I can admit that Substance is a strange church. When close to 70% of your attendees are under 35 years old, it results in a lot of trendiness. Every once in a while, someone will ask me the question: “At what point is your church overly hipster?” (as if we are intentionally advocating for this). Yes, it does look as though our church just raided H & M; however, Jesus did not say, “Go into all the world, and make Buddy Holly glasses for all nations.” So, here are a few indicators that your church has become “Overly hipster.”
(1). When the homeless visitors in your church look better groomed than your staff.
(2). When your worship ministry starts releasing vinyl LP albums.
(3). When words like “Worsh” & Koinonea become a hashtag associated with your church.
(4). When the “deep V-neck” enables people to see your belly button ring.
(5). When those under 30 start reverting to real paper Bibles again…handwritten on recycled parchment.
(6). When half of the church starts to dress as though they’re being sent as missionaries to lumberjacks…which, ultimately helps them create more parchment paper for their Bibles.
(7). When 1/2 of your church members run their own nonprofits, to which they rarely even give their own money.
(8). When they all want a home church (a.k.a. “Dating Opportunities” #Koinonia) …until they have kids who suddenly have opinions.
(9). When there’s more than a dozen small groups dedicated to building custom birdhouses to feed orphans who lost their parents to Avian flu.
(10). When your volunteers are upset that you give them donuts and coffee…instead they want kombucha and quinoa.
(11.) When church is less about worship and more about comparing fair trade coffee that was made in your chemex….and brought to church in a reusable mug.
(12.) When you can only afford to do communion once a year because of the lofty cost of gluten-free crackers and organic grape juice.
So here’s the deal: JUST BE YOU. A great church has nothing to do with what we wear or how we dress. Obviously, as a congregation, we are trying to make it as comfortable as possible for young unchurched people to walk in our doors. Like I shared in in chapter 9 of my book Pharisectomy, churches would be wise to start targeting Millennial’s – a demographic that has been dramatically overlooked and under engaged. But this is not an argument to force grandpa to get his belly button pierced… unless of course, he really wants to. (He’s earned the right, Ok? Leave him alone!) In the end, there’s nothing more attractive than a church filled with authenticity. So whether your church is filled with authentic lumberjacks or “lumber-sexual’s”1 – just to make sure you’re filled with the unmistakable life of the Holy Spirit: “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 13:14), which includes humility (1 Peter 5:5); purity (Rev. 3:4); truth (Eph.6:14), peace (6:15); faith (6:16); & patience towards sin (Jude 1:23).
1 LUM’bur-SEX’-shew-ul – n. an urban person who dresses like a high-fashion lumberjack. It actually has nothing to do with sexuality : ) … I hope.