Often when people in the community talk about Watermarke Church, a similar comment can be heard: “It’s a church for unchurched people, right?”
When I hear that comment, I find myself both excited and frustrated.
Excited because we ARE a church where unchurched people can and frequently do attend. In fact, our surveys show roughly 40 percent of our attendees were “unchurched” prior to attending (unchurched = not regularly attending any church for five years prior to attending Watermarke).
Excited because people in our community see our church as a place an unchurched person can come to church. Many people who attend OTHER churches invite their unchurched friends to OUR church.
That’s exciting (and weird). I’m not sure why anyone would attend a church where they couldn’t invite their unchurched friends!
But that statement is a little frustrating too because we are NOT a church for unchurched people.
Better said, we are not JUST a church for unchurched people.
We are a church unchurched people love to attend. We are also a church church-people love to attend—especially church people who have a desire to reach the unchurched.
There’s a significant difference between a “church for the unchurched” and a “church unchurched people love to attend.”
Here are six key differences:
1. Preaching and teaching.
A church for unchurched people must limit their teaching content, because there is only so much that a room full of unchurched people can take in (or are willing to take in). At Watermarke, we see NO limit to what we can teach.
Now, we do closely monitor HOW we teach, and that’s the difference. A church unchurched people love to attend is built on a communication style that is comprehensible, not shallow or diluted, and helpful for everyone. The churched and unchurched can appreciate and apply this type of message.
2. Spiritual growth.
Obviously, a church for unchurched people is driven and created to attract unchurched people. We often label these churches “seeker sensitive.”
That said, it can be difficult for Christians to find any depth of engagement in this type of church.
On the other side, a church unchurched people love to attend will attract both the churched and unchurched in the community and, in doing so, create a healthy dynamic with a wealth of opportunities for each group to engage and grow together.