Educators talk about something they call Hidden Curriculum.45 A perfect example would be a History class that accomplishes the goal of teaching students facts about History, but does so with a method that has the unintended consequence of causing students to dislike the study of History. The hidden curriculum is, ‘history is boring.’ This can be said another way; what is taught, and what is learned, are not the same things, and so we must think through our curriculum from the learner’s point of view, not the educator’s.
This applies practically to the Church in our previous point on ‘counting.’ A large attendance isn’t bad, nor is counting it bad; rather, it is simply not comparatively all that important! After all, Jesus seemed more interested in hiding from the crowds, and sending people away (directly or indirectly), than in counting the number of His followers.46
The same goes for most of what passes for ‘Church Growth’ wisdom. Strategically thinking through the various church systems we employ, designing creative logos or corporate names, crafting precise mission statements, or implementing programs that meet congregational needs, are all varyingly good things. However, they are not best; something can be good, yet be 52nd on the list of importance.
We must stop prioritizing issues of secondary importance! There are appropriate times to deal with minor issues, but we cannot ever allow them to usurp the place of major issues.
We must start prioritizing what is primary! We must make our focus a theology and practice of the Kingdom of God; in terms of power, justice, and the Cross.
The amount of time spent on something, and the priority that it has in the discussion, communicate something. Our current practices often have the effect of communicating that something is 1st or 2nd when it is actually 52nd. My pastor would call that “majoring on the minors.”47 We will stand before our King and be held to account for the way we pray and teach people to pray, the way we serve and teach people to serve, the way we sacrifice, and teach people to sacrifice; not for the flashy mailers we do or don’t send to encourage church hoppers our way.