Dan Dick would really be a pretty interesting blogger if he got over his obsession with pleasing people and saying what they want to hear.
(That, by the way, was a joke.)
In his latest post, Shmoo Church, he writes that 85% of the membership of most congregations have no interest in actually being Christians.
85% of The United Methodist Church membership is passive, complacent, perfectly happy to sit in a pew (occasionally), be served (regularly) and otherwise be left alone (perpetually). The small head exists to serve the large bottom — the 15% at the top doing everything in its collective power to keep the 85% at the bottom happy, satisfied, and content. The energy in the church today moves from the most invested to the least invested. Is it any wonder, then, that new people seeking a life-transforming relationship with a world-transforming deity are less than thrilled with what they find?
Unless you did not catch the bite in that, here is his conclusion:
So, what’s the solution? A good first step is to admit we’re Shmoos and not tolerate it anymore. The complacent 85% can’t call the shots anymore. What do the 15% need? What will take the most engaged, most gifted, most passionate, most ready to the next level? What can we do to equip, enable, and empower the head to lead the tail? What can we do to shift the flow of energy and spirit from the bottom to the top? Prayer comes to mind, as does actually taking the gospel seriously for a change. A commitment to excellence and world-class performance wouldn’t hurt. Some standards, demands and accountability — actually expecting people to ACT like Jesus the Christ — might be fun. Taking our faith seriously as call and vocation for the priesthood of all believers instead of hobby and leisure activity when convenient could be interesting as well.
Dan has written this before and gotten a hail of “Amens!” in the comment section. Actually, I recall Dan in the past writing that 90% of Christians fall into the Shmoo category, not 85%. Maybe we are getting better.
It does appear that this is not a new problem. John Wesley’s ministry was more or less motivated by the same observations. Paul’s letters were often aimed at the same targets. The letters to the seven churches of Revelation sound a lot like Dan’s Shmoo churches.
Is there a way around this?