Helpful Tidbits for Organic Church Life                                          January 5, 2009
Success at All the Wrong Things
My Reflections
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A few weeks back Ben from South Carolina sent me this wonderful quote from Tim Kizziar:
"Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things that don't really matter."
Doesn't that just ring true? Like a song in my head that won't go away, I've been pondering Kizziar's maxim for the past couple of weeks, not only in regard to the Kingdom and its proliferation, but in life.
In After McDonaldization (second installment), John Drane highlights the tendency of the Church, specifically Christian leadership, to major on the minors.

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION/TOPIC: Success at all the wrong things
Success at All the Wrong Things
Excerpt from After McDonaldization by John Drane

after_mcdonaldizationThere are two ways of looking at leadership in the Church. One is by examining the practicalities of what church leaders do on a daily basis, and the other is by asking a more fundamental set of questions about the nature of the Church and through that identifying not only what tasks might need to be done, but the ethos and attitudes that should characterize our ministry. In what follows [you'll have to get the book], I propose to include both these questions, because as I hear hard-pressed leaders complaining about how their time is taken up, I often find myself thinking that the problem is not intrinsically about time management, people skills, or any of the other things that are named, but that they are being required or expected (or, frequently requiring themselves) to do things that are either inappropriate or, in some cases, inimical to the Gospel they serve" (2008:101).

 My Reflections
McNairI once had McNair Wilson, an absolutely brilliant communicator, come and share at the conventional church I lead. Having worked on several large-scale projects at Disney, McNair talked with us about the often pent up creativity that lurks just below our 'reasonable selves' just waiting to be unleashed. But, while reflecting, McNair made a rather profound observation; pointing out his uncanny ability to draw stick figures, he also noted the added value of stick figure drawing to people's lives was next to nil.
Having attended my fair share of church conferences, I can't help but wonder if much of what those church growth 'experts' peddled was something akin to stick figure drawing. The argument, of course, is that the general population is hungry for 'stick figures', so let's draw as many stick figures as we can, and by doing so, reach some with the Gospel.
Along with John Drane I'm wondering, "Are we encouraging those who are in the Church to regard themselves as consumers of religious goodies purveyed by professionals, and in the process creating that disempowerment and dependency that leads to the isolation and over-work experienced by many ministers?" (2008:111)
Now, if you're already part of the organic church movement you may be thinking to yourself, I've already figured this out Trav. Although that may be true, I still think the bigger question is a good one. Are we heralding the good stuff? Are we being successful at things that matter?
So, with me, I simply invite you to reflect on Kizziar's quote above. Are we as individuals and as communities of faith succeeding at things that matter or are we succeeding at creating metaphorical stick figures (wood, hay, or straw) that will one day be burned up in the fire (1 Cor 3:10-14)?
Hope this was of some benefit to you.

Traver Dougherty
The Banqueting Table