When the Extraordinary becomes Ordinary

As readers of this blog know, I recently blogged the Catalyst 14 conference in Atlanta. The lineup was full of world-class speakers such as Andy Stanley, Tim Keller, Matt Chandler, Charles Duhigg, and more. Worship was led by Matt Redman.

Through my time there I interacted with a number of other volunteers from the local area. It was interesting to see a disconnect.

While the arena was full of 10,000 learners and worshippers, locals were heard to say things like:

“Can we leave early?” and “Do we really need to hear another message?”

catalyst worship

I saw many of them staring mindlessly at their cell phones while around them people were paying money to encounter God. Perhaps it was because Atlanta has a world-class event seemingly every month!

The ExtraOrdinary had become Ordinary.

Before we point the finger at Catalyst and Atlanta area volunteers, lets consider other areas.

I see this same desensitization at work in my own life within my own missions organization.

We regularly gather together to pray, worship, and seek the face of God. These are required activities for those serving with us. It is so easy for me to become numb to such a privilege. I find myself “wanting to get something done” or skip out on the next meeting.

After 23 years in the organization I must fight the urge to grow numb to the gifts these activities are.

Many attending a local church would love to have prayer and worship be a required part of their “jobs.” They would not have to squeeze those activities into an already packed schedule.

Many would consider my life extra-ordinary, being able to travel the world and share the gospel. Has it become boring or ordinary to me?

Speaking of the local church, the same is true.

How often to we neglect to thank our children’s Sunday School workers?
When is the last time we shared with the pastor just how much those teachings are impacting us?
Has the church become a  place where we expect to be served, rather than to serve?

Many of us have amazing people serving us and training us in local churches. Why is it so easy to forget this?

What can we do to catch ourselves when we drift?

1. Catch ourselves slipping into the ordinary. Actively recognize how blessed we are.

2. Speak more positive than negative. When we hear ourselves or others downplaying the extraordinary, let’s be voices that promote how special it is.

3. See things through the eyes of another. If those same volunteers at Catalyst who are jaded to superior teaching, could see the huge lift it gave to thousands of attendees, it would change their perspective.

4. Don’t miss what is in front of you. If we can develop this habit in our marriages and our parenting it will help in other areas. Remind yourself often just how great you spouse and children are. Then tell them!

How about you? In what areas has something extraordinary become merely ordinary and expected?