Thinking Out Loud

September 5, 2016

The Problem of Resource Engagement

Filed under: books, Christianity, parenting — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:31 am
Christian parents in particular have never had so many resources available to build spiritual formation in their children

Christian parents in particular have never had so many resources available to build spiritual formation in their children

One of the recurring themes in my 9:00 to 5:00 world is a challenge to people, especially men, to be readers. There is a great need in families for children to observe and thereby have memories of their father sitting in a chair reading. I’m not picky on this; I’ll settle for a newspaper or magazine.

Reading separates us from the animals. I know this firsthand, as my cat was never much of a reader, and the one time I owned a dog, while he seemed enthusiastic about books, he would prefer to chew a book’s cover over cracking it open.

Technology has contributed to the erosion of the English language. Spell-check simply substitutes what the computer believes to be our intended words, and since nobody proofreads, nobody notices. Texting doesn’t even try for words. Children are over-stimulated, and a book simply can’t compete with visual media. Our attention spans have dropped to levels so low, it as though everyone has a measure of ADD…

…But this weekend, as I thought about this further, I realize that we’re also in the middle of a crisis involving resource engagement, especially in the church. There was a time we would talk about the buy-in factor. The church would have a special presentation on a weeknight, and the congregation would be encouraged to be there, but attendance was sparse. There would be a special project on the weekend, but few would sign-up. There would be a conference or retreat scheduled, but registration would be low. The special speaker brought a carton of books for sale, but only a handful of people would drop by his table.

We probably have more resources available to us than at any time in history.

And yet, our resource engagement, on a per-capita basis is probably the worst it has ever been. The books and DVDs sit on supplier shelves. Only a few people use the church’s sermon media to catch up if they miss a service. Parents don’t even begin to scratch the surface on the Christian education resources available for their children…

…Enough cursing the darkness. How do we light a candle? How do we increase the buy-in? How do we get Christians to realize the wealth of resources that is available to them which they are basically ignoring and not utilizing? How do we ignite and fuel the passion?

Any suggestions?

 

 

 

 

1 Comment »

  1. Here are a few things I can think of as a Community Pastor that tries to engage small groups and others with resources:

    -Change what people love: Most people consume a vast amount of media, but no the kind we’d want them to. That’s because they love to be entertained and never to feel bored. Secular media has done a better job at making their content discoverable, but organizations like Right Now Media are changing that. But even if it’s easier to find a resource, people won’t use it unless they see the purpose.

    -Our homes are are isolated kingdoms: We are groomed (particularly in America) to hole up in our comfortable, safe homes where we can do whatever makes us happy. We retreat into our garage from the workplace, close the door, turn on the TV, and pretend everything is fine. I’m being a bit sarcastic, and certainly a home should be a refuge of sorts, but we’ve swung too far where we see the home as a place primarily of leisure, leaving little room for doing things that might stretch us spiritually or emotionally.

    -Challenge and accountability: I know, typical small groups pastor stuff.. But seriously, no one reads books anymore. I can’t tell you how many groups start book studies only to bail on them and do the latest DVD study after the realize no one is reading the chapters each week. People need to be encouraged and challenged to read things that can grow them spiritually on a regular basis because the world is screaming other messages at them the rest of their day. And unless there’s someone sitting across from them asking them about what they read, odds are they won’t be doing the reading.

    -Too much choice: There’s a reason Trader Joe’s is one of the most profitable businesses per square foot – they limit choices. It’s counterintuitive, but the more choices people have, the fewer (and usually poorer) choices they make. Trader Joes gets people to buy more stuff by giving them fewer choices. Instead of bombarding people with new books and studies, we can give them fewer and better recommendations.

    Comment by Grayson Pope — September 6, 2016 @ 11:46 am


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