Friday, November 6

Quirky Churches

As a quirky guy who pastors a small quirky church that focuses on quirky people -- immigrants, homeless men, and at-risk children -- I want to say that Karl Vaters mostly nails it when he writes, "Thank God for Quirky Churches." As he sums things up:
So don’t aim for quirky, aim for genuine. Quirkiness should never be our goal. But we need to celebrate it when it happens as the byproduct and the evidence of being genuine....

So, to all the quirky churches and their leaders – both new and established – I say this.

Experiment, fail, have fun and stay quirky as long as possible. But above all, stay true to how God made you – and how he called you to minister.

Institutionalism will come. Like an unstoppable virus, it will come. Don’t rush into it. It will rush to you, soon enough. Yes, it’s more comfortable to be less quirky. And comfort makes for an easier life. It might even build a bigger church. But comfort never makes a great church.

One of the reasons I’m such a fan of small churches is that small churches can stick with being unique, genuine and quirky more easily than big ones.

We can experiment. We can make mistakes. We can learn and grow. So, while you’re small, use your size to your quirky advantage.
The thing I'd perhaps say differently from what Karl has said is that, in order to be genuine, you are by definition going to be quirky. So, maybe it is alright to strive for a little quirkiness -- that's how we keep things real.

A few weeks ago I was describing our church to a respected psychologist friend from our days at Fuller Seminary. After I got done with my elevator speech I said, "I don't know if what we are doing is 'genius' or 'reckless and irresponsible.' Some days I feel like it is one, and other days it is the other."

His untherapeutic response -- without missing a beat -- "probably some of both."

That's my definition of quirky -- genuinely living in the tension between genius and reckless irresponsibility.

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