“Fight Club”: Training Video for Simple Church Planters? Part 4

Last week, we looked at how “Fight Club” showed the deceitfulness of our culture and the power of a small, networked community on mission.  Today’s final post in this series shows us this:

“Fight Club” shows us the power of commitment.

Those of you in professional ministry have moaned from time to time about the lack of commitment of people in your church.  When I did professional ministry, I moaned about it.  Let’s think about this:  what do we ask people to commit to?

I’m honestly not sure it’s Jesus.  We ask people to commit to church attendance, small group attendance, service in the church (setting up chairs, watching kids, running A/V, greeting), or for those of us who are really spiritual, we ask for a two week commitment to a short-term missions trip.  I know that this isn’t the case for everyone.  Those of you who are lucky have 20 percent of your people doing 80 (or more) percent of the work.  Some of you who’ve done the multi-campus thing have had to shut down a campus because your people are stretched so thin.  And why are people run so ragged?  Why do so many people get burned out serving in the church?

Because so many in our churches are committed to little more than showing up and “getting fed.”

In “Fight Club”, the guys weren’t committed to showing up for meetings.  They showed up because of a sense of mission.  At first, it was a mission to break free of the grip society had on them.  Later, in Project Mayhem, it was a commitment to break society from the grip of consumerism.  They didn’t show up just to show up–they were in it for life (and death… “His name is Robert Paulson…”).  And they succeeded.

What would happen if we stopped getting people to commit to the lowest common denominator (a “service” on Sundays) and asked them instead to commit to living a life on mission with Jesus in community with others; a commitment to become agents of the kingdom instead of just citizens; a commitment to invade our cities, our regions, and our world to take back people and places for the kingdom?  What would it take to do that?

Think long and hard before you answer… and I want you to answer.  Think about every aspect of what you do for your church, how your church “does church”, etc.

Let’s get the conversation started in the comment section… and I’ll go first.

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About Aaron

Aaron is a follower of Jesus. He's married to his smokin' hot wife Laura and is the father of three adorable girls. He enjoys a robust cigar, a complex root beer, a good movie, writing, football, thought-provoking books, and rousing discussions about subjects you're not supposed to talk about (like theology and politics). Religious people irritate him (because he once was one). He's on a quest to find the perfect dry rub and sauce for ribs.
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8 Responses to “Fight Club”: Training Video for Simple Church Planters? Part 4

  1. Aaron says:

    Here we go…

    First, give serious thought to “tent-making.” It’s easy to get upset with people for not being committed when you get paid to do church work, and thus you’re immersed in it 24/7. Step in their shoes–work a 40 hour job that isn’t church related and see how easy it is. You may find that you need to simplify a lot of stuff–not dumb it down, just simplify the processes. That, and you’ll gain more credibility with outsiders.

    Second, evaluate your church and see in what environment best develops disciples. Once you’ve determined that… cut other environments and build upon the one that works. For us (when we were in VA), it was our Sunday morning service. We spent a ton of money, time, and creativity on an environment that wasn’t making disciples. So why keep it?

  2. Greg says:

    I am not completely where you are at, there is a great need for full time ministers, but I do think church needs to be re-thought. For example:

    For 8 years I have had the same schedule:
    Sunday morning Bible school.
    Sunday morning worship services
    Sunday Night youth worship
    Mid week Bible study

    On top of that:
    We try to do “out reach” events at the church…really is that out reach (I think not).
    Plus I have to have youth events every month. I need sponsors to help with that, so then I feel bad for pulling them out another night of the week or ask them to take a weeks vacation so then can go on a trip.

    Then we ask them to come to family events at the church.

    And all of this on top of work, their family, sports, hobbies, entertainment.

    I think some of our churches need to simplify their programs. Make the programs they do have more effective. (like making outreach, truly outreach)

    I like how you point out, “What do we ask people to commit to?
    I’m honestly not sure it’s Jesus. We ask people to commit to church attendance, small group attendance, service in the church…”

    I think you are spot on. We need people to committ to Jesus…not church!

  3. Michael Morris says:

    One thing that would weed out the “attenders” is to simply give everyone some type of job, or you might allow them to devise one of their own. In either case, they would accountable at some level for reporting on the execution of that job. I’m not talking about asking for volunteers, but actively engaging each and every person in something..anything.

    It could be watching children while others study and share.

    It could be cooking.

    It could be reading and critiquing books,

    it could be sharing the gospel message with others in any number of formats.

    It could be memorizing scripture.

    It could be expounding a segment of scripture and providing critical insight.

    If God isn’t actively “leading” you to do something…then do something anyway. If God doesn’t want you to do that…he’ll let you know.

  4. Stuart says:

    I think the form is often mistaken as being substance. And the church’s form has become quite elaborate and unwieldy. It’s not very user-friendly (and I don’t mean “seeker-friendly”). Could you start a church with a couple of other people, or would it be a massive undertaking requiring thousands and thousands of dollars, lots of publicity, skilled and experienced workers, etc?

    What do people need to have a church? A building? A degree? A Sunday service? A set of by-laws?

    Some of these things are useful. But they are not more important than their uses. If they stifle the church from expanding, other means should be considered.

    It’s easier to sign up for church than it is to sign up for Jesus. People understandably equate commitment to the former with commitment to the latter. But organizations aren’t as inspiring as a purpose.

  5. I’ve heard that three kinds of people come to church: the curious, the convicted, and the committed—and we need to allow room for all three. Jesus said the wheat and tares would coexist together until the end of the age, so I actually expect many familiar church faces to prove themselves little more than pew warmers.

    I don’t dispute that worthy programs can forget that they are a means to an end and become simply a means. I absolutely agree that we’re way too often satisfied with making converts when we’re supposed to be making disciples. Certainly, the souls who have been born again and are therefore new creations need to “become agents of the kingdom,” whether next door or across the globe.

    But I am reluctant to too quickly criticize the way another church does church. If they confess Jesus as Lord and God, acknowledge that necessary salvation is available through only Him, and evidence His Spirit’s presence (in any measure) plus faith in the Word of God, then I’ll accept them as part of the Body. Unless they are simply a platform for charismatic speakers (the adjective, not the denomination) to undermine the Gospel with false teaching, they’re a necessary member of the Body. I’m willing to allow them the time and space to make some mistakes as part of spiritual growth—just as God has allowed me.

  6. dewde says:

    Can I just say you got balls using a movie like Fight Club as an illustration? I think I can. You got balls, bro.

    Sorry, I don’t plant churches and whatnot so I don’t really have anything of value to add to the discussion. Just a huge Fight Club (the movie) fan from back before I got punk’d by Jesus.

    peace|dewde
    http://dewde.com

    • Aaron says:

      Thanks, dewde. I just clicked over to your site and read the cussing post. Good stuff. By the way, look at Philippians 3:8 where Paul considers all things “rubbish” in comparison with knowing Christ. That word could mean trash, but the main usage is what I think Paul meant: he dropped the s-bomb (both in Greek and in English!). I’ll be back to read more.

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