Have you ever been frustrated when you buy a product only to find out you have to buy something else just to make the product work?
Are there any other parents out there who would echo my annoyance? You get home after getting your kid a great gift only to read those dreaded words…Batteries Not Included!
I wish someone would have made that clear when I was still at the store. Frustration wells up every time this happens because all I want is a little clarity…what do I need to do to make this thing work?
Do you ever wonder if our community feels this same way about the Church?
In church circles we have become masters of creating invitations, branding and slogans that invite people in. The danger in all of our creative efforts is to make something that is cute but unclear. I’ll take some of my own advice and get straight to the point…
Don’t Hide Jesus.
The Church has one thing – and only one thing – that is most helpful and beneficial to our community. That one thing is Jesus. Sometimes in our effort to make Jesus known we inadvertently hide him in our messaging. It’s rarely intentional. In an effort to make church relevant we talk about the power of community, the value of service to others and other concepts that help drive people towards engagement. The logic is simple – if they get engaged they will eventually find Jesus.
The problem is that we sell people on a lifestyle and habits that are a bit like the kids toys I mentioned above. They are cool concepts that lack power. Through force of will a person can change their calendar and habits. But who cares about changing habits if the heart remains unchanged.
We have to make sure we are clear and upfront about the One who changes everything for the better. It’s a bit ironic that we can in the same moment want people to know Jesus and subtly hide him in our efforts. Our work might be fantastic, but Jesus is the one who is irresistible.
That is one of the reasons I love this declaration I hear almost weekly at our church – “Jesus makes your life better and makes you better at life.”
My encouragement to you this week is to continue working to make church experiences that are excellent, compelling and creative – but be mindful of the main thing. Don’t Hide Jesus.