Friday, May 24, 2013
The Enthusiasm Meter
Friday, July 15, 2011 Comments (0)
I would be the first to admit that I lead with my emotions. In every situation, I am always taking the temperature of the room in order to get a read on how well things are going. I realize that such an approach is fraught with shortcomings, but I can’t help but believe that when it comes to matters of faith and practice, we are pretty much a people who are governed by how we feel.
If I were to look for a theological rationale, I could point to the word “enthusiasm.” The word is Greek in origin, and can be broken down into its component parts, which translated, mean “in-God-ism.” In other words, a people caught up in their experience of God are an enthusiastic people in the best sense of the word.
Unfortunately, the summer season is not the best time to develop a good feel for how things are going around church. People are out of town. Students are away for the summer. Camps and family gatherings more than take their toll on the numbers of people participating in church life with their presence and their purse strings.
But though our numbers have been down, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a summer when the level of enthusiasm around the church has been higher. Much of it has, of course, been generated by the fact that we are nearing completion of our capital improvement project. But a lot of it has also been because of the good experiences that folk have been having in our worship and small group activities. In fact, if you were to ask most people around the church about how things are going, they would answer positively and enthusiastically.
You should know that over the course of the summer I’ve also bumped into a number of people who have grown up in our church and are now out on their own in other parts of the country. They have told me that during their summer sojourns back to Tallahassee, they have dropped by the church and been so encouraged by what they see taking place on our block.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t need to allow my emotions to be driven purely by the numbers, or lack thereof. As Einstein was reported to have said, “Not everything that counts can be counted.” Week in and week out, something special is happening right before our eyes. We should be careful to celebrate it. So many churches would love to be at the place where we are – genuinely enthusiastic about all that God is doing in our midst. And that is the thing that I think all of us agree counts most of all.
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