What caused you to write The Irresistible Church? What was the need?
People in America have been polled as being spiritual but not religious. This tells me that they are interested in God but not necessarily the church. The church was always designed to be the resplendence of God, a preview of heaven. However, the church is not being perceived that way.
2. What do you mean by “irresistible?”
I enumerate twelve markings of an irresistible church, but these may not be what most would think of. I wanted to describe a church that isn’t necessarily irresistible to people, but a church that is irresistible to heaven! One that God uses to bring revival. It is a church that causes God to say, “I just can’t help but be involved with this church!” or “I just can’t help but bless this church!” That is an irresistible church.
3. How do you view the state of the church today?
We have so many great conferences and seminars today ranging from “best practices” to “sure-fire ways to increase attendance in four weeks or your money back.” But all that is doing is burning pastors out. (I know that for a fact!) There is a huge difference between a pastor saying, “I’m going to work for God,” and that same pastor saying, “God, come do Your work through me.” There is a similar distinction between a leader saying, “1’m gonna live for God!” and, “God, come and live your life through me!” The church has never worked harder than it does today, yet there are far more who are frustrated and disenchanted. Some begin to settle for less, and others will press on until they start to blow gaskets. There has to be a better way.
4.What do you think that “better way” is?
There’s no silver bullet that takes us from good to great, that propels us past the tipping point, or that allows us to thrive on chaos. But God is still faithful and if we will posture ourselves in such a way that delights Him, He will do great exploits through the most unsuspecting church. After thirty-eight years in ministry, the things I recall as having influenced me the most are not what most of us define as “successful ministries.” Instead they are quiet epiphanies through secure ministers, those who have postured their hearts in such a way that heaven was delighted to do eternal things through them.
5. One of the traits you describe is that “an irresistible church connects everything to a soul:’ Please explain.
This means that every function of the church is connected to the mission of somehow, somewhere, saving the lost and helping people grow in faith. We cannot settle for being a community of people who rally around any other cause.
6. In the second chapter, you talk about a church that remembers who she is. What do you mean by that?
We have so many great models in our country of churches that are doing well, but the down side of the social media and instant information is that we begin to compare ourselves with one another and try to compete or copy until we forget who we were designed to be. We become disenchanted with our size compared to someone else’s. And when we start to get desperate, it is always easier to imitate than it is to incarnate. You have to be comfortable in your own skin. It is then that heaven can do its magnificent work through regular people like you and me.
7. Why do you think this message is so important?
There are (500 ministers leaving the ministry every month, and due to the baby-boomer pastors retiring, we will need over 170,000 new senior leaders in the next decade and four times that many in church staff. But we can’t fulfill the Great Commission no matter how many conferences we take in. We have got to reach a point where we tap into the power of the Holy Spirit to do His work through us and where we stand back, simply amazed at His workings. But that will require a church that knows how to posture itself so the Holy Spirit can work mightily through it. That is an irresistible church!
8. Have you witnessed those kinds of churches in your travels?
Absolutely. They are megahurches as well as obscure churches tucked back down a country road. Thev come in all sizes and shapes, but they all carry the same DNA. That is what this book is about.
9. What is your advice to churches that may not make the top 100 list of fastest growing churches in the USA? Don’t compete with nor compare with these churches. But don’t spurn them, either! Instead, learn from them.
Pride is not only found among the rich and successful. I have found many afflicted by that malady among the small and struggling. Pride is no respecter of persons! Here’s my tip: Instead of disdaining or rebuffing them, find out what those churches are doing right, especially when it comes to honoring Christ! And here’s another tip:
Look for the characteristics that are less prescriptive and more principle oriented. Find out what made them irresistible to heaven, and that’s What you copy!
Follow their example of why heaven can’t help but bless them, and do the same. Then you will understand that the power is not of us, and that’s when God gets all the glory!