Winston Churchill said some very instrumental things in his lifetime. The most memorable speech he gave was when all he said was, “Never, never give up.” It was memorable because nothing was needed to be said after he said it. It was reported that his last words were simply, “I am bored with it all.” Let’s face it, a lot of people are bored with it all.
The most common way to define boredom in Western culture is having nothing to do. Boredom is generally viewed as an unpleasant emotional state in which the individual feels a pervasive lack of interest in and difficulty concentrating on the current activity. Existing survey estimates show that between 30 percent and 90 percent of American adults experience boredom at some point in their daily lives, as do 91 percent to 98 percent of youth. Men are generally more bored than women. ~Psychology Today
Retirement may seem like the light at the end of the tunnel for working adults, but for many, it winds up being more of a disappointment than a delight. In fact, the average retiree grows bored after just one year of a life free of employment. United Kingdom Business Journal
Boredom is a way of life for some folks and you have to wonder why. Have they never found anything they like to do that could occupy their time? I guess not! There are people going to church who are also bored. They are bored with the same way the worship service is done, or they are bored with the same spiritual concepts told over and over again. Let’s face it … there are people who are bored with God. Now, I’m not so sure they are bored with the Creator of the universe, but I think they are bored with what they find in church. If I were a betting man, I would bet that they think church is a bore. Same stories, same conclusions, some encouraging words … it all becomes a commonplace liturgy that creates this boredom.
I am not at all bored with God, but I must admit, I get bored with church. It has the same order of service every week … it never varies. The music team sings a series of songs to get you in the mood for being in church. Then, there is the offering because the employees in the church need to be paid along with all the bills. Then, we have a person who speaks about the importance of church and the Bible. Then, the sermon pontificates on matters found in the Bible. Then, eventually, we greet each other and go home.
What do you think? Did I capture it? People who fail to come to church after a while may just be bored with what they are coming to church to hear. It is boring. Here is what I have heard over the years:
· It has no meaning for me anymore
· I don’t like the music, it’s too loud, or I can’t sing those songs
· The preacher is a boring speaker, and he drones on and on
· I don’t get anything out of the service anymore
· I don’t feel accepted anymore, and I am just ignored at church anyway
Sometimes, when we hear these kinds of complaints, we roll our eyes and conclude: “When people make statements like that, they are probably backslidden.” Maybe not … maybe they are just bored with what you are doing to them every Sunday. What? Blame ourselves for people’s boredom? Never!
Again, if I were a betting man, I bet boredom is the bottom line to many complaints people have about the church. They say things that sound constructive, but in reality, they are saying, “I really don’t get much out of your sermons or the service.” In fact, their boredom has given them ideas of how to change something. People who are challenged week in and week out have few complaints. They are too engrossed with what God is doing in their lives. Over the years, I have noticed that when people do their greatest complaining it’s because they have nothing to celebrate. Griping has become their ministry gift, and they use it a lot.
Now, I don’t want to discourage people who do have legitimate concerns. Their option to express themselves should never be taken from them. However, you can always tell if a person is griping or is legitimately concerned by how they state their words. If they start by saying, "If this doesn’t change, I am leaving this church,” then I think you have a griper. But, if the person says, “I have a concern and I am willing to do what I can to help make this concern go away.” Do you see the difference?
Boredom is a two-edged sword because we as clergy need to inspire and create an environment where God can work among the people. The congregation is also responsible to come to church expecting God to meet them in whatever way they have needs.
I can't imagine that the early church was ever bored. It was either revival or riots … either one kept boredom away.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler