L.T.W.M. Part 1
By Jon Nicol
Some shows don't continue a main storyline from one episode to the next. Take any of the abbreviation shows: Law and Order SVU or LA, CSI, CSI:NY, CSI: Miami, NCIS, NCIS LA, OU812 -- sorry, that's a Van Halen album. All those shows have a back story that's helpful to know, but not necessary. And occasionally they'll have some thread of a subplot weaving forward, which almost always involves a serial killer nemesis of the main character. (This is helpful to know if you ever become a cop: at some point in your career you'll have nut job who stalks you. Just giving you a heads-up...) While the stories of these shows are compelling, they wouldn't have the same draw if viewers hadn't already connected with the characters.
They leave us wanting more.
I'm wondering, when it comes to planning our worship service, can we use the concept of 'leave them wanting more"?
I've been in churches where it felt like I ordered off the senior citizen menu. I left wanting a whole lot more. And I've been in others where there wasn't room for more, but they kept shoveling it in. But then I've been in a few worship gatherings where I left feeling engaged. Filled up. Satisfied. But still wanting more.
What was it about those church services that left me filled, but wanting more. Is that even biblical?
Jesus seemed to practice "LTWM". In Mark 1, Jesus was healing people left and right starting with Peter's mother-in-law (he really did like to mess with Peter...). The next morning he got up early to pray, and it says,
Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else--to the nearby villages--so I can preach there also. That is why I have come." (Mark 1:36-38)
Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!"
He left the crowds wanting more.
And look at his practice of preaching with parables.No bulleted solutions in PowerPoint. No closing KLOVE song to wrap up the message. So guess what the disciples did afterwards? They hounded him for an explanation (Matt 13:36) - they wanted more.
We're going to explore the path of leave them wanting more over the next few days. But I'm treading lightly. Over one edge of this path is a shallow ravine of entertainment-driven worship. It's easy to get in, and enjoyable while we stay. But when we exit, there's no deep longing to return.
On the other side of the path is a dense, overgrown jungle. The inhabitants tell us their service has substance. That's SO true. But there's no rhyme or rhythm to all that substance. No decipherable path through it. And when we finally make our way out, we're both exhausted and elated to have made it to the other side. It will take seven days to even consider entering again.
We have the greatest story (ever told), not to mention the most compelling Lead Character. People should leave wanting more. So what are we doing to mess that up?
June 21, 2011Tweet