These insights from Seth Godin blew my mind a little bit this morning (read the whole post). My short version of an already short post: for all but a committed few, take baby steps. And lots of them.:
“We’re not going to have a lot of luck persuading masses of semi-interested people to seek out and embrace complicated answers…:
1. Take complicated overall answers and make them simple steps instead. Teach complexity over time, simply.
2. Teach a few people, the committed, to embrace the idea of complexity… Embracing complexity is a scarce trait, worth acquiring….
You can’t sell complicated to someone who came to you to buy simple.”
This speaks profoundly to those of us in ministry trying to (re)teach, shift mindsets, change cultures within the church – whether we’re after liturgical renewal, more intentional discipleship, moving a congregation from an internal- to external-focus, or anything else.
The Christian life – worship, discipleship, mission, all of it – is complex, but it’s our job to do the exceedingly difficult work of making it into a series of simple (to understand; not necessarily to do) steps for those who came to us for “simple.” Jesus didn’t send the rich young ruler away with, “well, it’s complicated” – he gave him two action steps: 1) “sell all you have and give it to the poor,” and 2) “come follow me.” Not easy to do, but simple enough to grasp.
This is why Granger Community Church (who employs my church communications guru, Kem Meyer) constantly asks how to “help people take their *next steps* toward Christ – together” (which is their mission statement, in fact).
And just maybe along the way we’ll find a few people who we can teach to embrace the complexity.