Building a Church of Jesus Followers is a Terrible Idea

Erik Cooper —  October 21, 2010 — 2 Comments

For any of you out there contemplating the start of a new church, I have a bit of advice.  Listen to me now.  This is important.  Tuck it away somewhere where you can look back on it regularly.  This isn’t shared in any of the church planting books or boot camps, but I’m telling you, this little nugget will save you a massive migraine.

Building a church with people who really want to follow Jesus is a bad idea.

I know.  Sounds crazy.  But it’s true.

Jesus followers are bad church builders.  Well, at least the kind of “church” a lot of us immediately sketch in our minds when we hear the familiar word.

As a church leader, prefer those who are just looking for some friends.  Those longing for relational connections with a few God overtones.  Those who want to build their social hierarchy around a church culture.  They’re so much easier to deal with.

Look for people who are settled. In control.  Those who have painted a vivid, stable picture of their futures – their destinies, what they want for their lives – and then just want to sprinkle a little God into the sauce like oregano or thyme (seriously, isn’t thyme is such an under-appreciated seasoning?).

Passion is good.  Passion for you. For your sermons and preferred style of worship.  For your kids program or the layout of your building. This kind of passion stays put. On course.  And barring an unforeseen transfer or poorly calculated misstep on your part (i.e. changing the color of the carpet in the lobby), stays solidly attached to your congregation.

Stay far away from Jesus followers.

They’re the ones connected directly to Christ, not just your church organization. The ones that quit serving their own egos.  That derive life from Jesus as their internal source, and begin listening and responding to His leading.

They start dreaming.  Creating.  Taking action.  Following.  Jesus.

And that’s dangerous, because sometimes He will ask them to do things that don’t benefit you. That destabilize your organization.  That may throw off your church growth game plan.  For instance…

They might invest $18,000 to bring an Ethiopian orphan into their home instead of donating to the capital campaign fund.

They may spend an evening helping a single mom clean out her garage instead of attending the church prayer meeting.

Sometimes they’ll even do things like move to other cities or countries because Jesus tells them their presence is required there. Crazy!

Yep, Jesus followers are terrible church builders.  I suggest you stay away from them.  They’re just too unstable. Too radical.  Too Kingdom minded.  Too dead to their own agendas.  Too busy building The Church to always help you focus on building your church.  They’re far too enamored with following Jesus.

2 responses to Building a Church of Jesus Followers is a Terrible Idea

  1. OUCH! True but OUCH!
    After reading this post I got an image of a big tent…. no carpet, no walls, no fancy alters, cut sheets, or electronics..hmmm.. Revival? I think it’s in the air… I know I’m feeling it..

  2. Very solid truth. We all need to understand the concepts that you are getting to here.
    For me, the sarcastic, back door style that you used to convey this was very distracting and even confusing. I felt a bit ‘toyed’ with and didn’t know when to say ‘amen’ or ‘sorry’. I like straight talk with biblical authority that I have seen in other blogs from you. Getting too clever can backfire and cause unneeded argument. (It felt a bit like “House” wrote this.)

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