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Let Newcomers Know They Can Belong Before They Believe

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Flatirons Community Church appeals to its non-religious community by disarming them when they begin to explore Christ.

Flatirons Community Church in Lafayette, Colo., has reached a weekly attendance of 15,200 people (2,200 of whom have been attending for six weeks or less) by disarming first-time guests enough to relax and figure out their relationship with God. Located in one of the most non-religious counties in the U.S., Flatirons is aimed at getting first-time guests to “unclench their fists,” says Lead Pastor Jim Burgen.

The church created a mural of members’ tattoos to encourage them to tell their stories, and they also use secular music. But they don’t back down from the gospel, Burgen says. In fact, the harder they lean into it, the faster they grow.

“We’re very intentional to say, ‘Listen, you don’t have to believe all this today,’” Burgen says. “Instead, we say, ‘Are you looking for truth? Are you open to the idea that truth could be different than what you thought it was? If so, keep coming.’”

Burgen quotes Andy Stanley when Burgen says of Flatirons, “You can belong before you believe.”

ONLINE: FlatironsChurch.com. Adapted from an article that appeared in the September/October 2013 issue of Outreach magazine.

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