I find Kathy Sierra’s Creating Passionate Users blog to be one of the most consistently helpful reads for me in thinking through issues of church leadership. Which would seem odd, since the blog is about helping companies create people who are passionate about their products. But then maybe that’s not so odd, because the church is all about making disciples of Jesus Christ who are passionate about seeing his kingdom come, seeing his will done on earth. Creating passionate users is a lot like creation passionate disciples, I guess.
From the article:
Several weeks’ back I took a one-night Digital SLR class, and at the
beginning the teacher asked us each to say why we were there. All 18 of
us said the same thing, one after the other: "I know I have an SLR that
can do so many things, but I’m still stuck in "P"–Program Mode–and I
don’t know how to use anything else." In other words, we were all using
our pricey bazillion-megapixel cameras like point-and-shoot
Here we are with all this power and flexibility, and we can’t get past AUTOMATIC.
So here’s what I’m wondering: are the people in your church stuck in "P" mode, only understanding the very basic uses of their new life in Christ? Are people tapping into the power and creativity and vitality of the new kind of life God has given them through the Holy Spirit, or is their ability to live Christianly perhaps very limited? Do they understand all the wonderfully varied and creative things that can be accomplished with a life lived fully, or is going to church and being nice the only thing they know how to do with their Christianity? Are people learning how to minister to and pray for one another, or just how to bring their friends to church so the "pros" can pray for them? Are people learning to think intelligently and Christianly about the world, or are they simply being fed pre-approved answers? "We’ve done the hard work for you, just put it in ‘P’ mode and take the picture."
Are we as leaders really equipping people to "do the work of ministry" (Eph 4:12) or are we only equipping them to staff programs? Are we teaching people how to live a full-featured faith, or are we stopping after they learn the basics? I suspect that in most churches, the expensive, feature-filled digital camera of Christianity is being used like a cheap point-and-shoot camera. We’re not tapping into the depth of the Christian life because it’s safer to just keep it in "P" mode. You won’t screw up as many pictures that way (it’s "safe"), but your pictures sure will be boring (safe is risky).
If we’re going to faithfully lead people, we’ll need to take them out of the safety of "P"-mode Christianity and show them some new things, like shutter-priority mode, aperture-priority mode, and possibly even (shudder to think) FULL MANUAL MODE! With a little knowledge, people might just start experimenting with the
camera faith, creating some truly innovative pictures ministries that tap the depths of new life in Christ. It will take the intelligent application of new knowledge and new skills, and there’ll be a few bad pictures mistakes along the way, but the result will be much more creative and useful pictures Christian living. Let’s teach people to use all the features of their faith.