12 January 2007

Does The Church Have Too Much BM?

BM - Behavior Management.

Definitian from Ohio State University:

Behavior management refers to a variety of techniques that are designed to change or eliminate undesirable behaviors and increase wanted behaviors through the use of rewards, skills training, and adjusting the child's environment.

How do we do this in the church?
"God doesn't want us to see rated R movies."
"Drinking makes God sad."
"Don't wear that red dress, you look like a prostitute."

These are some true phrases I've heard through my years in walking with God, but it's much more subtle than that.
How many times are we tempted to try and change behavior, rather than simply point people to Jesus and let him change where and how he sees fit?
Do we not believe that Jesus can do the job on His own?
Where do we draw the line?

It's so easy to correct behavior because we SEE behavior. We can't see the heart.

God is about changing hearts and behavior will follow. Being changed into the image of Christ is a good thing!

Many times we put the cart before the horse, try to change the behavior and hope that the Sprit catches up with the change so it sticks.

I like what Sally Morganthaler said, "Our job as leaders is to not tell people what to do, but to remind them of who they are!"

*This blog inspired by a man I respect dearly in the faith, thanks Brent. It's all your fault. ;-)


grace said...

So true! Sometimes I wonder if we even believe that the Holy Spirit can transform people. We're often too anxious to prescribe what those changes should look like and exactly how and when they should happen.

Michael said...

Good work Grace. I also think that as human beings we all have a different views regarding relationship with God. When we go to church it often feels like people find it their responsibility to "Help You Along" and with all intentions positive, try to mentor you. Really it just makes you feel like a science project!! To much BM... Yah I do agree!ivvqfo

Paul said...

good thoughts bro - i think we forget that limiting our freedom for others benefits is a sign of spiritual maturity - often we want people to limit their freedom when they have no grace to do so - in other words it becomes law... so if i know going to R movies is not gonna help some people i hang with then i need to consider whether i need to go etc - not heh no one should go :)

i think we need to put things a lot more in terms of rights in the context of following Christ rather than rules to help me fake it till i make it :)

Katie said...

Not only is it direct "you should or shouldn't do this or that" but it also comes in the form of "Wow! Look how spiritual so-and-so is and look how they lead their life. Aren't they so holy?" And by doing that, everyone compares themselves to them and the church holds everyone else up to the standard of that person. The manipulation and subtleties are what we need to look out for! Churches may not even realize they're doing it, which is even worse because it shows the true values of the church-- legalistic actions and words, not honesty and people being real and open.
By letting people be themselves, that is the only way a church will not fall into having too much BM. But for some reason, the church often fears people being real-- they don’t fit into the nice "churchy" mold (which is a whole other topic in itself!). But I definitely agree the church has way too much BM!

David said...

Well said Katie and welcome!
I think you're right, I don't think the churches who have BM realize they have it (which is a profound personal problem!).
Which helps me realize, that I need to be carefull (as we all do) in revealing the BM so they see it and not just close the doors on authenticity.
We don't want authentic to mean jerk.
I'm speaking for myself of course.