In my last post, I reminded you how Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller Blink introduced us to a psychologist who almost intuitively knew whether a marriage would last after being with a couple a few minutes and a tennis coach who could accurately predict a double-fault before the racket even made contact with the ball. His point is that our first intuitions and spontaneous decisions are often as good as—or even better than—carefully planned and considered ones. This is the second of four questions on a blink test for your church to determine if you currently have movement momentum. Read each one to determine if you’re moving in the right direction. Don’t think too long. Just blink.
BLINK #2: Is your church as passionate about sending people out as bringing people in?
“Now that was church!” was my friend’s reaction as we got back into the car around noon on Sunday and headed back home together. Where had we been? 329 North Dearborn in Chicago; home of the House of Blues. I wasn’t teaching that weekend, so we went to one of our Saturday night services and then on Sunday morning headed to the House of Blues for their Gospel Brunch. It was an amazing experience! They had a buffet that included a place to create your own omelet, fresh made-to-order waffles, a salad station, seafood station, and a carving station with every kind of meat. In addition, they brought in the best gospel music in the entire city. They even had a quick devotional that mentioned Jesus. And all of it was in a world-class venue with great lighting and sound. We got all that for $37.50 per person—far less than a tithe! And my friend half-joked, “Now that was church!”
If you want to create a great place to bring people to, then the House of Blues Gospel Brunch is the best model! That is what they do. They provide the best music, best entertainment, and best food in a world-class venue. Why? Simple: to attract you and your money. Yes, they did mention Jesus, and they challenged us to be a friend to somebody today, but that was only to make the experience more authentic. There was no interest in mobilizing people for mission in the neighborhoods that surround North Dearborn.
If the blink on your church is that they are only interested in creating a place to bring people and are not equally passionate about sending people, then there is no movementum. If the communal conversation is all about nickels and noses (offering and attendance), there is not movementum. But if the blink is that you see a growing interest in church planting, reproducing new outwardly focused groups and teams, the birth of missional communities, causes of restorative justice and citywide transformation, then you have movementum.
This post is an excerpt from my new book with Alan Hirsch, On the Verge: A Journey into the Apostolic Future of the Church