I mentioned in my last post that I would be reading a number of books over the Christmas holiday. Well, I’ve begun, and much to the dismay of my wife and daughter, once I start reading it’s hard to get me untangled.
One of the books I’m currently reading has me asking some questions. The questions are not about the argument of the book, but rather the language of the text. In the book, terms like “organization,” “gain market share,” and “compete with the competition” keep springing up.
I’m not sure how I feel about the words. Of course there are organizational aspects to the church, but aren’t we going a little too far when the organization of church becomes concern with “market share.” At what point — if any — does the church transition from a community of people seeking and offering life-change into a gaggle of salesperson? How much do we want the church reflect the best practices of the Fortune 500? It seems to me that it is very easy to build a large church: give people what they want, challenge little in terms of transformation, offer more and better activities for kids than any organization in town, make it easy, serve up religious goods and services. The problem is that I’m not sure if the best way to build a church is the best way to make disciples. I often wonder what many church leaders would spend their time doing if they (we) could divorce ourselves from the desire to compete with our fellow ministers and increase our market share?