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Whose Kingdom Are We Building?

I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about information guides (that means church bulletin for those of you using the KJV). For most churches, these guides are used to announce the detailed information of the “where and when” of every ministry event that the church has to offer. Typically at some point during a worship gathering, someone might even get up on a stage and point out a few of those things found in the information guide to help people know what’s going on.

What would happen if everyone in church actually did everything in the information guide?
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Whose kingdom are we building?

The answer to this question might be stranger than you think.

I can’t explain why, but I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about information guides (that means church bulletin for those of you using the KJV). For most churches, these guides are used to announce the detailed information of the “where and when” of every ministry event that the church has to offer. Typically at some point during a worship gathering, someone might even get up on a stage and point out a few of those things found in the information guide to help people know what’s going on.

What would happen if everyone in church actually did everything in the information guide?

Consider the question this way: What if everything you asked people to come to and sign up for was actually filled? Would your church be successful? I’ve realized that with the amount of activities and events that we as church leaders continue to try and offer people, we are guilty of over-scheduling the involvement of our church communities. What has started to bother me about this is that we have become a kind of employment service for our church. Though many of the opportunities we invite our people to participate in are out in the community, we are still serving as the conduit and filter. Because of this, we are causing our people to wait for us as a church to create things for them to do rather than develop the muscle on their own to recognize needs and issues within their own neighborhood and respond. And if they did respond to something that was happening around them, would a church guilt them for not participating in the events featured in the information guide?

This has led me to consider what it would look like to offer fewer opportunities for volunteering and serving through our church (employment) for the purpose of developing our people to pay attention to what is happening around them and respond (deployment).

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The idea of developing our church body to be deployed into our city is not a new idea. For years we have preached this message. We have communicated to our people what they need to do to change. What I’m suggesting is that maybe they aren’t the only ones who need to change. Maybe the church needs to change. Maybe we need to back off on the amount of activities we’re generating and become more aggressive at working alongside of our people about how to engage their gifts and talents to be deployed in the work environment, neighborhood and relationships. Ultimately, we can’t ask our people to slow down while at the same time picking up the pace and trying to get more people to sign up for more things. Choosing a church philosophy of deployment over employment might serve as a strong reminder for us about whose kingdom we’re actually building.

One of the things that I think has kept most churches from driving down this road is that the fruit of this kind of ministry isn’t measurable. Might we need to consider that just because you can’t measure something doesn’t mean that it isn’t fruitful. It just means that it might not fit on an Excel spreadsheet.

Thoughts?

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