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Pay Attention To Habits


No, not your habits, not the habits of highly effective people or extraordinary leaders – just pay attention to the habits of everyday, regular people and what might we learn?

Maybe it’s that many of today’s ministries are based on the habits of people from the past.

Let’s think about this for a second.

Sure, the institution of the Christian church cannot escape from the historical inertia of thousands of years.  But, even the most “new” forms of ministry today actively carry forward such inertia through its “values.”

For example, certain churches will not credential their pastors or leaders without formal theological education.  Similarly, many churches will offer “membership” to a lay person (or those who are not pastors) only after some form of education.

In both cases, the message is: “We will protect our brand and culture by developing people who will be loyal to that brand and culture and we want and need people to be reliable followers and supporters through emotional affinity, volunteer labor, and financial giving.

Is there anything wrong with that?  No, of course not.  That is the system upon which the church has survived for thousands of years – that is the habit of people from the past.

But, there are now two core insights to consider for ministry today based on how teen survivors of the mass shooting in Florida are responding to their reality and based on the way Nike has adapted branding to shifting consumer habits:

  • “Teen survivors of the school shooting massacre in Florida last week are calling for a march on Washington to demand action on gun control […] Kasky said the point is to ‘create a new normal where there’s a badge of shame on any politician who’s accepting money from the NRA.’” (ABC News) – This shows how the requirement for credentialing a leader in society has been changing: no, the usual formal way of entitling a person does not make one a legitimate leader – a leader is considered legitimate based on how much their personal experience, thinking, and behavior resonates with that of the broader community.
  • “It’s no longer the brand dictating the terms of the relationship, but the community. In Nike’s world, this is the sneaker community. We’re finding more success in not speaking to the community, but enabling the community to collaborate and communicate to one another with digital tools.” (PSFK) – This means that people are no longer as loyal to a brand directly because of their products, but that they are loyal to broader interests or activities in which that brand is now trying to be a participant along with the rest of the community.

Here’s PASTORIA’s bottom-line reflection for ministry:

Whose habits are your ministry’s values based on?