If you peruse social media on a Saturday evening, you will likely see ministry leaders sending messages like “Tomorrow is the ONE Sunday you will not want to miss!!!” or “Best Sunday ever tomorrow.”
Or maybe you have sat in church and heard a barrage of announcements, each one promoting an event “that will change your life.”
Or perhaps you have heard a leader say, “If we only had one meeting this year, it would be this one!”
Those who send those messages typically send them over and over again. And it does not take long before you ask yourself, “How many Sunday services can really be the absolute most important one?” “How many life-changing events can there be in one week?” “And which of our 50 meetings is really the one that is THE one?”
People use such strong language to grab attention and to emphasize something that, in the moment, they view as of critical importance. But here are four downsides to every message, announcement, meeting, or event being the most important one in human history, ever.
1. Loss of trust
When leaders continually guarantee that everything is the best, people quickly stop believing the leader. There is a loss of trust because not everything can be the most important thing. If everything is most important, nothing really is.
So to not lose trust, leaders can really work hard to make every single meeting and every single weekend service “bigger and better” than the last one, which takes leaders down a vicious and crushing cycle. Continually attempting to one-up your last weekend or last meeting is over-promising that will simultaneously crush leaders and rob them of their credibility.
3. Over-promising, under-delivering
If leaders insist that everything is most essential, they are inevitably going to over-promise and under-deliver. Rhetoric greater than the discipline of execution results in over-promising and under-delivering. Leaders who hype everything will fail to meet the expectations they themselves set.
4. The beautiful mundane is minimized
The biggest problem with over-promising is that the sacredness is squeezed out of the mundane. People are taught to crave the spectacular and not appreciate the supernatural presence of God in the regular rhythm of life. The regular weekend service is minimized. The regular meeting is perceived as being relegated to boring and unimportant.
If we teach people to come to church longing for the spectacular, they may miss the supernatural. If we teach people to crave spectacular meetings, they may miss the beautiful rhythm of God working in the midst of the mundane.
Wise leaders don’t promise every single thing is the most important thing.