I just finished my first session, and I can already tell that this conference is going to challenge my thinking on the church and its place in our culture. In this session Reggie Joiner began by sharing about the move from film photography to digital photography. Kodak made the first digital camera, but they are, unfortunately, the ones with the smallest market share in the digital world because they underestimated when the switch to digital by the general populous would actually happen.
Nikon created the first digital SLR, and in an effort to keep Nikon customers happy, they made the lenses for their regular SLR cameras interchangeable with the digital cameras. The problem was that the size of the hole for the lenses made it impossible for them to improve the quality of the picture because digital required different sizing.
Canon, however, started from the ground up. They introduced the Digital Rebel, and Canon now owns the market when it comes to digital cameras.
Reggie asked the question: in the church, do we make changes that should be made, or do we try to appease the masses (as Nikon did)? He also asked: are the people who are upset about changes also the same people who will later point the finger in blame when changes aren’t made?
There are five words that a person in the church typically thinks about on a weekly basis:
- Student – the next generation, what are we doing to train the next generation?
- Content – what is the strategy for teaching, and what will we teach?
- Production – what goes into presenting in a way that makes sense?
- Age-Focused – each ministry acts as a silo (separate from all the other ministries)
- Growth – it’s a measurement for at least some level of success
The argument Reggie made is that we need to rethink those five words to these new ones:
- Leaders – do we mobilize leaders, or do we hire pied pipers?
- Experience – are we helping people to experience God, or do we just impart knowledge?
- Relationships – production matters, but relationships are infinitely more important (by the way, the church should have the edge on quality relationships)
- Family-Focused – the church has at best 40 hours per years of teaching with a kid, parents have 4000!!! Are we teaching parents how to help their kids? Are we challenging parents of teens to fight for a relationship with their kids?
- Service – we grow when we own ministry, students grow when they own ministry (which is why we are working on implementing opportunities for students to serve in our church!)
My personal thoughts:
Will our church be like Kodak, Nikon, or Canon as it comes to reaching this generation for Christ? Will we be stuck in the mold of what worked in the church 60 years ago (not that we necessarily are), or will we creatively engage people with the Gospel of Christ, challenge them to grow, and become a true Life Point in our community? Will we move beyond programs to purpose? Lots to think about after this first session! I’m very excited for the rest of the day!