We face a paradoxical challenge. On the one hand, friends who have attended prominent local churches for many years tell us they feel lonely and unknown, just another number in their congregation. They do not feel loved, known, or challenged to grow spiritually, but they want these things. On the other hand, visitors tell us our church services are uncomfortable because they are designed to train people for ministry — to push people out of their comfort zone and into active ministry involvement themselves.
We know what the Spirit is leading us to do and what the people of our area really need, but we also fight against strong cultural expectations and a subconcious consumeristic expectation that we’re supposed to entertain them. We risk losing people either way — not offering them the challenge, equipping, and opportunity of true community that they so desperately desire, or not offering them the performance-oriented, passive audience-driven, weekly entertainment to which they have become accustomed.