Four common acts of stupidity

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Jim's picture

1st year mistakes:

  • Let's change the church by-laws
  • Let's change the church's doctrinal  statement
  • Let's change our church's associational relationship
  • Let's change our church's name
  • Let's [do this] and pay for it with debt
T Howard's picture

I don't know what it is, but almost every new senior pastor in the churches I've attended felt they needed to "rebrand" the church the first year of their pastorate. New logo, new website, new core values, new vision statement, new mission statement, new look of the auditorium, and sometimes even new service times.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Because, as we all know, changing the name on the sign will magically solve every internal problem, and completely fool the entire community into thinking you're hip and modern. Preferably, the name will be changed to something mushy and loving, like "Grace (Insert Non-Denominational Label Here)." If you're really daring and trendy, you'll use a Greek word, like "Alethia Fellowship" or, better yet, just "Xaris." Follow-up by darkening the entire sanctuary, so it feels like you're in a movie theater, ditch the pulpit for a bistro table, and head to the mall for some skinny jeans and "slim fit" shirts, and you're in business. Start inserting swear words (or their polite, but edgy, alternatives) into your sermons to show you're not a stuffy bible-thumper.  

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

T Howard's picture

TylerR wrote:

Because, as we all know, changing the name on the sign will magically solve every internal problem, and completely fool the entire community into thinking you're hip and modern. Preferably, the name will be changed to something mushy and loving, like "Grace (Insert Non-Denominational Label Here)." If you're really daring and trendy, you'll use a Greek word, like "Alethia Fellowship" or, better yet, just "Xaris." Follow-up by darkening the entire sanctuary, so it feels like you're in a movie theater, ditch the pulpit for a bistro table, and head to the mall for some skinny jeans and "slim fit" shirts, and you're in business. Start inserting swear words (or their polite, but edgy, alternatives) into your sermons to show you're not a stuffy bible-thumper.  

You don't know just how accurate you are. Our church went from Calvary Bible Baptist Church to just Calvary of [City Name]. The auditorium went from old pews to complete auditorium makeover, padded chairs, theater lighting, the works. The logo, of course, had to change to something more hip with colors that are inviting to the unchurched. The wooden pulpit was replaced with a glass pulpit with the new logo on the front. No swear words though.

Larry Nelson's picture

 

Quote:

I don't know what it is, but almost every new senior pastor in the churches I've attended felt they needed to "rebrand" the church the first year of their pastorate. New logo, new website, new core values, new vision statement, new mission statement, new look of the auditorium, and sometimes even new service times.

 

The latest thing in church websites is auto-play video that begins when the website is first clicked on (a couple of local examples):

https://www.rivervalley.org/

https://www.calvarychurch.us/

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Personally, I like these (the concept).  Why not make a church website initially eye-catching & vibrant? 

I could give some counter-examples of church websites that, in contrast, look awful (and are in serious need of an update). 

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Fourth Baptist (Plymouth, MN) just launched a new website a few weeks ago.  It doesn't have auto-play video, but I like it a lot.  Check out some of the nice photography:

http://fourthbaptist.org/

http://fourthbaptist.org/about-fourth/

http://fourthbaptist.org/teens/

http://fourthbaptist.org/adult-bible-fellowships/

If it's true that "a picture is worth a thousand words," then visitors to Fourth's new website are able to learn more about the church from the revised format than mere text would convey.

Bert Perry's picture

...that the question is not when or how the changes are made, but why.  We would start with asking the pastors described by Jim and T. Howard why they took the job if he knew the church was so different from what he thought was appropriate, and what he thought the response was going to be by the members who voted for the current system.

That noted, Matt Morrell is a great example of a guy who is shepherding this process well, as far as I can tell.  He came in knowing that, at a certain level, 4th was still Doc Clearwaters' church, but that going forward, the membership was not going to be able to support everything he did, nor was a pastor of usual ability going to be able to hold it all together.  Website updates are among, IMO, some of his smaller accomplishments.  Bigger ones include the selling of Camp Clearwaters and paying off the church mortgage, along with some small but significant modifications to the church constitution.

Change isn't inherently bad, but you've got to understand why, and what the "stakeholders" are going to think.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

CAWatson's picture

Let's change the church by-laws - We had limitations on spending more than $500 without a business meeting (which takes 2 weeks to call). A furnace broke in the fall. We changed the by-laws to include spending more than $500 without congregational authorization "in case of a property-related emergency."

Let's change the church's doctrinal  statement - Due to a recent Church of Christ church plant in town, the deacons wanted our doctrinal statement to be clear enough to distinguish us from them. 

Let's change our church's associational relationship - Before I came to the church, the church was planning on leaving the CBA. I simply pulled the trigger.