The internet is funny. As I was plowing through my morning reading I came across an article called The Art of Smiling. I will save you the time of reading the article: the author suggests that there is no art to smiling, you just do it. I have been mulling over the article all morning because I think that we sometimes can overlook what a smile communicates.
A genuine eye-crinkling smile can do more to brighten a worship service than any remodeling project ever can. We have all been in worship services that are devoid of smiles or, worse yet, are full of fake smiles. As we communicate the joy of a Christ led life are we backing up our message with the facial expression that communicates joy?
As I visit and work with churches I often start by doing a little research on the church by studying their website. Most times a church communicates a mission statement, a vision, and the core values that it claims. I look to get a feel for a church’s vibe off of that site and then when I begin to talk with team members I ask them to tell me about the vision, mission, and core values. I ask them to translate those statements into English, and I ask them what they mean. I then try to get a feel for the vibe of the church. What I find many times is that there is a disconnect between what the church communicates and what the church is. Sometimes it is a church with a mission statement that communicates a passion for outreach that knows little about the community outside the church walls. Sometimes it is a church whose website communicates very little about how it serves her community but is doing amazing things on a weekly basis. Sometimes it is a church passionate about missions that has a budget statement that is so convoluted that you need an advanced degree to understand how money is spent overseas. Other times it is a worship service where ushers, worship team members, or Pastors wear a fake smile or a frown.
How do you ensure that your church clearly communicates its identity?