Remember that kid in school – the one who didn’t really fit in but tried everything he could to make it happen? He tried to force his way to the cool kids table. He pretended to be smart, athletic, popular, or cool in order to be a part of a particular group.
He probably never realized it until later in life, but everyone looked at him as awkward. I know that kid because I was that kid.
When we started a brand new church in 2006, I wanted to reach as many people as possible as fast as possible. The mission of the church was to grow, so I didn’t want to sit around and wait for it to happen. With churches on every corner, I wanted to make a splash.
A church named Granger Community Church came on my radar. This was a cutting-edge church laser focused on the lost, and they made the news with a series on sex called “My Great Sex Life.” That was a great idea, so I quickly registered YourGreatSexLife.com and decided to do the same thing.
Now we had some conversations with our team and prepared our people, but I honestly pushed a little harder than I should have. I wanted to shock people into attending church – to let everyone know that we were different and we were better. And while we didn’t do a billboard, we sent out an intentionally provocative postcard.
A year or so later, I used a sermon illustration in a sermon on reading the Bible. I’d heard another evangelist use the technique and thought it would be a great way to make my point. So as I talked about not living the parts of the Bible you don’t like, I ripped out that page. I ripped up an entire Bible and told people, “If you don’t read it and if you don’t live it, you might as well do the same thing.”
I look back on all those tactics with regret because they were done out of insecurity and the need to be talked about.
They weren’t the best ways to illustrate Gospel truth – they were ways to get talked about, even on the attack blogs. Truth be told, I didn’t want to impact people as much as I wanted them to talk about the church. Shocking people, trying to outdo myself, and trying to get attention was a sign of emotional immaturity.
Deep down, I wanted to have a big church. An important church. A cool church.