Eliminating Church Coolness

By Todd Rhoades

Every day, I get the opportunity to work with some sharp church leaders. I mean, really smart leaders. In fact, I get the unbelievable opportunity to rub shoulders with leaders that are changing the church landscape as we see it. These innovative leaders are trying new things all the time to create a life-changing atmosphere.

I love ideas. I love innovation. And I love trying new things to see if and how well they work. One of the things I’m excited about as I work with these leaders is that they look at ideas and innovation as tools. They are tools to share the good news and help people take their next steps toward Christ.

Many times, churches all over the country will take a great idea and try to copy it, not realizing that they’ve taken the heart, soul, and purpose out of the original idea. I was reminded of this when reading a section of “The Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Churches” by Ron Gladden. Ron writes:

“If you expect people to come to church just to hear your music, you’ll be disappointed. If they want to hear music, they’ll pop in a CD. It’s better quality than you can do.

The unchurched will not crawl out of bed to watch your drama. They can get a lot better drama on television by watching a rerun of Seinfeld or Friends or whatever show is hot today.

If they want to sit around tables and talk, they’ll go to Starbucks…

Present God’s Word in a clear, compelling way with a deliberate sensitivity to those you’re trying to reach, because the Word of God alone has the power to bring people to Christ and keep them there.”

You see, it’s more than the cool, hip things we do. Way more important is the message we share. When you see a great idea, please don’t just take the idea and forget the purpose. In other words, don’t build a coffee shop to serve cool flavors of coffee. Don’t try to outplay U2 just to have a cool band. These things should be considered tools that lead to a logical end; an end, as Gladden says: “to present God’s Word in a clear compelling way.” When we do that, lives will change. When we don’t, we simply add another clanging cymbal to the mix of loud cymbals.

How are you doing? Are you doing some things that are really cool, but don’t help proclaim your message? What do you need to STOP doing in your church this week?