There Is No Right Way to Do Church

There Is No Right Way to Do Church

July 22, 2014 by

Ten years ago today our first blog post went live, and we’ve been trying to help churches communicate better (and suck less) since. It’s been a great month as we celebrate those 10 years and ask how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go. And we’ve got more planned.

As we’ve talked church marketing over the years I love sharing best practices. I love talking about how the church can do things better. I love sharing good ideas and seeing eager communicators put those ideas to work.

But as we talk about how to do social media or the best way to do your announcements or how to do video, it’s easy to get the idea that there’s one right way to do it.

And that’s so not true.

There is no right way to do church.

There is no single approach that is correct while all others are wrong. Church planning is not an objective, multiple choice test where the only right answer is a hip rock band playing on a lighted stage with theater style seating. A robed choir on risers before a stained glass window is just as valid. A small circle of people singing—some of us badly—is another good way to do church.

There is no one right answer.

There are many ways to do this thing we call church.

The Tale of Two Churches

Tim Stevens, who has written several books full of objective ways to do church, shared this idea in a recent post exploring two completely different churches that were both successfully reaching twenty-somethings. It was part of his experience with 20s Church, a little project where three twenty-somethings are traveling the country to visit churches and see how they’re connecting to twenty-somethings.

So far that’s one of the conclusions they’ve come to: There’s not just one right way to do church.

And that’s a good thing. We’re all very different people, and as we come together to worship God we don’t have to file away those differences and pretend they don’t exist. We don’t need cookie-cutter churches that are all the same

The ‘how’ of church doesn’t matter nearly as much as the ‘why.’

Be the Unique Church God Created You to Be

As you’re trying to figure out how to do church, how to communicate well and how to spread the word—don’t worry so much about finding the single best way to do it. There are lots of right answers. It doesn’t matter if you’re a megachurch or a house church, if you follow the liturgy or follow the worship slides, if you’ve got parking lot attendants or a bus stop, if you have an hour-long sermon or a 10-minute discussion.

The important thing is to be strategic. Figure out what works for your audience and your context. Think about why you do things and find a way that works.

God has made your church unique (some more than others) and is calling you to reach people that no other church will reach.

Photo by Mor & Steel Wool.
Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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2 Responses to “There Is No Right Way to Do Church”

  • Emily Kantner
    July 22, 2014

    I grew up in the same church my whole life, so when I went away to college, I really struggled to find a new church. I would look at crazy little details like the order of the service and think, “but that’s not the right way!” I finally realized that just because one church does something differently than mine, doesn’t mean it’s wrong, It’s just different. Great post!

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    • Kevin D. Hendricks
      July 22, 2014

      Yes, we have to figure out how to deal with our personal preferences. Sometimes I’d guess those things might matter, but a lot of the time we’re just being selfish.

      It gets especially hard when we tie those preferences to theology. I grew up thinking every other denomination was just wacky, that my way of thinking about the liturgy for example was the only way. Thankfully there’s grace for us and God embraces a much wider diversity.

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