A question that often gets asked when I tell people we are launching a church is, “Why start another church?” but more frequently than that, a different question, more like a statement is said, “What is your church about?” “Tell me about your church.”
One thing Seth Godin teaches is to tell people the story you want them to tell if they were telling someone about what you are doing, or “What is the thing you want other people to say when they talk about your project.”
So why start a church in a city that has at least 135 churches already? The truth is, I don’t think that Norfolk needs another church…I think it needs a different kind of church. There are close to 250,000 people who live in Norfolk and the average church attendance nationwide is 124 people per church. If that’s the case here then that means there are about 16,740 out of 250,000 people who are part of a church – that’s only 7%! Even if you double that number it’s still a small percentage of people who are part of a church. So Norfolk doesn’t need another church…it needs a different kind of church.
For most people, when they think of church they have this idea that it’s some place you go but I think God’s desire for the church was that church would be more than just a chair. God’s desire is that we raise up out of the chair and make a difference with our lives, so the church becomes the church when we rise up out of the chair and live out what we experienced in the chair.
I think the problem some people may have with the church is that they never lived out what they discovered in the chair so “church didn’t work for me,” or the people around them never lived out what they discovered in the chair, thus “the church is full of hypocrites.” We want to be a church that rises up out of the chair and shows the world who God is through how we live and how we love and how we serve other people.
This is what the rising is all about – being a community of faith where church is more than just a chair.