Churches spend an inordinate amount of energy to attract those who need Jesus to their ministry. This includes high-energy worship, attractive spaces, first-impression ministries, branding, swag, food, and seeking to differentiate one's ministry from others in the area.
Nothing is wrong with these efforts except that they often miss the most important magnet any church could have.
Ask yourself this question: What attracted people to Jesus? Think about that for a moment. Why did people want to be around Jesus? Why did they flock to hear Him? Or want to spend time with Him?
The answer is very simple: It was the way he loved people, accepted them, and demonstrated grace to them. He was the safest, most loving, grace-filled, merciful, and kind individual people had ever met.
How many congregations have you experienced that have those qualities? When one finds that kind of community, it is a powerful magnet because it is a community that embraces a Jesus culture. No program, branding, swag, or first impressions ministry can compete with that kind of community.
Jesus is the brand. His culture is the brand. His love is the brand. All the ancillary stuff is nice, but what attracts people is the culture of Jesus.
Is it possible that in the absence of that kind of love, we try to find other ways to attract people to our ministry?
What would happen if we focused on helping people to look, live and love like Jesus? What if that was our strategy to attract people to our ministry?
Not a program. Not a slogan. Not an initiative. Rather, a sustained, unchanging emphasis on developing people to look, live and love like Jesus: To love God with all our heart, soul, and mind and to love others as Jesus has loved us.
I would come - and stay - and many others would as well.
Let's not confuse our strategies for the ONE THING Jesus demonstrated and taught. They will know me by your love. That is the best attractional strategy any congregation could ever have. Bring the best you have. Be as friendly and welcoming as possible, but major in training people to look, live and love like Jesus. That is the greatest magnet. The rest is extra. Love is central. Jesus is the brand!