Innovative Ministry
The World Needs a Better Ironing Board (Yes, This Is About the Church)
We need to introduce people to Jesus. And we need to get rid of anything that makes that task harder than it ought to be.

What models and methods are we clinging to that make the basic functions of the church harder than they should be?

Serving Jesus isn’t supposed to be easy. Christ told us we had to take up our cross daily. But Jesus made the gospel as accessible as possible. Too easy, according to the Pharisees.

I was reminded of this reality recently during – of all things – a battle with a stubborn hotel room ironing board.

Like that ironing board, the church often makes some of the simplest tasks much harder than they need to be.

Same Purpose, Better Access

Why is it that everything in my home and hotel room has been significantly upgraded in the last 10-20 years, but the ironing board is the same as it was 50 years ago?

In an era of easy-open windows, electronic door locks, select-your-firmness beds – even multi-setting, auto-off irons – why does every ironing board still have a hard-to-find metal release latch that sticks, then lurches open in fits and starts with a scratchy, metallic groan?

The purpose of an ironing board won't ever change. It will always need to de-wrinkle fabric. And it has to fit our clothes, so its basic structure will stay the same. But its ease-of-use needs a serious upgrade.

Don't Hide the Gospel Behind an Invisible Latch

Is your church like an ironing board?

Does it need a serious design upgrade?

Is your church like an ironing board? Does it need a serious design upgrade?

No, not on the essential Biblical commands. Those never change. Just like an ironing board will always need to help us de-wrinkle clothes, churches must always help us worship, learn and grow in our faith in Jesus.

But some churches make those basic purposes harder than they need to be. Like the ironing board latch, the initial contact with the church or Christians is a painful experience for too many people. In person and on social media.

If it's hard enough, many people give up on it and, like a hotel guest ironing clothes on the bed, look for different ways to de-wrinkle their lives. Unhealthy ways. Unbiblical ways.

Then, when someone does overcome those initial barriers, too many churches creak and groan as they try to get us to open up to them. In an inter-connected, conversational, all-access world, we often put up more walls than bridges.

We hide the truth inside secret code words and behaviors. We talk at, not with people. We make hard questions almost impossible to ask.

As a consequence, we make the important truths harder to find.

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The views of the blogger do not necessarily reflect those of Christianity Today.

September 23, 2016 at 10:06 AM

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