Recently I listened to a very engaging podcast about something called The Curse of Knowledge. Have you heard that term? The curse of knowledge occurs when we assume that the person we’re speaking with has the background or the context to understand the content of what we’re saying. They might understand the words that are spoken but are missing information to make it relevant and meaningful.
How does the curse of knowledge manifest itself in church life?
A guest arrives for the first time with kids in tow. Where do they go? Where do their kids go, and when?
The curse of knowledge is that I know where to go, and how to check my kids into the program. If I’m a bit late, I don’t worry — the doors will still be open, and the kids don’t actually start their program until 10:15.
We all know that.
The kids are dismissed for their program downstairs. A newcomer wonders what is ‘downstairs’, and when will they get their kids back?
The curse of knowledge is that I have seen the classrooms and I have met all the teachers. I know they are trained and amazing, and that my kids will be waiting to be picked up after the service.
We all know that.
Communion is set at the front of the church; will I have to walk up and get it or will it be delivered and, if so, do I take it right away or do I hang onto it?
The curse of knowledge is that we celebrate communion every month, and there is rarely any variance in how we do it. They pray and pass the plates, while I sit and receive.
We all know that.
Every time you find yourself saying, “We all know that!”, the curse of knowledge is rearing its ugly head. And to guests, the curse of knowledge can be awkward, ambiguous, confusing, and unwelcoming.
One of the many things I love about our Frontline Ministry team is that they help to break the curse of knowledge by keeping an eye out for guests and helping them to pre-navigate any obstacles.
You came alone and don’t know where to sit? No problem! Let me get you settled near someone who I know to be friendly. Heck, you can even sit with me!
You brought kids? They’ll love it here! Let’s go to the welcome centre and get them registered, then we’ll give you a quick tour of the kids min area. Maybe introduce you to Tanya, the best Children’s Director ever.
You came early to get the lay of the land? So glad you did! Have a cup of coffee or tea, and let me introduce you to a few people.
You came late because you're feeling nervous and unsure? We understand, and we’re watching for the rules of engagement so that we don’t overwhelm you.
Isn’t it great that we have a team of ushers, greeters and welcome centre people who can help overcome the curse of knowledge?
Well, I have a secret to tell you…
You don’t have to serve in an official capacity in order to fight the curse.
That's right, each one of us can play a vital role in the guest experience by keeping your eyes open, being available, and modelling for them what a typical Sunday looks like.
So write your name on the friendship clip. Pour yourself a coffee. Introduce your kids to their kids so they can be dismissed together to their class. If you are a Sunday School teacher, introduce yourself to the parents even if you’re not serving that particular Sunday. The next time they come you might be serving, and how awesome it will be when the kids have already met you!
The curse of knowledge is inevitable to some degree, but we can all play a part in breaking down barriers and helping our guests feel welcomed, loved, and in-the-know.
See you Sunday! The service starts at 10am and free coffee is served at 9:30am. We all know that...
Before our times of celebration around the Communion table this summer, we reviewed the theological importance of what we were doing. They were good reminders and I pray that they were helpful for what we do regularly at Calvary.
The purpose behind reviewing these fundamental principles was to introduce a change to the way that we serve communion. For years at Calvary, our Elders have faithfully served communion along with other men in our church, and I want to thank them for their faithful service to the body of Christ. During the spring, we reviewed the meaning of the Lord’s Supper, a question surfaced: Who should serve the two elements that we take together?
As we look at the Bible, Scripture gives no explicit teaching on who should distribute the elements of Communion, so we are left simply to decide what is wise and appropriate for the benefit of the believers in our church. The Elders have reviewed this topic over the last few months, and beginning this Sunday you will see both men and women participating in the serving of the elements to the church.
Just as has been our practice, one Elder (including myself) will lead the distribution of the bread and cup, and our servers will be people from our congregation who are walking in fellowship with God and each other, and who use their serving gifts to bless the church. Frankly, we believe that there is no biblical reason why only Elders or leaders, or only men, should distribute the elements. As Wayne Grudem summarises, Would it not speak much more clearly of our unity and spiritual equality in Christ if both men and women, for example, assisted in distributing the elements of the Lord’s supper.
I am looking forward to this weekend where we will all participate in the beautiful expression of Christ’s sacrifice for us. If you have any questions, you are invited to contact us.
As you prepare you hearts for worship on Sunday, we are praying that the time gathered around the Lord’s Supper as men and women would be worshipful, celebratory and encouraging. What a joy it is to remember the price that our Saviour, Jesus Christ, paid for our forgiveness and future hope.
In my experience I've found that you don't always get to see the things the people do for others. Whether it's something large, or something small, you know it's happening, but you don't always know the who or how. Well, last week I got to witness, first hand, that kind of background service. I had the privilege of assisting our youth with their roles in Forest Cliff Camp.
I watched our "Actors" set up the various activities each morning; they got covered in colourful dyes when they ran tie-dye and they got wet on the water days; they put elbow and knee pads on the campers for skateboarding and they reloaded Nerf guns relentlessly; they helped out campers who were struggling with laser tag and they climbed Spider Mountain to encourage the kids to get to the top; they stood guard on Gearbox to make sure everyone was safe, and after all of that, I saw them tear down each activity at the end of the long, hot, days.
I saw them cheer and clap the kids into camp every day. I saw them stand out in the heat of the sun to make sure everyone was having a good and safe time. I saw them having fun with the campers whenever they got the chance. And I saw them dancing along to the songs in the morning session.
I saw service
The kind of service that Christ has called us all to: without grumbling, without petition, without a selfish thought, they served. They served the campers, they served the counselors, and they served Jesus.
Watching the students' willingness to work warmed my heart, and encouraged me to continue to serve them. If you see one of our actors, make sure to thank them for their willingness to serve the Lord at Forest Cliff Camp, and encourage them to continue the good work they are doing.
Mike Sanders, Director of Youth
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