Sunday, February 03, 2008

I thought I ordered a macchiato?

What is the Church of the Future, you ask? I’m not sure if I can even partially or adequately describe it. I confess I am only beginning my search for it, so in this way I am no expert or shouldn’t even be considered a leader. I was always told that you can’t lead people where you have never been, so if this is true I am disqualified to say anything until I have it all figured out. But, Future Pastor, if I can just speak to you as a friend, then maybe we can get somewhere together. I know I am guilty of oversimplifying, but here I go again. The differences between the Church As We Know It and the Church of the Future are pretty obvious and it helps me to narrow things down so I can get a grasp on the real issues. My experience with the Church As We Know It comes from a modern, efficient and practical approach to its function. For example, it meets on Sundays because most people don’t work on Sunday, so in this it is more practical than to try and do the same thing on Monday or Thursday. Its value for efficiency drives it to create multiple services so it can service as many people as possible in the time allotted. Starbucks takes a similar approach by setting up new stores with an easy in and out drive through lane. They also realized that brewing espresso by hand the old fashioned way takes way too much time, so efficiency wins out over quality by adding automated machines that kick out the product in record time. It’s not very good, but we don’t really care because everyone is in a hurry and don’t have the time to realize that we are settling for an inferior cup of coffee. But sugar and heat cover a multitude of gastronomical sins, so it’s all good. Our love of efficiency has led us to create the form of Church As We Know It. Never mind that we go mindlessly week after week never stopping to ask, “Is this what I really wanted?” It works the way it was designed, and we accept it and go on without asking any questions or thinking that it could be any different. Future Pastor, you can’t change Starbucks, but you can decide whether to go there or not. There are other ways to get an outstanding cup of coffee, you may just not be able to get it handed to you through your car window as you hurry along to wherever it is you are going. What will change your behavior is changing what you value. If savoring coffee as it was intended is most important, then you will figure out a way to make that happen, but if getting something sweet and hot in your hand without getting out of your car is what you want, then there are plenty of places to serve you. Do you see my point?

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