Certainly, there are some decisions that have a one-size-fits-all feel to them, like what songs we’ll sing together, what time we’ll meet and so on. But even those are changing with the advent of multi-site churches.
5. People In Healthy Churches Don’t All Look The Same
If everyone in your church looks the same, votes the same, makes a similar amount of money, or comes from the same background, something is wrong.
With a handful of exceptions (like ministering to a language group or in a senior housing complex) any church that is too narrowly defined by any identity other than Jesus will soon make that identity more important than Jesus.
The church is about creating a community that includes all demographic backgrounds. This was so in the early church (Gal 3:28) and it will be true in heaven (Rev 7:9). It needs to be true of us today.
6. No One Wants To Be A Target
In recent years I’ve had several conversations with church members in which I mentioned that some churches intentionally target a demographic group.
I didn’t raise the issue in a critical way – in fact, the first few times I did it was in the context of a larger church leadership conversation in which I was considering doing it in our church, like I’ve been taught. But every time I tell congregation members about churches having a target market, their reaction is the same – and it’s strong.
They’re appalled. No one wants to be targeted.
Of course, they’re not naïve. They know businesses and politicians do that all the time. But they have the right to expect that their local church is thinking better of them than that.
Targeting people as members of a demographic group can get you a crowd. But at what cost? Not just to your church, but to the people being targeted?
It’s not worth it.
Instead Of Targeting…
No church can do everything or reach everyone. That’s why there are so many types, styles and sizes of churches available.
It’s perfectly fine to narrow the type of ministry your church does. In fact, it’s helpful.
Like the Apostle Paul said “this one thing I do…”
But he also said “I have become all things to all people…”
That should be our pattern. Do one thing. Preach Christ and him crucified in the way God guides your church to do that.
Don’t target people. Target your strengths, your calling, and your mission.
Then it’s “whosoever will may come.”
Copyright © 2019 by the author or Christianity Today.
Click here to read our guidelines concerning reprint permissions.