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Your church is addicted to this (you are too) and what you can do about it in 2016

I remember one January we were trying to plan a quarter of activities in the youth ministry I led at the time. The goal was to schedule a spring retreat on a weekend where most of the ministry could attend. “How about this date?” I said excitingly. “I have a tournament that week,” one girl jumped in. “Oh yeah we do too!” So knowing I have a couple back up dates I said, “What about this one?” “I don’t know Robbie, that is the weekend before Spring Break and many of us will be going out of town.” “That’s right. I am sorry,” I said feeling a bit defeated. “This is the last date the retreat center has open so what are your thoughts about this one.” “Robbie that is right smack dab in district tournaments and plus spring baseball is gearing up for our families.”

Here is the bottom line when it comes to the difficulty of people getting connected to the mission of the church: We are just too busy. Busyness has become the status quo of western civilization. People all the time ask me, “Robbie how is the new church going?” and if I respond with, “We are really busy” then I always get a “that’s good” from folks. Why? Busyness is the modus operandi of our culture and the sad part is our churches have adopted this way of life and we are suffering.

How do we expect the church to participate in the mission of God when our schedules are absolutely insane? I hear of my youth ministry friends struggling all the time to get kids to show up to events, parents to volunteer and people in the church to participate and I think it all comes back to our lives are lived like a rat race and we don’t even know it. I saw a video on the Verge Network site that resonates with much of what I am saying and Paul Tripp makes a good case. It only takes a couple minutes to watch…

The Biggest Challenge Facing the Church Today | Paul David Tripp from Austin Stone Counseling Center on Vimeo.

So what can we do to help the mission of our church? Ask this important game-changing question:

“What set of values drives the schedule of our family?”

Early in our family we made it a point that we would not miss services because of a ball game. Now this was not to say that missing a service here and there was evil rather we wanted to create an atmosphere early that said, “above sports, hobbies and other things we value Jesus Christ and his church.” I have not regretted making that decision. In a time where busyness is a god we are trying to eschew the cultural milieu we are in by practicing simplicity in our faith.

I can’t tell parents what they should do but I can try to model what I think is a better way for our family. We are not perfect in this but we try to practice balance when and wherever possible. They still do sports and other things but we take breaks and we don’t push them. For you Christians out there here is the question: “If I were to ask you to disciple someone in your current schedule for 1-2 hours a week could you do it?”

Many of you are setting goals for 2016 (read Michael Hyatt’s post about that) and I think that is wonderful but let me push you a bit and ask that you make living a simpler life so that you can have mission at the front of your life your goal. “Ever wonder why many people do not volunteer at your church?” A huge reason is that they simply do not have the time. They don’t.

Grace and peace,