Maybe we are making things too convenient for people in our church plant? Maybe by doing this we are missing out on the opportunity to help them grow in their passion for Kingdom things?
Convenience: something (as an appliance, device, or service) conducive to comfort or ease.
There is nothing wrong with convenience. In fact, at Restore, we try to make finding your way back to God as easy as possible.
- We have multiple service times.
- We keep the experience to an hour (give or take 10 minutes).
- We make things clear and simple.
- We make it easy to get connected in a small group.
- We make it easy for people to serve in ministry.
All these things are good. They’re practical and I believe they help people find and follow Jesus.
Despite all the effort to make things convenient, many of us planting churches struggle to get people involved or connect them or keep them engaged with our church plant. They miss Sunday mornings; they don’t get connected in community; they don’t grow in their generosity or they choose not to serve others.
People give all sorts of reasons why they can’t participate in these things. Good reasons. Kids soccer games. Family in from out of town or other plans.
But I’ve been wrestling with this because of two experiences I recently had…
The first happened at our Park Hill Campus that meets in a local high school. I arrived early (6:45AM) for set-up with our Roadie team and found the parking lot jammed. Surprised, I investigated and soon learned there was a regional club wrestling tournament in one of the gyms. I talked to some of the parents and learned that people had driven hundreds of miles for their boys to be able to wrestle in this tournament. They arrived the Saturday before and depending on how their son wrestled, would stay all day Sunday and then drive home.
The second occurred when “The Hobbit” came out. My daughter surprised me with tickets to the midnight opening at our local theater. I must admit the idea of a midnight showing in the middle of the week didn’t appeal to me at all. While I love Tolkien, I do have my limits. But I went because, well I love my daughter.
I knew we were in for an experience when we arrived at the movie theater two hours before the start of the film and couldn’t find parking. Once inside the Cineplex we encountered a festive atmosphere of people from all walks of life eager and excited to see the film. People were dressed in costumes and singing songs and laughing. It was a ton of fun. I didn’t care for the film that much but I did enjoy the time with my daughter. But it was clear, these people were passionate about this film and made significant sacrifices to see it first.
People make significant sacrifices for things they’re passionate about.
Passion: a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept. An intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.
Here’s the truth: People will drop everything for what their passionate about and make a priority to experience it. (Like movies and sports for example.) People will sacrifice for things they are passionate about.
And yet, planters will tell me they struggle in this area.
Maybe we are choosing convenience over passion? Maybe we should figure out better ways to help people grow in their passion for Kingdom things rather than always trying to make it more convenient for them? Maybe we need to help figure out what it means to create more passionate followers of Jesus?
It’s all a little ironic given that the word ‘passion’ entered the English language in the context of the suffering of Christ. It’s a Latin word that means ‘to suffer.’ The word has been used for centuries to describe the time between the Last Supper and his death. Read about it here.
When people are passionate about something they will make it a priority. They will show up early and stay late. They will do crazy things to experience it.
Wouldn’t it be cool if people showed the same passion for Kingdom things? Many do. But most don’t. We need to remedy this.
Jesus said following him would be challenging. What I hear him saying is that you’re going to need to be passionate about following me. Maybe we just need to lean into that reality.
So keep making it convenient for people to participate in your plant. But never choose convenience over helping people grow in their passion for Kingdom.
Are you choosing convenience over passion? Do you agree with me? What have I missed? I’d love to hear from you!
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