Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Need, Interest, Currency

For a few years there has been a Sylvan Learning Center near my house. Driving home from church Monday, I noticed that it is now empty and “for lease.” Whoever owned that franchise location probably felt like they had a good geographic. The neighborhoods nearby have plenty of kids whose grades tend to teeter on the passing line. Whether English wasn’t their first language, so they’re playing catch-up at school, or if they’re simply not disciplined enough to learn and do homework, students in this part of the world could really use some one on one tutoring.

But more, it would appear, was necessary for the success of the business than identifying a need and providing the solution. First of all, there had to be interest. The parents of the students had to care about their grades and the solution Sylvan offered. Secondly, the parents had to have the currency to pay for supplemental education: the currency of money and of time.

Five minutes home from church ought to be a short period in which to fit analogies for life, but one struck me. At our church I see several high school girls who need older ladies to care about them, to spend time with them, to ground them in faith, and to guide them to maturity and godliness. So a friend and I, under our youth pastor, are offering a small group. This would also enable the girls to get to know each other and encourage each other. But most of the girls aren’t coming. Either they don’t have the interest, or they don’t have the currency of time to invest.

What’s the solution? Should we close up like Sylvan? Is our tactic wrong?

To God be all glory.


kschaub said...

Lisa, you make a fantastic analogy. There are at least two ways to look at it. Too often, our churches emphasize results-driven methodologies similar to the consumer/business nature of our culture (commercials, new ideas, etc.). The problem with that kind of model for the church has more to do with an incorrect understanding of sovereign grace than anything else. 'If the church isn't growing, the methods must be all wrong.' 'If few are joining the church, it must be the preaching.' In other words, it has nothing to do with the hardened hearts of sinners.

That, of course, doesn't mean that methodology doesn't matter. But it does mean that methodology is always secondary to right beliefs and should reflect what we believe.

So people aren't coming . . . you can change things, maybe. Or, perhaps God hasn't providentially moved people to it yet. But, I definitely don't think you should close shop!! Before I go to bed here soon, I'll pray for the girls at your church who need to be there.

Oh by the way, Drew is back to writing . . . he just posted an article today on divorce and remarriage, and I also posted an article on spanking. Drew says he is back for good, so we'll see!

Lisa of Longbourn said...

Thanks, Kschaub.

I think I need to pray more, too.

To God (of sovereign grace) be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn