As I sat in McDonald’s last week meeting with a friend, I overheard someone say, “I’m tired of machines.”
My first thought was a bit sarcastic: “I don’t know, cars are still pretty useful.”
What he meant, of course, was he wanted to talk to a person, not order his meal from a machine. The truth is machines and computerization are not going away. Efficiency in business means profitability. Corporations will continue to find and fund ways to eliminate redundant tasks that can be performed by machines. As a small business owner, these opportunities become vital to success.
However, the sentiment of the gentlemen suggests a wide-open door for the church.
As we continue deeper into this century and the future beyond people will need more people who are purposefully engaging them in life. Already we see a dramatic rise in teen anxiety, depression, and suicide, connected directly to their use of computers, smart phones, and social media.
With all our connectedness, we need more facetime with actual human beings.
The corporate world is going to grow its use of automation, but perhaps the church should seize this time to grow its engagement with those in our communities. What does this look like?
1. Approximately one-third of the parks’ soccer coaches are Christians. Can we take time to engage with parents and players so that we have deeper relationships, that allow us to bring life to their homes?
2. Every Tuesday morning at Gold Star, men meet to study God’s word and talk about a life of faith. They could meet in a home of church building, but this allows others to join them.
3. Every day the schools are filled with students who need and desire more interaction with mature adults. They may turn you away at first, but if you will invest and genuinely care for them, they will respond. Warning: Don’t try to be cool, just be kind and real.
4. What other ideas do you have?
As the average “church goer” has decreased their regular Sunday morning attendance from every week to once a month, people a crying for engagement the other 167 hours of our week. The church needs to find ways to engage the community and marketplace in open honest dialogue, so we can gain the right to share the hope, belonging, and purpose that come through Jesus Christ. Engagement will precede attendance.
Machines are on the rise, but we need human contact. The rise of machines should encourage the rise of the church. Get out into the community and “love not with words alone, but in action and in truth.” 1 John 3:18
Dow Tippett is a speaker and author who writes at DowTippett.com and Gig.church.