The Real Competition for Your Church

One of the biggest dangers that any church faces when trying to reach people who are far from God is comparing itself to other churches.

How good your preaching is compared to them.
How good your worship experiences are compared to them.
How good your videos are compared to them.

This is dangerous. But probably not for the reasons you’re thinking. Yes, the dangers of jealousy and competition are there. But that’s not what I’m talking about.

It’s dangerous because if you want to reach other people for Christ, your competition isn’t other churches. It isn’t a matter of if you have better music than other churches. Better videos than other churches. Even better community than other churches. That’s not your standard of comparison.

Why? Because none of the people you’re trying to reach are going to those churches. When a lost person walks out your doors, their first thought probably isn’t going to be “man, that was better than that other church.” They haven’t been to that other church. Or possibly any church.

The point of comparison for lost people are things that lost people see. That lost people listen to. That lost people experience.

That’s your real competition. So for example, when we decorate for Christmas, I don’t want it to be as good or better than other churches in town. I want it to be as good or better than anything they’d see at the best mall in town. Because that is what every person who has never stepped foot inside of a church before is consciously or unconsciously comparing us to.

Now we do have something that is incomparable and unbeatable: Jesus Christ. I’m not saying we have to make Him look better because He’s not up to the job. And obviously the movement of the Holy Spirit is not dependent on how we measure up to the outside world.

However, we do have to communicate Jesus through certain mediums. I believe these mediums should actually live up to the message and person they’re communicating. And be something that people can relate to. So all of them have to be at their best.

Some people might think that this is shallow. And yes, it is shallow. But that’s where people are, and we have to meet them there. Or we might meet them nowhere.

I’d rather be considered shallow and be surrounded by people who have found life in Christ than be considered deep and be alone. Or surrounded only by people who knew Jesus long before they ever knew me. Lost people can’t become deep Christians until they first become Christians period.

And if part of making that happen means us raising our game and showing the world that the people of God can be just as creative and excellent in what they produce, why would we hesitate to do so?

Read more from Steven here.

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Steven Furtick

Steven Furtick

Pastor Steven Furtick is the lead pastor of Elevation Church. He and his wife, Holly, founded Elevation in 2006 with seven other families. Pastor Steven holds a Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the New York Times Best Selling author of Crash the Chatterbox, Greater, and Sun Stand Still. Pastor Steven and Holly live in the Charlotte area with their two sons, Elijah and Graham, and daughter, Abbey.

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I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
— Ken

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