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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Friday, August 5, 2011


I recently read an article that explained why every single Hollywood star always looks good in their clothes--even in those paparazzi pictures of them schlumping around town in their jeans. It’s because they never, never wear anything that hasn’t been tailored to fit them. They really don’t all have perfect bodies. They don’t walk into a store and find the size that miraculously fits them, when the rest of us never seem able to find that store or that size. The secret is all in the tailoring!

Then I read another blog. You might like to go to this one yourself. It’s a great site that gives me much good stuff to think about.

It seems it’s necessary to tailor our communication to the various folks we want to stay in touch with. Some love email; others hate it. Some live on facebook; others find it silly and time-wasting. Some folks make do with only a cell-phone; others must be reached by landline. And finally they got to talking about the so-called generational divide. Is it really only a certain generation that prefers one thing or another? Is it really only the “young adults” who use this or that bit of technology? We talk a lot about that too.

So my further musings today are around this question: who bears the greater responsibility? Is it up to me to know what you prefer and to tailor my communication to suit you? Is it up to the congregation, or the pastor, or the church planter to tailor our welcome or our pastoral visiting, or our outreach to the exact preference of the folks we want to reach?

Is it unreasonable to expect that once in awhile a visitor or a long-time member might bend to accept our best intentions—even when me miss the mark a little?

We church folk really do spend an awful lot of energy thinking about what will appeal to young adults, or how to adjust our worship practices or our outreach programs. What can you do to ensure the “spiritual but not religious” find out that we’ve done just ever so much work to tailor our programs for them too.

It seems Paul was having some of these thoughts. Here's his conclusion in his letter to the Corinthians (ch 9:17-27)

For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I might by any means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.

So there you have it. Seems Paul wants us all to be tailors! What do you think?

Posted by Marion

1 comment:

  1. I think what comes to mind to me, as a young adult, is to be yourself, and live your mission

    That's good advise in pretty much any field or portion, authenticity is attractive! I've frequently seen church signs or slogans trying to attract me and others because they care about "me"... but how do I know what it is you care about? As you mentioned we (young adults) have no real definable characteristics in the modern world, how can people say they are interested in seeing me at church and yet have no clear understanding of who I am or what I'm seeking?

    It's nice for others to think over what they should do to get me (young adults) to church, but it's not nearly as flattering as asking me about myself and truthfully sharing characteristics (if they exist) that I will want and need (I use that word sparingly, because it's not what "you" think I need), and inviting me to share that experience with you.

    I've noticed frequently, particularly with my work with the Fired Up congregation, that most if not all of the effort your mentioning are best solved with being accepting and welcoming. Not just inviting, not just being present at church, but making church a great and rewarding place to be, and to make sure that others get there by recognizing their interests. And also growing and adapting church to be more, by taking what we (young adults) share as inspiration and making church into a constantly growing place. My mission as I see it, not just as a young adult but as an individual, is to help others see their own unique skills and opportunities. In this, I admit that a congregation is individual. It has to seek its own unique dreams and visions not try to be something someone else wants, but seek and find its own incredible and unique mission. By doing so you can attract people, not young adults, but people who share that mission and interest.

    I all too often think I, let alone church, get myself lost by focusing on where I want to be, not on the journey, and all the great things there. Likewise I've noticed congregations trying to be what they want to be instantly, without learning how to get there and embracing the people they meet on the way. We're never going to be at the end of the journey, so why does anyone act as if things are as they should be? I keep myself on track in school by recognizing that I don't know all or even most of what I want to.
    Matt Swain has been a great example of what I envision as a great congregation. He is in a growth period, and I... honestly don't think that should ever stop. What he is doing is what should always be done. Listening, Changing objectives, watching, listening again to feedback and changing constantly to embrace new inspiration. Sometimes the thing I think young adults really miss from church is a sense of empathy. There are all these great lessons to learn there, but we, not just young adults, but people, learn best through experience, which is in no small part via mistakes, and sometimes it's nice to see people take those little jumps out of their comfort to try something worth doing. Sometimes they'll fail, sometimes they'll succeed, but at the least we'll be able to share more than a lesson, we'll be able to share empathy, because most of us (young adults) are throwing ourselves off cliffs to try to make the world make sense.

    A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault. ~John Henry Newman


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