In the recent Leadership Journal, a pastor describes a trap that many well-intended ministers and churches fall into.
It starts with great intentions and a brilliant epiphany:
. . . The only way to capture people’s attention is entertainment, I thought. If I want people to listen to my message, I’ve got to present it in a way that grabs their attention long enough for me to communicate the gospel. . .
Then “success” – packed house, land . . .
Followed the realities of this “success”:
. . . We’d put all our energies into dispensing religious goods and services. But our people weren’t touching our community. If our church, with its sheer number of people, was populated with disciples, we would be feeding the hungry, building meaningful relationships with neighbors, and transforming our community. But we were neither salt nor light.
After pouring more than 25 years of my life into this church, I knew we weren’t developing disciples who were taking up their crosses to follow Jesus. We’d produced consumers—like Pac-Man, gobbling up religious experiences, navigating a maze but going nowhere in particular.
Too many were observing the show but not meeting God. They meandered in and out of relationships but weren’t in real community. They sought their spiritual fix but didn’t give themselves fully to Christ. . .
Then God intervenes in a dramatic and painful way leading to more epiphanies:
. . . By the time we service the $12-million debt, pay the staff, and maintain the property, we’ve spent more than a million before we can spend a dime on our mission. . .
. . . “You must die as a church and be born as a mission.”. . . (from Robert Schuller of all people).
And a prayer: “God, we have to hear from you. We’re desperate.”
What’s the solution? Find out at: Showtime No More! (starting on page 3)
(Hint: Painful pruning transformation that leads people into the presence of God.)
A new model meant we had to redefine what a “win” looks like.