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Real Quirky

February 3, 2014

I try to invite a lot of people to our church. I don’t do this because I want a large church. I really don’t care if our church becomes large or not, but that is a different subject. I invite a lot of people to our church so they have one more opportunity to spend time around people who love Jesus and they have one more opportunity to have the truth of the Word of God spoken into their lives.

Not long ago when inviting someone to our church, they asked me what kind of church it is. This person clarified that they were asking about style rather than denomination. This person wanted to know how formal we dressed and what style of music we sang and what kind of rituals we preformed. I honestly did not know how to answer.

I tried to explain what things are like here. I talked about how we are a group of broken people who are trying to follow Jesus. I explained that we don’t have a set liturgy. I described our music as an eclectic mix of songs we sing to honor the one who created us then re-created us. I told stories of changed lives and struggles. I am sure I did not paint a very flattering picture, but it was honest.

Karl Vaters, blogger at newsmallchurch.com and author of The Grasshopper Myth, has given me a new descriptor for our church: quirky.

If your idea of quirky is to play games with foundational biblical theology – that’s not quirky, that’s heresy. Quirky churches don’t change the things that matter – they cling for dear life to them.

If your idea of quirky is trying to be cool and relevant – nope, not that either. The cool kids don’t do quirky. They do cool. Cool is overrated.

Quirky churches aren’t stuck in old, dry, irrelevant ruts, either. Genuinely following Jesus will always keep us from that.

So quirky churches don’t mess with the fundamentals. And they don’t worry about passing fads. They’re not chasing culturally relevance. But they are contextually realQuirky churches are the ones that dare to do the bible stuff in a way that works for them and the people God is calling them to reach. No matter how strange it looks to everyone else. 

This means we will not always look like the other churches in town. That is not necessarily a bad thing! It may also make your Be Realchurch a little difficult to describe. It’s alright; you will survive without a label. What it will make you is real!

My heart’s desire as a pastor is to be bold with the truth. I pray God gives me the freedom to change plans and programs that are not working, but not to change simply for the sake of change. Most of all, I want to be honest and real. I want the people God puts under my teaching to know the real me. I realize it will not always be pretty or pleasant. I want the members of my church to be equally genuine and real. The community around us can spot a fake or a salesman a mile away. If we are honest about our past and honest about our present, people will trust us – and Jesus – with their future.

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