founded Elevation in 2006 with seven other families. Pastor Steven holds a Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the New York Times Best Selling author of Crash the Chatterbox, Greater, and Sun Stand Still. Pastor Steven and Holly live in the Charlotte area with their two sons, Elijah and Graham, and daughter, Abbey.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Are there any reliable statistics about the percentage of church plants that fail after 3 years in the US?
 
— Jon Moore
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 

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