I can’t stand ugly spirituality. When I say that, I mean that I really can’t stand it. There are few things that really aggravate me to the core than ugly Christians. Ugly Christianity shows it ugly face in many ways. A few of those show up as being self-righteousness, legalistic, rigid, negativity, complaining, lack of gratitude, laziness, hypocrisy, and bitterness…just to name only a few. Nothing will kill a move of God or the culture of a church quicker than ugly spirituality. People can feel it right away, too. A hateful person in the parking lot can destroy someone’s receptiveness of the sermon in the auditorium. That’s why I always tell people that the sermon starts in the parking lot.
What we see as insignificant acts of service are actually tone setting moments that lead to life changing opportunities.
Why? Because authentic and life giving spirituality is attractive. I absolutely love being around genuine, sincere, Jesus lovers. People who have fallen in love with Jesus, His word, and people are the most energetic, loving, and fun people to be around. That’s the kind of culture we should fight for at Generation Church.
There are three things to remember about creating an attractive culture:
Love God, Love People, Love LIFE
Jesus gave us instructions as to what the greatest of the commandments were in Matthew:
“Jesus replied, “‘You must love the lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”—Matthew 22:37-40 (NLT)
We sum it up by saying ‘Love God, Love People’. But I also believe we need to learn to love life itself! We can never truly love God and love people if we never develop a passion for life. So many believers are rigid and negative. We need to learn how to have fun, laugh, and bring joy into people’s lives. Would you rather be around someone who is always complaining and negative or someone who is fun, energetic, loving, and funny? Your answer to that question may say a lot about your own current heart’s condition. Learn to love life; it will make your spirituality more attractive.
Change My Posture
As a personal trainer, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned (the hard way at times) is that injuries, aches, and setbacks in people’s fitness journey had more to do with our posture than anything else. Some people are afraid to do certain lifts or exercises because they say it hurts. But the truth I’ve discovered is that nine times out of ten, they are doing the movement incorrectly or their posture is really bad. I’ve had several back and shoulder injuries due to my poor posture. It’s something I have to think about and be intentional with every single day. The health and progress of my body depends on it.
It’s the same with our spirituality. Do you realize that your posture on a Sunday morning could literally either change someone’s entire experience for the positive or the negative? I’ve walked into the lobby on Sunday’s sometimes and thought to myself ‘my goodness, I hope our entire church doesn’t look those people right now’. I’ve seen people sitting alone, arms crossed, with a hateful look on their face. I’ve seen people who desperately need God to move in their situation sit during worship with no response. I’ve seen people who have asked for prayer for big things in their life and yet don’t take a single note or even open their Bibles during the sermon.
If being around the people of God, worshipping in the presence of God, doesn’t change or affect you, how will the non-believers ever think it will change them?
It’s not always what you say; it’s what you don’t say.
My challenge to every single person who calls their self a believer (and especially a leader) is to do several things every Sunday:
- Come ready and expecting great things
- Come ready to serve with a smile
- Fight for the front…passionate people want to be where the action is
- Take notes and engage in the sermon
- Actually engage in worship
- Seek out those you’ve never met before to greet them with a smile
I’m telling you, the atmosphere will be so electric, we will never have to announce anything ever again because people will be dying to take a next step just to get a fraction of what you have!
Sometimes, the greatest thing you can do for anybody is literally to walk away from negativity and back biting. If anyone comes to you with a problem about somebody else, simply walk away. Most people will try to give an ear to someone to help the situation but in return begin to carry the same bitterness towards another person just because they continued to listen to their gossip.
Speak words of life into people. My mama always told me that if you don’t have something nice to say about somebody, don’t say anything at all. I literally think that if some people practiced this, they would be mute.
If you want your spirituality to be attractive, find ways to encourage people every single day. I promise it will change your life as well as theirs.
At the end of the day, people may like our church for what we can offer, but they’ll stay because of who we are.
People are drawn to a beautiful culture.
And bad culture can destroy good vision. We can have the best processes, the best band, the best kids ministry, and great communicators. But if your spirituality is unattractive, it doesn’t matter. So remember, don’t just create good culture, BE good culture. Live your life with the intention to let your spirituality be something that people are drawn towards, not away from it. If we do that, it would literally flip our city upside down the with love and passion of Jesus.