Thursday, October 21, 2010

Some Things are Just Plain Stupid

I try to keep a pretty open mind about things and I have learned not to be overly critical of people and some of the things people do. I may hear a terrible song on the radio and want to say how awful it is but then I realize some mother has this song hanging on her refrigerator door (figuratively of course). In other words, one man's junk may be another man's (or mother's) treasure.

There are a few things however, that can't be accepted even by a mother. No matter how you explain it, some things are just stupid. I mean extreme things like turtleneck sweaters, Steven Segall Movies, non-fat sour cream, and Hulk Hogan. If it weren't for it's recent resurgence, I would include 1980's fashion on this list but too many may have an issue with that one.

One thing I heard today fits this category above and beyond the rest. It is an advertisement that regularly plays on sports radio. It is an ad that say's "don't let drinking and driving ruin your life.... call our law offices and we will get your conviction dropped". The ad ends with a tag phrase that says, "Friends don't let friends plead guilty to drinking and driving".

Seriously? Enough people actually think driving drunk shouldn't be a big deal? Over 40,000 people die each year in traffic accidents involving a driver with a BAC over .08%. In fact, 47% of all driving fatalities are caused from drunk driving. Somehow this ad was made in the first place and then accepted by the marketing department of the radio station and apparently not offensive to anyone. This add basically says, "It isn't fair if your state enforces the law and punishes you for breaking it. It is not right that you might face jail time, a suspended license, and even pay a fine just because you only care about yourself. Let us help you be even more self-centered and help you not learn from your mistakes."

This is just stupid.

(The photo on the top is of a DUI lawyer)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Cost of Growth

Statistics say that new churches (or church plants) see nearly 100% turnover in the first three years of existence. Normally most of the key people who are not paid move on to new locations in this timeframe.

Several factors likely contribute to this turnover but the root of all of it comes down to a reality of any new church or business organization. In order to move from inception to a self sustaining existence, a great deal of sacrifice must be made.

In the case of new churches, the sacrifice comes in the form of hundreds of hours of volunteered time and above and beyond levels of financial commitments. Due to small sizes, those who are a part of something from the beginning are usually asked and sometimes demanded to give more and more in order to contribute to overall success. A dilemma exists that says, “if you don’t give more of yourself now, we can’t grow to the place where you won’t have to give as much”.

The question that arises is, “Should a church be built on the sacrifice of its people?” By sacrifice I do not mean a commitment to God that may lead to uncomfortable choices, but I do mean a sacrifice that is in the name of service but that comes at a price to relational and sometimes physical well-being.

We are now 2 years into our new church in Orange County and we have fought against the notion of demanding more and more from our people but we do have things that get left undone. We are committed to Christ and want our whole lives to be in service of God (and others) but we believe that God ultimately will build (or not build) our local church. I personally fight against the notion of sacrificing “workers” to build the organization but wonder if we will ever attain a self-sustaining existence with this attitude. Is it worth abandoning some of our ideals in hopes of attracting more people?