Swimming in the Shallow End of the Faith Pool
I got this image in my head the other day as I was pondering what I consider to be the failure of mega churches to lead people into holiness. It was the picture of a swimming pool. The shallow end of the pool was packed with people. Adults, kids, toys, floaties, and all kinds of other stuff. You've seen this before right? As a regular at the Northfield pool I see this kind of thing all the time. Then I started thinking about the deep end of the pool. There are very few people swimming here. Maybe a few people hanging on to the edge of the pool, but compared to the shallow end the deep end looks quite deserted. You have to be a mature swimmer to swim here.
I compare this to the church. There are so many people swimming in the shallow end. They like the pool, they enjoy the other people they're swimming with, and they love the ease of easily getting in and out of the water. Lots of fun and very little commitment or skill required. This is how many people do church. They attend whenever they want, they don't do much to learn or grow or develop any faith skills, they simply enjoy the energy of the weekend event and they like the fact that very little is asked of them.
The deep end in the church is often as deserted as the deep end of the pool. It takes time to learn to swim in the deep waters of faith. You have to have developed muscles of faith through time, testing, and practice. The deep end is for people who have moved past elementary doctrines and have begun to experience a richer, fuller, heartier relationship with Christ and God's Word.
One of the problems I see with mega churches is that they are really good at welcoming people into the pool, but they are really bad at moving them into the deep end. So what ends up happening is that the church grows larger numerically, and the shallow end gets bigger and bigger, with larger auditoriums and multiple campuses, but no one ever moves into the deep end of the pool! And my fear is that one day there will be all these people who thought they were swimmers, but in reality they have no ability to swim at all - they've just spent their entire lives splashing around.