Industry Innovation & Church

I believe that “church” is in need of an “industry overhaul.”  If you dissected the “business model” for church, I think you arrive at something to this affect.

  • Industry Driver: God’s will for his Kingdom (Bible = Boundaries & Broad Direction, Holy Spirit = Situational Direction)
  • Objectives: Evangelism & Discipleship
  • Product: Disciples (Jesus Followers)
  • Production Lines: Sunday Services, Small Groups, Ministry Teams

It’s production lines that need tightest scrutiny.  There may be an entirely different way of viewing our “industry.”  While Blockbuster or Hollywood Video strived to be the best video rental stores, Netflix and Red Box tried to be the best at getting videos to people, and won.  Yellow Pages puts a book in everyone’s home, but Google put a search tab in everyone’s internet bar.  Craig’s List has put many local papers out of business.  Ebay is better than rummage sales.  Local bookstores now bow to Amazon.  Can anyone count the business sectors affected by Apple’s ipod/iphone/ipad/itunes/iwhatever? 

Survey the landscape and you’ll find that anyone trying to do the old industry model “better” eventually gets lost in irrelevance to industry innovators.

As the masses post complaints of “irrelevance” against the church I think the statement is this: show us some innovation.  They’re not looking to be tickled; they just want to know we have astutely assessed our own industry.  Jazzing up the same old business models for church doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.  The Seeker Sensitives made the old model entertaining.  The Multi-Sites made the old model a franchise.  The House Churchers made the old model smaller.  Thousands of people have been reached and developed for Christ with each, so I’m certainly not condemning any of these developments.  If fact, I’m a fan of them.  Nonetheless, I believe the world is looking for true industry innovation in the way church is done.

Almost every church swings at Sunday Services, Small Groups, and Ministry Teams in their model.  Everyone goes back to these because they produce results.  The results are namely 1) Learning (Sunday Services), 2) Relating (Small Groups), 3) Doing (Ministry Teams).  When learning, relating, and doing come together, you’ve got the right environment to achieve evangelism & discipleship, which leads to the desired product – disciples.  Therefore we keep going back to the product line of Sunday Service, Small Groups, and Ministry Teams.

Can we achieve 1) Learning, 2) Relating, 3) Doing in better ways than 1) Sunday Services, 2) Small Groups, 3) Ministry Teams?  Answer that and the church will be the Red Box in the grocery store across the street from the rental shop with the closed sign.

I have a few musing on solutions, but I’ll post them another time.


2 responses to “Industry Innovation & Church

  1. Great insight, Brian. I look forward to your musings on solutions! I think that we here in Women2Day have been in the initial stages of this type of discussion for about a year. However, we’ve been addressing it for a completely different reason: our pr and marketing. The discussion has been wrapped around how we get information out to people (web vs. mailers.) The underlying similarity is the idea of “are we making the consumer come to us, are are we willing to go to the consumer?” The church as a whole probably needs to start asking themselves that same question.
    Re: Pr/Marketing–we’ve decided that there is room for both the push and the pull, but your audiences are different and the key is to determine when to use which strategy.
    Interesting stuff!

  2. Berta,

    It’s kind of awkward to approach church in terms like this, but I think fresh angles can be illuminating. I hope the PR push works for you guys!

    BTW-I’m ready for you to start a blog any day now. Count me in as your first subscriber!

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