Wednesday, July 28, 2010

If It Makes People Comfortable, It Probably Won't Work

My Q: When is the last time that you tried something so crazy that only God could make it successful? I mean something so out there that if God stayed out, it would positively fail.

My A: Never.

I took my first steps on ministry road as a fetus when my pregnant mother gave her life to God in the early portion of 1980. Being raised in a pentecostal arena where anything and everything was allowed as long as it was blamed on the Holy Spirit and where individual church services were sorted from good to bad like we had the privilege of determining this ranking brought many pros and cons into my life (but that's another blog...that a lot of people won't like). In this blog, I want to focus on a certain con...

I don't remember anything happening in 18 years of growing up there.

And not because I have a bad memory.

I can recall week-after-week of sermons and socials, prayer meetings and youth trips, homecomings and revivals, and bake sales and sunday school but I don't remember anything ever happening that gave the church anything remotely close to it's own identity and it wasn't because we didn't have ideas. It was because, in most situations, leadership feared raising the stiff neck hair of the facilities bigwigs.

I remember one instance when I was about 15 years old. The church was doing pretty good (better than it had in a while). One Sunday morning, I asked a person with too much power in the church (yet another blog) if I could share an idea with them. It was the spring of the year and the weather was nice. My idea was to, without notice, have church outside in an empty field behind the church. People would drive up to the church, see a sign on the door that directed them around back and BOOM, something memorable.

"Uh, church outside?" "Yes."

"...and without any notice??" "Yes."

"Well, people just don't like things happening without notice and we don't want to make people mad or uncomfortable. We will think about it but why have church outside when we have this building?"

Of course it never happened. Ok. Maybe it wasn't the most innovative idea but it would have been a ground shaking event for our little carbon copy facility...all from the mind of a 15 year old boy who was craving something fresh.

Who would attend a college football game where the final score was the same every game? Not me...even if my team won every game.

As of today, the church is running less people that it ran 30 years ago. The church is doing nothing in the community. Lives are not being changed. That's not the way church is supposed to be.

All because that one idea was shot down? No.

It's more than likely because this church and 150,000 other churches across this country have placed their primary focus on making the people in the church comfortable and not on stepping out on a crazy idea limb in order to create a magnetic identity. Churches are scared to attempt something huge in a society that I believe craves just that.

Now, don't get me wrong. The inner-workings of a local church body are vital and the care and hospitality shown to church members are of great importance but not to the point where we become a windowless secret society.

What's the worst that could happen?

I dare me to do something crazy.

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