By Jared Kirk
To her it is the most terrifying sound in the world.
I have a ten year old dog named Tonks. She is the best dog I've ever owned, but she has one strange quirk. Whenever a phone "dings" because of a text or a notification, Tonks runs terrified into the bathroom and jumps into the bathtub to hide. She stays there for at least an hour. Friends have walked into the bathroom only to be startled by "something alive making noises behind the shower curtain." It's a problem. That little noise on the phone triggers Tonks to run and hide.
When I hear those same noises it triggers something different in me. Without conscious thought, I lift the phone out of my pocket to check and see what is new in my digital world. Is it a text? A "like" on Facebook? An email? The trigger does its job in shaping my behavior.
If a trigger is such a powerful tool for shaping your everyday life, then why not leverage this tool for something that matters? I've been experimenting with this, and it has worked well enough that I want to invite you into the experiment with me.
Anytime I hear someone say that they
are NOT going to church
were NOT expecting that
were NOT prepared for that
I invite them to come to church with me on the spot. It's really that simple.
If someone is NOT going to church, I just invite them to come with me. Right then and there. They may have had bad experiences before with church, or they may feel intimidated, so I share about the family feel and warmth our church has, and I invite them. Odds are, they want community anyway. I don't think they can find a better one than a group of people who love Jesus, especially the people we have at Renewal Church.
If someone says they were NOT expecting that, as in something bad has happened they weren't expecting, I invite them to church. Divorce, cancer, addiction, illness, death, eating disorders, and mental illness all have a way of sneaking up on people. They can be very hard to deal with. Yet, there is life and help in Jesus.
If someone says they were NOT prepared for that, as in something great has happened they aren't equipped for, I invite them to church. Often people have a child and are thrilled but unprepared. Or someone gets a great job but no one has ever taught them financial management or great family boundaries. Sometimes the good things in life leave us in need of the wisdom that only God can offer.
There are so many little "dings" in life to attend to, and God can walk us through all of them. Maybe these couple of triggers will be a small help in knowing when to invite others into the love and help God offers through the church rather than running terrified into the bathtub of life.
Jared Kirk is the lead pastor at Renewal Church.