And do we really care?
Very near Illumine's new location is an infant McDonald's. It's doors opened barely a month ago.
It was fun to watch them build it, because they do some clever things with signage. They had a countdown and they had early hiring. They advertised that there would be giveaways and they made sure to get those aches up ASAP, just in case those who couldn't read were wondering what they were building there.
On opening day, they had tents, balloons, free McBites from 5 to 11pm, and cars streaming into the drive-thru. The place was busy all day.
I wonder how the McDonald's 1.5 miles east of there felt. Or the one 3.4 miles south. Or the one 4 miles south. I wonder if they wondered, like I wondered, why people were getting excited about a new McDonald's.
Believe it or not, this infant Mac's didn't come about as a result of a massive grassroots campaign, binding the community together as they fought the man for the right to walking-distance McNuggets. And they aren't doing anything novel or wild at this new location, either. The dollar menu still costs a dollar, the fries are still irresistible, and if you let your McFlurry melt you'll still realize it's not made of ice cream.
But people are coming. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there's a line of cars - and sometime's mine is one of them.
People get excited about a new McDonald's for the same reason they get excited about an old one. They see those golden arches, they salivate, they go/drive in, and they get rewarded. It's a habit. It's not the newness, it's the sameness that brought all those people on the first day. They were excited to be able to experience the same thing in a different place.
It's not a perfect metaphor, but there are many ways you can relate this to Illumine today.
As we remodel and plan out the ways we're going to use this location, this center for ministry, we have to think about the habits people have when it comes to spirituality and religion. They have expectations when they hear about a church. They have ideas about what that looks like. We're hoping that lots of them come when we have our grand opening (sometime late fall) to see what they experience in this different place.
So what do we offer? Does our menu look the same as that of the places around us? Do we try to buck the system and do everything differently? And as we plan, how do we instill good habits in the people who come? How do we develop that trigger ---> response ---> reward process using the Word that will keep them coming?
How do we make sure that skeptics like me don't just write it off as another new church, wondering why anyone would be excited?
For today, I'd love your thoughts on this. Leave them in the comments below. Next week, I'll share mine.