Catalyst: Bit Market

10 06 2008

READING: James 4

LEARNING: The lesson comes from a Drill Company who cornered the market on drill bits, but stayed on focus with their vision. “We’re not in the business of making Drill Bits, we are in the business of making holes.” Every person, company, and church needs to keep the the main thing, the main thing. I’ve been part of numerous ministries where people lost sight of the big picture – to make holes. Everyone had their “pet project,” which was innovative and effective years ago, but now they won’t change things.

Even churches can lose track that they are in the business of “reaching out to new people with the life changing message of Jesus Christ.” The church doesn’t exist for the programs it produces; it doesn’t even exist for the people sitting in the seats. The church exists for people in the community who have yet to meet Jesus, Our primary mission is Matthew 28:18-20.

The message hasn’t changed in 2000 years, but the means and the methods are constantly changing. Things like organs, choirs and robes were controversial and innovative methods back in the day to help communicate the message of Jesus. Ever wonder why churches built steeples. It was an innovative GPS. If you were the tallest building in the city, people that walked could easily find it.

If you want a living example of churches losing focus, next time you drive to Detroit check out Calvary Baptist on the SE corner I-75 and 696 in Hazel Park. They were one of the biggest churches in the area 30 years ago and today I couldn’t even find a website from them.

As leaders, when you hear someone complaining about a change at Epic, remind them…It’s not about you. It’s about reaching those who have yet to come to Christ.”

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13 responses

10 06 2008
Denise Hillbom

AMEN, Brother, I will write more later, I have to go look at this lesson.

10 06 2008
theAlley church

Very good stuff. That drill bits vs. hole making analogy will definitely stick with me.

11 06 2008
Denise Hillbom

Our new “Propel” is a good example of a program that could get too focused on the tool and loose sight of the purpose, which is to train ourselves to be Godly and grow deeper in our relationships with each other. The material is ony a means not an end and in a short time we will put that tool away and come up with a new way to bring people together for training and growth. We will always be about the unchanging message of Christ, presenting it in new and relevant ways.

Epic is a church that is all about reaching out. I know God is hearing our “One Prayer” to be a Crazy Church, crazy about Him and others. We can rest assured our community will be interrupted by the love of Christ. I am so glad to be part of Epic because we will always be in the midst of a little chaos that will help keep us from spirally down that S curve as we continue to become a church family of influence towards Christ in our community.

11 06 2008
eric

the drill bit example is a nice complement to the rivers and floods lesson. But today I am more excited about James 4. I like the reminder to be humble and draw near to God in the face of human double-mindedness, that war between worldly pleasures and Godly Spirit. How important doing the right thing becomes when we are so often afflicted by conflicts of the heart and mind. The conclusion of chapter 4 seems to suggest that good works help alleviate these internal conflicts that end up causing the external conflicts we experience with each other. What’s also important is a sincere mourning of a person’s double-minded, conflicted plight. To truly know the right thing to do only manifests when one openly acknowledges his/her inability to know rightly. We are to be doers of the Law and not judges of it. This thinking is kind of scary in that it trumps our feelings and desires. If there was ever a reason for doing what you do not want to do it is that God knows better what is good and right. This thinking may provide freedom in that the only reason for acting insincerely is a sincere submittance to God. Well, I could be here all day and night with this, but my coffee has gotten cold. I wish I had a better grasp of these things because I often do not know what is right and have trouble taking action. I am inclined to think that the next important thing is developing a knowledge of Godly wisdom.

12 06 2008
Kathy

I liked the Sigmiod Curve. It makes sense. I can definitely think of times that Epic has been in a “Period of Chaos” that has been really hard. And I think the reason that it was so hard is because people WERE forcused on the method. They forgot the mission.

I still feel like Epic is in a “Period of Chaos”!! lol But, I feel that it is a good chaos! We do know our mission and we are still new enough that we are still working on how to do our mission. I hope we never quite find it. Because, it keeps us reliant on God and not ourselves. We then cannot boast of ourselves, but only on God, for what He does and how He pulls us through! I notice that on the diagram on page 15, that there is always a state of chaos. It is larger in the middle, but small at the points. It doesn’t really look like it goes away. It just changes. Something good for us to keep in mind.

Because, really, that is how God deals with us, too. Once we feel like we got it all “figured out”, He brings a new lesson for us to learn. So, once we feel we got a “good method” going, God will show us a new way to do things at Epic.

I really liked the Getting Personal section on page 17. At first, I really didn’t think I had a problem in any of those areas, but the more I thought about it, I can get defensive at change or if someone wants to challenge an idea of mine. I think it stems from insecurity. I want people to like me. I don’t want them to be mad at me. And I don’t want to look stupid (I guess that would be ego, wouldn’t it. Maybe I should circle yes to that one, too). But, I know my insecurities keep me from being a better leader. Because I am afraid of the chaos I could create and how it would reflect on me.

12 06 2008
Tim Kade

Denise,
I’ve amazed at how many people are involved meeting one-on-one with their Propel spiritual training partners. Christ is doing incredible things through you! Lead on! It is going to be awesome to see the fruit in six months. Your thoughts about Propel are right on; it’s only a means to an end, so hold it loosely.

