For some reason today I’ve been thinking about — or perhaps God keeps bringing to mind — some of the questions that define us as a church. There are a handful of defining church questions that shape us, whether we intentionally answer them or not. Here are a few that I’m pondering…
1) Will we structure our strategies and shape our decisions for the alienated 2%? In a recent blog Seth Godin writes,
If you have fans or followers or customers, no matter what you do, you’ll annoy or disappoint two percent of them. And you’ll probably hear a lot more from the unhappy 2% than from the delighted 98. It seems as though there are only two ways to deal with this: Stop innovating, just stagnate. Or go ahead and delight the vast majority. Sure, you can try to minimize the cost of change, and you might even get the number to 1%. But if you try to delight everyone, all the time, you’ll just make yourself crazy. Or become boring.
2) How do we help a consumer oriented society change their paradigm of the church from that of a business providing services to a family that serves? When we go into a business, for example a restaurant, we expect to be served and if we are not adequately served we feel it is our right to complain. When our kids eat at home, they are expected to serve…and if they chose not to serve, but still exercise their right to complain…well let’s just say, I don’t give them a tip.
3) Are we going to be a people of the Word and the Spirit? Do we recognize that the work of God is the work of God, to the extent that we really believe that strategies without the Spirit, programs without prayer, service without the supernatural are a waste of time?
4) Do we really care if our neighbors live and die without Jesus?
5) Will we embrace extravagant generosity?
The answers to these questions shape us and I’m not talking about the answers we give with our mouths, but the answers we show in our actions. I encourage you to look at those questions and think through the answers as they apply to you personally.