From the majority of Christian pulpits and classrooms comes the message, “We need to do more.” The lesson is taught, the sermon preached and people are left wondering, “Now what?” After all that good information, motivating words, and all the rest what am I going to do about it? There is no shortage of guilt among many Christians today as people hear over and over again that they are expected to do so much but the reality of their week doesn’t seem to naturally flow from the implications they were left with in Sunday’s message.
It is easier to talk about application than it is to do it:
It is easier for those of us who “do church work” to push application than it is for us to actually plan something. We realize that we can’t just talk about the details and have a nice and accurate interpretation of the passages we are studying and not move to the next step, application and yet the devil is in the details. Who will plan the trip, who will make the calls, who is identifying the needs, and how are the nuts and bolts coming together that applies what we have learned? We have masses of busy people who would like to do more but often lack the focus and intention of making it happen in any regular way. Yet, if the opportunity is presented to them people come out of the woodwork to make a difference.
It is a difficult road from “I want to” to “I did”:
People get caught up in the routine of life and unless the opportunity is presented to them, chances are they are not going to plan ways to apply Sunday’s lesson(s). Before we go further it is important to recognize that not all application is planned, organized and done in groups. In reality it is not really all that difficult to find a way to apply what we hear on Sunday if we have decided that is what we need to do. We also have to train people to start thinking missionally and realize that not every application of Sunday’s lesson comes in an organized way. Christians can put it into practice in dozens of ways on their own as opportunities present themselves in the home, neighborhood, workplace, etc. But the problem is, most people need a reminder…someone from the outside helping them along and providing opportunity and outlets to put into practice the things we talk about being the main priorities of the church.
One of the biggest challenges is identifying the needs:
The reality is, all most people need is to be aware of what the needs are. The trick is finding out what the needs are and communicating them in an effective way. It can be difficult sorting through all the agencies and NPO’s in your area, getting contact info, finding out what they need (if anything) that is suitable for the group you are trying to move into volunteer action, setting the dates that work for people and then doing it. By the time you get it planned, you already spent more time planning it than the actual service often entails (a point Jay brought up to me this morning). There has to be a better way where the needs and the volunteers get connected without feeling like we have to pull teeth to get it done.
In a post or two in the next couple of weeks I am going to share about an exciting way congregations and organizations in the community can connect people who want to serve with various needs in a way that doesn’t take as many nuts and bolts to get it done. More on that later.