Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Every Marine a Rifleman -- Every Christian an Evangelist

One of the organizational maxims of the U.S. Marines is "Every Marine a Rifleman"--which means, in a literal sense, that every US Marine must be proficient is using a rifle and maintain that proficiency, no matter how useless the skill might be to their assignments. In point of fact, most members of the U.S. Military (or most others) are not front-line combat troops, and they contribute best to the war effort in other ways (logistics is an obvious example). Spending time on on the rifle range might seem like a waste of time to someone who spends every day managing supply trains, but that's the rule.

The Christian application of this philosophy might be something like "Every Christian an Evangelist." Meaning, it doesn't work to leave communication about the faith the well-trained, paid elite corps. We need everyone involved in the work of making Christ known.

So I find it odd that people expect that all communications coming from a parish will flow through my office. I simply don't have enough time to
-Update the parish voice mail message
-Update the the street sign
-Update the parish Facebook Pages
-Update the parish Website
-Produce and Post posters
-Produce and distribute fliers
-Manage a parish newsletter
-Make an interesting service bulletin every week
-Send out a parish-wide e-mail blast
-Produce and post sermon videos
-And notify local publications about upcoming concerts and events
And that's not at all an exhaustive list of all the things our church does on a regular basis to reach people. Some of these things I've managed to delegate to others, but there is still a tremendous hole. And I realize that there will continue to be a gap between what's possible and what we do until we get away from a top-down communications strategy.

If every member of my church took it upon themselves to tell a few people in their circle about the exciting and worthwhile things they do at church, our communications problems would be completely solved. Alas, most people are reluctant to do so.

Solutions? Well, to start off with, I think we need to equip our people. They need to be coached on the basics of how to share their faith in a way that is respectful and engaging. The weird thing (to me, at least) is that people have become habituated to sharing all kinds of intimate details of their lives, and yet are quiet about this one. Is faith the last taboo? Or perhaps they just don'tf find their lives to be particularly worth commenting on (a sad thing, if true).

So I'm just thinking about this quesiton of whether we are raising the bar high enough for people who profess to call themselves followers of Christ. Surely they would not have committed their lives to God, and given up a few hours every weekend, unless there was something worth sharing in this whole God business?


1 comment:

Felicity Pickup said...


"Solutions? Well, to start off with, I think we need to equip our people. They need to be coached on the basics of how to share their faith in a way that is respectful and engaging."

Although it's hard enough to get us comfortable with sharing our faith with each other!