Monday, April 17, 2006

Excitement

John Rosemond is a family psychologist who has written about the epidemic of boredom among today’s affluent American kids. When he travels overseas, he asks parents “Do your kids complain about boredom?” The answer is invariably, “No.” When he surveys the previous generation in America and asks, “When you were raising your kids, did they complain about boredom?” They tell him, “Rarely.” But when he asks parents in America today whether their children complain of boredom, they say, “All the time.”

When he asks overseas about the number of toys the kids have, parents usually respond, “Toys?” When he asks older adults in this country how many toys their kids had growing up, the answer ranges from 1-10, and often they’ll say, “we mainly used a cardboard box for fun.” In contrast his research indicates that the average 5 year old in America today has 260 toys.

More significant than the number of toys is the fact that today’s toys “make the noise for you.” In previous generations and in different parts of the world the noise of a fire truck, or the shooting sound of a toy soldier would have to be supplied by the child. But the experience is more entertaining, because there are an infinite number of ways to make a siren noise. For the previous generation the toy soldier was in one position, and did not talk. So you had to supply so much more imagination to the experience. But that was the fun of it. Playing now is very controlled, and it’s b-o-r-i-n-g. It’s passive, instead of active.

I think John Rosemead has put his finger on one of the reasons the average church experience has become so blasé. Someone’s doing it all for us. The paid staff do the ministry. They make all the noise. We just sit back passively and enjoy the show. The irony is that a passive approach to church ends up being less stimulating in the long run.

When you help people become engaged in either a small group or ministry team, you do more than increase the size of your ministry. You raise the quality of it as well. The most exciting experience for a Christian is to be hands-on and engaged; active in ministry instead of passive. When Christians find a place where they can make some noise, their faith takes on new meaning.

When you are personally involved, Christianity becomes a real, lively experience between you and God. You’re almost never bored.


One of the better quotes I’ve come across lately: “Church has become so complicated that you have to be a professional to do it.”

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