Remember Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams: “If you build it, he will come?” The time and money and energy he devoted to building an entire baseball field in his backyard resulted in the return of legendary Shoeless Joe Jackson to the diamond and most importantly the return of his own joy-filled dreams. I loved that movie—the hope of redemption and the way he fashioned the future with his own hands, left me believing that if I just tried/believed/worked hard enough, anything is possible.
The church (and lots of other organizations, too) has done a bit of mis-remembering this quote and turned it into: “If you build it, they will come.” If we can create a perfect worship experience, the people will flock to Jesus. If we offer a program/class/small group/opportunity that fits everyone’s needs, no one will be able to resist and our sanctuary will be overflowing. If we just do something, they will come.
Let me state the obvious: this does not work. We try to entice the proverbial you with the most perfect meal or opportunity and it falls flat. We’ve offered some pretty awesome programs and the chairs sit empty, some really great studies and no one shows up. Now, to be clear—this is not your fault; and it’s not our fault. It just might mean that being a follower of Jesus in this particular place does not mean we need a program or a small group or another thing to fill our time. It just might mean that what you long for cannot be met by doing something…it just might mean that we what we long for can be met by simply being…
What if we became a community that didn’t focus on offering things that the rest of the world offered (meetings, groups, more stuff to do), but we became a community that focused on:
- vulnerable connections
- repentance and forgiveness
- and radical, affirming love?
What might we look like? What kind of atmosphere would rise from our souls if, as followers of a gracious life-giving God, we became havens of light and love to each other in this chaotic and hurting world? It would be a whole lot more messy than a weekly class or gathering, but we could really start this work among us right now…no meeting needed. I imagine our approaches would be a little different, but the Spirit just might fashion us into the vibrant, beautiful body of Christ that God is calling us to be.
With the love of