Too Many Churches Are Like 13-Year Old Girls (Authenticity: part one)

The folks behind TOMS shoes are real.  When Sketchers pitifully mimicked TOMS with their BOBS shoe line in 2010, they proved that they were as insecure as 13-year-old girls.  Or just plain old pirates.

At some point, every church says “if we only had _____ .”  Some churches fill in the blank with their projected insecurities (the right staff superstar, better facilities, the next killer strategy, or a more robust budget).  Looking outwardly, these churches resemble a 13-year old girl: believing her self-image will improve if she starves herself, slaps on some makeup, or plucks her eyebrows.  Eventually (sadly), they become a pitiable and heart-breakingly counterfeit version of something God never intended them to be in the first place.

Healthy churches don’t think like that. Healthy churches say “if we only had  _____ ” but they say it focusing inwardly.  They say it because they know who they are – and they clearly understand what God expects of them.  They make a conscious decision to forge their identity by becoming.  They simply want to grow up into themselves.

Saying “if we only had  _____ ” isn’t the problem.  It’s the object of “if we only had _____” that causes many churches to spin out of control.

Here’s the thing: We all want to be a part of a church that is comfortable in its own skin.  It makes little difference whether a church has 70 people or 7,000.  When a church recognizes who they are (understands their needs, and embraces what God expects) the peripheral issues of size, worship style, age range, facility constraints, etc. quickly diminish.

Most of us are fooled to think the issue is have vs. have-not.  In reality, the issue is corporate authenticity vs. corporate insecurity.

Does your church understand who you are?  How do you collectively express that image (through teaching, worship, service, etc.)?


2 thoughts on “Too Many Churches Are Like 13-Year Old Girls (Authenticity: part one)

  1. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said something similar in ‘Life Together’ about community. To him, community is doomed when we carry an ideal image of what it should look like. When your ideal image fails to meet what God has graciously granted in your community, you fail to be thankful for God’s work but instead become ungrateful for what God is doing. Instead of embracing what your community is, you wish it were something that it wasn’t meant to be and likely won’t become.

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