Why do so many congregations brand themselves as “progressive” or “conservative”? Isn’t a more diverse, heterogenous congregational identity preferable?
As a strategic planner, I encourage congregations to look for places where their gifts and skills can meet the particular needs of their neighbors. As a human service provider, I watch my clients trudge all over town, piecing together services they need. I worry that despite our good intentions, sometimes congregations make life harder for our neighbors than we should.
I want to suggest “rootedness” as a potential brand or image for congregations. In a highly mobile, rapidly changing society, who isn’t attracted to the idea of being rooted instead of rootless?
In strategic planning, congregations think a lot about their “brand.” What do people think of when they drive by or hear the church’s name? Do they associate the congregation with great music, inspiring preaching, effective social justice work, quality day care, or self-help group meetings? Lately, I have been recommending to my clients a brand that needs to be built by congregations across this country: A congregation where people can trust each other and will be trusted.