Don’t read this post if you like click bait headlines. This isn’t one of those articles.
I read an article that talked about ways to catch people’s attention with a headline. I hated the article. You can read it yourself here: https://medium.com/the-mission/this-new-data-will-make-you-rethink-how-you-write-headlines-751358f6639a.
I hated it because I can’t believe people click on headlines like this. The “10 things that…” Really? That draws people’s attention. I usually skip articles like that. I have found that the 10 things are usually not that helpful.
“You’ll never guess what happened next…” That’s a headline that screams click bait. It usually causes me to scream also. Sure I can guess what – not much, but you still got people to click on your article.
I guess that’s the whole point. But what if there is more. What if just getting people to pay attention is really just shallow?
Are people just looking for the shortest way to a specific answer without having to think about it? Have we become lazy? Why don’t we want to think? Are we too busy?
Considering I am a pastor, I think about these things in relation to church. Sure, I could use all sorts of click bait-like headlines and phrases to catch people’s attention. But then what? If there is no substance, people leave. Easy come, easy go. Easy in, easy out.
Church isn’t a business. It’s more like a relationship. Relationships aren’t built on quick catch phrases – one night stands are.
It’s my hope that churches don’t follow this trend of quick and easy solutions for life’s problems. Mostly because most problems aren’t quick and easy – but long and difficult. Most problems involve people and things that are intangible. I have found that there aren’t 10 easy steps to salvation. There aren’t 10 things that you need to do to get the most out of church. There aren’t 10 things that churches can do to stop hunger in their community. That’s because there are not simple steps when it comes to faith.
I’m not in a denomination that has the nice and neat sinners prayer that is supposed to change your life in a moment. I’m not part of a denomination that believes that all the answers to life’s problems and questions are in the bible. (Try asking the bible who won the 1942 World Series and see what you come up with.)
I am part of denomination that believes that life is messy, that mystery is normal, that we don’t have all the answers, and that questions are welcome. I’m part of a denomination that doesn’t take the bible literally, but certainly tries to take it seriously.
We don’t have 10 easy things that you should do. But we do have grace and forgiveness. We don’t have all the answers, but we will listen to your story. You don’t have to guess what will happen next, I can tell you – we’ll have a conversation, listen to each other, pray with each other, and then start to walk together on life’s journey. It’s a long walk (I hope), but well worth it.
Leave the click bait behind – there’s just too many important things in life for that.