The Christian life is boring. That is, it can be made boring in a hurry. It has been hijacked by Hallmark-type sentiments and platitudes and easy-believism. Some of this falls on the marketers, but a lot of it falls on pastors.
Pastors can quickly become more concerned with keeping people around the church than pressing them into conformity to Christlikeness.
I’ve felt this same pressure. It’s not a pressure that anyone puts on me; it’s internal. There is nothing wrong with wanting people to keep coming back week after week, but at what cost am I willing to try to make that happen?
- Will I start having super awesome giveaways? The first 100 people will be entered for a chance to win an ipad!
- Should I have the band open the service with a really edgy secular song by Katy Perry or Miley Cyrus? Come on, there has to be a way I can relate “We Can’t Stop” to Philippians.
- Or perhaps I can talk to people for a little while, telling a few good stories, working in a couple of jokes, and reading a couple of verses here or there.
You laugh, or maybe you don’t, but I feel the pressure to try to convince people they should come back next week.
What I’m realizing is that it’s not my job to convince people to come back. After all, if I take credit for people showing up, I’ll blame myself when they don’t.
As I’m preparing each week to preach (currently in the book of Philippians), I’m asking this question: am I presenting the same exciting, adventurous, dangerous invitation into God’s story that Jesus presents?
1. Jesus says people will hate me if I live this story. Well everyone knows that any good story has conflict to overcome. Without Mordor what fun would Frodo really have?
2. Jesus says I will suffer I live this story. Braveheart—nuf said.
3. Jesus says all the shiny toys and newest trinkets won’t satisfy, but it is possible to store up a handsome booty in heaven if I live this story. Challenge accepted.
The story isn’t boring. Jesus rose from the dead. And that changes everything. The same power that conquered the grave lives in you if you’ve confessed that Jesus is Lord. But does your life reflect that reality?
Monday motivation: how do you want people to retell your story? What can you do TODAY to move towards that preferred future?