In the first message of a new series this past Sunday, February 1, megachurch pastor Andy Stanley told the congregation at North Point Community Church that the Christian church at large has become “unnecessarily resistible” to newcomers, its stubborn “temple model” needing a rebrand.
Stanley began the sermon by praising the changes made to Christian churches in the recent past: Steeples, choirs and suits are a thing of the past, and the church is much more “accessible for people who weren’t into the church thing.”
“We (North Point) have kind of led the way to create these different kinds of churches … where it’s about creating environment,” Stanley added.
However, he continued, the church is holding onto what he called the temple model, which he defined as granting “extraordinary power to sacred men in sacred places who determine the meaning of sacred texts.”
“The arrival of Jesus signaled the end of the temple model,” he continued. “The Church really should be … nothing more than a community of people who follow the teaching of a man sent from God to explain God and to clear the path to God. You don’t have to agree but you shouldn’t dislike it unless there’s more to it.”
“How is it there are things that people say about us (Christians), the reasons they don’t like us have nothing to do with the fact that Jesus is ultimately our ultimate authority?” Stanley asked. “How did we become so resistible? … (Jesus’) three top commandments [were] to love God, love one another, love your enemy. What is there to resist about that? There should be nothing resistible about the church except … our loyalty to Jesus Christ.”
Stanley said North Point was going to lead the way in finding out what the problem is with the church and change it. “By God’s grace, perhaps in our generation, we will be used to strip away everything that makes the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ unnecessarily resistible.”
Do you think the church needs a rebrand? What suggestions would you make? Is the church “resistible,” in your experience as a leader?