Thursday, February 18, 2016

Three People in Your Church

I have discovered there are three types of people in every church—customers, owners, and investors. Your members will be motivated based on the group to which they belong.

1.  Customers – When we think about customers, we first think about a consumer who never wants to contribute. However, a customer is simply a person who comes to church for what is in it for them and their family. When searching for a church, most will be asking questions such as, “Do I fit in? Is the Word being preached? Do I like the music? Can I make friends here? Do they have programs for my children?” We want to know the “value” the church has to our life. If people stay at the customer level, they will never have a commitment to the church or its vision.

An apt illustration is when we go to a restaurant we really enjoy. We notice there is a new menu—and with it price changes. Now the steak you want is more expensive. The value has changed. You don’t complain, you simply eat your meal and don’t go back. 

Like a restaurant customer, the church customer may join and participate in activities. However, he is there because the value is good for him. When the price gets too high (giving, serving) or the perceived value is lowered, he does not usually cause problems—he just leaves.

2.  Owners – I love owners. They are usually committed to the church and have demonstrated loyalty and heart to serve. However, if there are problems in a church, it will usually come from owners. When the value changes for owners, they do not leave graciously, they complain or even revolt. If your favorite restaurant is one where you meet your friends every week, or have been a local patron for many years, you are not immediately going to try somewhere else. You may try to appeal to the manager, but if, in the end, you are not satisfied you will be upset and decide to go elsewhere.

When change occurs, those who are owners will often appeal humbly in the beginning. However, owners are the ones who eventually write the letter to the congregation, sign petitions, and gather followers to their cause. I recall when the music changed at one church, a member approached the worship leader, and with great anger said, “I can’t believe you stole my church!” Owners are motivated by their love for the church and their need to remain at a comfort level with change.

3.  Investors – These are the owners in the church who have bought into the vision and desire the kingdom to grow through the church. They want to invest their lives in the eternal. These investors can be compared to those who have either financially invested in the restaurant or vested in an emotional way. They seek solutions to problems and look to the future welfare of the business.

The investor in the church is usually an owner who sees beyond himself, through the eyes of God. He does not ask how a decision in the church will affect him, but how it will affect reaching the non-believer. The investor is motivated by vision—one that expresses love for God and others.

As pastors, we need to recognize where people are in their journey. Then we need to lead them to step up and become an investor in the kingdom. Only then will they grow to become loyal Christians who truly follow the Lord’s heart.

What do you think?


  1. Great analogies, Pastor. I pray that we will all strive to be investors for God's kingdom.

  2. I just saw a link to these blogs on Facebook. I look forward to reading the others and I pray for you and Crosslife church often. God bless!