I recently received my monthly cable bill for my TV and Internet service – it had gone up by $20. Not what I had anticipated so I called the local cable company to inquire why.
What I found out was that a year earlier, when the same thing had happened (my how limited my memory is) they had given me a “special deal” aimed at keeping disgruntled customers. When I think back over the years that I have had service from this company this has been the pattern. They gave me a “special deal” as a new subscriber and when that special expired they gave me another special and another and another…you get the picture. The fact is I am going to keep going back to the cable company ever year as long as they keep giving me the “special deal" and when that stops I'll probably look at my options! It’s the principle of “Whatever you have to do to “get” someone is what you have to do to keep them!”
“Whatever you have to do to 'get' someone is what you have to do to 'keep' them!”
If you stop and think about it, this pattern happens throughout life – in personal relationships, business and yes, even in the church. Think about the way the majority of churches “get” people today. Even though the presentation might be different (music, style, dress, etc.) churches are still doing what has been done for the last 60 plus years – trying to attract people by providing a “relevant” religious service. This might include a Sunday worship service but it could also be a lot of other types of “religious services.” In and of themselves these things aren’t bad. After all we do want people to get connected to the church because it is through the church that Jesus intends to carry the Gospel to the world. So what’s wrong?
This mindset, though well intentioned, actually perpetuates the problem that most pastors say is their number one issue, getting people to serve – with service usually meaning on Sunday or other times when “religious services” are provided. Think about it, we invite people to come and observe (become a consumer of our religious services) with the hope that they will want to become a Christian (great news!!!) and then get enough of whatever it is they need so that they can invite someone else into the same process.
Dr. George Hunsberger writes in Missional Church,
…this producer-consumer model separates its notion of church (a religious firm producing and marketing religious products and services) from its members (potentially and hopefully committed customers consuming those products and services). Members are ultimately distanced in this model from their own communal calling to be a body of people sent on a mission.
I don’t think I know a pastor that would ultimately say that is what they want – but it is the “machine” that has been created and it is perfectly getting the results it was perfectly designed to get.
So how did Jesus model this for us? As I read the Gospels I see Jesus doing two things that were intertwined together. First he invited people into a relationship, “Come follow me” and second he invited people into his mission, “And I will make you fisher of men.” You couldn’t have the relationship without the mission and you couldn’t be on his mission without the relationship.
How is your church “getting” and “keeping” people?
For the past thirty-nine years Wayne has served the Church in local churches ranging in size from 50 to 4,500, in two denominational roles as well with an international missions organization. Through these varied experiences God has developed in him a deep passion for His Church and the leaders that lead her.
Wayne’s calling is see the re-missionalization of the Church in North America! MORE>>