Have you ever thought about the fact that when we hear a descriptive word, that word often translates into a mental picture, stereotype or assumption. Have you ever thought about what adjectives describe your church?
When we describe experiences we typically use adjectives to paint a picture to clarify what we are trying to communicate.
And through this, we influence how the person on the receiving end responds to the information.
For instance, if we describe a vacation as relaxing, we send the message that it was restful. Or if we describe our job as stressful, we communicate that it is taking its toll on us.
Like it or not, churches are labeled many different things and the label that your church carries is largely dependent on the leadership and the culture it creates.
When I was looking for a home church a few years ago, I went on a quest to find a community of believers who represented my faith and behaviors that lined up with that belief system.
Through this process I learned more about what I personally am looking for in a church and have come up with ten adjectives that describe a church that is doing things in a way that makes me want to attend.
A dynamic church is one that is full of energy and there is a lot of activity. You read their bulletin and can see all of the things they are involved in.
They have a lot going on both within the church (to meet the needs of the members) and outside of the church (to meet the needs of the community).
This kind of church encourages members to get involved and to be a part of helping to fulfill its mission.
A church that is inviting is enticing and draws participation. It maintains an environment that others want to be part of and has a culture of inclusion.
The facility is clean, orderly and purposeful in its layout and design.
Its communications are clear, well prepared and easy to understand.
For instance, a promotional video about the upcoming youth retreat, makes parents and youth alike interested in participating.
An intentional church does things on purpose, makes a plan and implements that plan.
Everything is done for a reason and supports the strategy and mission of the church.
For example, when a church develops a plan to train volunteers, that is an intentional way of developing volunteers to not only do the work but to demonstrate desired behaviors.
People join churches for the community and churches that are interactive encourage relationships and fellowship with other members.
This can be done by providing opportunities for members to participate in activities together for fellowship within the church or through an outreach to the community.
A church that is welcoming greets visitors in a kind and courteous manner. They make guests feel welcomed and do their best to make visitors feel part of the community.
For example a well designed Greeter program can help visitors know where to go and how to navigate the church facility.
Churches that are relevant are in tune with the issues and events of the world and provide an environment and teaching that is pertinent to our day-to-day lives.
It influences members to develop Christian principles that help them respond to the issues of life.
For example, churches that offer programs to support the very real issues of divorce or child rearing are relevant to our everyday lives.
Churches should have great systems for educating members, not only on what they believe, but why they believe it and how to apply those beliefs to everyday life.
Biblical principles are so applicable to every facet of our lives that it is vital to have this kind of thorough and structured teaching for church members.
I am of the belief that life should be fun and the church should know how to laugh and play.
Creating a fun environment for members makes them want to engage more and participate in the mission of the church.
A church that is proactive is prepared for the unexpected and anticipates unforeseen events.
They do a good job of emergency planning and this preparation helps them respond to difficult situations instead of a sudden crisis overtaking them.
Churches are stewards of the resources that God has given them – which is people, time and money. A responsible church is a good steward of those resources and is accountable for the proper management of God’s blessings.
All churches are labeled with adjectives and as leaders we can influence those labels through example, teaching and development of a culture that reflects God and His holy word!
What adjectives do you use to describe your church?