Thursday, March 29, 2012

Accepting the Reality of a Two Time-Slot World (Organic, Part 6)

When it comes to involvement in church-related activities, most people have a limited amount of time they can donate. As a rule of thumb, most people will participate in only two time slots a week. No matter what that third or fourth meeting is for or when it takes place, it’s hard to get anyone to show up.

Of course, there are exceptions. Every church has some ministry animals who show up whenever the doors are open.  In addition, there are others who serve in key positions who give more than a couple of time slots. But the pattern holds true for most people – it’s two time slots, with an occasional extra meeting or special event thrown in.

I have chosen to tailor my ministry to this reality.  If most people have only two time slots they are able to donate or commit to each week, I want it to be the weekend service (first and foremost) and one other event of their choosing during the week.  And for the people who are so busy that they don’t have the time for an extra event beyond the weekend, I’m okay with that too.  I will minister to them as they are.

If church leaders do not accept this reality about people, it will only lead to their own frustration. 

Let’s be honest.  Most people are already very busy with other good things going on in their lives such as work, family responsibilities, and friendship circles.  That doesn’t mean they are unspiritual, don’t love Jesus, or are uncommitted to spiritual growth.  It just means they are investing in their family (which is their first ministry), going to work, and living in the community as witnesses for Christ.

Instead, why not accept this reality?  Let’s preach to their heart on Sunday’s with solid Bible content in a God-honoring worship service, and then send them out into the community to live out the gospel in a way that seems right to them and how God made them?  Why not allow them to be a Christian witness when they are going to their kids’ sports games, taking an art class, or having dinner with their neighbors?  This allows leaders to not get frustrated with having the same four-or-five people to show up at every event and complaining about all those other people who aren’t mature in the faith. 

Organic ministry allows for friends to get together on their own for Bible study and prayer, or even allows them to go out into nature and behold God’s handiwork there.  Organic ministry allows for people to do ministry in every part of their lives and not see it as only as only a scheduled event provided by church leaders.  Organic ministry gives people the freedom for “hang time” with each other.  Organic ministry allows church leaders to not stress about how many people show up to their event.  Organic ministry releases church leaders to give their best efforts to God and family first, instead of their leftovers.

By tailoring my own ministry to the reality of a two time-slot world, I am less frustrated with people; I have more margin in my personal life; I am less fatigued; and I am more effective in my ministry efforts.

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