Another church “homecoming” celebration. Another “excellent” motivational sermon, challenging another stagnant church to “make its future better/brighter/bigger than its past.
It was probably the 97,454th such challenge to a church pondering its current stagnation and/or decline. It got rave reviews, just like the 97,453 before it.
The preacher was congratulated. The people were charged up. They all went and ate a huge “covered-dish” meal, reminisced, got re-acquainted with those who’ve moved away, made empty promises to keep in touch, cleaned up the tables, and patted themselves on the back.
And returned quickly to normal. (Remember what ol’ Vance Havner said about “normal” as it relates to the church?)
Seems that “better future” thing is a common theme. We do stuff like using windshields and rear-view mirrors as illustrations. We tell stories about how God is not finished with _______ Church yet. We proclaim that the future is where we’re going to spend the rest of our lives.
And we go right on, slogging it out, while the future loses its identity in the drudgery of today’s normal. Why?
Because, for all our rhetoric, for all our nifty illustrations, for all our challenging stories, we forget the most important thing: the YBH Factor.
Popularized by Rick Warren, the YBH Factor simply means…
Yes, But How?
YBH is the notation that Rick Warren often placed in the margins of his Bible, while he listened to preachers, most likely preaching that “better future” sermon, about what we “ought to do.” And it led him to concentrate on practical application in his own messages.
Somebody needs to push for the YBH Factor in re-focusing stagnant, declining, and dying churches. There are a lot of us out here who know what we ought to do. But how to do it is another thing entirely. Somebody needs to stop yapping/blogging/preaching about it and do it.