Thanks to social media, our “Jones’s” are anyone, anywhere, at any time. We have at our fingertips the means of comparing our lifestyles, our children, or the lighting of our framed photos with millions, the vast majority of whom we’ve never met. So while we have always had the compulsion inside us to compare ourselves to others, the difference is that we now have the ability to compare ourselves to a far greater extent than we ever have before. Not only that, but comparison is something that just sort of creeps into our consciousness; we don’t necessarily intend to gauge our self-worth or identity based on how we measure up with others – but because we are constantly surrounded with the images of the best lives of others, it’s nearly inevitable that it happens.
Regardless of your views on immigration, hopefully you’ll agree that there are some good points in this.
While it may seem a silly mental exercise, try to imagine Superman sharing the gospel. Imagine that from the lips of the Man of Steel comes the news of the Man of Sorrows. Those listening would hear the news of the suffering servant, who came in the needy form of a baby, needing to grow in strength and stature, born to humble means, in a humble town, to humble parents. They’d hear of this Jesus of Nazareth, who wandered around with a band of unimpressive friends, who would one day be charged and sentenced to death. They’d hear how he was hung between two scoundrels and even those who dared called him friend in his life deserted him in his death. They’d hear about how he was beaten, torn, and mocked until his last breath.
What do you do if membership at your church is on the wane? Or what if membership doesn’t seem to be growing at the desired rate?
It can seem self-evident that the right course of action is to make it easier to become a church member. What if there were fewer doctrines to which people had to give assent? What if, once someone became a member, we asked less of them in terms of their responsibilities to other members? It seems obvious: if you lower the cost, more will buy. In fact, what if we just ditched the idea of membership altogether?