Catherine A. Caimano’s latest post suggests the church should be more like a gym. As a clergyperson who serves as a denominational executive for the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, she regularly participates in the worship life of a number of congregations. Based on the dissonance between her observations of how Sunday morning worship focused most local congregations are and her understanding of what a local community of faith should be, she suggests a shift is needed.
Like a Gym
The church needs to be/become more like a gym. Caimano proposes that we move from seeing church “as a meeting place” to viewing it as a “spiritual training center.” Such a resource would bring together “a drop-in feel with an established routine and considers anew how and why we gather together.”
Several years ago, I shared some of the reasons the church should be more like Starbucks. Leonard Sweet thinks the lesson churches should learn is one about becoming more EPIC (Experiential, Participatory, Image Rich, and Connective) while Adam J. Copeland thinks the biggest lesson is about how to be more welcoming (a word every church uses but few know how to do well).
Like the Apple Store
Statements such as “all are welcome” or “we are a welcoming church” are common in churches all across the theological continuum and yet such statements often do not mirror current practices. For that reason, I picked up on Michael Buckingham’s suggestion that the church should be more like the Apple Store. Not only should all types of people really be welcomed, but this openness should be an important part of the organizational/congregational DNA.
The church can and, I believe, should learn from and adopt best practices from beyond itself. The church has lessons to learn from gyms, Starbucks, Apple, and many other successful entities that I have not explored.
- Which of these three (gym, Starbucks, Apple) would you like your church to become more like? Why?
- If you could choose any type of business or brand that you think is the #1 entity from which churches should be learning, what would you select? Why?