DOING MORE WITH LESS
Dr. A. C. Snead, former Foreign Secretary of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, once said in my hearing, "You can live on less if you have more to live for." The thought of living on less jump-starts my mind to make another application of the "less" idea. Futurologist, R. Buckminister Fuller, has suggested that life and knowledge will survive by doing more and more with less and less.
Judging by casual observation of how evangelical worship services and conferences function, it would appear that we have bought into the concept that we must have more and more in order to do more and more.
Our heavy reliance upon technology is a case in point. A guest speaker makes his way to the pulpit at the risk of life and limb as he negotiates his way over cords, wires, and other electronic gadgets. Sermons are interrupted repeatedly midstream as the preacher waits for the projectionist to conjure up the right image at the right time to be in sync with the progress of the preacher's sermon. Evangelists like George Whitefield and John Wesley could project their voices to the back row of crowds numbering in the thousands, standing in the open air, whereas so many of today's public speakers and soloists rely almost completely upon expensive PA systems, without which their voices would barely carry to the second row of pews.
Over recent decades the church at home and abroad has become increasingly dependent upon materialistic resources to carry out its mission mandate; we need more money, more equipment, more vehicles, more attractive buildings, strategies which require more financial support. We must have all of these things in order to experience growth. But what we have actually accomplished is the building of our own limitations. We have convinced ourselves that except we have all these things in place we simply cannot hope to grow. What we have relied upon to accomplish growth has actually hindered growth in many cases. A District Superintendent and his Church Growth Director once confided in me that they had decided to call a moratorium on all fresh church planting efforts because the expense of the effort was simply beyond them. And this was during the "double in a decade" program of the C&MA!
I have come to believe that we need some new lights to show us the way forward by divorcing our reliance upon materialistic resources in order to expand the perimeters of the Church. We have built our own fences. We have been our own worst enemies. May God raise up leaders who can show us the way to accomplish more and more with less and less.