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Church Sucks

December 17, 2008 by

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Church Sucks Challenge. It’s a site (with a brand strangely similar to our own, but we have had no involvement in the project) where you can submit exactly why you think church sucks. Think unChristian, but without being statistically-minded.

So if the idea has been done before, and the branding has been done before, why do we love it? Because this is different. It’s a coming church plant (Courageous Church) that’s putting this on, so the context changes completely. It’s not just a study or a web site; it’s a local church that matters to local people. They’ve found a way to communicate that they’re not fond of church as it is. Now, plenty of churches have done this, but mainly through some variation of yelling “WE WEAR BLUE JEANS! WE HATE CHURCH! JOIN THE REVOLUTION!” Courageous Church has found a way to say, “Church sucks. Let us know how you think we can help.” And that matters to people.

But their great marketing doesn’t stop there. I first heard about them in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, as they covered his use of Facebook to fund a toy drive for 500 Atlanta children. Thus far, they’re generating a lot of buzz by getting in the community and doing good.

Maybe courageous generosity could go much further for your church than mailers or yard signs ever will.

Post By:

Joshua Cody


Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
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5 Responses to “Church Sucks”

  • e. barrett
    December 17, 2008

    I don’t really disagree with anything you are saying. But I think you under-value the simple message of, “WE WEAR BLUE JEANS! WE HATE CHURCH! JOIN THE REVOLUTION!”
    I realize it’s not exactly revolutionary marketing, but I still think it’s an important message that millions of people still have not heard.
    While there’s always a need to find better and newer ways to communicate with people, that doesn’t lessen the importance of a good message.


  • Chris Huff
    December 17, 2008

    I don’t think “church sucks” should be the message that any church should be spreading. I commend the church for wanting to reach people and do whatever that takes, but they’re doing it in a way that tears down what other churches are doing. Many of the churches that would fall under what they consider to “suck” are loving, faithful congregations of Christ-followers.
    Also, I think the whole “Let us know how you think we can help” bit is over-estimated. Non-church people are not suddenly going to flock to a church just because the church says they’re not like all the other churches. We need to really be Christ-like, that means serving people, showing them the love of Christ in real practical ways.
    However, I also recognize that churches often do get bad reputations because of the worst cases, which generally get a lot of publicity. So I think it is the church’s task to re-educate people on what the church really is. If that means saying “It’s okay to wear blue jeans,” fine. But more importantly, I think it means distancing ourselves from “believers” who do things that give Christianity a bad reputation.
    Maybe Courageous Church understands their community, and this message would not be taken the wrong way there. But as something that is posted for the world to see, I think it sends the wrong message.


  • Pastor Kevin W. Cooley
    December 17, 2008

    Good stuff – I think the important issue is finding out what “pre-christians” think & feel & providing them the voice & freedom to express that (because they really matter to us!) THEN we don’t have to use rocket-science, voodoo or the gifts of the spirit to understand their context & needs: they just tell us! Make it easy on yourself… Genius! :-) KC


  • michael buckingham
    December 18, 2008

    I don’t know. Sure this gets some attention, but is it good for the Church? Here we have a church saying, thus reinforcing, that church sucks. Is that really helpful?
    And of course what they are really saying and inferring to is that all churches suck…except theirs.
    I just think great church marketing can also be positive and this feels negative.
    And I’m not sure people really think church sucks, I think more just think church isn’t for them or isn’t relevant.
    I don’t know, guess I’m just not sold on this yet.


  • JB
    December 22, 2008

    Genius… Courageous… Innovative…
    hardly.
    Let me see, the Church was who’s idea? Oh yeah, it was God’s idea. Think church sucks? Then you think God’s idea sucks. Stop playing and being foolish with what God has ordained. The church has been more relevant for this world longer than you and I have been alive.
    Sure, get out there and communicate with your community. Share the Gospel, don’t hide it or dumb-it-down to make it more “palatable”. The Gospel is offensive because it reveals that people ARE sinners before a Holy God – we ARE wretched. Then you can share the God’s grace to the humble that understand how their sin keeps them gripped in God’s justice.
    Don’t mess with the church – the Bride of Christ. If you think you are trying to be relevant with this message – sorry, you’re not. And what’s up with asking non-christians about what they want in a church, anyway? Is the Bible not good enough? Why ask the world its opinion when God has given His instruction? Should we think “unChristian” or have the mind of Christ?
    Please, please look to the Scriptures and not any blog or commentary. A gentle reminder.



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