by Kenny Rader
This past week, I watched a video of police exchanging gunfire with some bad people. The person filming the video was an innocent bystander that didn’t run from the danger, rather, the person, with his camera phone in hand, actually went toward the gun battle to see what was happening. He wasn’t the only one because several others were also going closer to watch. Are these people crazy? Not really. It appears to be human instinct. It’s curiosity over something different happening. They followed the bang. They wanted to know more about the WOW!!!
We live in a very competitive world. It’s getting more and more difficult for the little guy/business to survive. When a small business does survive in the marketplace, it is because they usually have something different. What kind of different? Maybe they have the best product. Maybe they have the best service. Maybe they have the most unique product or service. Maybe there is something extraordinary about the owner or the sales team. Maybe they have the best location or storefront. Any way you look at it, people follow what is best. They follow what is excellent and exciting.
How about the entertainment world? When you look at the vast variety of entertainment, people want the best. They watch the best movies. They watch the best TV shows. They attend the best performances. They spend their vacations at the best entertainment spots that they can afford. Just ask yourself, “Why do so many people go all the way to Florida?” Yes, the warm sun is great and the beaches are a lot of fun. But they also go for the best entertainment our country has to offer: Disney World, Universal Studios, etc. People are attracted to what is excellent and exciting.
And have you noticed which major attractions are not in Florida any more or that are currently dying? Cypress Gardens closed in 2009 and is now attempting a comeback with updated changes. Sea World is another example. They are eliminating the whales, but can they survive without them? Attendance is already dropping. They have to find something else as exciting as the whales to draw in the people or they will fade away. Ringling Brothers Circus is another example. They dropped the elephant show and Ringling Brothers Circus’ last performance is this coming May 2017. You see, people want to be part of something excellent and exciting. People do not flock to mediocre. Mediocrity kills businesses.
A few more examples. What movie theaters do most people attend? They want stadium seating with soft, comfortable seats. Older movie theaters with the old, slightly sloped floors are gone unless they charge vastly cheaper rates to attract people. The new movie theaters have the best seating and the best sound. Some are even serving full meals. Mediocrity kills businesses.
Have you ever visited an Apple store? When you walk into the store, you know you are surrounded by excellence. Open an Apple product and even the box is beautiful and excellent. It’s exciting to open an Apple product. Visit any up and coming store or restaurant that people flock to and you will see excellence and excitement. It is what draws people in. People flock to excellence and excitement. Why? Because people want and expect the best. They do not put up with average. Mediocrity kills.
But many people didn’t like Jesus’ style of ministry. They questioned Jesus and how He changed things. He didn’t do things the way the Scribes and Pharisees always did things. They accused Jesus of being of the devil and not of God. Did they really believe Jesus was of the devil or were the religious leaders afraid that Jesus was calling them out because of their traditions that had veered from focusing on true worship of God? Was it that Jesus was a little too showy for them?
The Scribes, Pharisees and other Hebrew religious leaders were afraid of Jesus and the freedom He offered the people in worshipping God. Jesus said that He didn’t come to change the LAW but to fulfill it (Mt. 17:20). So why should the religious leaders be afraid of Jesus? They were frightened for several reasons, but one was that He had more followers than they had. He was taking followers away from the traditional ways of worshipping God. The old style of worship was not dead. Jesus merely introduced a more perfect way. And the way of Jesus included the WOW factor.
One day, the disciples were startled to find Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman. This shocked the disciples because no ‘good’ Jew would do that. But Jesus taught them.
34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. - John 4:34-35
Do you know what are the two most important pieces of farm equipment? The planter and the combine. When you grow a crop for income, you have to get it in the ground by the most perfect means possible, thus the planter. The planter must be in tip-top shape to perfectly plant the seed. Once the crop is ripe, you have to get it out of the field in the fastest, most efficient way that does the least damage to the crop. That is why the combine is the other most important piece of farm equipment. Both the planter and the combine must be in the best working condition possible.
Jesus says that the ﬁelds are ripe for harvest. Who are the combines in Jesus’ world? You and I are called to harvest the lost world from spending eternity in hell. You and I are the harvesters. We are to Jesus what combines are to the farmer. We are extremely important in the harvesting process. We must be in tip-top shape.
Since we are the mechanisms that go tell the people, invite them to Jesus, keep them here, teach, nurture and disciple them, we are the most vital means of telling the world how to become Christians. We need to inform and teach them that they need Jesus. So what is stopping you from harvesting the crop?
Are we inviting them? If not, why not? Are you ashamed of Jesus? Are you ashamed of the preacher? Are you ashamed of our facilities? Are you ashamed of our people? What is it that stops you from telling others about Jesus and inviting them to Him?
Answer that last question. What is it that stops you from telling others about Jesus and inviting them to attend here?
If we are not growing in numbers, we are not fulfilling the Great Commission. If we are the same size of congregation that we were 5, 10, 20 years ago then something is wrong. Ask yourself what it is. Tell me what it is. Tell our elders what it is. Something certainly must be broken. What is it? How can we fix it? Maybe the question is how do we fix us?
Do you remember our theme for 2017? It is THRIVING. A mere survivor does not inspire followers. Mere survivors are mediocre people who do not lead others. They live a boring life. They lack excitement. They are spiritually boring people. (Remember that we are talking about the spiritual aspect of life here.) Mere survivors are not leaders. They are anchors that stop progress.
People who THRIVE are exciting to be around. They WOW people. People who THRIVE excite people. People who THRIVE have faith in Jesus and others can see it. People who THRIVE step out in faith and do things others refuse to do.
Are we THRIVING here at RCC? Are we giving people the WOW factor? I don’t mean that we are going to do a healing service – we are not. But what can we do within keeping the Word of God yet do it with excellence and excitement? People need the Lord but what worked in the past is not working today. People need a reason to come. We are not reaching the people. Our numbers show it. If we were reaching them, we would be growing both spiritually and numerically. What is the WOW factor that we are missing? Maybe we need to consider: What are we doing with mediocrity that needs energized with excellence? What WOW factors are we missing?
Love you & God Bless,