I had the honor of being at a leadership meeting today and hearing one today's staretgic thinkers along the lines of leading in the church. You can hear more from Tony Morgan at his website / blog www.tonymorganlive.com or go get a copy of his book Killing Cockroaches.
There were many things that stuck out in my mind, but one of them had followed me home, rattled around in my heart and made me stop and take a second look. It is the idea that tony called the "giant blue inflatable monkey."
You know about it. You've seen at the car dealership or somewhere like that. When a business tries to the attention of potential customers by getting a huge inflatable thing and drawing attention to their product, etc. One of the truths is this: the best way to draw customers is a great product and excellent customer service. Not nessecairly a "giant blue inflatable monkey" is the answer to getting people's attention.
But in the church we go out and find things that get people's attention rather than finding a way to speak to people where they are. We must desire our vision and our purpose and while we come to grips with who we are and what we do, we will see ways to meet people where they are.
It is not easy to get people's attention most of the time. We can use all kinds of methods and means to get them to look our way, yet the main thing that we want to give people is the reality that Jesus is life and that is the hope that everyone needs. What are we doing to get the attention of the people around? Are we conjouring up things that take away from the message?
Speaking into people's lives is something we have to do. But to get their attention we have to speak into the context of where they are and what is going on in our lives.
One question that you and I should have already answered is something like this: are we here to maintain those inside the church or are we here to help others meet the Jesus who has changed our lives? The answer to both is yes. But one flies high above the other. There are people all around us who need help and who need hope. By meeting those needs, by speaking life as we enter into relationships with people lives will change.
So are we just finding the big inflatables or we cultivating relationships with people? Both draw attention. One will keep attention longer and make a much bigger difference.
John 14:6 (NLT) --- Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.