The "fear of missing out" (FOMO) is not a new thing. My 55-year-old self well remembers waiting until the last minute to say yes to a play date because I wanted to make sure I didn't miss out on a possible invitation to see the movie Bambi with another friend who had hinted she might be going that same day. Back then my choices were fairly limited: go to a friend's house, maybe go to a movie, or stay home and play with my sisters.
FOMO has changed over time. Today choice is our new idol and it's a tough taskmaster that leaves us never quite feeling content. Our culture has become so dependent on choice that commitment to almost anything seems foolhardy because it leaves us with that constant nagging feeling of "What if...?" Fluid and unencumbered is the new way of being. Everything's possible so nothing ever seems enough, leaving us commitment free and rootless.
And yes, FOMO has impacted church culture as well. From the resistance to becoming a member and making a Profession of Faith, to irregular church attendance and hesitance to join small groups, almost every aspect of congregational life has been impacted by the fear of missing out. FOMO also impacts finding volunteers and people to serve in church leadership.
I have spent plenty of time with other ministry leaders bemoaning the impact of FOMO and overstretched, under committed church folks and I am done with bemoaning this reality. The conversation I would like to engage is this: How can we preach, teach and invite folks into freedom from this Idol? How can we best communicate the the Good News that God is a Covenant Keeping Father who invites us into relationship with him because is committed to us?
What are you doing in your church context to expose this idol for what it is and invite folks into life-giving commitments to Christ and within his Body?