Are We Locked In

One of my favorite bloggers is Seth Godin. I’m not alone. Seth’s books have been best sellers and his blog post are short and insightful. Earlier in December, Seth Godin wrote this in a post called, “The Pitfalls of Lock In”

“When you believe your customers have no real choice, either because they’ve signed a long term contract, or the technology locks them in, or they’re stranded in Fargo with no other options, you’re likely to drift away from delighting them.

This is the story of Microsoft and Apple and Instagram, at least when they stumble.”

Godin cites Microsoft, Apple and Instagram- Netflix might be another example of a company that made a massive mistake thinking that they didn’t have delight their customers. Companies that lose sight of being fun, innovative, user-friendly, intuitive, and useful will see their standing in the marketplace plummet.

What does this say about the church?

I’ve sat in too many meetings or participated in too many conversations where there is a resistance to change and leaders are happy to be locked-in to the ways things were/are. I get it, change is tough. Change can be painful. Change can be sad. (I’m sure that some day when my daughter wants dub-step worship in church, I might be resistant too!) When we see the decline of our churches, when we see the moral decay in our society, when we see lost people who need Jesus- why are we not willing to do whatever it takes to share Jesus with them? Why do we expect “the world” to adapt to our rules or come to our house (our church) when they mostly don’t even know what they are looking for?

Godin says in his last line of the post: “Generations change, and if you’re here for the long haul, there is no lock-in.”

We live in a rapidly changing world. No sooner was the iPhone 5 out than there were rumors swirling about the iPhone 6. Generations of people are changing their thinking, their learning habits, their understanding about Christians- and if we are locked-in as a church, we run the danger of missing them.

The Apostle Paul writes:

Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law),so as to win those under the law.  To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

My prayer, is to have the courage and the boldness to do whatever it takes to share the gospel of Jesus with those who have not heard it, who reject it, and who don’t think they need it. That I might be willing to adapt, change, and modify my approach to ministry and life so that I might share salvation through Jesus Christ.

About Steve LaMotte

Husband of Andrea and father of four amazing children. Pastor at Avenue United Methodist Church in Milford, Delaware.
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