Changing Expectations and Jerry Seinfeld

One of my favorite shows of all time was Seinfeld.  There was just some sort of brilliant honesty undertoning everything that happened that fascinated me.  I love the show so much, I even own the entire series, all 9 seasons, including reunions, outtakes, and cast interviews.  Needless to say, I’m familiar with the show.

It’s hard to choose a favorite scene because they really are all incredibly well written.  But one of my top moments has to be the clip above (minus the subtitles of course.)  I think I am drawn to it so much because of the truth behind it.

The scene illustrates the expectation we all have when dealing with car rental services, hotels, airlines, etc.  It’s funny because it’s real, not just in general, but specifically for you and me.  Almost all of us have had that moment when we made travel plans and/or reservations and because of some companies error, downright carelessness, or just bad customer service, our plans are foiled.  In fact, the reason this scene is soooo funny to so many people is because it’s just the level of service we’ve ALL come to expect.

The sad part is, and partly because it’s true, people who are disconnected from God have some of the same negative expectations about His Church.  They still show up from time to time for one reason or another, but for many they fully expect to be condemned for their current state of living, or to spend an hour of their weekend being fed information that is completely irrelevant to their lives.

You know exactly what I mean.  Have you ever invited that friend to church for the first time, and it was the Sunday the Pastor is preaching about the rapture, the seven churches of Revelation, and the Great White Throne Judgement?  I have and frankly, it sucks.  For so many people without a real relationship with God, the idea of connecting with their creator on a personal level is muted out by the negative experiences they have had at a place of worship.  And so when and if they do finally come back, they come with very low expectations for practical, relevant, life-changing experiences.

We are getting better, and by God’s grace, I pray it continues.  But what if we did change the status quo’s in our churches.  What if we did blow people’s expectations of church out of the water.  What if unlike many rental car companies, when people showed up on Sunday mornings, they actually got what it was they are looking for, rather than the same ole-same ole they came expecting.  What if people’s expectations began to change, because people’s experiences began to change.  What if we lived in a world where when the word “Church” was spoken, people had thoughts of help, hope, healing, & restoration.

We can change people’s expectations.  But it can only happen if we keep our focus on what matters, how the Gospel of Jesus can relevantly apply to peoples everyday lives.

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