Not Your Momma’s Church

Every Sunday when we set up our Greece campus, we put banners all over the place. Ones like this:

Greece Church Rochester NY

We also have one banner that we have that hangs in the lobby 24/7! We had one advertising our "Killing Jesus: The True Story" series. So we replaced it this week with a general banner. But just having a banner saying "Northridge Church" isn't going to get much attention. So we went for an attention-getting banner. 

You aren't easily offended – right? Well, if not – check it out:

Churches Rochester NY

If you can't read it well – it says, "Not your momma's church (unless, of course, your Momma goes to church here)". Then it has details of who we are and when and where we meet.

Using a line like that plays a purpose. It will get attention. And it will cause others to judge us. Why would we make a banner like that? I can think of a few reasons:

  • It's just plain funny. Although that isn't a good enough reason.
  • Our target at Northridge is not those who go to other churches. We are targeting those who don't go to church. We are targeting those who grew up going to church and hated it. We think they will resonate with a banner like this.
  • It is a creative way to say, "We probably are not the kind of church you grew up going to." We say that as an encouragement to those who abandoned church. And maybe we say it as a warning to those who want or expect a traditional church. 
  • We think that a lot of people leave church NOT because of the Gospel and not because of Jesus, but because of how terribly churches communicate that beautiful and irresistible Gospel. 
  • So we hope that by "shock" or "interest" a banner like that may cause someone to say, "OK, I will check it out – one time."

And that is the reason we say "Every Sunday is the Super Bowl" at Northridge. Because for someone – it is their first time. And by the time they leave – they know whether they will ever come back again. 

 

4 comments
  1. I love it! It’s so great you can keep different banners up during the week that might catch someone’s attention – and I love the humor. It’s like your own version of those signs with changeable letters found in front of some traditional churches.

  2. A friend gave me a “Not your Mama’s church” card last year from Northridge, and that is honestly what made me finally go. I fully agree with all of the above. For me as a kid, church was dreaded, not looked forward to. I am amazed how modern and friendly and HAPPY a place Northridge is, I love it!

  3. Wow. Not even sure what to say. There was nothing wrong with my mamas church and thanks for the “warning” that its not a traditional church. Not really sure how to take that. As far as some churches “terribly” communicating the beautiful and irresistible gospel? Wow. Just wow. While there are plenty of churches who are dead or uninviting (both traditional AND contemporary) to imply (which is what I infer from from listed reasons) that the traditional church is the terrible comminicator is plain wrong. Do what you do. But keep the unfounded comments inward maybe? Would help you seem less arrogant.

  4. It wasnt our intention to come across as arrogant, Lee. Im sorry it came across to you that way. Rather, it was a successful attempt at getting people to try a church who have given up on church because of bad experiences growing up. 

    In no way are we attempting to say that all traditional churches make the beautiful Gospel ugly. In the same way that not all contemporary churches make the Gospel feel like a fad for cool people. Our attempt was to communicate to those who have been turned off by churches. I suppose it turns off some church people. Although that isnt our intent. We are thrilled if people have a church they know and love. We arent trying to reach people who already attend church. But thanks for bringing up the possible interpretation. We will have to consider that if we use that sign again. 

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