Saturday, March 15, 2008

Why would they want to come back?

Car companies are very interested in what keeps consumers coming back. They invest large amounts of money on research to figure things like this out. Will a hatchback, chrome wheels, or better gas mileage bring in the next generation? As important as research may be, I'm beginning to think that people are more influenced by good relationships than anything else.
I go to an independent who was with Saab for a long time but now has his own show. Our car has its occasional problems ... but Adrian is always up to the task. He’ll offer used parts from one of the various cars he always has in pieces if he thinks a new part is unnecessary and the work is always finished when he says it will be. He’ll take phone calls at all hours without charge as well. In fact, his expertise is what the local dealer routinely calls upon as they have minimal Saab experience. To be completely honest, I sometimes feel that the two major, ongoing reasons for my loyalty and enjoyment of SAAB are Adrian and TrollhattanSaab. ... There are LOTS of other interesting cars out there to drive but these two businesses certainly pull me back to Saab for the overall experience.

PT's comments under ctm’s Saab experience in Sweden
During my years as a Christian, I have been a member of four different churches. At each one, there were people who visited and for whatever reason never came back. Why was that?

It is easy to place the blame on the individual. People often give in to the pull of the world, the flesh, and the devil. If we're honest, we must admit that these are formidable foes for all of us. We all know people who made the choice to give in to temptation and subsequently rejected the life of holiness appointed for all believers. Those things happen, but we mustn't enjoy that they do. We ought to weep about people who have turned from the Lord and seek for them to be restored.

It is also easy to place the blame on God. What I mean is that we get so comfortable with God's sovereignty that people leaving or falling away ceases to bother us. We've probably had "I guess he wasn't really saved" pass through our brains at some point in time. But is that really comforting? Did Jesus stop weeping over Jerusalem simply because he knew their future?

While we do recognize God's sovereignty and the individual's responsibility, what about our own? Is it not the responsibility of the membership to make the local church a loving, joyful, and friendly place as well? I believe it is. When a new person enters our assembly, he ought to be greeted with kindness, but he also ought to see that God is at work in our midst.

But this is not enough to make a difference in the lives of those who attend. Follow the Lord Jesus through the gospels and you will see that he invested time in the lives of those around him and it made a big difference. Look at his interaction with Nicodemus, the woman at the well, and Zacchaeus as good examples. These people's lives were changed because one individual was willing to spend time with them loving, caring, and explaining.

So, the next time you're tempted to place the blame on someone else, consider what you are doing in your local ministry. Spend some time with somebody. It could make the difference.

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