Final session of the day: Andy Stanley.
– ‘There’s no such thing as just a youth pastor.’ Thank you for saying it, even if it was somewhat of a recovery statement. Youth Pastors are essentially the “Lead Pastor” of a church of teens and parents without the resource and power (and frankly, attention) of a lead pastor. Tough and essential role in any church.
Guiding Question for the Talk:Â ‘If we had it to do all over again, what would we do all over again?’
– Autopsy your success. Too often we only autopsy our failures, but it’s vital to ask, ‘why is this working?’
– Why did our organization grow so fast? We had a uniquely better product. If you have the only hotdog stand in town your hotdogs don’t have to be that good. Andy then proceeds to acknowledge the global nature of the summit by referencing various food stands aroundÂ the world and gives aÂ much needed shoutout to Ugali. I say “much needed” because…..have you tried Ugali? Â It needs a shout out.
– ‘Uniquely better’: it does what it is supposed to do better than the competition.
I squirm at marketplace metaphors for church. I understand what Andy is saying here and frankly, I consider Andy to be one of the very sharpest minds in the church today, but ‘product’ and ‘competition’ to me speak to what is wrong with the western church.
We are in grave danger when we shrink the grand gospel of Jesus down to productÂ language and in my opinion, we just feed the beast of consumerism by saying it that way. Also, other churches are not our competition. We stand together against the ‘competition’ of evil and darkness according to Paul. Having said that, no one can deny that Northpoint grew rapidly and reached 50,000+ people because no oneÂ else in town was doing what they were doing and because they were innovative, many, many now know the gospel.
– ‘All of our churches look like music venues.’ Yes. What will the next generation of churches look like? When can I get back to House for All Sinners and Saints where we sit in a circle and worship with a cappella liturgy?
– About Northpoint: ‘We are not unique anymore which means we are not uniquely better anymore.’
And here, in my opinion is where Andy struck gold:
– Someone somewhere is messing with the rules to the prevailing model.
– Every industry has shared assumptions. Shared assumptions get you into trouble. Which means every industry is stuck (not broken) and it may not be stuck in a bad way, i.e., some things work, but all the same prevailing models have shared assumptions and consequently things continue on unchanged, but somewhere, somebody is pioneering new approaches.
– Discovering uniquely better is virtually impossible. Recognizing uniquely better is accessible to many.
– Uniquely better is often the byproduct of circumstances that success organizations are trying to avoid.
– Multi site began as a solution to a problem , now it is a strategy, not a solution to a problem.
– The more successful you are, the less likely you’ll recognize it as better because it will play off different assumptions and different rules.
– Create a culture to recognize rather than resist ‘uniquely better.’