Tell Yourself: Why Congregations Need to Stop Looking for External Affirmation — [D]mergent
We walked to the YMCA yesterday, my four year-old son and I. The snow fell on us as we made our way to the entrance.
“That’s called a snowflake,” the boy said.
“That’s good,” I observed. “You’re pretty amazing. Has anyone ever told you that?”
He stuck out his hand to catch a snowflake, and said, “I tell myself that.”
If true, at four he’s further down the road to maturity than a lot of people I know—myself included sometimes.
Indeed, he’s further down the road than most congregations I know, which seem constantly to pursue the kind of affirmation that comes from some external source.
“We’ve got xxxx people. We have a bazillion dollar budget. Our new parking lot features a helipad. We’ve got dedicated space for Christian Aerobics, a Starbucks in the vestibule, and an anointed unicorn that cries magic jelly bean tears that have little Jesus fish embossed on them. Please tell us we’re amazing.”
It’s hard. Human beings—even perhaps, especially? suitably zealous Christian ones—look for a sign to reassure them that they’re moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, the signs they’re busy reading often have as their goal a destination the gospel finds unintelligible.