Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Guilt

The Church of the Future needs to take a lesson from the Church As We Know It when it considers how to motivate people. Consider the use of guilt. I recently read in a newsletter a chiding from a pastor at a Church As We Know It. He was complaining about how people tend to get lazy in the summer and slack off from their church duties, like helping in Children’s Church and going to small group. Even though they might have a very legitimate reason for not being able to teach Sunday School in the summer, the basic assumption was that the members are not holding up their end of the bargain. The article went so far as to remind members that Jesus was not a nine-month out of the year Savior, and since he went so far as going to the cross, the least we could do is go to all the meetings that were offered. He concluded that we should obey the command to not neglect the assembling together of the saints. Why not go further in the reproach? If nine months isn’t good enough, why is once-a-week any better? Why not everyday? Why not twice-a-day, three times a day? Where do you end the shame? This is the problem with guilt-based motivation. It works with arbitrary reference points. It doesn’t concern itself with freedom. Its prime usefulness is in survival. Consider it this way. If you were in business offering a product that no one was buying, you would have to ask the inevitable “why?” Is it the fault of the market or the product? What could be done to change the lack of interest? Guilt is an option here, and it works in the short term, kind of like the guilt over global warming, but eventually people will end up doing what makes most sense to them. So why not focus on what makes most sense rather than using guilt? People are busy in our culture. Why not take the summer off church activities? Why not trim the Church As We Know It schedule down to once a month worship services? You and I both know why that won’t happen. Because people will forget to give their tithe, and if they forget to give their tithe, we can’t pay all the salaries, and if we can’t pay all the salaries, then staff won’t have a job and if the staff doesn’t have a job, we would have to assume that God doesn’t care about us, and if God doesn’t care about us, then what are we really believing in? See why guilt is easier than freedom?

2 comments:

Lew A said...

Right on...

I think I got to your blog from Glenn Hager's re-dreaming the dream... but I have so many tabs open, I have no idea.

Either way, great post, much needed today.

God's Glory,
Lew

The Shmoo said...

So true!
Loved the last paragraph the most!