This is About Church
Think back to the early 20th century and a man named Henry Ford. A major paradigm shift was taking place. Horses and buggies were disappearing as more and more cars arrived on the scene. Now, what if your livelihood depended on selling buggy whips? You probably wouldn’t look favorably on Mr. Ford and his assembly line. Your church is facing that kind of paradigm shift!
Your Favorite Team
Sometimes it’s easier to see a problem if it’s in a different setting. So, I invite you to think about your favorite sport and your favorite team. In that team and that sport, it all comes down to the game and the win/loss ratio. You might be an SEC Football fan. You may have cheered for guys named Nick, Gus, A. J., or Cam. Or maybe you like basketball and remember a couple of class acts named Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. The analogy works with any sport. I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan, so I’ll use them and Tony Romo to make my point and a recommendation.
Romo’s Job – Cowboys’ Job
Every player and coach is on the team to win games. They are paid extremely well in order to compete at the top level. That’s the bottom line. Everything else is secondary. Some secondary items would be:
- Color of the uniforms
- Name of the team
- Weather conditions
- Lines to get tickets
- Team cheerleaders
Now suppose Tony Romo and company got overly concerned with the list above. What if they spent their time arguing about the comfort level of fan seating? What if they had meetings about the color of the stadium? What if the only thing they cared about was how many people came to the game? I know those are things that teams address. But great goal line stands, great running backs, intercepted passes, and last minute field goals will cause the fans to endure long lines, freezing rain, and uncomfortable seats in order to see the game. And they will do it in vast numbers. It’s about the game, not the stadium!
The Stadium Church
The church has adopted a ‘stadium’ mentality. It’s all about how many come, how comfortable the seats are, and whether or not the ‘fans’ have everything they like. That’s why we have “Nones” and “Dones”! Don’t think so? The Stadium church is concerned with:
- How many are present (the measure of success for pastors and denominations)
- The church hands out religous care and instruction
- People come in order to be ‘fed’ spiritually (not bad, unless this is all they get!)
- Church meets attenders’ needs through quality programs (the needs of the lost?)
- Families have the ‘professionals’ teach their children (that’s what they get paid for!)
The Locker Room Church
What does every successful sporting franchise have? A locker room. What happens there? In a larger sense, coaches teach, encourage, train, equip, bandage, tape, comfort, and motivate their players. What the coaches are not concerned with is the crowd outside! Successful coaches don’t make their decisions to please the fickle crowd. If a church has a locker room mentality, then these things happen:
- Those who come understand they are on mission – As the Father sent Me, so send I you!
- Those who come have been taught to feed themselves spiritually – discipled
- Those who come understand it’s their role to disciple their families then others
- The pastors (the coaches!) are equipping people to make disciples
- Those present are in the game and ready to be equipped, encouraged, & sent back out
Recommendation: The Locker Room – A New Paradigm of Church
The author, Jeff Mann, is a friend of mine. You can read about him in the book. But his book will challenge you and open your thoughts to what the Church was always intended to be. You see, the stadium model isn’t working. Our society is proof. Maybe it never worked, or maybe we just got away from the game and got consumed with pleasing the crowd. Remember, it was the crowd that yelled, Crucify Him, Crucify Him! Get your copy through the link below!