Warning: Some Pastors may be insulted by this even though it’s true…
I have watched people’s habits of choosing a church for many years now and here’s what I have discovered: People choose a church the same way we choose a supermarket to frequent. It’s got to be good and close. There might be one better that we know of, but if it’s not good and close, chances are we’ll be infrequent attenders at best.
Case in point: My wife and I love Whole Foods. If we could choose 1 place to buy everything, Whole Foods would be it. So why don’t we go to Whole Foods then? Because the nearest Whole Foods is all the way across town in North Miami Beach (which is about 30-45 minutes away depending on traffic). Sometimes, Carey and I will plan our day out there so we can do our shopping at Whole Foods, but the truth of the matter is that the Publix across the street gets most of our business. Why? Not because it’s the best, but because it’s good and close. Whole Foods has all the best organic stuff that we want. But Publix gets our business because it’s right across the street.
Here’s why this is important: people want to be avant-garde and plant churches in areas of cities where no one lives. That’s not a good plan. You’ve got to go where people live. Because people choose a church like they choose their supermarket. They want one that’s good and close.
If hundreds of thousands of people live in the cities, then go where they are. If everyone lives in the surrounding areas (which by the way, is the case in Miami. People work downtown, but few live there), then go there. Because while people will drive 45 minutes for work, they won’t do it to go to church. And even if per chance they do, it will next to impossible for them to be part of the life of the church when they live so far away. I’m not saying location is everything, but I am saying it matters a lot.