Thinking Out Loud

December 28, 2009

Post #1001 – Don’t Go To Church

One of the things about Andy Stanley’s church that impresses me is a study that they did using a Fortune 500 company where they conducted interviews with people in their services who had been in attendance for five weeks or less.

Let me pause and say that this speaks huge volumes about their church when they have enough people passing through on a regular basis that it’s worthwhile to employ a company to survey those who have been there only a very, very short time.

What they found was that many of these people were already interested in “discerning next steps.”  They wanted to jump in with both feet and get involved; they wanted to get their hands dirty.   (Okay, technically, that would be jumping in with both hands.)

I was reminded of this in a church yesterday when I looked at their bulletin which runs a recurring promotional paragraph about their men’s ministry, and it talks about a couple of social events their group holds a few times each year.   I couldn’t help but think, “Okay, but what else do you do?”

I should say that this group does in fact offer some optional missiony things throughout the year — like that word?  I just made it up — but they don’t advertise them much.   I think people are looking for a cause.   I think people who haven’t even crossed the line of faith yet are spiritually savvy enough to realize that Christians, if they are going to bear that name at all, should be about changing the world.

And then, in the evening I came across the Faith In Action site.  This California-based organization partners churches with projects.   Frankly, I’m not so sure that there ought to be any church in any part of the U.S. that has to engage an outside agency to point them in the direction of need.   But what the heck, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt; there are many churches out in the American suburban hinterland that may be a tad isolated from what’s goin’ on down in the ‘hood.   Or even what the church down the block is up to, which is another partnership service Faith in Action offers.

Faith in Action will also provide you with additional promotional materials to support your project.   Banners.  T-Shirts.   Postcards.   Doorhangers.   (Ouch!  I just bit my tongue.)

They’re also promoting a Faith in Action Sunday on 10/10/10.    Nice numeric optics.   But people in the inner city, people in need of jobs, people in need of food on their table,  people in need of housing, people in need of justice, people in need of medical help, people in need of freedom from addictions, people in need of love, etc.; these people all need help NOW.    Not on 10/10/10.    It scares me to think a church could be aware of need but decide to hold back until that Sunday.    I hope instead that 10/10 is actually the day they do THE REALLY BIG PROJECT.

But I do like their T-shirts.    Don’t Go To Church, Be The Church.

Like, a big Amen to that.


  1. I love the shirt however I must say that you stole it off of us., we have been selling this shirt on our website since 2005. I wish that you would have asked us to use it or even let us print it for you. I write this to encourage you to do the right thing next time.

    Comment by Joe Baker — November 12, 2010 @ 1:38 am

    • Okay, where do I begin with this comment?

    • I have to begin by assuming that your intention is to direct your comment to Faith in Action, and not this particular blog, so you need to word it that way, not the way you worded it, better yet…
    • Why not simply click the link (or the upper image) and contact them directly? Why choose a public space to rant?
    • Why wait nearly a whole year? This thing was heavily promoted at the time of launch. Are you just discovering it now?
    • Having checked out your website, I can’t help but notice that your shirt doesn’t really look like theirs at all. The phrase, “Church isn’t something we go to; it’s something we are;” along with a host of variations, has been on the lips of people for decades, if not centuries. Do you hold a copyright on that particular wording? If so, is it your intention to exercise that copyright by taking Faith in Action to court?
    • Normally, I might not have responded to this comment at all, or even approved it; but I needed to flesh out all the above because of your accusation that Faith in Action — a group I have absolutely no connection with, by the way — did not do the right thing. You’re accusing them of deliberately doing something morally wrong. That’s rather severe.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — November 12, 2010 @ 10:29 am

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