I don’t know about you but I am really sick and tired of books and articles talking about how lazy, insecure, and undisciplined the American Christian is.
Too many people are moaning about the lack of commitment and discipline as we respond to polls taken by various organizations. I don’t put a lot of stock in polls. I try to listen to the people I am talking to and ministering to every day.
So here is what I’ve found. We whine and gripe way too much about what people won’t do or haven’t done, and fail to understand that most Christians in America who aren’t on fire, who aren’t what we would call fully-devoted followers of Jesus don’t have a problem with commitment. They have a problem with challenge.
Where is the challenge going to church week after week, hearing an irrelevant message and singing songs that have no connection emotionally or spiritually? Where is the challenge when they hear sermons berating them and their sins from people who are asking so much from them to the point that they feel demeaned and demoralized?
Here is my point. We ask way too little of people. But we demand way too much. Here is the difference: a command, or to be demanding is to try to manipulate people into a response. It’s telling people to do something without showing them the reason or the benefit. We ask way too little.
Asking someone to do something in a way that gets them to respond positively puts the burden back on me. It means I have to be inspiring. I have to show the reason why this is important and why they should use their valuable time and give their money to support it. Basically it means I have to challenge them. And we know through surveys (if you like surveys) that people in American churches want to be challenged. I talk to people every day who are going to churches where they are under-challenged and over-stimulated. We go to church week after week, and come away fired up, with little application for the real world.
So if you’re a leader, stop demanding so much. You can’t demand anything anyway. Try to demand it of your children and see what happens. Men, demand that your wife submit and see what happens to you. But asking, challenging, inspiring; that’s where it really is. And that’s what we want.
So let’s stop demanding and let’s start asking. Let’s stop hanging people over the pits of hell if they don’t come to church every week and tithe and serve. Let’s challenge them. Let’s show the benefit of tithing, of church attendance, and of serving. Let’s inspire them, move them, and motivate them. Isn’t it amazing? That’s what Jesus did. Jesus told stories that got people excited. That’s what we need to do.