Thoughts on “Belong Before Believe”

People belong to a group based on its actions, more than its words. They choose to belong to a group when that group does things that they want to get on board with.

Every group that people belong to outside of church does stuff. Clubs, sports leagues, civic organizations… people join them to do, not to be.

If your church is putting “belong before believe” language in their marketing, you’re missing out on the wonderful opportunity that clubs and organizations are capitalizing on. Because in doing that, you’ve just created “us” and “them.”

In clubs and other organizations, there’s only “us.” And the pitch to join in is always built around the action. If you join in, you belong.

If you want to make people feel more interested in participating in the life of your church – regardless of how much of your theology they believe – just start doing things that make people want to join in, and tell everyone that they’re welcome to join in with you.

If what you’re doing is attractive, then people will join you.

Tourists or Pilgrims 

Pilgrims are seeking a purpose. Tourists are seeking an experience. A tourist might love the experience, rave over it, document it, relive it. But they aren’t committed to it.

Tourists share experiences but they don’t construct them. They’re in it temporarily, not for the long haul. Tourists are consumers at heart.

Pilgrims are on a mission. They have a goal, a purpose of becoming a different person. Pilgrims make things happen. They’re in it for the long haul.

Winning brands treat their audiences like pilgrims, not tourists.

Missional vs. Attractional – a Thought Experiment

Here’s a thought experiment: imagine you have a friend who’s far from God, and they’re about to head out on a mission to Mars. You’ve got one hour with them before they take off, and that hour is on Sunday morning.

If you’d rather have them hear the gospel by watching a great sermon by your preaching pastor, you’re an attractional church. If you’d rather have a person from your congregation share that message – or you’d rather do it yourself – you’re a missional church.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’re one kind of church, when really you’re another. A missional church is characterized by it’s congregation, not it’s leadership.