I don’t think people want cool when it comes to their church, I think they want unity. The difference is huge, and I think the church in general should pay attention to this. Many new churches that have a cool and relevant way about them are growing, and so we think somehow, (and I have certainly thought this) that the reason for this growth is because the church is cool.
The new church has lights, cool music, an epically young pastor who has it all together, and their website makes church look like if you attend, it’s like going to Studio 54, except in 2019-20.
I’ve been pastoring a church now for the last 4 months that is growing and doing well after it headed towards decline, and I’m fairly certain now after this short period of time, that the thing people connect with, is not so much how cool a church is or is not, but how unified a church is or is not.
In other words, I think older churches could propel themselves light years into the future if they would decide to step back from all of the things they are currently doing, and all of the ministries that have built up around them like plaque on teeth, and start over.
They could decide to focus on their vision statement, then write down some things about their community that are important to them, and then refocus everyone’s attention around those things. Then remind the people of the church again and again, “this is why we exist” and “this is what is important to us”.
It might seem like going backwards, but simply adding new ministries on top of old ministries over a period of time is like someone adding another layer of shingles onto their roof. It might delay change for a while, but in the end there will be a reckoning.
Getting everyone on the same page is hard work for a new church, and it’s ten times harder for an old church, but unity is not just a good idea, it’s what Christ prayed for his church.
So it’s probably one of the most important things we can be doing.