Over our 4 years here at SFC we have had people find us online, by our chalkboard sign, from meet-up groups we run, and through word of mouth. Folks seeking something have been stirred by the words on our sign or found on our website a glimpse of what they know to be true about God and life.
Now that we are part of the SE Portland Parish people are finding us because we have a church building that is home to many community groups. This week it was the family of a young man who died suddenly. Folks from the family participate in one of the groups and when they had no where else to turn for a funeral they called me.
The attractional model of church growth holds that if we have the right programs folks will come to our churches. I’ve been in churches that have movie nights or game days to try to get people in the doors. What I’ve found is that people aren’t looking for entertainment. Folks are looking for a place that offers meaning, hope, community, a life line, solace, grace, challenge, connection, and accountability.
For far too long in my ministry I have been in the bait and switch business. Advertise a fun program and stick in a little Jesus. What I have learned is that people don’t need that, in fact it smacks of dishonesty. So we lead with Jesus. I’ve had more people participate in the life of this faith community because of the words “You Are Enough” that we put on our sign than in any of the time I’ve attempted an attractional program.
We will continue to reach out, to create ways for people to find us in the noise of the world. When we show who we are and who God is they really do come.