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Is it Compelling?

Soybean_wonder These signs just keep grabbing my attention as I bike through the countryside near my home. 

Soybeans…watch it grow.  Seriously?

Not only is the grammar off (isn’t soybeans plural?), but I couldn’t actually imagine how boring my life would have to be to think that sitting by the side of the road watching soybeans grow would be compelling. 

Sadly, I wonder if that’s sometimes what the people who don’t attend our churches think of our church as they drive by.  How boring would my life have to be to actually go to church?  Is there anything compelling that would grab them or draw them in? 

I mean what do we put on our signs? Everyone welcome.  That’s gripping.

Or for a lot of contemporary church leaders, we like the convey the fact that we’re cool.  But can’t you get cool just about anywhere these days?  I mean it’s good we’re not complete nerds, but is that honestly what people are looking for?

This sign made me think about what would cause people to drop everything to get in on what’s going on in our communities.

All I could think of was this:  love.  Love fully expressed in Jesus.  Grace, forgiveness, healing, authentic relationship.  People are dying for love.  You can’t put love on a sign, but you can live it.  Express it.

What if people who came in any form of contact with Christians completely felt loved?  What would happen?  What if we went way beyond the walls of our facilities and loved radically?

It would certainly be more compelling that watching soybeans grow.  Or knowing people are welcome. Or that we’re cool.

Love.  What do you think would cause people to come running to get in on what God is doing?


  1. Allen Forget on July 8, 2008 at 9:09 am

    You guys made me laugh this morning as I read this.
    Funny thing is that I now think I am a dork. I never thought I was. Let me explain. I travel aroung central Ontario for work and I suddenly decided one day to drive around the towns ai visit and take pictures of the church signs to see what ti was they were trying to convey through them. I know, dorky right?
    It just occured to me that it would seem that the surface goal is to get people into our churches but what would the message be on our signs if we were trying to get people into God? What would we say about that on our sign? That is what I want to say. That is the message I want to convey through what I do in the church. I want to bring people to God. I am not intersted in getting people into church.
    Dork out!

  2. Tim L. Walker on July 2, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    I've upgraded the pocket protector with better ink management… I'll give it back at our tech meeting. 😉

  3. Carey Nieuwhof on July 2, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Rich Birch is wearing a really cool hat this morning. Clearly he is not a dork anymore.

    And we were sitting about 50 feet apart when we posted the comments.

    Tim – I also want my pocket protector back that you stole.

  4. Tim L. Walker on July 2, 2008 at 12:34 am

    You guys are dorks… chatting with each other in the comments section of your blog… probably sitting 20 feet apart in the office… 😉

  5. Tim L. Walker on July 2, 2008 at 12:33 am

    You guys are dorks… chatting with each other in the comments section of your blog… probably sitting 20 feet apart in the office… 😉

  6. Carey Nieuwhof on June 30, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Totally not! I just happened to agree with you. 🙂

  7. Rich Birch on June 30, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    i didn't call you a dork . . . did i?



    (leadership lesson #324: don't call your lead pastor a dork!)

  8. Carey Nieuwhof on June 30, 2008 at 11:25 am

    You are right Rich. I am such a dork. We are such dorks.

    If somehow we could connect people to the greatness and majesty of God and not to us, it would be amazing. So many of us pastoring little and big churches think it's about us. But it is so NOT about us. I just wish that would sink deeply into my brain.

  9. Jeff Loach on June 30, 2008 at 10:55 am

    While not exactly the hippest message for a church sign, one that I've often cited, found on an old, traditional church building on a small town streetcorner, was "VISITORS EXPECTED." While "visitors" isn't the best term, "expected" does connote an outward focus.

    Hopefully, love was the motive!

  10. rich birch on June 30, 2008 at 12:05 am

    we're not complete nerds? i kinda feel like we are.

    i think the general perception is that church as totally dorky and irrelevant. the fact that we're a cool church is like saying we have really great pocket protectors. if we're a "big" church . . . it's like saying the fact that a lot people go to sci-fi conventions makes them cool. it's all really dorky. totally agree that "hip" is overrated.

    right on carey about love and relationships. that's what sustains.

    great post.

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