Dying 2 Live...!

Dying 2 Live...!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

TRENDWATCHING: "The Leading Trend"

Today, we will be embarking on a new mini-series called "trendwatching." It is not just the watching of trends that will become our observational basis, but some of the latest trends particularly in the church. Okay, with no further ado, let's jump in.

Yes, churches follow fads and trends! Some are healthy and some not so healthy. The first trend we'll be addressing is the "leading trend." One may ask, "What is the leading trend?" Well, it's quite simple. The leading trend is the trend of revamped leadership in the church. But one is not just referring to any old type of leadership; we're talking about hyperbolic leadership. I know some are thinking: "Goodness, Mark...enough with the big words." Just stay with me for a moment, I'm going somewhere with this! Hyperbole is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. It is based on exaggerated emphasis or unrealistic expectations. 

So what's the importance of this lesson in creative literature? The importance is this: many churches are demanding unrealistic expectations as it relates to leadership. Now, it's fully understandable to want better leadership and run a smoother sailing ship, but at what cost?

Here are 3 things your church can watch out for as being wrong reasons for revamping your leadership (in order to honor God):

"We Want Immediate Growth"

"It's our growth, and we want it now!" This slogan may work with J.G. Wentworth and not fully with the local church. The local church is not a structured settlement; it's a loving community. Just like any other thing in life, growth is not always overnight. Get this, it's a process! To automatically think your church will go from 10 to 10,000 in a matter of a couple months is extremely unrealistic, no matter what gimmicks you do. I never said it couldn't be done, but unnecessary pressure would be added to a local group of people unwisely. Individuals can better plan for steps than they could for long jumps. Let God control the growth, not a local church's overzealous leadership.

"We Want Excellence"

Excellence is a good word, but recently, churches have overused it. First and foremost, there is a proper attitude that should go with excellence. Rather than having impressive results, God desires for your heart to be right. If one has to complain to ministry after ministry or want a Sunday morning to be a worship service of absolute perfection and won't be pleased unless those results are always rendered; that's just unrealistic. I refer to it as Unexcellent Excellence. People resent working or volunteering in a local church that overvalues some lofty goal of impressive results, rather than truly valuing the people themselves. Churches should value both, weighing heavier on the individual. A good motto is, "...In all things LOVE." Ministries shouldn't be so quick to rebuke their helpers for not always getting things perfectly right the first or even fifth time around. Again, let's understand most things done (even in the church) are a process and not usually learned overnight. It's not just about excellent-looking end results. But it's about having an attitude, a heart---a proper spirit of excellence in love---toward one another in reaching those eventual end results together, as a team.

"We Want to Treat our Guests like they're at the Ritz-Carlton"

Lastly, churches are just too eager to get people into seats and go after large numbers for a Sunday worship service. Sometimes churches go way too overboard with their treatment of visitors. I understand the importance of making people feel welcomed, but not at the expense of everybody else. Dont' just treat your guest well, treat everyone well. If it's ONLY about the guests, then that's no longer a church but a hotel. In a hotel you don't expect people to stay too long, so you give them 5-star treatment for a hopeful annual return visit. Churches shouldn't look to survive on annual return visits. Churches are made to be similar to a community, a family, a hospital, a building, a marriage and a body. These are all definitions the Bible gives for the church. It's about a day-by-day support system, not a once-a-year vacation plan. It's made for where you live (on this journey called life), not just where you visit. Never is the thought of a hotel, motel or inn ever applied for the concept of the church.

And for the 5-star treatment, hotels like the Ritz-Carlton only give 5-star service for a 5-star price. If you pay $500+/night; you'll get great service. But try getting that same service on a $50/night budget at the Ritz. They'll laugh you out of the hotel, sending you across town to the Motel 6 or Red Roof Inn. What happened to the great service? The great service was only partial to high-qualifying clientele. God's not like that; He's impartial. Churches should take note and be like-minded.   

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