Strategy & Marketing

Authenticity Matters: Why Churches Should Be Who They Are

A few years ago, I worked with a fantastic church who had a serious identity problem. They were a traditional church with great teaching, classic hymns, and a wonderful choir. The pastor was amazing and the music remarkable. They only had one problem:

A group of members felt they should become like the contemporary church across town.  I knew the contemporary church well, and even did some consulting with them a few years before. That was a great church too, and I understood why the group in the traditional church felt like they should become more contemporary. After all, some of the younger members of the traditional church were moving to the contemporary church across town.

But my advice was:

Stop trying to be a bad version of something else, and be an incredible version of who you are.

Too often, we see something popular and growing and think we have to be like them. We want to be Hillsong, Lakewood, Prestonwood, Saddleback, or Life.Church.  But those churches, and many more like them were founded in a unique situation, in a particular city, and in a distinctive time. They grew because they knew their strengths. They connected because they were real.

So the next time you see a church doing well, don’t automatically think you have to be like them. Stop looking outward and start looking inward.

Because being who you really are is much more effective that trying to be something else.

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  1. i totally agree Phil. I spent way too many years, way too many dollars, and way too many seminars trying to be like “that other church.” I finally realized one day all those years and all those dollars and all those seminars were not what God wanted. God wanted me to be me and the church I was pastoring to be what it was. Could it/should it make improvements. Sure…if needed. But I’m done competing and trying to be like someone else.

  2. Amen! We are finding in our college town that Millennias hate Christian Concerts and TedX talk services. They want real simple worship and teaching.

  3. Guess it boils down to this one issue: IDENTITY CRISIS. Something that is true for individuals and churches, and I would add, for families too! That’s because individuals make up families and churches.
    Guess everyone wants to follow the pop culture!

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