The writer of Beyond Relevance works in a different ecclesial world than I do, and thinks the church and her life more malleable than, as a Catholic, I think they are, but he offers insights into the way churches try to engage the world that apply to the Catholic Church as well. Like the doomed attempt to create new life by “re-branding,” which can be extended to other attempts to look cool. He writes:
[T]he biggest challenges I run into on the road is a church that undergoes a re-branding in order to create momentum that does not already exist. The downfall of this effort is that to most churches, rebranding is a packaging concept. It never affects the core. If you repackage something that was not growing in a healthy way, the recipients of your message might be attracted at first, but the draw will not last. As well, your community can see through an attempt to modernize that is inconsistent with true change.
If you want to re-brand, build real momentum first. Re-brand from the core out. The only way you can do that is learning how to organically connect with people and grow without an ounce of packaging. If you are not seeing success in organic growth, it means you have not mastered connecting with new people–an indication that your radar is off and you would not likely re-brand properly anyway.