I’ve been thinking a lot about how our future directions, opportunities and challenges play out in individual lives. After having lunch yesterday with a man I respect, I was asking a lot of questions, particularly in regard to how the church relates to people. I so badly want to see this thing I’m doing succeed…planting Discovery Church. But when I think about what makes up the church, any church, it’s the people in it. Sure it’s simple, but I had a little moment when I realized that I was spending too much time and energy on the systems of the church – the administration, plans for follow up and assimilation, for starting and multiplying outlets, for creating environments or marketing ourselves. None of those are necessarily bad, but what’s better is the people…and I’d limited myself, restricted, removed and partially ignored the needs of the people. Shame on me.
The pressing question is what do you do with this information? How does it apply? Like this. The reason Discovery Church exists is to help people “discover real answers for real life” which then lead to real opportunities. Opportunities to help others discover real answers for real life. Opportunities to meet a need. This church exists to build people up…and my job is to equip them not with knowledge alone, but motivation to put that knowledge into practice.
People, myself included, are takers by nature. We’re me first people. So when people look for a church, we look for one that meets our needs – like the music, good nursery, great student ministry, kids like it because it has a cool kids thing going, convenient location, or whatever. Very few people looking for a church pick one based on what it does for others. Sure, it’s great if a church has helped other people, but ultimately most people are looking for the church to do something for them – at least “church shoppers” and “church hoppers” are like that.
The lost community around us on the other hand is different. All they’re looking for is someone who genuinely cares. I just saw a commercial today that reinforces my conclusion. Kleenex has started a new marketing campaign where they take a blue couch, coffee table with some Kleenex on it and a guy in a chair who really cares and stick it in the middle of somewhere…sidewalk, downtown area, etc. They invite people to sit down and just ‘let it out’. It’s their let it out campaign. Just watch a few of the clips and ask yourself why total strangers are sitting in the middle of the sidewalk on a bright blue couch sharing stories, laughing, crying, bearing their souls. I’ll tell you why. People, church people, lost people, people like me and you – we just want to know that someone cares and here’s the issue….for way too long, the church has been trying to tell people that God cares about them while doing next to nothing to show those same people that they care. That’s like me telling my kids “at least your mother loves you” before they go to bed each night but never telling them I love them. Why would they even want to listen to me?
I’m committed to changing that. I’ve already messed up, missed chances and run people off I’m sure. Still, I will do what I can to let people know that I care, that Discovery Church cares, but I will also push, provoke and remind people who decide to partner up with DC that it’s not about us and it’s not about you….. it’s about others.