What if they don't like it?  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

I was thinking recently about how timid we can be about the Life in/of Christ. Jesus and the Gospel can begin to resemble a life condiment - to be applied sparingly and completely at the liberty of individual taste. Putting the cookies on the bottom shelf is obviously great - Jesus didn't speak in complex dissertations. Yet, when is it about chasing yesterday's fickle whims?

I was reading a church planting guy's blog and he had this post:

I love reading about the Red Bull brand. When they first taste-tested their energy drink, consumers said it was awful. But founder Dietrich Mateschitz defied their opinions and pressed forward with a culture-shaping vision. Even today, half the people who taste Red Bull hate it. But the other half have turned into a cult following. And what a cult following... They've created
an entirely new beverage niche in what is now a $1.3 billion industry.

People vote with their actions, not feedback forms. Howard Schultz put his instincts ahead of the masses and got Starbucks to show for it. Steve Jobs says most people don't even know what they want until you show it to them.

If you're following feedback forms instead of "making tastes" for people, you will always lag behind in innovation. You are responding to culture, not shaping it.

I arrived at this idea in thinking about the spiritual disciplines. I read a number of writings on the subject geared at creating "novel" ways of checking the box of holy pursuits without inconveniencing a previously defined agenda. "How to Pray and Read Your Bible Without Missing American Idol." If you present a discipleship journey that interferes with life as normal, will people like it? Do you want a God, faith or life that wouldn't interrupt "life as usual?"

This entry was posted at Wednesday, July 02, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

3 thoughts and responses

This is the very thing that bothers me about so many new churches...they want to conform the world to Christianity through world enticement.

Jesus spoke the truth--and it was enough. Yes he met people where the are, but he did not accept it by any means.

In my experience, people desire to be challenged to be something different to reach grand heights. If they did not desire that, they would not come back to church week after week. If people become complacent in their faith within a church body--you must ask, are we asking the people to go beyond themselves...everyone--even the laziest people--wants to be pushed beyond their limits.

Instead of giving people what they think they want, we should give people what we know they want--life change only found in Jesus. They want freedom from captivity--they want their hearts to be healed. Everyone has a hurt that hinders their relationship with Christ.

Do I sound like a counselor yet?

People want to know God. They just want to know him. The reason the Shack is such a great book is because it reveals who God is.

The sermons that are most effective in my own life are not the "self help, how do I pray" but the "This is who God is--this is his character."

More and more I believe as a church body we need to stick to teaching theology -- of God, Jesus... we ask people to be fully devoted . We do a GREAT job of helping people to understand what devotion truly is, but do we do a GREAT job of teaching them who Jesus really is?

In teaching disciplines--it's not about just the obedience of doing it. It's trusting the one who asks us to obey. How do you trust someone? When you know them.

Teach Jesus.


July 2, 2008 at 4:31 PM


thought-provoking in that i don't really know what direction this post takes me.

should we be like red bull and attempt to redefine what people want? we all have blogs - just repackaged red bull for the christian consumer?

we all conform. but its not the worst thing. i mean, we attend a church that runs a fog machine during worship. that's a tough one to run from. but would we be more about Christ if we turned it off? would we be leading at that point? or would we just be obstinate and proud?

i don't know what i'm thinking. i guess it all depends.

and bonus points for eliciting a "shack" reference with a post. well done.

July 2, 2008 at 6:16 PM

Mankind has not changed from the beginning of time. Everyone didn't discover fire. Everyone saw it happen in lightening, but only one was prepared for the opportunity. Me.

Me. Wait for fire. Me have dried leaves. Me pile on smoldering log hit by fire from sky. Me be first to make a smore. Me had the desire and thought it out long before me was called to roast weenies or be roasted.

When Jesus spoke, thousand came to listen and watch the show. Only a few brave men chose to follow. All the brave died prematurely. Who in their right mind would buy a ticket to that show?

A battalion of marines charge up a hill. Likely, the first to the top are welcomed with death. Who would volunteer to lead the charge?

Hundreds of NYC fire fighters race to be first into the burning twin towers. Death awaits them, yet they run in. Why?

It's all about belief. Some believe. Many don't. Of those that believe, a few will lead the charge and pay with their life. Most won't.

I pray that God loves me enough and I fear Him enough that I will be one of the few to lead.

July 2, 2008 at 7:54 PM

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