How to Attract More Professionals to Your Church


In a bad economy, Pastor Steve Robinson knows how to get things done. He leads Church of the King, a fast-growing dynamic church in New Orleans that despite Hurricane Katrina,  the stock market crash, is managing to build a beautiful new building with cash. Church of the King is starting 3 new campuses this year as well. If you ask him how he has managed to attract generous business people who give liberally to the ministry his answer is simple: turn down the volume and turn up the light. Could it be that easy?

How do I reach more professionals in my church?

Steve is a great communicator and leader with a strong team guiding the church always looking for new ways to help people in their community to connect with God. But I also know a lot of other pastors like him all over the country who share the same gifts. As a matter of fact, Church of the King has had more challenges in its young existence than most churches will ever face in a lifetime. I have thought about that statement a lot in the past few days since our conversation. It’s still resonating with me.

Church start ups want to be relevant and reach their community, but could it be that our relevance quotient stops at age 25? The assumption is that everyone wants to listen to a rock concert at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning. Not everyone, I guarantee you. I think Steve is right on when he says, “I find that successful professionals don’t want to bring their peers to an extremely loud and dark room for a church service.”

I wonder how much more attractive some of our contemporary churches would be if they pull back some decibels, turned off the fog machine, and brought up the lights so people could see. That sounds so obvious, but if you visit as many churches as I do, you would be surprised.

How about your church? Could it benefit from turning the volume down and the lights up?

  • My mom visited a new church after moving and found it was a basically a sunday morning rock show before the pastor spoke. The volume and heaviness of the music was definitely not for my 54 year old mom. This is in south Orange County California too, not an unprogressive area. It’s just a generational thing.

    • Interestingly, I have found some millennials are now rejecting the “big show” concept as well. Their boomer parents loved the rock concert, so naturally, they don’t.

  • Oh Maurilio, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate this post. While my own church is definitely NOT one of the darkened, loud variety, I get so tired of hearing that “But this is what everyone wants. This is what you need to attract people.” I think not–and it’s great to see proof that I’m not the only one who thinks so.

    • I like loud music, but I’m way immature for my age, so my children tell me. 🙂

  • What is your take on how different services should be at the same church? In other words, where is the balance between diluting the resources of the team to produce a “contemporary” and a “traditional” service and focusing all resources to produce one excellent service that may lack appeal at the edges of the target population?

    • That’s a tough one. I have seen the traditional model work when done well and poorly when done with left over resources. But the more “different’ you make your services, the more difficult it is for them to be truly alternative for people. Multiple service times work because they give people an option to come at 9, or 11, or 5:30. If you introduce variables like a choir, style of music, different teacher, then they cease to be options. You are now forced to come at the hour that most aligns with your taste.

  • I recently attended a young church whose worship went on well over 30 minutes…30 minutes of mid-tempo songs I’d never heard before…lot’s of vamping and repeating. I was starting to pray “Please God, break their strings, cause a power failure…just intervene”. As much as I’m not a big fan of the ol hymns, at least I recognized and knew half of them each Sunday.

    • I have been there as well. My prayer is “come quickly, Lord. Like, right now!”

  • Andy

    Unfortunately, this trend seems to be becoming more prevalent. I know it’s not true in every case, but I suspect that sometimes all the flash, show and loud music is an attempt to compensate, consciously or subconsciously, for shortcomings in other areas. We mistakenly think if we offer folks a slick production of quality music with moving lights and smoke and hip looking pastors/staff members, the job is finished. But, if systems aren’t in place to assimilate new attendees into the church culture, move them along their respective paths of spiritual growth with intent, make them feel as if they have some semblance of “ownership” and give them sound, biblical teaching and discipling, all the best music, fancy lights and technical gadgetry are NOT going to make for a sustainable model. Sure, many will be intrigued at first at the “coolness” factor, but will eventually come to realize there is still something missing and move on, many as empty and lost as when they arrived.nnI enjoy the technical extras as much as anybody. I’ve had opportunity to attend many churches that put it all to excellent use, not as a substitute for, but in addition to sound, solid biblical teaching (Cross Point falls into that category). But how arrogant of us to think we’ve discovered a “new and improved” method for presenting the gospel. Paul had none of these tools at his disposal and sometimes saw thousands of conversions in a single day. All the other stuff is well and good, but the basics of the gospel preached, without compromise is still the most successful model for true sustained growth and life change. nnAnother challenging, insightful post Maurilio – thanks.

  • Oh boy…you cut the the core. We don’t have fog machines, but we are a 10AM rock concert. Then again, we meet at the Magic Stick in Detroit, which is basically a night club that we rent out on Sunday mornings.

    • Well, I like loud music and fog machines. But, again, I’m not typical for people my age. However, I know several of my peers that would not be comfortable in that environment.

  • Anonymous

    Good post…nMaybe it is my age but I am not a fan of a worship service that is completely in the dark. There are two reasons for a worship gathering: to glorify God and encourage the body. I wonder how we can encourage each other as we worship when we cannot see that others are worshiping with us.

    • I don’t mind worshiping in the dark as much, but when the Pastor is ready to speak, I want to be able to read my Bible and see the person next to me.

  • RevDave

    Go on their website, there’s a picture of their service – auditorium looks pretty dark!!!

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