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Sway: Value

June 11, 2010

I have been reading the book Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior by Ori and Rom Brafman. Chapter three deals with “value attribution” and gives several studies in this field. It made me think about the church today. One that really intrigued me was carried out at The Ohio State University that dealt with their theater department. For $15 you could purchase a season ticket for all of the shows. In the experiment they randomly gave discounts to some of those seeking a season ticket while others were charged the full price.

What do you think they discovered? Those people who received a discount were more likely to miss performances. It didn’t matter what amount the discount was. Some people received a two dollar discount while others received one that was seven. Both groups missed about the same amount. What was consistent was they missed measurably more than those who payed full price.

They made a value statement. When they received the discount they subconsciously lowered the value they gave the theater performances.

What does this have to do with church or more importantly how the church gathers? It wasn’t that long ago that I read you needed to make your announcements on three consecutive Sundays if you hoped to hit all of your people. It seems they are making a value statement.

I understand that Hebrews 10:25 isn’t a law for church attendance and yet isn’t it a value statement about such?

What do we do about this value statement? What do you see? Has the church focused so much on the free gift of salvation that we have failed to impress on people the value of salvation? Would this help us better understand Jesus treatment of people like the rich young man as recorded in places like Matthew 19:16-23?

In our haste to make everyone feel welcome have we missed the value of being a part of the kingdom? In the haste to reach out to everyone have we inadvertently lost the value statement?

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:57-62 Crossways ESV iPad version

I think Jesus understood very well.

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 11, 2010 7:20 pm

    VERY interesting. Like the way you connected it with church.

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