Is it okay to be a church plant and not be cool?
The reason I ask is because it seems to me that there’s pressure to be cool in the church planting world. When we considered names for this church, for example, we considered plenty of cool trendy names. The thought was that trendy attracts. Some church planting material actually suggest to attract ‘cool’ people in order to attract a larger number of people. If the cool factor is there, then others will feel cooler if they associate with those cooler than they are. Did that last statement even make sense?
When I look around other churches and church plants, there are a strong number of churches striving to be cool. Cool speakers. Cool logos. Cool mottoes. Cool speaking series. Cool rock band. I’m not sure if ‘cool’ is cutting it though. Can the church really pull ‘cool’ off well? I guess there are some. I know that I’m not one of them.
The deeper question for me is whether the cool factor is even Biblical. The church isn’t a business in this sense. How would Jesus plant a church in 2015? Would he put together a profile of the person to reach in SW Wake County? Would he put together the coolest graphic? Would he get a tattoo? Would he buy skinny jeans, or cut his jeans, or whatever makes you cool? (I’d give you a longer list, but the older I get the more oblivious I am to what is cool- and I’m not trying to sound self-righteously uncool by saying this)
Parts of me wants to plant this church for the uncool just to go against the grain. But then we’d cut off others who are actually cool thereby doing the very thing I’m concerned about with the whole cool factor agenda. Jesus certainly connected to many uncool untouchables in his culture, and I do believe that his ministry remains a guide for us today. Cool is only cool until the next cool thing comes along. Trendy attracts for the short term. Trendy is, by definition, trendy. They will be uncool soon enough.
Much can be written about how important it is to be sensitive to context. Contextualization is extremely important! But I’m not addressing that particular issue. My concern is that we don’t trust the Gospel enough to transform lives, and we rather depend on technique and gimmicks. As tough as it is not to be gimmicky, the challenge really is to keep the circle as wide as possible in order for all types to feel at home as a family of God.
Do some feel isolated in your church? What would it take for you to buck that trend?