The Next Logical Step…is Often the Wrong One

When are you willing to pull the plug on a strategy?  How many times does a strategy need to have the exact same results before you conclude that it is the wrong strategy?

When are you willing to rethink an assumption?  How many times are you willing to profess confusion when the outcome is not what you anticipated?

How often have you begun thinking about the next ministry season and set in motion an almost exact replica of last year’s approach because you always have a small group fair right after Labor Day (complete with a catalog of semester options) or for that matter, you always do a church-wide campaign in the fall (and your existing groups love including new people for those 6 weeks).

I can’t speak for you, but I can say that it’s normal to do again with only slight variation what you’ve done previously.  It’s normal.  It happens all the time.  And that’s the problem.  After all, didn’t Einstein persuade us when he said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results?”

If you want different results you need to change the design.  And I should add, if you want significantly different results you’ll need to do more than tweak the design.  You’re going to need a different design.

Dreaming of being a church of groups but seem permanently mired in the muck of church with?  Chances are your strategy has a design flaw.  Can’t figure out how to break through the 50% connected in groups barrier?  Odds are your strategy needs a major overhaul.  Stuck at 80% adults connected in groups?  In all likelihood…your strategy has an innate limitation that prevents breakthrough.

I like Tim Brown’s analysis.  Brown, the CEO and President of IDEO and author of Change by Design, has pointed out that teams that are truly committed to developing breakthrough products “will not feel bound to take the next logical step along an ultimately unproductive path (Change by Design, p. 17).”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Howell

Mark Howell

I’m the Pastor of Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. I’m also LifeWay’s Small Group Specialist. I’m the the founder of SmallGroupResources.net, offering consulting and coaching services that help churches across North America launch, build and sustain healthy small group ministries. In addition, I’m the guy behind MarkHowellLive.com, SmallGroupResources.net, StrategyCentral.org and @MarkCHowell.

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In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
— Jonathan Schultheis
 

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