Scott Hodge


Nervous Christians

Jun 21, 2006

Sometimes Christians bother the tar out of me…  For lots of reasons.  But this post is to focus on just one aspect…

I was speaking today at TLN (who, by the way, is doing some really cool stuff and trying to change the face of "Christian" television.)  PTL!  (Ok sorry, that was lame…)   ANYWAY, I had two people go out of their way to ask me how I felt about a new church (from the same fellowship that we are a part of…) that is opening up a satellite campus just a couple of miles from The Orchard

Here’s how the conversation went:

Nervous Christian:
"Sooooooooooo………..what do you think about such and such church opening up right near you guys??????" 

"You know, I’m mad as hell about it to tell you the truth."

Ok, I’m kidding.  I didn’t say that. 

My Actual Response:
"You know, I haven’t really thought that much about it.  But it’s great because we need more churches to help impact our unchurched community!  I really hope they grow like crazy!" 

The look on their faces blew me away.  They were shocked! 

Now, I’m not totally certain what they were expecting, but I don’t think they expected that response – which is SAD to me!  For a lot of reasons!

Here are a few off the top of my head:

  1. We need to be KINGDOM minded!
    The church who is focused on being "territorial" or who spends all of their time protecting their "domain" is the church that needs to reevaluate WHY they’re doing church in the first place!  If I am truly sold out to people becoming followers of Jesus, than it shouldn’t matter where or how they begin that journey!  Who cares if it isn’t in "OUR" community!  Let’s just be glad that it’s happening!

  2. It’s about the unchurched! 
    If you are doing what a church ought to be doing and trying to reach unchurched/dechurched people, it shouldn’t matter if 10 churches open up within a half a mile from yours!  There are plenty of people who don’t know God, and so the "market" (so to speak) is wide open.  (However, if a church is targeting "Christians" – then sure, they might want to be nervous about a new church opening up near them!)  Relax folks, there’s room for everyone!
  3. Your church is (or should be) unique!
    If your church is a "clone" of every other church out there – you should be nervous!  However, if it’s unique and you are doing something different, don’t worry about it!  Your uniqueness and culture will set you apart.  This is one of the things that I love about The Orchard!  It’s TOTALLY unique!  There is no church, that I know of, ANYWHERE like it!  And that’s the way it should be.  (And I think that in order to be unique you have to realize that your church isn’t the right church for everyone – so don’t try to be!)

So with that said….  I celebrate new churches (as long as they aren’t giving Jesus a bad name…) and welcome them in our local community!  There are many, many people who need many different types of church communities. 

Soooooooooooo……Let’s stop acting nervous and territorial!  Grab a Scripture Mint or a Gospel Chill Pill and let’s begin embracing a Kingdom mindset!

15 Responses to “Nervous Christians”

  1. Jonathan says:

    It’s the gas station principle in action: Newer gas stations cluster together on corners because there’s a great need.
    If new churches are popping up in a single town/area, it’s GREAT news because the spiritual need must be tremendous!

  2. kenny says:

    Great post scott. Thanks.

  3. metromom says:

    Nothing like a good “Gos…pill” to kick the nervousness out. :) I agree with your heart on the matter…

  4. Ted says:

    Great post Scott! I find it almost offensive when other “Christ-followers” become territorial. It makes it sound like we are into some type of “sheep management

  5. Scott – did you not buy the fellowship franchise for your section of town?!? If you did, you’d have some sort of legal recourse. :)

  6. metromom says:

    LOL..ted and his thesaurus….
    “What if we allowed our cranium

  7. Alex says:

    I still can’t believe you pitched relevance to TLN on the merits . . . :)

  8. emma Boyd says:

    Great post… I’m gaining first hand experience of this kind of territorial behaviour at the minute, as there are two new churches being planted in my local area, and it s causing quite a bit of controversy… but i really dont see the problem if they are reaching the lost for the kingdom!

  9. Paul says:

    TOTALLY agree! Our church preaches from the pulpit that “there are a lot of good churches” in our area. Unfortunately, some (many) members of the congregation are completely engaged in competition with other churches! (“They’re having THAT person as a guest speaker? Well, WE’RE have this OTHER person as a guest at OUR church, and HE’s on our board of diRECtors!” or “Sensational-Singer-Known-Far-And-Wide will be singing at our service this weekend.”)
    Can you please fix this problem in all churches, Scott? Thanks in Advance!

  10. Scott: YOu missed your favourite. Here in Denver there are 14-16 Starbucks and a few other assorted Coffee Shops in the Central Business District(CBD). (In some cases, across the street or within a block of one another.) You can’t swing a dead cat in the CBD without hitting a coffee shop. They all seem to be busy and doing well and I’ve yet to see a going out of business sign in a Starbucks, or local coffee shop here in Denver. Likewise, there are church groupings here, with 3-5 churches within blocks of each other. I’ve not seen much in the way of “new” churches springing up like dandelions, although they may be in a stealth mode or certainly not looking like a “Church.” Maybe we need some additional church planting out here in the Wild, Wild West.

  11. Scott,
    Great stuff bro!
    Why is it we our boxers getted bunched up when other churches move into our hood?
    We need to define our competition and it isn’t other churches. It is any alternate use of time!
    Keep competing.

  12. David Turner says:

    I think some churches are afraid that the mediocre way they do things will be exposed.
    The status quo is more like status “no”

  13. man, we’ve got that same deal working here in baton rouge. two churches averaging 10,000 and 5,000 are one exit apart on I-10. when the 10,000-member church bought their land right near us, i asked dino rizzo what he thought about it (obviously not in the same vein as your questioners were – i want to think i was smarter than that… i hope…). anyway, pastor dino just pointed out that when other churches do well, all it does is raise the spiritual temperature in the community – and that’s a win “for the Kingdom.”
    we certainly have seen that over the past months as our two churches have continued to grow and rather than plundering each other, we’re actually seeing-get this- (note the sarcasm) unchurched people coming in. imagine that.
    nice post. got me fired up at 1:45a.m. i appreciate that.

  14. Pete Thomas says:

    It’s odd that you chose a to feature an article from a pastor in Aurora, IL. I have a lot of family there, cousins, aunts, uncles…
    My parents both attended Aurora University, too.
    It’s also the home for Wayne’s World.
    Maybe that has impacted the lack of churchgoers in the community?

  15. heather says:

    I so loved this post and what you said, very good! Especially: “…than it shouldn’t matter where or how they begin that journey!” I love this b/c it makes people realize the CHURCH building isn’t the ONLY place that will reach people in the community(although one way)… there’s also unchurched people in our work places we can reach, and people we meet ea. day. What opportunities there.. so to make a big deal out of a church building (meeting place) is saying there’s only one way to win people’s hearts to God, when there’s way more.

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