Take a Look Around
Throughout the first half of my life, The Eastman Kodak Company was one of the strongest businesses in the world. They had a unique product, and they owned a huge share of the market for photographic film and the processing thereof. It was one of those companies that you thought would continue to dominate their field far into the future.
Early last year I read an article about how Kodak almost went under as a company because it refused to look around at the quickly changing world. They thought this digital photography thing was just a phase (even though it was one of their researchers who had invented and developed it) and that people would eventually come back to real cameras that used real film. This attitude nearly destroyed their company and led them to bankruptcy in 2012. They have since reorganized and refocused the company toward the future, but they are no longer the household name that they once were.
The reason that I share this sad story with you is that many churches have suffered the same fate as Kodak. They became so focused on meeting their own needs and making sure that everything was done the way it had always been done in the past that they failed to look around and see that they were no longer communicating the Good News about Jesus in a way that the people around them could hear and receive. They kept on doing the same things that they had always done without asking if they were being effective in sharing the Good News of God’s love to a changing culture. Like Kodak, they didn’t look around.
As we enter this new year, it is critical that we learn from the mistakes of the past. We need to take a look around. As we do, let’s ask “Who are the people that God wants us to share God’s message with, and what do we need to do to help them hear the Good News?” As we ask God to open our eyes to the people that we need to reach, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to give us the courage to invite them to join us. We have room to welcome everyone. We just need to invite them.
We have a choice before us. We can just hope that people come to their senses and realize that they need Jesus in their life, or we can look for new ways to reach people with the Great News of what Jesus can do in their lives. It starts with taking a good look around and being willing to make that personal one to one contact. This is the Great Commission that Jesus has given to us, so let’s get to work.
Steve Ranney, Pastor