|May I confess a pet peeve?
Digital ministry is important to me. As such, I’ve done my homework. I’ve learned how churches use digital tools to nurture discipleship. To be honest, we don’t do a good job. We’ve treated these tools as mere billboards and extensions of our Sunday bulletins. As a result, there’s one thing a lot of churches say that irks me. Perhaps with a sincere desire for people to know God, we keep repeating it.
“Please, come to Bible study tonight.” “Please, don’t miss this time of fellowship.” “Please, sign up.”
Now, I’m not opposed to being courteous. As far as I can recall, I’ve never told any church to be at Bible study “you bunch of arrogant sinners.” But I’m uncomfortable begging the church to do the very minimum of what we’re called to do. Whataburger doesn’t ask you to please buy their new merchandise. Your favorite novela doesn’t beg you to tune in to find out how it all ends.
They don’t need to beg you. Not because they don’t want you to connect with them. But because they know you’re already hungry for them. They only need to show you what’s new.
It’s almost cliché to think of hungering and thirsting for God. It’s an image, though, that doesn’t fail. We know what hunger feels like. We know when we’re thirsty. And we know when we want something.
Now, I’ve seen preachers complain. They say Christians should get excited about church like they do concerts or sporting events. Not me. Those are different experiences. While I’d appreciate your enthusiasm, it might be misplaced. But I do want us to learn what it means to need God like we need food and water to live.
We don’t make it far without food and water. Hunger and thirst unmet make for desperation. We’ll eat or drink anything we can find, if need be. So, why do we seem to be fine without a deeper conviction of sin and devotion to Christ?
Have we fed ourselves something other than the love of God?
I’m not asking you to judge anyone else’s behavior. Let’s pay attention to the fruit of our lives. Make note of the culture of your church, too. Do your church leaders have to beg your members to show up? What might that suggest?
We need an urgency behind our mission. The church’s role in discipleship is too important. Instead of begging people to show up to our events, though, let’s find ways to help them know what the psalmist proclaimed. That God’s “steadfast love is better than life” (Psalm 63:3).
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