At first people wondered how a church could be so culturally clueless to have banners for Worship, Teaching, and Friends lined up in such a way to spell a common acronym for profanity not to be spoken by Good Church People. (Note: please forgive me if even the reference to this offends you but bear with me here.)
The church in question is in Albuequerque and originally it was called Village Church. Then it was called Copper Pointe Church. Now it’s called Citizen Church. It’s was or still is an Assemblies of God congregation. And the WTF banners line up was not an accident.
Was it a gimmick to draw attention to the building? Maybe? Yes? The Institutional Church has often used gimmicks and other marketing tools to attract attention to itself through the years. I’m not a fan of this..
So, hear me out regarding what many people consider words unbecoming a follower of Jesus. As I talk with Millennials and Gen Zs – and even with older generations, there is a strong sense of hopelessness in the world.
At the end of conversations about college debt, climate change, health care inequities, police violence, systemic racism, opioid addiction, rural poverty, education inequities, and rampant terrorism, I often ask my younger conversation partners, “Where do you see hope?” I need to hear words of hope as much as they do.
The Church of Jesus Christ is about hope even in the throes of hopelessness. Jesus touched the untouchables and took on the Powers. Jesus healed those with broken spirits and broken bodies. Jesus spoke words about how we treat those who are seen as “the least of these” in this world. Jesus both raised and was raised from the dead.
Jesus has a lot to say to a world in which too many people look around and want to scream WTF. Jesus especially has things to say to those of us who are offended by that acronym but not by the fact that hundreds of thousands of children are hungry every day. Many of us are more offended by the f-word than the fact that rich children can get cancer treatment while poor children cannot.
Some would say that – considering what God’s intention for creation is – this is f-ed up. Again, please forgive me for offending those who are surprised I’d even type that “f.” If it makes it easier, imagine I’m channeling Eleanor in The Good Place.
So back to the church banners. This is a congregation which has apparently tried different things, including an assortment of church names. Maybe their WTF banner line up was gimmick-y. Or maybe it was an intentional outreach to those for whom that term feels like they feel.
I get this. I long for a church that’s a community of Wonder, Transformation, and Faith. I dream of a church that considers with every gathering . . .
- How are we expanding our wonder for the God who created the heavens and the earth?
- Who or what was transformed and how?
- How did our faith in God grow?
I want a church that invites “I wonder” questions.
I can imagine a church that seeks to transform the world for good in the name of Jesus Christ.
I long for a church that marks its success in how our spiritual growth is deepened.
What is your dream for the Church of Jesus?