Eric,
James 4 is really packed with deep learning in every verse. It’s like spiritual open-heart surgery to remove blockages in our arteries. It’s interesting that you are thinking about developing Wisdom. As I’ve been praying lately, Christ has been laying it on my heart to do a series at Epic on Wisdom and Choices.

Kathy,
I’m blown away by your wisdom! I love that Gideon Principle “keeping us reliant on God and not ourselves.” That’s the only way to live.

13 06 2008
Jacklyn

All church programs begin solely with a goal. The tool or method used has someone’s personal stamp on it. As individuals, we are always seeking that tool or method where we feel comfortable and at ease. A place where we can settle in. But didn’t Jesus warn his disciples that to follow him would be dangerous and uncomfortable. Within our ministries, we constantly struggle with our egos, perspectives and insecurities. We want things to become smooth and flow comfortably. Maybe we need to recognize that when “I” begin to find ease in “my” work, that it may be time to reinvent the method. Our focus must be on God’s direction, but the method must constantly evolve and change since change is inevitable in any living thing. Focus can not equal method. A former CEO for GE once said “When the rate of change inside an organization is slower that the rate of change outside of an organization, the end is in sight.” Keeping up with the world we live in, reaching out to people, does not mean losing sight of our focus on God. Constant humble prayer and submision to His will must preceed any change in our method in order to maintain our focus. Our purpose has to be solidly, uncomfortably on God’s will. We must humbly pray and seek Him daily as we strive in our methods towards the ultimate goal of reaching people for Him. Only then can we find true comfort in the tools we use.

13 06 2008
Amy

Kathy,

I like how you compared the sigmoid curve with how God deals with us personally. He is always throwing new things in our lives for us to learn.

13 06 2008
Amy

While reading this section, I also thought about what we learned in “Floods and Rivers”. So as a ministry it is important to stay focused on our goals, but as we learned in this section, it is important to be inovative with the methods of which we try to reach our goals/vision.

Personally, one of my passions is for every child to have a safe and nurturing environment to grow up in. I don’t know if you all know this, but I’ve always wanted to be a foster parent. Once we get a house and we’re more settled I’d like to start doing this (of course I’m still working on Tim 🙂 ). I know that right now isn’t the time to do this but I’m really excited about working with Denise Wooten who is starting a ministry through Epic turoring inner city students. So I can use another method to reach my vision.

14 06 2008
lisacaruss

I liked the curve model too, because I think this happens all the time both in ministry and in my personal relationship with God. There are lots of times when I’m sure that God is trying to grow me or change me and I’m resistant or unwilling. It isn’t until after I see some results that I remind myself to trust and then get more excited about what He has in store! So it’s kinda neat to look at that example from both sides: As a leader, I’ve seen other people be resistant to changes I want to make, but as a follower of Christ, it’s easy to be judgemental and skeptical when I’ve gotten too comfortable.

14 06 2008
Tim

I love that “it’s not about you” idea. We see it all the time… People look for the perfect church that has all of the programs that THEY want and does everything the way THEY want it done. When the church changes something or discontinues that program they liked so much, they decide that it’s not the right church anymore and it is time to move on. The truth is the Church’s sole purpose is not to serve it’s members, but to reach the world.

If we are going to reach the world for Christ, we need to understand what the world is interested in. When Amy and I were looking for a church a little over a year ago, one thing we thought was very important was that they had a website. We didn’t care so much how the website looked so much as that they understood that if they are going to reach the world, they need to understand the culture. I liked the idea about the curves as well. It’s important if you are going to stay relevant, to be ahead of the game a little bit in what is going to be next in order to keep up with the fast changing culture.

15 06 2008
Larry

The Bit Market article was an excellent example of how we get so wrapped up in the short term tasks that we miss the long term objective. In the business world, I have seen this so much and observed the ramifications that it thought me to plan my for the end objective, that is life with God and family.

During the last five years, I have established to very important goals in my life, to increase my life with God and with my family. I always felt that working (carrer) would provide a comfortable living for my family would bring us closer together. What I found out was that this work style kept me physically away from my family and, more importantly, God. It took my son to show me this.

After the rude awaking, I left my job and returned to what was the initial objective; life with God and family. It took me a while to find the right church that could enable me to grow my relationship with God. EPIC Church has helped provide this through teaching and support in the Sunday Worship. I have become totally committed to both. My relationship with God has allowed me to grow with my family. God does provide. His message tells us that everywhere we look in the bible.

Life has taught me that periodically, we need to take a step backward to determine whether we working toward our long term objectives. If we stay focused on the tasks at hand, we will loose what we want to do, meet our long term objective.

28 06 2008
Jodi Kade

Wow…all of you said such great stuff! I guess I pretty much dito Kathy on this one. I loved the Sigmiod Curve. I think part of the reason I liked it so much, was because it helped me see that all the choas, that’s come from making so many changes at epic, is totally normal. It helped me realize how important the changes we’ve made, and are planning to make, really are.

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