As a former Florida resident, my family and I frequently visited the “Happiest Place on Earth.” With each visit, as I took in all the sights and sounds of Walt Disney’s creative masterpiece, I started to feel convicted. I realized that Disney World is actually doing a better job of carrying out certain aspects of the Church’s G0d-given mission than many churches are doing. I believe most churches would do well to learn these lessons from Disney:
1.VALUE KIDS. Disney elevates the value of children to the highest levels, and while Jesus raised the value of children more than any person in History (including Walt Disney) most churches see kids as a burden and not as a gift. The laughter of children should be the soundtrack of a healthy church.
2. VALUE CREATIVITY. God is the most creative force in the universe and His Body (the Church) should be the most creative force on earth. There was a time when churches were shaping the creative aspects of culture. Now, most churches are content to sit back and critique culture while not adding anything new.
3. VALUE EXCELLENCE. Every detail at Disney is executed with excellence. In most churches, we put forth a half-hearted effort and expect God to bless it. Excellence honors God and inspires people.
4. VALUE CHANGE. Disney is always looking to the future while building on their past. Most church are attempting to recreate the past while hiding from the future. The Church should be the most innovative organization on earth. Our Message doesn’t change, but we must be constantly changing our methods to reach the ever-changing world around us.
5. VALUE DIVERSITY. God’s Kingdom is made up of people from all nations, races and backgrounds; so is Disney World. Most churches are made up of people who act, look and talk alike. God calls us to unity, not uniformity. We need to value and work to achieve church demographics the represent our communities’ demographics.
6. SMILE. If Disney World is the “Happiest Place on Earth” then our churches should be the “Most Joyful Places on Earth“. Happiness is based on outward circumstances, but we have the joy of the LORD which nobody can take away. The tragedy is that most churches are filled with people who don’t seem to have any joy at all. Maybe this is one of the many reasons why an unbelieving world feels so much more comfortable at Disney World than they do at Church.
*Final Note: One thing churches should NOT do like Disney World is charging seven bucks for ice cream. Come on, Mickey Mouse, how much money do you really need?