Discovery By Doing

A couple days ago Mark Batterson, pastor at National Community Church, wrote a post on his blog about a church’s core values. He shares the core values of his church and writes about “discovery by doing.”

This idea of “discovery by doing” is so often overlooked in the world of church leadership. People in so many places are writing books, developing seminars, and speaking at conferences and sharing some great ideas; the problem is that so many of these writers, speakers, and preachers give the impression that their models and methodologies arrived straight from heaven pre-packaged.

It seems to happen like this: A guy plants a church. He wrestles with structure, organization, core values, strategy, vision, etc. He comes up with a lot of plans and tries them out. When one doesn’t work, he scraps it and tries another. When that one misses the mark, he dumps it and tries yet another one. Eventually something works and takes him to the next level, so he begins the process all over again in an effort to go to an even higher level.

After years of trial and error, the church planter is the pastor of a large and thriving church that has caught the attention of other churches around the country. So he writes a book and starts doing conferences. But what he presents is a model or strategy that appears all planned out from the beginning, and works much like following the instructions to assemble some bookshelves. Follow one step after another, and in the end you have the cookie-cutter, assembly-line final product.

Two problems:

One, there is NO man-made model or strategy that works in every church in every location at every time. There is simply no such thing.

Second, it does a disservice to readers and listeners to conceal the long, hard process that produced the final result. It gives the impression that everything should fall into place and work smoothly. From what I’ve read in the Bible and seen in the experience of others and myself, ministry is a journey where we need to constantly look to God and make frequent adjustments as we strive to follow His plan.

It’s like going through a maze. There are lots of dead ends, and we have to keep backtracking and trying other routes. Looking back from the end, we could map out the step-by-step process to arrive at the final destination. But it’s not until we get there and have the perspective of hindsight that we can even see all the pieces fit together.

Let’s be humble and genuine enough to let people see our failures. Let’s be transparent enough to share our stupid ideas that crashed and burned. Let’s realize that our goal is to learn from one another and grow together, not to come out with the latest and greatest new product to sell to the masses.

In other words, let’s discover by doing!

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Published in: on October 18, 2007 at 7:28 am  Leave a Comment  

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