NOTE: Join me in the “Six Key Practices For Raising Healthy Urgency” Webinar, January 28. More info here.
We know it when we experience it. Certainly it’s hard to measure with objective metrics, but when we as individuals and/or churches experience healthy urgency, it’s unmistakable.
We look around our communities, seeing the brokenness, pain, and suffering of so many. We look the gospel of Jesus Christ, filled with promise, healing, and transformation. The gap between these two translates into motivation which becomes action, leading us to partner with God toward bringing the kingdom to earth as it is in heaven. Being part of God’s movement to reshape this world is energizing, giving deep meaning to our everyday existence. When healthy urgency happens, we know it.
When unhealthy urgency sets in, we know it too. When we look at declining church revenue and participation, our anxiety rises. When we notice the median age of disciples in our church rises exponentially each year, we fret about the future. When participation in the tried and true church programs decreases, we are tempted to press the panic button. Though these trends are real matters of concern, bowing down to anxiety is not helpful. Living in fear is contrary to the way of Jesus. Yet, urgency can sneak across the health line, turning into anxiety right quick when we focus on our institutional concerns. When unhealthy urgency happens, we know it.
When urgency’s antonym comes calling, we know this too - apathy. No one means to move to the land of apathy. Mostly, we find ourselves there through a long slow series of compromises and downward adjustments. Over time, we neglect our faith, forgetting the life-giving experience of connection with God through Jesus Christ. Our urgency melts into boredom and neglect, leading us to a form of religion that’s more duty and tradition than anything else. When apathy becomes our home, we know it.
That’s why so many disciples in churches are growing restless. They are looking to the scriptures again, finding a Jesus who loved the world too much to leave it as it is. Through honest conversations and authentic spiritual engagement they recognize that God’s ways are not our ways. These disciples are not content with church-as-we-have-known-it. Their patience for pablum and tolerance for tedium grows thin by the moment. They are hungry for robust, invigorated churches who are proactively engaging the good news of the gospel, partnering with God toward world transformation. Their eyes are fixed on church-as-it-is becoming, with so little room in their lives for insipid church experience. May their kind increase and may more and more disciples join the ranks of those who are living in the Way of Jesus.
When healthy urgency strikes, there’s no way we can miss it.
Mark Tidsworth, Pinnacle President