“A great idea is never enough. Don’t love your business idea. Love the problem you want to solve.”
This quote is from Eric Paley in Inc., magazine (June 2013). In his article, he asserts that many companies have started with good ideas (or bad ideas) but the successful companies have discovered how to solve the problems they face, rather than just focusing on their original idea.
As I read the article, naturally I started asking questions about if this principle applies to those of us in the church. And I believe it does.
We all have ideas. And many of our ideas are at least OK. But good ideas are not enough.
Let’s say we have the idea to help seniors in our community. We develop our idea into a great program that does well. The seniors are being served and we feel good about ourselves. All is well.
The problem, however, comes when the way in which we are helping seniors becomes more important to us than actually helping them. That is, the idea – the program – becomes the central focus of our time, money and resources.
Now that is not necessarily bad in itself, but when our focus shifts from the problem (the seniors in need of help) and onto the idea (the program), we miss out on the opportunity that may come up down the road that might serve the seniors in a more meaningful way.
If we look at our offering of church programs, we have a lot of ideas. And many of those ideas are good. But if we focus too much on the programs instead of on the people we are supposedly serving, we become slaves to our programs instead of servants to our people.
My challenge is for us to look at the different programs we have going in our churches – and I’m talking about ALL of the programs – and look at who the program is designed to serve. Then let’s honestly evaluate the ideas to see if we are actually helping people or if maybe it’s time to let a program die in order to come up with a different way to serve the people.
It’s time to re-imagine HOW we’re doing church and refocus on WHO we are here to serve.
Let’s not love the business of church, let’s love the people.