With the economy the way it is, the retailers are realizing that in addition to not selling their customer products which are inferior, they also can't "push" what they want to sell onto the customer by whatever means they are most comfortable with. Retailers understand that even with a great product, they must listen to the customer to hear and understand their needs and then work hard to show their products relevance to those needs. Once the customer has their product, the retailer must follow up with the customer to see if they're still satisfied...
I see parallels in this description of the retailers "overhaul" of their business in these turbulent times with the God's church. In a sense, the church has been like the "old" retailers. Despite having a great product (the love of Jesus Christ) the church has been very narrow in how they have gauged the needs of their community (mission) for their product, as well as failing to "follow up" with the communities satisfaction (nurture) of those who have chosen their product. I think that just as the retailers need an "overhaul", so does the church.
"The love of Jesus Christ" is something that all people not only need, but deserve. The church sometimes functions in arrogance, thinking that there product requires that people come to them, rather than taking their product to the people. Acting as if the church can be "sloppy" in their efforts and presentation of "the love of Jesus Christ" and that people will still be drawn to the church because of their need for the product.
The sad thing is that most of the people who need "the love of Jesus Christ", aren't coming to our store (the church)... rather, they are using inferior substitute products, and have been lied to by our competitor (Satan) that the substitute product will do the same thing that the "real" product will do... without all the hassles and "red tape" involved in the church.
And for those who have our product , "the love of Jesus Christ", for some time, Satan is working daily on trying to convince them to trade in the churches product for something similar (which is the inferior product) that requires less effort to use and understand.
It's time for an OVERHAUL. We need to make extraordinary efforts to hear what people are needing in their life and then show and teach them how the "Love of Jesus Christ" can meet that need. We need to be sensitive to those needs and meet people where they are, not condemning, but helping to bring hope to lives again. The Church needs to "live life with people"
not just "tell" them how to live life and then step back and watch. Life is an individual journey that is best when shared with others.
And to those who already have "the love of Jesus Christ", we need to listen and understand where people are struggling and then join them in overcoming their struggles. Individual struggles, shared by the church, the people, in our efforts to help others sustain hope and faith and develop perseverance that will lead to overcoming their struggles.
We are in "a sea of change"... God is still God, Jesus is still Jesus, the Holy Spirit is still the Holy Spirit, and the Bible is still the Bible... Our product has never been better, but the churches methods of sharing our product need to change to meet the customers needs... just like the retailers in these times, the church needs to "make drastic changes in order to get and keep their customers" It's not the product that is in need of change, it's perfect...but the methods of the church???
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Give me a shout