The Extra Chunky Church 5: What Does A Balanced Church Look Like?

In this series I’ve been arguing against being a balanced church and for what we at Auxano call a “Kingdom Concept”. The idea that churches have a unique design from God, and though every same church has the same basic mission and should engage in all the functions of the church, that unique design will empower a church to be especially focused and effective at a certain facet of ministry.

I just want to sit with this idea of being a balanced church. I wonder, what does a balanced church look like? Maybe like … plain spaghetti sauce? Remember back in the 80’s Prego thought everyone wanted plain sauce, only to discover that very few people wanted plain sauce. Why? It was just too … plain.

Or maybe a balanced church is more like a one-size-fits-all piece of clothing. Have you ever tried on or purchased a one-size-fits-all piece of clothing? The truth is that the one size doesn’t-really-fit-anyone. It fits everyone … awkwardly.

Or perhaps a balanced church is more like a radio station that tries to appeal to everyone. Years ago our church in Virginia Beach advertised on an alternative rock station. They called me to let me know that they were changing formats. From now on, they would be playing the top hits of rock and country and hip-hop and pop and R&B. I told them it would never work, that pretty much everyone who listens wouldn’t like 60% of the songs they played. They informed me that I was not an expert in radio (which I wasn’t) and I was wrong. About three months later the station admitted the new format didn’t work and announced they were making another change.

I just don’t think balance works very well. Let me ask you this: Do you know of a church that is a really great example of balance? That focuses and is effective equally at preaching, evangelism, student ministry, worship, small groups, children’s, missions, and support & recovery ministry? Me neither. There may be balanced churches out there, but I don’t think they do big things, and you never hear abut them.

Churches driven by a focused passion accomplish great things, and passion spread out looks more like apathy.