Thursday, July 17, 2008

Right under our noses

Well, we've gotten moved to Monticello, Arkansas. It's a nice place, or at least seems to be. Of course, we've had a small hitch in our introduction to our new home. Somebody stole our lawnmower. Right out of the carport. You see, with all of the hullabaloo of moving, we just did not get the thing pushed around into the backyard from the carport. It was a minor oversight, but someone in the past couple of days looked, thought he needed a lawnmower more than we did, walked up into our carport, and walked off with it. It was taken, almost literally, right from under our noses.

This has me thinking today about our churches. More specifically, our churches and our very unpretty retention rate. We lose people out of church every week, people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Why do we lose them? Usually because of some minor oversight. At least, it seems minor, but to them it was major. They faced something in the church that they couldn't get past. Maybe someone was less friendly, maybe they just got tired of something, and the enemy came, saw they were insecure in their faith and commitment, and walked out with them. Right under our noses. If only we had done something. Maybe they needed a mentor, maybe it was a need for a friend. It could have been a lack of accountability, a lack of being challenged to grow, or a lack of being encouraged. They might have needed rest. I've seen this in many churches, someone is worn out from doing the same thing in church, maybe it's teaching or deaconing or watching the nursery, but since no one else will do it, they have done it for years, and now, to get a break, they just drop out.

So what do we do? First, we have to acknowledge the danger. Ann and I have lived in various places over the years, the past 6 have been in the Memphis metro area. You know what we've had stolen? Nothing. Not one thing from our home, from our cars, no purse-snatching, no pickpocketing, no carjackings. Where have we been stolen from? Well, right before we married, Ann had her purse stolen in a small town in Arkansas, and now, we've had a lawnmower taken in another small town in Arkansas. You can have things stolen anywhere. Just like you can lose anyone from a church. Don't look at someone and say, 'oh, they'll never leave.' They might. True, their bodies may still show up, but their hearts and spirits have moved on.

Then, we need to make a plan to secure our folks. It may be a simple matter of movement(like putting the lawnmower in the backyard), give them something else to do, a different challenge to take. It may be simpler(like using a chain lock on the mower in the carport), give some quick encouragement. It may be harder (like enclosing the carport into a garage and closing the door), like developing true, indepth fellowship and life sharing that will make us a Biblical community.

If that seems like too much work, remember this: I've got to use my weed-eater to trim a very large yard. That's going to hurt. And if we don't do what is necessary to secure the fellowship we have, realize that we still have a huge field to harvest, and we need all of us to get it done....

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful insight into the plight of the disappearing church......We can ALL do something about it. We must develop true "Koinonia"


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