The Difference Between “Deep” and “Wide”

There’s been much discussion regarding the idea of community in recent years.  God’s Word is clear about continuing to maintain relationships for God’s glory (Heb 10:25).  But here’s a thought.

Is a community more about the number of people in a relationship or about the relationship itself?

In other words, do we measure the success of a community by how many people show up (width)? Or do we measure success by the “depth” of the relationships within the community?  The difference is huge.  There’s a saying that goes something like this: a mile wide but an inch deep.  That’s exactly what I’m proposing here.

Within the Church, we’ve fallen prey to the thought that the mega-church is successful; whereas the small church doesn’t experience the same success.  Perhaps it’s an issue of a traditional style of worship, a rural community, etc.  But we rationalize that the small church is never going to be nothing more than a small church (with few exceptions).  And because they are a small church, they will never be as “successful” as a large church.  Therefore, the community will only be so wide.

Churches have bought into this philosophy as well.  Pastors are concerned about filling a chair and developing the latest program.  Church treasurers must be concerned about “giving units” so that the bills can be paid.  Churches become personality driven.  Importance has been placed on “How good is the band?” rather than “What do they believe”?  And the community gets wider and wider.

However, the effort it takes to become disciples and to make disciples, all too often, is more effort than people want to give.  The reality is people want to be entertained.  They want to hear the latest singer, attend the best parties, have someone babysit their kids, etc.  And as long as these same people have a warm fuzzy feeling when they leave, they will consider it a “success”.  And the community gets more shallow every day.

The point is becoming wider doesn’t always lead to being deeper.  But going deeper will always result in becoming wider.  Am I wrong?  Tell me about it.

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4 Responses to “The Difference Between “Deep” and “Wide””

  1. Good point. Yes, and it begins with a deepening relationship with God, of course. At least someone needs to be growing in that regard, so as to help the others to so grow. I also think it’s a give and take commitment to each other within the “one another’s” we’re called to, in Christ. Thanks!

  2. I agree and I think you nailed it down with “…but going deeper will always result in becoming wider” – Going and Becoming is KEY to Deeper.

    A church can be small and also shallow if no one but the preacher ever goes deeper into reading the Word, goes deeper into prayer, goes deeper into relationships…

    Everyone likes to hear “You are forgiven and loved” – we all like a good tune that transports us to a place of peace- and I’ve had those days that I’ve needed to be there; taking in those words of love and songs of mercy–but I cannot stay there always.

    I hope that most of us will not linger there – but instead- because of Gods love and mercy – we will share the gospel and GO and MAKE disciples.

    • Good thoughts Maria! Effort (and commitment *see comment above) is something too many aren’t willing to do. There has to be those “flat places” in our lives. But soon after, we must be willing to head toward the mountaintop once again. Love you!

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