This week I want to post a series of lessons that I am learning this summer.
Summer Lesson #1 – Life is vastly different for locals than for guests
I was recently in the Fred Meyer store in Soldotna. I sat for a few minutes waiting on my family and noticed all of the visitors to Alaska. They were pretty easy to spot. Most of them had on T-shirts or sweatshirts from known local places like the “Salty Dog” or from the “Time Bandit” or one of a couple dozen other places. Most of them were drinking large Starbucks drinks. They need the caffeine to stay awake 18 hours a day. They also had this wide-eyed wonder about everything. They were talking about Alaska’s high prices on everything. They were pointing out items we sell in our stores that they do not have down below like stacks and stacks of fish shipping boxes.
Locals, on the other hand, have a different look about them. Some of it is the clothes, like xtratuff boots instead of Cabela’s brand. Mostly it is the overall demeanor of the people. Locals are getting fish for the freezer to cut the local high cost of living. Locals are in the store to get things done and get out. Locals are trying to conduct life without the chaos of all the guests getting in their way. There is a determined look about them.
Anyway, all of this got me thinking about Church. In Church there is a vast difference between members and guests. Guests come each week and take it all in with wide-eyed wonder. Members do the work on the stage, in the sound booth and in the classroom. Guests biggest concerns are about themselves. Members are concerned about others. Guests may or may not be back next week. Members will be here week after week.
Here is the problem that I see happening in many Churches. Too many people want to live their lives like guests and not like members. They want the thrill of being on vacation every week without the responsibility of ever being a local. Churches need people willing to put roots down and live their lives in community with others, just like towns. Churches are just like communities in that they need people whose hands are calloused from hard work and not soft from an endless vacation from responsibility.
That has me wondering – In your Church, do you act more like a local or a guest?