Apr 3, 2007
Tuesday in Holy Week: How Not to Follow Jesus.
I had lunch with a friend today. In our far-ranging discussions about urban and sub-urban planning issues, she discussed her attempts (along with her husband) to get a Homeowners' Association started for their suburban neighborhood.
They had a block party, organized interest, and created a temporary name: Briarcreek Homeowners' Association. Enthusiasm ran high.
For their next meeting/event, they sent out announcements, only now one of the organizers had changed the name to something that sounded friendlier to him: The Briarcreek Neighborhood Fellowship.
Almost nobody came.
The overwhelming response through follow-up phone calls was, "I saw the name 'Fellowship', and thought it was a church." In a mostly Anglo middle-class community, where perhaps 70% of the people do not attend a church, anything that even sounded like a church was the kiss of death.
Lesson: If you want to reach the un-churched/under-churched with the Good News of Jesus Christ, don't invite them to church. "Church" is itself the kiss of death.