I just found a comment that my son-in-law left on one of my earlier posts. It is so good that I've got to share it with you. It will make you think. I am going to spend a lot of time digesting it myself, because I think Steve has the handle on it. He is part of his comment:
I agree Mike, but what do you do? You offer deeper things, but people won't come and if they do, they won't do the required reading/homework. And so true habits are never formed. I'm wondering if the whole system is failing somehow? Are we accidentally communicating to our people that this is all there is? Are we, as leaders going into the depths and living as testimonies saying there is more? What are we doing (or not doing - my bet is it's more the not doing, not risking, not stepping out in faith, etc) as a church that communicates status quo?
The people in our church seem like they've been lulled into this complacency - complacency for church, for worship, for discipleship, even for God Himself. There's something in me, (maybe the Spirit) that says they'd get off their rear ends and do something if they truly understood/believed/experienced the God that you and I know when they did come to an event - even if it was just a "successful garage sale."
How do you turn the corner - well get others to turn the corner into lifestyles of discipleship? How do we gain that kind of influence with the people we serve? How can we give them their little "soul massage" in such a way that they want deeper things - like "soul surgery or life replacement?"I think it ultimately has to come back to relationships. When we get involved in peoples lives beyond Sunday morning, when we share not just the Gospel but "our lives as well" like Paul describes. . . .I think that's where influence grows.
I appreciate what Steve said so much. When the church family arrives on Sunday morning, we are coming together to worship God corporately. The church is returning to be together for a couple of hours to praise God as a larger group of believers.
We have made Sunday morning our "all in all". Sunday morning has become the "beginning and the end". As Steve would say, "Are we giving our people the idea that Sunday is what matters and everything else is secondary? No wonder they will not support other opportunities that we offer like we think they should. We have sent a message and they have received it and applying it to their lives. We didn't intend that to happen over the past decade did we?
I totally agree with Steve. It does come back to relationships. Many of our churches need to punt and turn it over to the defense to stop this trend where it is in this first decade of the 21st century. I'm afraid that many of our churches need to spend the next few years developing relationships that we failed to do for so many years.
How we develop these relationships in a "no relationship" atmosphere is good fodder for my next post. This one is getting far to long. Think about it...