If I have heard it once, I have heard it a hundred times. “My church is the best kept secret in town.” I have even said it a few times myself.
I wonder how that got to be a statement of pride. If our ministry mandate is, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you,” (Matthew 28:19a ESV), then how is being a secret a badge of honor.
So if you have something special, how do you go from secret to celebrated?
- You have to start telling your own story. (Start with your own church) – If you won’t tell your stories, then who will? I don’t know how many conversations I have had, with members of my very own congregation, and they said “I didn’t know we did _____” or “I didn’t know we helped _____”. If our own community doesn’t know the stories, then they can’t tell them. Make it a regular practice to tell stories of faith, ministry and service. Provide avenues for faith sharing and story telling. Add a moment of sharing during worship, but make sure it is a story not an advertisement for a ministry. Stories are personal, transformation, and inspirational.
- Get outside – Take an assessment of how your congregation or community is perceived by the people around you. What are you known (or not known) for? Are you just a building with an ugly fence? or are you the church with the neighborhood playground? Make it a regular habit of walking, talking and being with your neighbors.
- Participate – Don’t keep to yourself. I am not telling you to join ever civic organization in town, but take part in something. Have a presence at the Chamber meeting, or attend a City-wide function, or have a booth at a fair, parade or park. You can’t be known if you are not seen and the best way to be seen is to be a participant yourself.
Let’s make “My church is the best kept secret in town.” a thing of the past. It starts with our stories.