One my favorite business books is Seth Godin’s “Purple Cow”. If you’ve never read the book, check out Mark Batterson’s recent blog post about it….it’s really good. Over the past four years I have really wrestled with the color of Compass Point’s cow. What makes us different? What make us unique in the community? What makes people want to come to Compass Point on Sundays instead of the dozens upon dozens of other churches in the Lakeland area? What makes people far from God even want to come to Compass Point in the first place?
I personally think it’s takes time…several years…to really discover the color of your church’s cow. In all honesty the pastor and the leadership doesn’t define it…it’s the people that attend your church that define the color of your cow. In Lakeland there are a BUNCH of brown cow churches (traditional) and even more black cow churches (hyper-charismatic, prosperity movement). There are also quite a few white cow churches that look a lot like the NorthPoint or Willow Creek model. I’m not so sure Compass Point is all that much of a purple cow in the community…but the people far from God that show up each Sunday think we are. In the end…that’s all that matters.
What they see as our purple cow appeal is not the size of our church (we’re small), how awesome our staging is (we suck at that stuff) or the cool postcards we’ve mailed out (we’ve never done that). No…the purple cow appeal they see in Compass Point…what we do well…is that we reach people in the margins…people in Lakeland REALLY far from God. We are really good at it…because we work hard at it. It’s not easy…people with drug problems, broken marriages, sex problems, alcohol addiction, living in homeless camps, just paroled from prison…or just the garden variety freak…are really messy. But that’s our calling…that’s our vision…that’s what God created Compass Point for. We don’t run from it…we don’t try to fight it…we don’t chase after other church’s vision…we just embrace it…and therefore our community embraces us. More importantly people really far from God embrace us…and come to know Jesus.
The point of this post? For God’s sake…literally…stop planting churches that look like every other church in your freakin’ town!!! Be different…reach a different demographic…find your purple cow appeal. What makes your church different from every other church in town. If the words “real”, “relational” or “relevant” are the best you can come up with…please do the world a favor…quit and go flip pizzas…you will probably suck at leading a church. Every church in the 21st Cetury should be real, relational and relevant! What makes your church different over and above those things? What is your church’s purple cow? If you don’t have one…spend some times on your knees getting broken before God!!! After that go hang out in a bar in your community and ask the drunk people what color your cow should be. Once that is all done…go be the purple cow church that reaches the people far from God that no other church in town wants to reach!!!