Lousy {Churches} And The Rare Search For Wonder

Seth Godin wrote a blog post entitled “Lousy tomatoes and the rare search for wonder.” I tweaked it just a bit in looking at the typical local church. You can see the parts I’ve modified as marked by {brackets}.

Lousy {churches} and the rare search for wonder

My local {church does things the way they’ve always done things}. They even do this {even when church attendance is declining}, when a {church service should be one of the most anticipated events of the week}.

Are they clueless, evil or incompetent?

Perhaps none of these. This {church}, like most {churches}, is a checklist institution, one that is in the business of providing good enough, in quantity, {in a format} that’s both cheap and profitable. You need a staple, they have it. They have {coffee} and {songs} and {an offering} and {a sermon}. They’ve trained their {attendees} to see them as an invisible vendor, as an organization that satisfices demand. It’s too much work, too demanding and too risky to do the alternative…

They could {add the wow factor to} the {church service} instead.

{Add} it the way a great theater programs the stage. No one goes to the theatre two or three times a week, expecting a good enough show. No, we only go when we hear there’s something magical or terrific happening.

Over time, as institutions create habits and earn subscribers, they often switch, gradually making the move from  magical (worth a trip, worth a conversation) to good (there when you need it). Most TV is just good. Magazines, too. When was the last time {your church} did something that made you sit up and say, “wow!”? Of course, you could argue that they’re not in the wow business, and you might be right.

One of the disrupting forces of the new media is that it makes harder and harder to succeed without wow. Since you have to earn the conversation regularly, phone it in too often and, in fact, attention disappears.

What do you think?

Since Jesus is the ultimate “wow factor,” I think the church should be the most exciting, innovative, conversation-starting, heart-healing, mind-expanding, life-changing force in any community because it makes Jesus real for all who attend.

Why isn’t it?

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