We’re running out of time at the half.
I know you’re scrambling this week to get ready for next week’s inconvenient holiday schedule. Could it be more crazy? July 4th lands on Wednesday, and it’s the middle of the summer. No one will close it down for just one day: the lazy genes push for a long weekend… but, which one? Shutter the doors on Monday and Tuesday? Leave for Wednesday’s legal break… and don’t come back?
Then, think about this one: six months from today is Christmas! Whatever you were planning to get done in 2018 had better be in full swing, because this week marks the half-way point: Q2/2018 will be history by next Monday, and – like an out-and-back marathon course – the finish is now coming into view. Whatever your plans for Independence Day, the year takes on an increasingly serious tone the day you’re back from your beach/lake/fireworks/burgers/ballgames/sunscreen family extravaganza…
“Half” is a curious concept; that quantifier is now attached to your 2018 calendar. Half-full vs half-empty; half-hearted vs whole-hearted; half price vs full price; half-moon vs full-moon: there’s something about “half” that is inherently dissatisfying. Why “half?” Why not “whole?”
Just imagine assembling your working team after the Fourth of July halftime… and reiterating the challenges of completing your work year with a “win.” If it’s your role to fire-up the faithful and get the A-Team on the field with gusto and resolve, you’re likely to ask the crucial question: “Are you all-in?” What if your #1 Draft Choice – peer-voted Most Likely to Succeed – raised her hand and said, “I’m about half-way there…” What are your chances of making your numbers in the Second Half?
Chris Sonksen – pastor of a church in Southern California – whose x-ray glasses allow him to see his weekend crowd – the board shorts, lattes and “Bible-on-my-mobile” quirkiness that defines contemporary Christians – with clarity that most lack. His perspective: “In most churches, 80% of the work is being done by 20% or less of the people. We’ve become a church of spectators and the pastoral staff is getting burned out. According to my own personal research, the problems are even bigger than the 80/20 Principle. Only 39% of active believers consider the Bible as the literal word of God. Less than 20% of professing believers follow the biblical principle of giving. Only 5% have shared their faith with a non-believer. More than half of all church members attend church once a month or less.”
That disturbing analysis could frame the distinctions of what it means – today – to be “half-Christian.” If that’s the status of the forces who have been commissioned – in this generation, in every generation – to change the world and build God’s Kingdom… how does that affect our game plan?
The first few chapters of the Revelation include Jesus’ unredacted assessment of seven recurring church types; one of them – in Laodicea – got this tough diagnosis: “These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:14-16)
We’re running out of time – “Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” – and we’re running out of gas – “…neither cold nor hot…” – while we have custody of the most awesome assignment ever entrusted to mere humans: the Great Commission.
Businesses are preparing to double-down as they turn the corner into Q3 and stare down the calendar to year-end. Half-in won’t cut it; all-in hits the target.
What if we doubled-down in the Kingdom, recognizing the reality that time is short, Eternity is real… and half-in makes no sense for the followers of Jesus who are really serious?