LifeChurch Hendersonville

Church Trip: LifeChurch Hendersonville

I don’t mean to sound like a fanboy but I really do like LifeChurch. I was in Nashville this past weekend recording my upcoming Communion service guide and drove past their Hendersonville campus and wanted to visit. If you’d like to learn the right way to plant a church book a flight to Oklahoma City, home of the main campus, and take notes – they know how to do it right. I’ve visited their campuses around OKC but never a remote campus and was interested to see if it measures up (LifeChurch is known to put as much $$ into their plants as they do their main campus.)

LifeChurch’s Hendersonville, TN campus (about a half hour from Nashville) has remodeled an old movie theater. Churches that remodel theaters usually do it on the cheap, and the building ends up looking like… an old movie theater. LifeChurch’s version was so nicely remodeled on the outside you’d never know it was a theater (I asked the pastor to make sure it was.)

The lobby was impressively well done – hip muted colors, cool floor and big plasmas everywhere. LC Hendersonville wins the award for the darkest church – coming in from the bright outside I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face as I entered the auditorium, let alone where I was walking. The room remained dark throughout the whole service and still was dark as I walked out (at least my eyes had adjusted to the pitch blackness by then and I no longer feared falling and breaking a hip.)

LifeChurch falls squarely in the seeker center – the band opened with Phil Collin’s In the Air Tonight, then continued with these worship songs:

We Believe In the One True God: The City Harmonic
You: Hillsong
God’s Not Dead: Newsboys

The band is of the typical modern variety – guitars, bass and a side keyboard the worship leader would periodically plunk, all complete with a single female backup. Here again LifeChurch wins the award for most unique band with TWO drum kits, both individually encased in drum booths – I’ve never seen that in all my years of church visits.

After the music and brief welcome by campus pastor Chuck Dennie they played the video sermon of LC pastor Craig Groeschel. I’ve always liked Craig’s preaching – he uses real, live Bible verses in his sermons unlike some seeker pastors.

Afterwards I talked briefly with Chuck and he said their campus was two years old and running about 1400. Awesome growth, and I’ll bet they’d be twice as big if they were downtown, closer to Vanderbilt and Belmont University.

Perhaps what impressed me the most about LifeChurch were the rocks in their bathroom sink (and mints.) I’m not kidding here – those rocks are a metaphor for what LC is all about – doing a little bit extra to make the church the best it can be.

Do rocks in your sink make your church better? Of course not – but if you do go to the trouble of having decorative rocks in your sink, this means…

  • you care about little details
  • you want to do special things to delight people
  • you want to be a cut above
  • you have a sense of humor

…and that thoughtfulness is probably a thread that runs through your entire ministry. I think LifeChurch is what marketing genius Seth Godin would refer to as a “Purple Cow.”

If you just read the last few paragraphs and are laughing your head off I’ll bet you’re in a little 50 member church. If you’re now putting on your shoes ready to head off to the nearest craft store in search of decorative rocks, you’re probably running 2,500 and want to hit 5,000 by the end of the year. Or even better, brainstorming ways to make your ministry more attractive.

Everything at LC seems to be meticulously planned out, thought through and expertly executed. I can imagine a first time, unchurched visitor walking in and thinking “This is a church? How can that be – they seem to have their act together!” I sure did.

Take a virtual tour of LifeChurch Hendersonville, including the rocks in their sinks!

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