Today PBFC is pleased to publish an exclusive interview with Dr. Rich Blessings, founder of the Church Xpress group of franchised churches, affectionately known to millions as the “faster pastor”.
PBFC: How do get those huge Sunday morning crowds?
RB: The underlying concept of Church Xpress is that people don’t actually want to be in church on Sunday morning because their lives are so busy. There’s a lot of other things they’d rather do than worship God. So everything at CX is geared toward taking a minimum amount of time so that people can still feel religious satisfaction that they went to church, but don’t have to be there very long so that they can get on with the more important things that day that they’d rather be doing. Our motto is RTTS – Rush Through The Service.
PBFC: How much emphasis do you place on worship?
RB: We might sing the first and fourth verses of Amazing Grace followed by one chorus of “Hallelujah”. But to save time, instead of singing choruses, we often just sing original Christian jingles that take only ten seconds.
PBFC: With such a breakneck pace, how do you have a move of the Holy Spirit in your services?
RB: A move of the Holy Spirit? What does that mean?
PBFC: Okay, moving right along – quickly of course – are your messages any different from traditional messages?
RB: Yes! I learned a long time ago that if you want a large following quickly, there are certain things you just don’t do. You NEVER bring correction to the flock because no one likes being told that what he’s doing is wrong. You avoid any topic that insinuates that people need to change, because people resist that. You never exercise church discipline of any kind – any lifestyle goes as long as people are kind enough to show up.
PBFC: Doesn’t that result in a lot of sin in your church?
RB: Please don’t use the word “sin” – we prefer saying “make a mistake”. We would rather have mistake-making people in here than have them stay outside on Sunday morning. We don’t judge anyone inside the church – we believe that God is the judge, not we.
PBFC: Doesn’t 1 Corinthians 5 say that we are to judge those within the church and drive out unrepentant evildoers?
RB: You can’t do that in America today. People won’t stand for it. We have to adapt to our culture if we want to preach to the maximum number of people on Sunday morning.
PBFC: Are there really certain words you ban in your CX churches?
RB: Yes. We do not allow the use of the following words that make people uncomfortable: Sin, repentance, hell, judgement, discipleship, diligence, self-discipline, accountability, change, and commitment.
PBFC: How do you decide what to preach on?
RB: We conduct a poll every quarter that asks people two things – what would they like to hear preached, and what would they NOT like to hear preached. We go with the majority consensus. That way, we know we are ministering to their “felt needs” all the time. The main thing is to be sure that people like you. The easiest way to do that is to preach what you already know they want to hear. The poll takes all the guesswork out of the process.
PBFC: Announcing events takes up quite a bit of time in many churches. How do you deal with that?
RB: We’ve found that the easiest way is just not to have events. Hence, no announcements. See you next Sunday for another service of church in the fast lane!
PBFC: How do you produce real, committed, serious disciples of Jesus Christ while catering to the people’s need for speed?
RB: You know, I really must be moving on to my next important things on today’s to-do list. Nice talking to you!