Generic Ketchup @ Pete’s Diner – part 3

The last two days, I've talked about generic ketchup. You can read part one HERE and part two HERE.

Let me give some applications to church life:

  • Here is the primarly application – excellence matters. We often say that excellence honors God and inspires people. I don't think that means you have to spend a lot of money to be excellent. It simply means that whatever we do – we need to do it well.
  • We must look at our church facilities through the eyes of new people. At Northridge, we know that many who walk in our door for the first time are either non-believers, new believers, or immature believers. So the look of our facility matters. If they are turned off while checking out Northridge – let it be by the Gospel, not because the facility creeps them out a bit.
  • We tell our new employees and new interns that they are very valuable to us in their first six months because they will see things that we don't notice anymore. They will ask, "Why do you do that?" And sadly, we never thought about how ineffective that was. And we try very hard to see everything through a new person's eyes, but once you are no longer new – it is really difficult to see it through new eyes.
  • We need to try to get feedback from new people. They will help us see things we don't notice. We likely won't change some or many of them, but being aware of what is hard to swallow for a visitor is very important. For example, we choose to stand and sing for ten to twenty minutes straight every week. That is not visitor friendly, but at this point – for the sake of corporate worship, we do it. But we need to be aware of that tension.

A few more applications tomorrow…

Pete diner

  1. Many of these things are “American Christianity” and in books on”how to grow church”. I understand doing things well and taking care of your property/ facility but I always think about the church in China that probably doesn’t think at all about that kind of stuff and yet we all know how the Gospel is being advanced in China. Keeping a Balanced is key. Keeping things looking nice and maintained but not getting too carried away with “excellence”. At the end of the day, people are looking for love, truth, to hear from God and His Word; they are looking for hope; for relationships, etc. I don’t think those kind of people care if things are “generic”.

  2. I think your description is
    what committed Christians are looking for (love, Truth, to hear from God
    and His Word). They are not our target. We agree there. We also agree
    that when persecution comes – things change. More people are actually
    looking for answers.

    But I just dont think most Christians
    can clearly see the difference between their culture and true
    Christianity, and I think we better make that more clear if we are going
    to do a better job at the Great Commission. And people walk away from
    our churches turned off by things other than the Gospel – and that is a

    Excellence isnt the goal, but I do believe it honors
    God and inspires people. I just want to live out Acts 15:19 and not make
    it hard for non-believers who may truly be seeking for Truth, and Ive
    found that the more we preach the Gospel while not ignoring these
    cultural issues, the more success God seems to give to us.

    guess is – you still want to use sports to attract people to the Gospel
    and if someone runs a sports ministry, you want them to do it with
    excellence – not hoops without nets, bent rims, or flat basketballs. If
    excellent equipment becomes the goal – we have a problem. If it part of
    the tools used to remove distractions from hearing the Gospel – you are
    all for it.

    I think we probably are on the same page – we are just looking at the extremes on opposite ends of the point.

  3. so what is it that we do to get new people’s viewpoint and how is that communicated to ‘regular attenders’ so we can do things better? i’m guessing you ask people during Next or Starting Point or maybe they put it on communication cards but how can we do better if we’re not new and don’t recognize things as easily?

  4. Here are some of the things we do: 1) We constantly ask for feedback. If you look at the connections card, it asks for them to describe their experience. This feedback is often helpful and predominantly encouraging – even from people new to any church (not just ours). 2) As a staff, we are always seeking feedback from people that are newer to Northridge – as they will notice things we no longer notice. I had someone challenge me yesterday about how I end prayers, and we had a great discussion and I have to keep thinking through what I do and why I do it and the implications of it for mature believers and new people. 3) We gain a lot from other church leaders (blogs, books, conferences). They help us think through these issues. 4) Finally, even committed, long-term people have things they dont like. As they bring them to our attention, it allows us to re-think those issues and discuss changes we may want to make. We have these types of discussions almost weekly around here.

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