Does a church’s identity have an effect on not only how they are perceived in the community, but on their ability to grow and sustain living church ministries There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that a church’s identity has an impact on the successfulness of that church. And just like you don’t think that problems/challenges your church has encountered have leaked out to the congregation, don’t believe for a moment that people outside the church don’t have some sort of idea of what your church is about. Every church has an identity. It is up to the leadership and the church community to determine what they want that identity to be.
The good part is that you can change it if you aren’t happy with your current situation. But, just like you didn’t develop that identity in a week or a month, don’t think you are going to instantly change people’s thoughts about your church by writing one article or attending one inter-denominational meeting in your community. As I tell people all the time, “Your continued track record is going to tell the world what your church is about. Be steady, Be consistent. I can’t tell you when the perception will change. But it will”
Does a church need a unique identity to not only survive, but thrive in today’s environment? I see a lot of churches trying to emulate other (usually more successful) churches in their pursuit to grow. I am not saying that is a bad thing if you are willing to do what the successful churches have done. Typically, this will entail getting buy in from the church community, putting procedures into place and then following through with all oars pulling in the same direction (aye, there’s the rub).
Usually, most people, never mind churches only go so far and think “that is good enough”. And then they wonder why they are not achieving the results they had intended. Or because of their actions, have made the situation worse rather than better.
I am more of the mind that I don’t think any church should be “just like” any other church. If that were the case, why not just have one big church to serve everyone? I think we would all agree that is not likely.
There is always going to be some differences between churches. Yes, even those churches that have the same doctrine have their own uniqueness about them. And like Martha Stewart would say…”That’s a good thing”
It is from our uniqueness (for good or bad) that your church identity grows. What needs are you fulfilling? How tolerant are your beliefs? How are you accepted into that church’s community? Those are just some of the things that make your church unique! This might be a good time for you to sit down and ask yourself…What makes my church different? And then follow up with…”Is that a good thing?”
While it is fine to take on some of the better qualities that some other churches have, I don’t think any church should be just like another church. There should be an understanding that we are all unique in our identities as human beings. Churches should be no less different.
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