In 1989 Kevin Costner starred in a movie that I've entitled this post after. The basic premise of the film was creating a space and rhythm for memories and connections to be made. The most famous line from the flick "if you build it, they will come" has long been a rallying point for those of us who are immersed in the world of ministry.
We've spent millions of dollars, hours and other resources crafting programs that have been designed to attract people towards Jesus like a fly to fly-paper, and if we were honest about our measurement of success, we might simply categorize these efforts as a colossal fail.
Think about this for a minute. I live in Canada, and while I'm very thankful and grateful to be a part of this nation, there are many things that grieve me as a citizen of Canada. Consider our nation's unwillingness to fight for the rights of an unborn fetus, or our inability to create a inter-cultural community where tolerance isn't the common placed value for all.
When we place greater value on infrastructure and systems than we do people...we've simply got things mixed up.
We believe a lie...a lie that states if we build a great system or create a magnificent marketing campaign our product will sell better. But unless we can create a community or a hunger around the product we are marketing, our efforts are wasted.
The Field of Dreams myth suggests that the system or the program is of utmost value. The truth is the exact opposite. If we help create and foster a community of vibrant individuals, others will be drawn to it. Consider Martin Luther King, who spent a great deal of his life canvassing for a dream...a dream that saw the end of all racial tensions in the United States. King wasn't marketing a program...he was campaigning for a change in the value based system of society...he was intent on creating space and rhythm for a new reality or community to be born.
Maybe it's time we redirect our energies to consider what it might meant to create space and rhythm for community to form rather than programs that cease to become sustainable long term.
In the church world, if it is our desire to truly become closer to Jesus...to model our lives after his example...maybe we might just need to spend more time pursuing him instead of the "next big thing" in the realm of ministry. Can you imagine if families
Had a lot of fun with this one.
This is the second of a 3-part conversation on racism and the response of the local church. Join us as we learn, listen and grow.
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This post also appears on Canadian Youth Worker here. If you study the life of Jesus you will not only discover a God-man full of inte...