People will pay the Cost if they find it valuable.
One of my favorite books is Deitrich Bonhoffer’s, “The Cost of Discipleship.” In that book Bonhoffer says that grace if free but it should never be cheap. It’s the most valuable thing that we could ever have.
Now my comparison to Apple is no where near the value of Grace. But Apple stuff is not cheap. There are cheaper mp3 players. there are way cheaper laptops. But Apple knows that the people who really want their products will pay the price for them because they are worth it.
Discipleship needs to be worth it for people to buy in to the life of Christ. What are we offering people when they come to faith in Christ. Are we telling them that life will be easy? Are we telling them that everything is always going to work out. No, at least I hope not.
What we are inviting people to is grace and transformed lives. And that should be worth it. So we need to be living in grace and we need to be displaying transformed lives. If we have the exact same experience as non-believers, what do they care? They are not going to come flocking. But if we are inviting them to join us on the journey of faith and inviting them to live transformed lives. then that’s attractive, and that’s something different then their current experience.
When I was deciding to switch to a Mac, one of the biggest attractions was the different user experience. I’m less vulnerable to attack, things are constantly improving. The user experience is worth the cost of the computer because I know that It’s going to work. And It’s simpler. It’s a lot of fun too. Yeah I had a lot to learn before I felt really proficient with my mac, but it was worth learning.
And so when it comes to faith the cost of discipleship is everything we have and everything we are. And people will gladly pay the price, if it’s worth it. If they see the transformation.
Conversion is a Journey
When I switched over to my first mac it wasn’t a quick decision. I didn’t just wake up one day and say, I’m going to learn a whole new operating system and just fly blind into something I don’t even understand. I didn’t need to switch. But Apple wooed me by their simplistic design and clutter free stores.
And the coolest thing was that they let me come into the store day after day and just play with the computers. They let me experiment, they let me figure out what the hype was all about. And during the process they had geniuses that were willing to answer questions, let me check my email, let me turn the volume way up and blast some Audioslave. They allowed me to play before I payed. And somewhere along the line I fell in love with the Computer.
So I would hope that the lesson churches can learn hear is pretty clear. Conversion is a journey it’s not an event. People come and kick the tires of faith. They take it test drives, but praying, and maybe reading their Bible. They join a community group to see who else is in the group, and if they are normal people. They ask questions, they doubt, they wonder. They’ll try to learn the songs, they’ll want to know what’s going on. And then somewhere along the line, through the wooing of the Holy Spirit, the love the community shows them, and their experience they cross the line of faith.
This is a lot messier then the Altar Call at the camp meeting conversion event, but it’s also a lot more long lasting. Becuase during the trial period they get to get their questions out. They get to see if this thing really works. And that is so valuable.
So as church leaders are we willing to trust that Jesus can handle the actual converting, that’s not our job. Our job is to open the door, answer the questions and let people enjoy the conversion Journey.
In this Metaphor Baptism is the same as walking out the store with the Box with the Apple on it. We went in to the store dead in windows and came out alive in Tiger – soon leopard. (Alright that’s kind of a stretch but i couldn’t help it.)