Awhile back, after almost a decade of going regularly to the gym, I took 6 months off. Fortunately, I returned after realizing my clothes were strangely shrinking. I was drifting away from being fit.
During my break, I discovered if I didn’t workout daily and continued to eat what I’m accustom to, I would change (FYI: physical growth is not the same as spiritual growth).
When I returned to the gym, I noticed the same people there; and it hit me that there are 3 distinct groups at the gym:
- The fat ones. The overweight; they go regularly trying to lose pounds but they eat what they want moments after they leave. It just doesn’t work.
- The fit ones. They understand it’s a lifestyle thing (inside and outside of the gym). They get it and it shows.
- The new ones. They’ll stop soon once they don’t see results. They simply give up (it’s hard to get in shape)! January is full of these people.
The church is like the gym. Like physical change at the gym, people realize they need something different in their spiritual lives. Church has a solution to offer! People start attending and want benefits. You have three similar groups:
- The spiritually fat ones. They try to get their act into gear but think that simply going to church is enough; while living like the world after they leave.
- The spiritually fit ones. They actually live the lifestyle all the time and reap the rewards. It’s an “inside” and “outside” thing.
- The new ones. People “trying” church for awhile but not seeing any rewards. It’s hard to get into spiritual shape! They’ll leave soon unless you intervene.
It’s so critical to identify these groups. At the gym, you can imagine how differently you need to talk to each of the groups to motivate them and keep them attending regularly. Your church also needs to identify the groups so you can communicate differently to them.
And when they choose to leave? Be sure to keep the communication relationship intact. They’ll eventually realize they’re getting spiritually flabby — and they’ll respond to your invitation to return.
It’s good to get back into shape. Physically AND spiritually. Let’s do it. Together.