Adrenaline-Based or Commitment-Based
Carlton L. Coon, Sr.
Thoreau made the statement, “It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants.”
The question is, “What are we busy about?”
Adrenaline is a familiar word. Its background may be lesser known. The body contains two adrenal glands. The inner region of these glands produces the hormone adrenaline. Adrenaline enables the body to receive an extra burst of energy in certain circumstances. Adrenaline has been called the “fight or flight” hormone.
An ongoing pattern of excitement or stress calls for excessive manufacturing of adrenaline. In church, the pattern of excitement or stress is the thrill of the “big deal.” For the human body, excessive adrenaline production causes a condition known as adrenal fatigue syndrome. Every organ and system in the body is affected.
My definition of adrenaline-based church is a setting built around excitement, hype and hullaballoo. It gives the impression that meaningful things are happening. Traits of an adrenaline-based church may include:
* A steady schedule of one-time events to create energy, but there is no system in place to follow-up on the visitors who attend the events.
* Somehow, production becomes more important than His “presence.”
* Music is presentation-oriented. The singer and the applause of the audience seem to be more important than the savior being sung about.
* Each service begins in over-drive. Each activity is hard-driving; there is no process to transition people from life’s rush into the holy.
* Responding to the preacher with an “Amen” or standing applause is a major measure of the quality of a church service or of the message preached.
* No build-up to the altar. Each part of a service has similar value to what will happen in the altar.
Adrenaline-based church is exciting, but is it sustainable? Each thing one does requires time, energy, management, leadership and money. These are all limited resources. The resources can be invested to stir excitement or to produce efforts that can be sustained. In an adrenaline-based church, people reach a place of only responding to something that stirs ever greater excitement. Those who are paying attention eventually become exhausted by actions that have no lasting significance.
On occasion, church planters say, “I am so excited!” Good, you need to be excited, but excitement will I not establish or grow a church � a burden will.
Commitment-based church on the other hand, is what produces life-giving consistency in the body. Terms we seem to seldom use: dedication, sacrifice, burden, discipline and commitment are necessary for the progress of the church. Commitment-based church includes:
�Corporate prayer � when is your church’s prayer meeting?
�Hospitality training for hosts, ushers and hostesses.
�Training for those involved in children’s ministry.
�Ongoing disciple making.
�An effort to follow-up with those who visit a regular service or a special event.
The plodding routines take work � a lot of work, and they are not as exciting as an event. However, once these commitments are in place, each can be continued.
The ministry of an usher, nursery worker, church cleaner, hostess, prayer warrior, bus route worker or Home Bible Study teacher create little buzz. Such roles happen behind the scenes and are seldom noticed. These labors are not adrenaline-based � they are built around dedication to God’s work; these labors serve to build God’s Kingdom.
Let me reiterate, there will be and should be those moments where the adrenaline is pumping. Israel experienced such moments:
�The waters of the Jordan River stood aside for the Israelites to cross.
�Jericho’s walls came crashing down.
Yet … marching around Jericho for the sixth day would not have been the least bit exciting. Further, possessing Canaan involved the unexciting work of plowing, planting and harvesting. Farm work! Not much about farming causes the adrenal glands to be stirred. It is interesting to note that what we aspire to attain � church planting and church growth are terms connected to farming. Farming is not as exciting as fighting fires or attending a circus � yet, we are called to farm!
The early church also experienced adrenaline moments.
�The healing of the lame man at the Gate Beautiful.
�Peter’s deliverance from prison.
The prayer meeting at Mary’s house (Acts 12) would likely have started with much energy, but Peter’s deliverance was not quick. At Mary’s house, prayer was made “without ceasing.” Prayer “without ceasing” is a labor of dedication rather than excitement.
Notice that everything mentioned that would have caused extra adrenaline to be produced was actually a sovereign work of God. No amount of planning, programming, concerts or events can replicate what God does. We cannot free anyone from a prison, but we can pray until God does! The plodding work of farming and praying without ceasing are things we humans can do.
The Lord added to the early church on a daily basis. They experienced revival, day-in and day-out, year-in and year-out. Is that type of revival even possible in the 21st-century? Actually, it is, in settings as diverse as the smaller towns of Bethel, Alaska (Church Planter Lorin Bradbury) where 23 have been baptized and received the Holy Ghost this year and Lumberton, North Carolina (Pastor Roy Barnhill) where 179 have received the Holy Ghost to North America’s great cities like Chicago (Church Planter Rick Gonzalez) where 312 have received the Holy Ghost this year or Saint Laurent, Quebec (Pastor Paul Graham) where 263 have been baptized in Jesus name and 285 filled with the Holy Ghost.
In each church noted, as well as hundreds of others like them, the order of things is consistency. Regardless of the resources one has or does not have, a call to committed prayer and consistency of the attainable opens the door for God to do God things!
Sustainable revival should be a hot topic of discussion in today’s church. Evaluate any significant church, and you will discover it to be a product of sustained behavior. A pastor leading a church to do the right things � over and over!
Actions to Consider
�On occasion close down what may be excitement or adrenaline-based to give time to focus on areas that require dedication. For several decades, Pastor Marrell Cornwell (Wichita, Kansas) has closed down the choir for several months each year. His rationale, “It gives a season for each per-son � even those who may feel totally fulfilled because they sing in the choir to focus on prayer and evangelism.”
�Seriously evaluate if your investment of resources is producing results. Jesus talked about the “fruit that remaineth.” Our measure is not attendance or converts, but “fruit that remains” � disciples! What is the long-term impact of the areas in which you are investing yourself?
The above article, �Adrenaline-Based or Commitment-Based� was written by Carlton L. Coon, Sr. The article was excerpted from Director�s Communique.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.