Describe your “dream” church. What would it be like?
Brett McCracken conducted his own thought-experiment to come up with his dream church. It contained the following:
- Located in a major world city
- In a neighborhood with ethnic, cultural, and class diversity
- Architecturally contemporary and minimalist
- Environmentally sustainable (LEED-certified)
- Sanctuary would have great acoustics and seat around 1200 people
- Church would house a bookstore and fitness center
- Green space on the property for an organic community garden
- The church would also own and operate a restaurant, coffeeshop, and roastery in the building next door
- Mercy, justice, and outreach efforts would be staples
- All church members would participate in: food pantries, after-school tutoring, nursing home visitation, crisis pregnancy centers, women’s shelters, and anti-trafficking efforts.
- Worship service would be liturgical with opportunities given for spontaneous baptisms
- Preaching would last 30-45 minutes
This isn’t all McCracken listed in his “dream church.” It’s actually only a drop in the bucket. His list covers multiple pages from his book Uncomfortable. After completing his profile of his ideal church, he says this…
“I am a bit disgusted with how easy it is to describe in such detail my hypothetical ‘dream church.’ It’s easy because this is how we’ve been conditioned to think. ‘Have it your way’ consumerism is the air we breathe.”
So the title to this blog is a bit misleading. It’s not a blog on how to find your “dream church.” It’s a plea for you to give up your search for one… at least in this life.
Let’s say you’re looking for five things in a church: expositional preaching, corporate worship done with musical excellence and a sense of transcendence, children’s programming that both teaches kids the Bible and gives them an “experience” they want to have again next week, Jr. and Sr. high ministry that grounds students in the Word of God, makes them feel loved, and prepares them for life in the world, and a care ministry that meticulously keeps track of every physical and emotional need each person in the church has. All you’re looking for are these five things…
You can have three of them.
Realistically, a church may be able to excel at three of those five. But it’s unlikely to be better than mediocre at the other two. Why? Because we live in this world and it’s filled with limitations. Church leaders, like me, are limited by our sin. We are limited by our weaknesses. We are limited by gifting. Every church is limited by its location, history, size, facility, and finances. Every church has people in it who are limited by maturity, availability, and giftedness.
So how will you handle your church’s limitations and imperfections?
This is a call for all of us. Let’s work on loving the church we have not the one we wish we had.