"Dad, you probably did a great job, but I just didn't get it."
This was a piece of a conversation I had with Aly last night as we talked about the day and asked her about being in "Big Church" now and listening to me speak. She graduated a couple weeks ago from KidZone and now attends the service where she "gets to" hear her dad wax eloquent about matters of faith. Ok, to her, she gets to hear her dad monologue. I'm sure this is every 11 yr. olds dream. "Boy, I can never get enough of hearing my dad talk to me and tell me what to do. I can't wait for Sunday to hear him talk uninterrupted for 40 minutes straight while I sit still and listen intently, hanging on his every word!" You get my point.
When she said what she said, I chuckled and tucked it away for a blog post. Mostly cause I know this isn't just the sentiment of a budding 6th grader, this is a good many people's thought when they leave church each week. And it's not just the church I go to, it's churches across the land filled with people who recognize that something just happened that was supposedly significant and it was probably pretty good, but they just didn't get it.
I wonder how many weekends I do "a great job" and people leave and "don't get it". It's not that they didn't understand the data or laugh at the drama, but it didn't stick to the inner parts in a way that changes something. Some may disagree with me, but we are not dying as church in America for lack of great sermons or good books on God or awesome podcasts that can be listened to on road trips...we are dying because, for all the great communication happening, very little of it is connecting deeply to our souls and changing our actual lives. We just "don't get it".
Most of the time, my daughters will talk to me about my funny stories or my dopy antics, but when it comes to the question, "What did you learn?" they fight to come up with something. I can tell they really want to if only to shore up my leaking identity (hehe). They don't want their dad to feel like he was like the old Indian said: "Lots of dust, lots of wind, but no rain." Yeah, I'm fearful that for all the dust kicked up and the hot air blowing around like a whirlwind, at the end of the day there isn't the much needed rain. And when there isn't any rain, it doesn't matter how good a job you did, the crops die. The harvest is pitiful. When the roots are dry, the fruits die. It's that simple.
I don't want to do a good job as much as I want people to "get it". The cost of people continuing to not "get it" can hardly be calculated.
Back to my daughter: More than anything in the world I want her to get it. Even if I'm not "good", I would rather she gets it. I don't think there's a more important prayer as a parent, and there certainly isn't a more important prayer as a pastor.