Finding Your Identity

As a new church start you can go one of two ways. Both of which land you in the same spot in my opinion. One way is to think you will be this amazing, original church. This guy spends months underground creating church documents, and “org” charts, and writing discipleship curriculum… Then once they totally assimilate the leadership team they start. The other is to borrow as much from others and stand on their shoulders until you can stand on your own. You just do it and work on the fly. The church is more of an experiment then an institution.

Here’s my observation. The first way ultimately will lead to you borrowing stuff anyway. You just can't be totally original in a church plant. Your resources are too limited. Your time is limited. Your people are limited. AND, to see real growth you have to learn what other people are doing right and apply that to your church. Can you see which way I favor? So the question eventually is how do you find your own identity? What makes your church unique from the one down the street?

Every prevailing church has something they are known for. Something they excel at. For Willow it is the use of the arts. For Saddleback it is the teaching. For Northpoint it’s relevant environments. For Fellowship it’s creativity. For Life Church it’s the campuses. For my church it’s… Have you ever thought of that? Here are a few of the things I am processing as our 1-year old church begins this process:

1) What am I good at?
I honestly believe the church is an expression of the lead pastor. It will take on his DNA over time. Most people tend to discredit this, I say use it! Use your own strengths to build those same strengths into the church. If you are a great preacher then be known for that. If you are really strategic then be known for strategy. If you are creative then be creative!

2) What are you already doing well?
What is the area of your church that is almost on autopilot already? Is it the music? Is it the service? Is it the assimilation? What are you doing well now? Go to work on that? I know that sounds strange. We think we should work on our weaknesses. I don’t find that in the Bible. God used people’s strengths. God worked in the weaknesses, but he used people’s personalities. He didn’t send them to Dale Carnegie!

3) Ask some people what word they think of…
Take a group of 10 or 15 people and ask them this question: “What is the first word that pops into your mind when I say (Fill in the name of your church)?” I would be willing to bet you will find already a common theme. AND, I bet it fits your personality!

4) Brand yourself!
Once you think you have an idea of what you do well. Make a brand out of it! Promote yourself as that! Market those things in print and audibly. It’s funny. Every night on the “Tonight Show” Jay tells us he has a great show lined up for us. That might be the furthest thing from the truth, but you believe it because he says it over and over again. Tell people what makes your church so special.

I hope those thoughts as always spark some of your thoughts. When those thoughts are sparked as always please send them back to me so that we can continue to learn from each other. That is what The Church Insider is all about!

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