Thursday, May 18, 2006

Axiom #3

A lot of the time
you have to explain to people what they really want.

A little riff in Jamie Smith’s book (page 78) goes right along with this thinking:

Worship should be an event of cross-cultural hospitality. Consider an analogy: When I travel to France, I hope to be made to feel welcome. However, I don’t expect my French hosts to become Americans in order to make me feel at home… I’m expecting things to be different; indeed, I’m looking for just this difference. So also, I think, with hospitable worship: seekers are looking for something our culture can’t provide.

Then Jamie pulls an illustration from a Perspectives article (the article is a quick read, found here) that proves the point through Starbucks’ success. For a number of years I’ve been using this quote from Howard Schultz’s biography:

First, every company must stand for something… Second, you don’t just give customers what they ask for. If you offer them something they’re not accustomed to, something so far superior that it takes a while to develop their palates, you can create a sense of discovery and excitement and loyalty that will bond them to you. It may take longer, but if you have a great product, you can educate your customers to like it rather than kowtowing to mass-market appeal.

Isn’t this just a really straightforward definition of leadership? Leadership is more than just asking people what they want and giving it to them, and it is certainly more than deciding for people and forcing it on them. Leadership holds out a better destination and makes a way to get there.

So… our churches fail when we simply try to christianize what might be popular on television, or in a night club, or in the marketplace, or at a concert or sporting event. We have something better; we have something much better… and if it takes a bit of time and education to “develop their palates” so people can see what they really want, then so be it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This falls in line with an article in today's USA Today: