Home Pastors Articles for Pastors Why Cool Church Doesn’t Work Anymore

Why Cool Church Doesn’t Work Anymore

Why Cool Church Doesn't Work Anymore

Everything has its season.

And the season of the cool church is, in many ways, coming to an end.

Recently, I wrote a post that generated a lot of discussion online and offline about why charismatic churches are growing and attractional churches are past peak. You can read that post here.

To drill down further, here’s more on what’s been happening as the culture changes around us.

So flip back a few decades… There was an era when simply being a cooler, more relevant church than the church down the road helped churches reach unchurched people.

There was a day when all you had to do was improve the church you led to gain traction.

Trade in the choir for a band. Turn the chancel into a platform. Add some lights, some sound, some haze. Get some great teaching in the room. And voila, you had a growing church.

But we’re quickly moving into a season where having a cool church is like having the best choir in town: It’s wonderful for the handful of people who still listen to choral music.

Something’s changing. And hundreds of thousands of dollars in lights and great sound gear are probably not going to impact your community like they used to.

So what’s changing? Plenty.


You might think I’m against churches have bands, lights and creating a great environment. Not at all. In fact, our church and many growing churches have full production.

If you are going to gather people, gather well.

My point is not that you shouldn’t. My point is that it’s no longer enough.

And maybe it never was.

The megachurches many of us watch today didn’t get to be as effective as they are simply by being cool.

If you really study how most large churches have become effective in leading people to Jesus (and yes—haters step aside—many large churches are effective in leading people into a real relationship with Jesus Christ), they have always been about more than just lights, sound and show. There’s substance. More substance than critics would ever give them credit for.

Are megachurches universally healthy? No.

But neither are many small churches. In fact, often the dysfunction in small churches eclipses that of medium-sized or large churches.

So why would cool church be fading into the sunset?