I’m thinking that the main gathering of a Church is the main way that you communicate who you are as a Church. I haven’t spent enough time thinking about this. Our communication of who we are is often just done through talk (in a sermon usually, which is often mostly forgotten), or happens by accident. For example, we have some pretty great musicians in our Church, so the music is usually pretty high quality. This communicates that we value music as a primary way of worshiping God, but this was basically “accidental”. Good musicians showed up, they played/sang, other musicians showed up…
Then we have something like children’s ministry. A ton of work, from a lot of volunteers goes into making it a good experience for the kids, but none of this is “seen.” You can’t see a lot of the results of the work, because we’ve put more time into planning activities than we have into visuals. But people need to see something week after week to know its important. Churches with sets, signs, fun colours, places to climb and play for kids. Those churches are communicating that they value kids. We value kids too, but there is very little visually to tell people that, and that’s going to have to change.
We also value giving and service. We give 10% of our offering away to one local and one global project. We have organized opportunities for people to visit the local mission we support and a few have gone. But at our main gathering, all we usually get is one or two lines in the bulletin that says that we give the money away. Visually, there is nothing reminding people of our commitment to giving and service.
A new person should be able to tell right away when they walk in what your church values by what they see – whether it’s posters, coffee maker, sets, stained glass. And those things that they see need to be intentional. So far at Trinity, we’ve thought more about function than “presentation”. Not in all things, but in some of our key areas. We need to start shifting to realize that what people see week in and week out is who they will think we are and how they will decide if they “fit”. In other words, we need to get our outside to match our inside. The way we look as a Church needs to match our heart (or we need to wear our heart on our sleeve as it were).