With this first post, rather than something trendy or controversial, I’ve chosen a fairly uninteresting and bland topic—our website’s distinctions page—interested?
Not only is the topic tapioca like, it’s already available! It’s old news. It can be found—you guessed it—on this very website’s distinctions page.
Why write about something nearly universally ignored? My psychology is simple; I’d like you to actually read it. Without this post I doubt you ever would. But now that I’ve whet your appetite I hope you’ll resist the strong urge to race there this instance, and instead allow me to explain.
It’s important to know that in nearly all cases those who visit church websites are already professing Christians. Most often they are settled believers shopping for their next church. But regardless of who they are or why they’re looking they are almost always NOT non-Christians.
To the contrary, polls show that individuals without religious affiliations are NOT looking for churches—period. They are NOT visiting our websites, NOT noticing our street signs, NOT reading our flyers and unless they are in their nineties, they’re NOT looking us up in the Yellow Pages (do those still exist?).
Rather, the data shows that folks who notice church signs or websites already claim Christ.
On occasion these are sincere believers looking for a place where they can grow in their faith. In such an instance, a Christian looking for a new church is a very, very positive thing.
However, often it’s not the sincere, growth-minded believer doing a search, but a bored, consumer-oriented Christian discontent with their current gig and looking for something more cutting edge.
And if a website happens to include such salacious terms as ‘reformed’, ‘historic creeds’ or ‘confessions’ then unwittingly they can attract religious minded consumers in search of Reformed Church Nirvana (take your pick, the music group or an eastern religious idea of utopia).
Others are merely looking for the church that has it all. Great programs, entertainment, social world, and of course, a perfect pastor. Such folks are on a personal mission to find:::::drum-roll please:::::Super Church! (Said slowly in a deep voice – SOOOOP-HERR CHURRCH!)
Of course, the problem with Super Church—besides not existing—is that most everyone’s idea of it differs.
But regardless, whether they’re looking for perfect doctrine, the next best thing or even super-church, it’s all consumerism. And churches who play the game wind up participating in a cycle failed expectations.
When it comes to failing such expectations Winding Creek has excelled. My efforts with the distinctions page is simply my upfront admission of that fact. Because in the end, no matter how biblical or sincere (though quite imperfect), a real church is, it’s never enough; never reformed enough, never charismatic enough, never programmed (or programmable) enough, and never, ever, ever cutting-edge enough (at least not for long).
Regardless of how long their stay, at some point the consumer leaves to continue the search, because they still haven’t found what they’re looking for (this one’s easy—U2).
Stirred by such thoughts, I was recently inspired to re-write our beloved distinctions page. I did this because God clearly spoke to me…
No, that didn’t happen. Actually, God had little to do with it. I did it out of mere self-preservation. I was growing weary of welcoming newcomer consumers who hoped we might be the next best thing, or religious perfectionists who with furrowed brow and pursed lips grilled me about WCCC’s stand on this religious “jot” or that doctrinal “tittle” (rhymes with Skittles).
Without realizing it our distinctions page was attracting, neither those outside the faith or the growth-minded believer, but religious consumers. So to end the cycle of dysfunction I sat down and re-wrote the whole blasted page!
Rather than attraction, it’s new role is to repel. It’s designed to ward off both super-church seekers and religious perfectionists (I tried other methods but they were drawn to the crosses and not the least bit bothered by the garlic).
Of course, I do hope it might attract folks who are simply looking for spiritual growth and practical, everyday discipleship. In any case, since only confessing Christians will ever read it I trust all will be challenged.
I also hope you will read it. Not because you are a consumer or religious perfectionist (unless you really are), but to help rid us all of any remaining religious pretense.
Also to encourage us to quit waiting for non-Christians or discouraged believers to appear at our door-step. They’re not coming. Instead we need to find ways to go out to them. Only then can we hope to learn who they are and how to love and challenge them toward the Lord and discipleship.
This idea is not new. Jesus spoke of it in a parable 2000 years ago; “Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.” (Luke 14:23 ESV)
Okay, I’m done.
So now, ready yourself for the Nirvanic experience where you’re sure to find what you’re looking for, and where with a single click on the above menu bar you can experience our excellently reformed, cutting edge, programed packed, newest best thing, superlative… Distinctions Page!
Woohoo! You GO, Super Church! (Best if enjoyed with Skittles)