A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Missed Opportunities

Last Saturday night, Carol and I attended downtown Cambridge, Ohio's lighting of the courthouse and Christmas parade. Our courthouse is a sight to behold at Christmas along with the Dickens Victorian characters offering yesteryear thoughts all up and down the streets (for a courthouse preview, click here).

As we walked downtown amid the huge crowd of people gathered, I was struck by the number of downtown businesses that were closed! Now, I am not a business owner, which is probably a good thing, but I like to think that I am a person who recognizes an opportunity when it is thrown in my face. There in downtown Cambridge, several thousand people were gathered, and some business owners decided it was more important to close at the usual time (for whatever reason), than stay open and take advantage of the opportunity placed before them.

How this sounds so much like the church. How often the church misses opportunities that are staring it in the face because the believers prefer to keep things comfortable and routine. In downtown Cambridge, a business closes at 5:00 p.m. because "that's the time we close!" In the church, it is not possible to offer an additional worship service on another day and time because, "we worship on Sunday morning!" An owner refuses to take business out on the street where the people are because "We are here; they can come to us!' A church cannot expand its Sunday school by offering classes off site because, "Sunday school can only happen in our classrooms!"

How often the church misses opportunities because it is stuck in the same way of doing things. Businesses will not last with such an attitude. Why do Christians believe that churches will endure such myopic thinking?

I have said it before and I will say it again-- What the church in America lacks is not a deficiency of resources, but vision; the ability to see what is possible over the yet revealed horizon. The church does not lack for more programming, but faithfulness to the cause of the gospel in the world. And the latter is as much of a lack of vision as the former.


Country Parson said...

I took the liberty of sharing your insight with the little rural congregation I serve several times a month. In fact, I hope it is shared with thousands of congregations of all sizes. Well done and well said.

P.S. In my previous life, and in the olden days, I consulted with dozens of main street groups who stayed open late on Thursdays when most local employers paid on Fridays. They complained that late Thursdays weren't working. Wonder why?

Richard H said...

I really like the idea of not missing opportunities. But I also see that we can take it the wrong way.

First, an unwillingness to miss an opportunity can keep us going 24/7 - and still feel like we're missing something.

Second, we might perceive something as an opportunity and yet be wrong to grab it. Jesus turned down opportunities to turn stones into bread, avoid Jerusalem, and calling rescuing angels.

Allan R. Bevere said...

CP: Thanks for your thoughts. I laughed when I read your comments about the local businesses on Thursdays before payday. Duh!

Richard, I quite agree. There is a difference between taking advantage of opportunities and rushing in on a fool's errand.

clavier said...

For me missed opportunities are about learning not about technology. Missed learning opportunities are the ones that could at any given moment have high impact on business performance. By this same token “not missed opportunity” is most impactful on recall because it is delivered in the context of current need. If we agree with that assertion then we can discuss technologies that enable us identify the opportunities.