I saw this church sign the other day (the name of the church has been blacked out to protect the innocent)...
I believe that in their attempt to be inclusive, this church has actually become very exclusive. I understand the intention, but really? ... A church where people who don't go to church love to attend? What about those that like church? What if someone has just moved into the area and is looking for a new home church? Apparently, this is not the church for these.
I love the church. It is the Body of Christ. Jesus goes so far as to call the church his Bride. What if I'd like to visit this church? The sign, unfortunately, tells me that because I love the church, and love to attend church, I would not love this church...possibly not even be welcome in this church.
Not to mention that the statement itself makes absolutely no sense. How can someone who does not attend church love to attend this church? If they "love to attend" this church, then they are not "people who don't go to church."
Now, let's address the banner above the sign: Loud band, high octane coffee and no dress code. That doesn't really sound like the Body of Christ to me. It sounds like a church that is targeting a very specific audience that excludes anybody who does not fit in that group. Let's break down the statements: 1) Loud band - any good musician knows that playing loud (and I assume they also mean fast) all the time does not make good music. A large aspect of "good" music is the dynamics of a song (and a song set). Soft and slow can be just as powerful as loud and fast, if not more so; 2) high octane coffee - what does that even mean? I don't know about you, but I really hate drinking gasoline with my doughnut; 3) no dress code - finally one that I can wrap my head around. This is a common phenomenon in churches to have the "come as you are" mentality. I understand and agree. However, God is never satisfied with leaving us where we are. I believe this "come as you are" mentality has led to sloppy, thoughtless appearance. We are, after all, entering into the presence of Almighty God when we gather for worship. It is more common to dress up for work (for our boss) than to dress up for church (for God). Maybe we should be more thoughtful as to how we dress when we go to church. (Side note: this church may say there's no dress code, but there has to be some kind of dress code. Would they really be okay with someone showing up in nothing but their underwear?)
The slogans and phrases on these signs may sound hip and clever, but they are excluding a vast number of people in this particular community - people that God loves and desires to hear about his gift of salvation. Church leaders must put on their critical thinking caps and consider what they are communicating. This church may be communicating exactly what they want to communicate. In that case, the church needs a refresher course on biblical worship and how God views the Body of Christ. I really don't think the "If you like church, go somewhere else," or "If you don't like church, than this is the place for you" mentality can be found supported by Scripture. My guess is that this church is bucking against some sort of fundamentalist mentality regarding church music and dress code. I believe, unfortunately, they have swung the pendulum to the extreme opposite side. We must find a middle balance. For that is where spirit and truth worship can be found.