Having an R&D Mentality
I've been having trouble sleeping lately which has given me a lot more time to think. So the other night in the midst of my sleepless state I had an idea: what would it look like if churches took an R&D approach to ministry?
My history with, and knowledge of, the Church has taught me this: if ain't broke don't fix it. And honestly I think that view point sucks. We certainly don't buy into that view point when we're talking about the latest Apple product or TV. No we want the newest, most cutting edge, most capable device we can get our hands on. Yet when it comes to ministry we, in my experience, too often want to play it 'safe' by doing what we've always done.
This is NOT a rant on tradition vs. cutting edge. This is NOT a rant about newer is always better. What this is, however, is a rant about not taking the easy way out.
Any organization that wants to continue to be effective, over the long haul, in their respective culture and community has a R&D branch. A group of people dedicated to figuring out how to make what they offer better, more affordable, more energy efficient, prettier, and easier to use. And all of that happens before the product they currently offer is old, broken, or out-dated.
How many churches out there have a R&D branch? It may not have the same title, and they probably don't wear awesome white lab coats, but how many churches have that mentality? To use what they are currently doing in ministry as a barometer of what they need to do in the future, what they need to change, what they need to quit, what they need to add.
Asking these questions is hard but answering them honestly is even harder. Admitting that what you've always done isn't working anymore is a tough pill to swallow...if your ego is caught up in the ministry.
Too often pastors build their life on their ministries and not Christ. To the point that admitting the ministry is no longer effective means that they themselves are not effective.
Friends, that cannot happen. Pastors who build their lives on their ministry and then bunker down are headed for disaster or at best unfruitfulness.
Your ego, your identity, is in Christ period. Living this way, besides being biblical, also frees you up to have a healthy approach to ministry. It allows you to have an R&D mentality with everything that you do.
If it worked great, figure out why it worked great. If it was a total failure, find out why. Develop the future of your ministry now, prepare for the future.
Research and Development are essential to any fruitful ministry, so go get your lab coat it's time to experiment.