A second realization that came from yesterday’s sermon on community was that I have expected too little from the members of our congregation. When I was initially coming up with some things that would motivate people to come to groups I noticed that we have gone to great lengths to remove as many barriers as possible to them attending a group. If groups are too far away, we try to add one in their area of the county. We limit their length so that people will attend. We do all we can to make people comfortable and able to attend. Do you think there comes a point in time that it all gets watered down and we miss the point?
When I was reflecting on these things during the week I realized it was all too small. The Gospel is not a call to convenience but to commitment. Our reason to participate in Christ-centered community is not how little we have to invest in it or whether or not it consistently makes us feel comfortable. If that is what people need to hear to get involved, their priorities have become worldly and we need to first address those issues before we can expect change. Jesus called people to crosses, not easy chairs. What if someone has to drive 30 minutes or an hour to get to a group? Is that bad? What if a group runs over or someone needs to give some extra time to someone who is hurting or serving someone? Is that bad? Of course not. But if we aim low in our expectations of others that is where they will end up. If we try to remove any and all inconvenience and barriers we will end up with people who are spiritually anemic.
I am ready to have higher expectations. I am ready to call people to the same things Jesus was calling them to. Some people in Jesus’ day didn’t want to hear it and that will be true today as well but we keep calling.