process vs. events

Seth Godin offers these thoughts on social media:

The reason social media is so difficult for most organizations

It’s a process, not an event.

Dating is a process. So is losing weight, being a public company and building a brand.

On the other hand, putting up a trade show booth is an event. So are going public and having surgery.

Events are easier to manage, pay for and get excited about. Processes build results for the long haul. (From Seth’s Blog)

I think he is right in terms of social media – using it as a tool to connect means that it takes time to develop and build those meaningful relationships. But I immediately started asking about how we do “church” in regard to this process vs. event framework. How often do we approach the work of the church as an event instead of an ever-evolving process? Within United Methodism we have this concept of “sanctifying grace” and “moving on to perfection” by which we understand discipleship as a process, but too often I think we are still locked into an event mentality – where people are perfectly content to keep coming week after week (to the “event” of public worship), with no meaningful transformation or growth in their lives. Are we offering a process or just a series of events? It’s a good question to wrestle with.

P.S. After I had posted this I came across Julie Clawson’s most recent blog post which is a somewhat tangential take on the same question. In it she offers this thought:

“…it amuses me that the faith tradition that taught me to pity and ridicule those that say “I’m a good person, why do I need to follow Jesus?” are now the one’s saying “I’ve said a prayer to Jesus, why should I follow him?” Fully embracing the Incarnation means that we actually let it transform us – not just in some brief moment of salvation but in the entirety of our lives. A flesh and blood incarnate Jesus calls us to follow him in tangible flesh and blood ways. Plastic figures and cheezy slogans are insubstantial next to this incarnate God. This transformation makes us the hands and feet of Jesus in such a way that we can no longer ask why we should bother caring but instead accept that this is the only possible way we can live as true Christ followers. Incarnation isn’t a cheap decoration that adorns the veneer of our lives, it’s earthy and messy and complex and demanding. The incarnate Jesus grabs hold of our lives and wakes us up from our complacency.”