Want a Sticky Church? This One Thing is Vital

Where there are Christians the Spirit of God is present in a special way. So why are there some churches that could be classified as a sticky church and some that could be classified as a bouncy church? Like the imagery? Talk to enough church leaders and you’ll hear one of two things: (1) we have visitors, sure, but they don’t usually come back, or (2) we have visitors, and a good number of them return and end up getting plugged into our church. Want a Sticky Church? This One Thing is Vital

Want to have the second explanation be the norm in your church? Want a sticky church? This one thing is absolutely vital to being a church where people return, get plugged in, and begin their relationship with God and grow or continue their relationship with God and grow. 

The One Vital Thing for Becoming a Sticky Church

As I said already, where there are Christians, the Spirit of God is present in a special way. This is across the board – at both sticky churches and bouncy churches. If that’s true, then what separates the two types of churches?

Culture.

When people pull up to your church, they begin to become acclimated with the culture of your church. They’ll determine whether or not you value friendliness and being welcoming in the first five minutes from the time they pull into the parking lot. 

They’ll determine whether or not you value safety as they approach the children’s ministry. They’ll determine whether or not you value excellence as they take everything in – from signage, to your program design, to the overall worship experience. 

They’ll be able to hear, see, and feel what you value. And what you value shapes your overall culture.

So the question is, what do people hear, see, and feel on a Sunday morning? Do they encounter things you purposely value and drive into the culture of your church or do they encounter unintended values that have shaped your culture?

If you’re not intentional about shaping the culture of your church, the culture of your church will take a shape that probably isn’t pretty.

We Know When This is Done Right From Experience

Odds are you love to go to places like Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Cracker Barrel, and the top-notch steakhouse in your city or town. What is it about these places that cause people to come back again and again? Well beyond the satisfying experience for your taste buds it’s the culture of these places. 

Starbucks has created an environment, a culture that attracts people to hang out, get some work done, hold meetings, and brainstorm great ideas. Chick-fil-A has created an environment, a culture that screams excellence, service, and professionalism. They raise the bar of expectations for their employees and the result is something the fast-food industry is still trying to catch up with. Cracker Barrel has created an environment, a culture that reminds you of the fun things in life. And the top-notch steakhouse in your city or town? They serve you like crazy. They treat you like a special guest not just a guest. 

We know when this is done right. So why do we allow the culture of our churches to unintentionally become something that is not so appealing?

A Sticky Church Creates a Sticky Culture: Here’s How

I recently listened to an episode of the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast where Barnabas Piper and Todd Adkins interviewed William Vanderbloemen (episode 42). I learned a ton about how William and his team have been intentional about driving culture in their organization. I highly recommend you give that a listen.

Here are some simple things you can do to begin to become a sticky church:

  1. Identify, write down, and summarize your core values as a church. (example 1 | example 2)
  2. Begin practicing the values in intentional, obvious ways.
  3. Teach your values to your leadership.
  4. Promote your values to your church.
  5. Repeat #2, #3, and #4 until you’re tired of doing so.
  6. Repeat #5.
  7. Repeat #5.
  8. You get the idea, right? Repeat #5.

Be a sticky church. 

Does your church have identified core values? What are you doing to drive them into the culture of your church? What has been your experience? I’d love to learn from you!

Written by Brandon Kelley

Brandon Kelley is the co-founder of Rookie Preacher and the author of Preaching Sticky Sermons and Crucified to Life. He serves as the Spiritual Development Pastor at a fast growing church in Batavia, Ohio, called The Crossing. Among the many things he does at The Crossing, serving on the teaching team is one of them. He also writes at BrandonKelley.org. You can follow him @BrandonKelley_. Watch his sermons here.