Why are people at your church? What causes them to think that your church is, well, their church?
The reasons people make a home at a local church are critical to keeping them there. When we decide that a church is “home” what makes it home becomes the main reason is continues to be home. Make sense? Okay, let me explain.
One of the main reasons people are at your church is the PLACE. There’s something about your church that has been important in the individual’s life. Perhaps your church is where he discovered salvation by faith or where he and his wife were married. Maybe, your church is their church because their kids were baptized there or he helped put a roof on the building. There are a lot of possible PLACE reasons for someone to be attached to your church.
I one had a lady tell me that if she squinted her eyes just right, she could almost see angels glowing through a little stained glass archway on our platform. Yes, I thought that was odd, but ours was her church ‘cause no one else had those angels (okay, that’s more than odd).
PLACE is a good reason to be at a church, because it helps build ownership. PLACE people want to be sure we take care of the place. They show up for work days and they care when the carpet needs cleaning. They value their PLACE highly and teach their kids to respect it as well.
But PLACE people struggle when you decide to make changes to the place. So, you change the carpet, replace platform furniture with a few monitors and amplifiers, order new carpet, or move things around. PLACE people become “disoriented” when church doesn’t feel like their church anymore. My angel-watcher became quite upset when a new contemporary look required that we remove her angelic archway.
We often hear about congregational battles over carpet colors or some other issue that strikes us as foolish. But PLACE people like the place to look like it did when those important moments happened in their lives. So they fight to keep things looking the same, even if the look is terribly outdated. If you tear down a wall, you’ll quickly find out who built that wall.
People who are connected to the PLACE of your church won’t want to relocate, even when the neighborhood and current building have deteriorated. Their attachment to the older property or facilities will often become unreasonable. So if you’re going to bring change to your church facility, you’ll need to help your PLACE people begin to build their attachment to something else—something we’ll describe a few blogs later.
Before we get to the “how” of overcoming the PLACE attachment, there are four other reasons people are at your church. Over the next few weeks, we’ll take a look at each one and then discuss how we achieve change in the midst of such difficult ideas. In most cases, we can say that these five reasons envelop everyone who currently attends your church. These are the reasons why your place is “home” and you need to understand how they contribute to making change difficult.