Drinking Deeply

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 11:16 AM

Bending over backwards

An email (edited) I sent off to a friend.

The context is that recently our pamphlets//booklets//whatever it is that has the worship order for church went through a design change. One of the things changed was that the area which was formerly used for Scripture and notes has been replaced with song lyrics for the response song.

I was a little (understatement) surprised and wondered why that happened so I sent off an email inquiring. The pastor responded that they wanted to encourage people to bring their Bibles and get in the habit of journaling, so they don't just jot a few notes down and then leave the booklet and forget. All good things of course.

My friend asked me what I thought about that, so here's my email, just for future reference, with some notes at the end for those who made it through and want to respond.
I'm not sure what exactly is the right way to deal with this, but I've often noticed that we try to bend over backwards for other people who may have a tougher time of engaging in spirituality and the practice of true religion, and all that ends up happening is it makes it harder for everyone and those people we're trying to reach still doesn't engage in it.

An example would be when we as the guys small group moved our meeting day to Saturday to fit Jason and Alan's schedules. It was harder on all of us, and Jason and Alan ended up not showing up anyway, so we moved it back.

I find this to be a same example. People who want to bring their Bibles, will bring their Bibles anyway whether or not the Scripture is printed (unless the pastor doesn't ever refer to another text). People who don't particularly care, won't, even if the Scripture isn't printed. Same thing with the notes. People who are in the habit of taking notes, will take notes. People who don't care, won't, and it doesn't matter what the pamphlet looks like.

It seems that leaving out the Scripture and space for notes is just hurting those who already have made a practice of it, and will have a minimal impact upon those who don't. I for one love having the Scripture printed there even when I have my own Bible, because it gives me a chance to write all over the text, drawing lines and making connections.
Yeah, so the statement at the top still applies. I'm not sure how much we ought to bend over backwards to accommodate people that just don't care. Obviously we ought to seek to accommodate people to see if they do indeed care, but what if they don't?

With our fellowship shrinking the past k or so years, it's become harder and harder to pursue those who have not wanted to participate. Ought we to continue to do so? Or consolidate our losses and seek to simply pursue sanctification within first?

An example when "giving up on others to focus on what we have" worked. My junior year our Bible study consisted of 4 guys. There were a few others who were around, but they never came. Be it the distance, the lack of commitment, or what. We prayed for more people, but when they never showed, we continued to seek growth ourselves. That year was tremendous, in fact, I might dare to claim it had a deep impact on at least 3 of the 4, partially due to that small group of people who were committed. It was rare to see someone miss a night for anything, even when tests rolled around. That rocked.

::shrug:: thoughts?

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Blogger Tommy said...

long time not see i guess =P
i totally agree with this post
and as a music worship leader it's something thats very real
i think the attitude is that leaders sometimes have to compensate things they do to force another person to act a certain way when it is God who leads in the first place
in other words, my example would be during music-worship, i would say certain things to try and drag those "non-worshipper" (though that word is untrue/unknowable in the firs place)to a place or worship, distracting the rest of the congregation's worship, all when God is the one that will ultimately lead the people to worship, not anything i do...
so really i think it just comes down to doing what is going to lead other people to God's worship and holiness, whether or not it is what you think to be "most effective"  


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