by Deech Kirk
What’s the difference between going to Home Depot and Ace Hardware (or your local co-op)? What about Chili’s versus a local diner? And some would say between going to your local mega church and a small country church? (I go to a mega church and don’t buy this to be true, but people say it anyway.)
Give up? Relationships are key to the sale (or the ministry). People go to Ace Hardware to talk to someone about their problem or about life. The waitress at the local dinner asks about your kids and your spouse. She knows your name and whether you are a good tipper and you probably are because you are giving to a person you know. Small church folks know each other and what’s going on in each other’s lives. People who stay at mega churches know people who know about their lives, too; if they don’t they’ll never stick.
During Bible study this summer, profound theologian Dr. Doug Meeks was talking about “commodity exchange.” A commodity exchange is an exchange without a story.
I go to Home Depot when I want to make a commodity exchange, which means I want to give them money to get a product. No story, please, I have work to do. Here’s my money, thank you for my product, and back to work.
Unfortunately, we have too many people coming to church and simply making a commodity exchange. Please give me what I need or want, thank you, check church off my list this week, and back to work.
What is the church’s currency? Our story is about how the best story ever told changed our life and continues to affect it today. Jesus’ story is messy. It’s God’s love story complete with broken relationships, pursuit, betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption. It is the best story ever told.
Going to church should not be like going to Home Depot. It should be like going to Ace Hardware or the local diner. It should be an experience of a loving community of people with messy stories who share a common love for the one who’s story changed everything. The local diner waitress should not know someone better than fellow church members who sit on the same pew.
Our currency is the Gospel. We need to share Good News with everyone and develop relationships of true caring and concern. Jesus would come into our temples and beg us to talk to each other.
How have you been guilty of going through life and church making on commodity exchanges? What will you do differently this week to share the Good News with others?