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The Uncool Church

May 21, 2019

There are a lot of cool churches in the world. Congregations trying the latest ideas, ministries using cutting-edge graphics, and worship bands leading us in the newest songs.

I like cool churches.

It’s great to see them keeping up to date, trying innovative methods, and putting all they can into reaching a new generation in a language they can understand.

Then, there are the Walmart churches.

Karl Vaters* wrote that. He went on —

I call them Walmart churches because they’re filled with people you’d see at a typical Walmart. They’re not dressed in the latest fashions, singing the newest songs, or using the latest graphics and videos.

I like Walmart churches, too.

It’s great to see people who aren’t worried about acting cooler than the next church, and who have created a place where regular folk feel they belong.

Walmart churches sing songs everyone knows because they don’t change all that often. And the building is decorated (not designed, decorated) for Christmas, Easter, summer and Thanksgiving by a handful of women in the church who will reuse last year’s decorations again this year.

Cool churches get all the attention. Others look to them for how to rebrand their look, update their programs and modernize their facility.

Walmart churches get overlooked a lot. They’re often considered irrelevant, outdated and underperforming. No one turns to them for the latest trend-setting ideas.

Instead, they’re often told to update or close down.

Unlike Walmart stores, most Walmart churches aren’t very big. But there are a lot of them. And a lot of people go to them.

Unlike Walmart stores, most Walmart churches aren’t very big. But there are a lot of them. And a lot of people go to them for worship, fellowship, ministry and more.

Like Walmart stores, Walmart churches are friendly, helpful, familiar, and they don’t make anyone feel intimidated for not keeping up with the latest fashions.

I like Walmart churches precisely because they don’t care how they look to others. They know who they are and who they’re called to reach. And they’re reaching a lot of people who don’t want a church that’s cool, hip and stylish, but warm, simple and familiar.

I like innovation in church (“innovative” is the first word in the tagline for this blog, after all) but I know that keeping up with the latest societal trends isn’t necessary to do great ministry.

We need a lot of Walmart churches because the world is filled with Walmart people. Folks who live simply, work hard, change slowly, spend wisely, give generously and minister with wide-open hearts.

— And so? Whaddya say? As always, hit me up here or in any of the usual ways with your Comments.

Looking foward to hearing from you, and to seeing you back here tomorrow.

*And if you’d like more from Karl Vaters:

From → Uncategorized

  1. Christine Sarah Lippert permalink

    Walmart’s will always be around. Even when online shopping and delivery are taking over consumer’s business for convenience they acclimate to stay relevant and competitive. So although there is so much to love and like about our Walmart churches if they do not change, however small, to attract new people and new disciples, how are they staying “competitive” and growing? Who is replacing the empty seats as older congregants no longer come, are in a care facility or pass away? We do not have to change to society per say, but we do have to stay relevant in these times and younger generations. One of my biggest concerns with the younger generation is, whereas sports use to not touch Sundays, there are now sports EVERY Sunday (I had two friends in Chicago for their daughters volleyball tournaments over Easter! How is that family time during a holiday? It was very upsetting to me. We have lost many young families at Journey due to sports schedules. How do we accommodate that? I can be bitter and wonder where their priorities are or look into a Saturday evening service perhaps? Times are changing and we must change to grow with the times. Not big things like theology, but in other ways.


  2. Thank you, and this is the key, as you say so well here: “Even when online shopping and delivery are taking over consumer’s business for convenience [WalMart stores] acclimate to stay relevant.” KaBoom.


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