“Underlying Movements” are those unseen influences lurking below the surface that provoke people to act differently. I first sighted #4 last April in Atlanta where CKN and RSI organized a pastor’s round table discussion with six of the more innovative pastors in the US. Check out the link for details.
These pastors were passionate and creative leaders from churches like Community Christian in Naperville, IL, Granger Community near South Bend In., Flamingo Road in Ft Lauderdale, Gateway Community in Austin to name a few. The aggregate week-end church attendance of the group was something like 35,000…..that kind of exposure puts you at the forefront of connecting with and feeling the needs of communities.
Fresh and provocative insight surfaced throughout the two day conversation. One I didn’t expect was this issue of “Simplicity and Sustainability.” The pastors talked about this struggle to make life work with all the competing demands. It’s a real barrier to people engaging in your ministry, in small groups, and in turn experiencing spiritual growth and freedom in Christ.
Since that conversation I’ve stumbled onto numerous studies and resources affirmimg just how significant the struggle is. One is a book by Randy Frazee….Making Room For Life. Randy and I were speakers last month at the “Church In The Burbs” conference in Naperville. Randy pointed out just how complicated our lives have become with all the competing relationships in our lives. You know….. relationships like family…parents….doctor…..work….fitness center….school….kids sports teams….clubs…..associations…..and on and on. Imagine these overwhelmed people trying to get involved in church which typically adds “six more relationships. Of course….we then challenge them to join a small group adding 5-10 more relationships and wonder why we can’t get participation beyond 30% or so of the congregation!
If we don’t help people see the need to simplify and help them learn how to do it in sustainable ways there isn’t “room for life” or “room for church”. Good Shepherd in Naperville, IL. is one of those churches attempting to do just that. They recently rethought and relaunched a fresh mission that reads:
Check out their church website and special “Driven website” to engage their congregation in this effort to simplify and rebuild a family life that is sustainable. And…in the end come to more fully know and love God……and in turn love each other.
How is your church addressing this significant barrier to people engaging in your ministry?