Have you ever heard the expression, "The group hikes at the speed of the slowest person"?
I heard someone use that the other week, as a compassionate excuse for slowing down for people who're slow to adapt to change. My thoughts? Sounds very wise ... if you consider mediocrity a virtue … and if you're ok with the church not being here in twenty years.
Tell me, would you let the slowest surgeon set the schedule for an operating theatre … when patients are dying? Or, would you let the slackest footsoldier set the pace for an army … in an actual combat situation? No, God no. That would get you all killed. If the soldier was injured you'd pick him up and carry him. If he was incompetant … well, you'd hope he was already weeded out in basic training. In any case, mediocrity won't do. Too much is at stake.
So why should we consider mediocrity acceptable in church? Why should we let the prayerless person set the benchmark for prayer or the mission adverse person set the benchmark for mission? Mediocrity wasn't acceptable for Jesus. He warned people to count the cost, he called people to push themselves. Yes, we need to guard against legalism. But our commitment to generosity and grace does not mean their won't be times we have to brush the dust off our feet, so to speak, and leave the recalcitrant behind. Where slow people are open to being carried, we should carry them, but where they're not, well, move on. Yeah, some may be lost along the way, but consider the many more who'll be lost if we let the lazy and insular lead.
At church, I often say sharing the gospel is not a numbers game. Hmm..