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What should the church look like? – Shawna R. B. Atteberry
Jan 242007

Chuck Warner of Confessions of a Small Town Pastor had this wonderful quote from The Great Giveaway.

I imagine our congregations becoming smaller, not bigger, yet teeming with the life of his body. And I hope there are more of them, so many of them in fact, that they become the alternative to the Starbucks of our day. I hope our churches become known for servanthood in the neighborhoods and warm hospitality that invites strangers into our homes. I pray that the home of every evangelical person becomes an incubator of evangelism, inviting strangers to the gospel out of their lostness and into the love and grace of life in our Lord Jesus Christ. I imagine real fellowship in our congregations, the kind that shares joys and suffering and potluck meals. I pray our leaders take on the form of humble servants who sit, listen, and suffer with real people through many years of leading them through this life in Jesus Christ. I hope we leave behind the CEO models of leadership. I look for our worship services to become liturgical places that form our people into faithful participants in the life of God.

The line about small churches becoming an alternative to Starbucks reminded me of a really good article that Leadership Journal has too: Coffeehouse Connections. In this article a pastor decides to be a barista one night a week at the coffeehouse where his wife works. This article is what the coffeehouse is teaching him about pastoring and doing church. Here’s one of his observations:

One night while working a couple months ago, I introduced one of our regulars to a friend from church. For the next two hours these new friends, one a twenty-something artist and the other a single mom of two college-age kids, sat at a table listening to each other’s stories.

Where else do soccer moms mingle with Goth kids dressed for the Friday night show? Or young, upwardly mobile commuters interact with a homeless man? Or a local pastor (me) interact regularly with anyone outside the church?

And I think: isn’t this what the church is supposed to look like?

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  5 Responses to “What should the church look like?”

  1. I used to have this idea of starting a Christian coffehouse/bookstore…maybe some day!

  2. “I hope we leave behind the CEO models of leadership. I look for our worship services to become liturgical places that form our people into faithful participants in the life of God.”


    I used to run a Christian book/ coffee shop it was wonderful.

  3. LOL–I wonder if that is every pastor’s retirement dream? If I ever owned a business, it would be a coffee/book shop.

  4. Hi, Shawna and thanks for posting the quote from The Great Giveaway. The book has a lot more good stuff like that in it, and I would highly recommend it. Also, it’s Confessions of a Small-Church Pastor, not small town, although I do happen to be in one. Header pic thru you off, I guess. And it’s Warnock, not Warner, but I’ve been called worse. Now to my comment: Read The Great Good Place by Ray Oldenburg. Not church reading, but Ray coined the phrase “third place.” He describes what a true “third place” is and actually has some info about how churches thrive when the community social network thrives. Also, is Leonard Sweet’s new book, The Gospel According To Starbucks out yet? Anybody?
    — Chuck

  5. Chuck, I’m sorry. That’s what happens when I’m in a hurry, and I don’t double check. Thanks for letting me know.

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