I watched a recent TED talk in which the speaker outlined that the successful companies / people operate from the inside out. They focus on the ‘why?’ not the ‘what?’. The how is shaped by the ‘why’, not the ‘what’. Of course there are flaws in the examples quoted (one being Apple). Apple happens to make computers but is driven by a why – we innovate, push the boundaries. Yes – the iPad was slammed as it would never take off, and now I too have a tablet. Gayle is in the UK while I write, doing all her communication via a tablet. They innovated yet again and the others had to follow. However, not being an Apple owner I can ask the question, have they become too big, and another motivation comes in, another ‘why?’ question that is answered more honestly as ‘for the success of Apple’. That is the nature of the beast: it has to live on even if morally wounded (Mr writer of Revelation you do deserve a book writing prize).
So laying Apple on one side. The people of God. A movement, a small or large flock that is to fear not. If we answer the reason for being with a ‘what’ response: this is what we do, seems we are missing it. Why do you do this? It is because this is what we do is an inadequate answer, even if an honest one. Maybe the Jewish expectations were set. What will the Messiah do? They knew. So they could work out how he would do it (Judas worked it out with a side-product of some dosh for him). But the deeper question is ‘Why?’ Why is the Messiah coming… this determines the how. For John he heard ‘lion’ but saw ‘lamb’. For Saul of Tarsus he knew it all but three days of darkness until he came to terms with a why the cross and resurrection (3 days) there was no future.
If we are committed to a ‘why’ the product that is visible is immaterial. It might look like this or it might not. This is what grips movements. There is a motivation, a mission, a reason for existence and it is not their own existence.
Until the Western world learns this we will always be vulnerable. Until the church recovers this the future will always be limited and measured only by ‘influential’ statistics.
How do we know something is ‘church’? By what we do. Really!! Not good enough.
If we recover the why we will have to deal with fear, with self-preservation, with the success-syndrome, with the survival mentality, with the what do others think perspective.
And if we can recover the why, who knows how we will do things. Maybe to the Jew a Jew and to the Gentile a Gentile? Maybe… and then the unpredictability of it all – the what? Today this, tomorrow that.
And for the record. I think Apple also is focused on survival. Organisational size is always an issue. How do they now stay ahead of the game (=survive): innovate. We cannot afford to live for survival as church, and all innovation must ultimately be shaped by the New Jerusalem vision: I saw no
temple church there. A movement without fear.