Here’s a typical experience for the average churchgoer and his family. Keep track of the “little ideas”:
- little idea from the clever message on the church sign as you pull into the church parking lot
- little ideas from all the announcements in the church bulletin you are handed at the door
- little idea from the prelude music that is playing in the background you as you take your seat
- little idea from the welcome
- little idea from the opening prayer
- little idea from song 1 in the worship service
- little idea from the Scripture reading
- little idea from song 2 in the worship service
- little idea from the special music
- little idea from the offering meditation
- little idea from the announcement
- little idea from the first point of the sermon
- little idea from the second point of the sermon
- little idea from the third point of the sermon
- little idea from song 3 in the worship service
- little idea from the closing prayer
- little idea from the Sunday school lesson
- little idea from (at least one) tangent off of the Sunday School lesson
- little idea from the prayer requests taken during Sunday School
- little idea from the newsletter handed out during Sunday School
Twenty and counting. Twenty different competing little ideas in just one trip to church. Easily! If a family has a couple of children who attend a children’s church, and everyone attends his or her own Sunday school class, we could quadruple the number if little ideas. One family could leave with more than eighty competing ideas. And if we begin to add in youth groups, small groups, and a midweek service, the number easily doubles again. It’s possible that this one family is bombarded with more than one thousand little ideas every week explaining what it means to be a Christian.
We’ve bombarded our people with too many competing little ideas, and the result is a church with more information and less clarity than perhaps ever before.
The lack of clarity that churches give their people impedes the church’s ability to accomplish the mission of Jesus. “More” results in less clarity.
It is one Big Idea at a time that brings clarity to the confusion that comes from too many little ideas.
Tomorrow: Part Two of "The Big Idea"