We have all been on a kick the last couple of weeks talking about “it”, the new book by Craig Groeshel. This book clearly defines how church ministries get it, lose it, abuse it, and so on. This book is not the bible, however, it is just as subject to interpretation.
If you get right down to it you could say all the church needs is a place to meet, a bible, and a teacher. But would that be relevant in today’s society? To reach those who are without Christ, or seek a relationship relative to their day to day lives we must use every means at our disposal. Yes church, that means spending money on stuff that some old fart church members may see as frivolous.
Our society today is very tech driven. We listen to IPODS, download music and videos, create our own webpages and blogs. If you went back 50 years ago the greatest thing was the invention of the color tv. Remember seeing the NBC Peacock open it’s tail feathers before a color program would come on? Today we can’t even operate a TV without a remote.
What about music? Gone are the days of vinyl, 8-tracks, cassettes, and soon CD’s. Everything is digital. Just load it yourself into a device smaller than my first wrist watch. Not even that, but 1000’s of songs in that device.
I read an article today about the generation entering into college this year. They were born in 1990. That’s right, 1990. Brett Favre was the only Green Bay Packer QB they had ever known. They didn’t know who hosted the Tonight Show before Leno. They never experienced life without cable tv, satellite tv, computers, cell phones, text messaging, MTV, Rap music, or Madonna. Clinton and Bush are the only presidents they have ever known.
So here is the big question, “As a church how do we reach this generation of people for Christ?”
- It starts with relevant messages and ends with not being condescending or accusatory towards them. A “Holier that thou” attitude gets you nowhere.
- Next, you must create a worship environment that they can embrace. The message is still that same, It is how you present it that changes.
- You have to invest in the elements to create the environment they are used to being in.
Most young people will tell you that the reason they don’t go to church is that the church is full of Christians. By that they mean stuffed shirt hypocritical people who care more that someone is sitting in their seat than greeting them in the love of Christ and offering that seat to them. Why is it that way? Why do so many long term Christians feel like it is all about them?
As I thought about how hard it is to get the church to invest in the Kingdom verses catering to their Ministry I recalled the Parable of the Talents.
Mathew 25: 14-30
14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22 “The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24 “Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 ” ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
I believe churches that do not invest fully into relevance and communicating the gospel in ways that today’s society can understand and grasp are like the the one who hid his talent in the ground for safe keeping. You cannot suceed if you are not willing to fail at “it”. Failing isn’t optional. “It” is essential.
There will be more to come on my take on “it”. Do yourself a favor, get “it”. Go to www.willowcreek.com
A small group of us attended the Willow Creek Leadership Summit last week and had the distinct privilege of being introduced to “It”, a new book by Craig Groeshel. We all left there overhwelmed with what we heard. I picked up the book and had to make myself wait a couple of days before diving into it just because of the amount of information I was still trying to digest from the conference. After I started though I can tell you it was well worth the wait.
I began to see clearly through the first few chapters churches all around me that have “it’ or don’t have “it”. Some of them may have had “it” at one time, but lost “it”. I know for a fact that our church at least almost had “it” at one time. Then we moved into our new building and we left “it” behind.
There is more to come on “it” and what I believe “it” is and how to get “it” back. All I can tell you is that I will not rest until I find “it” again.