Granted, no congregation can make every Sunday morning experience a “Wow” experience but the pressure to make it a worthwhile experience is a pressure I feel every week. And the competition is fierce. The general public is more and more accustomed to high production quality entertainment. They are more familiar with sit-com formulas and competitive dancing than they are with hymns of the church. (What’s a hymn?) They are more familiar with a news cycle that lasts less than 24 hours than they are with the rhythms of the liturgical year. (What’s liturgical?)
I could elaborate further. Suffice it to say that we, the local congregation, are not going to measure up to most expectations for “Wow”: at least, not on a regular basis. Most congregations in this country are not “Wow” congregations. 80% of Protestant congregations have a membership of 100 or less. Our “wow” factor is limited.
I get it that people are ambiguous about church because:
- It just isn’t relevant to what’s going on in my life right now.
- Who needs all that community mess when I can be with God any time I want, anywhere I want?
- I like to keep my options open.
- I have more important things to do, like getting my laundry done before Monday.
What I don’t get is:
- Why does a congregation have to be all they want it to be from the moment they decide to show up?
- Why they think what they see on Sunday morning or evening is all there is to the life of any community of people who voluntarily come together?
- Why they assume a congregation is like a retail store, so when it doesn’t have all the merchandise they want, they just go somewhere else?
- Why they assume any congregation would have all the spiritual “merchandise” they could ever want or need?
- How do they even know what it is they want or need?
I am privileged to serve a congregation that is more committed to “Ah-ha” moments than to “wow” moments. It is an honor to serve Christ with people who are willing to unambiguously wrestle with the real ambiguities of living a faith of Christian discipleship in a culture that runs counter to our deepest held values of love, compassion, hope and peace.
So, if you are interested in journeying with a group of people committed to following Jesus:
- Who are unafraid to face the ambiguities of our age with the love of Christ
- Who are more interested in “ah-ha” than “wow”
- Who will take the time to know who you are as a child of God
then I invite you to invest your time in being with us, even though we may not have all the pieces of the puzzle you think you are looking for. You may be holding the last piece in your hand.