(We interrupt this Bob Russell series for this special word):
One of the joys of writing a blog is finding good stuff on OTHER people’s blogs and sharing it with your specific audience. But often bloggers recommend posts by other bloggers who are recommending still other bloggers. It can get a bit incestuous (not to mention out of control). Today, it began by my reading a brief recommendation by Milton Stanley of an article by John Schroeder. John, in turn, is drawing from an article by Todd Rhoades, who is making commentary on an article by Larry Osborne.
While each of the manifestations of this information is different, they all point to the same source. If you only have to choose one of the posts to read, I would recommend John Schroeder’s. A taste: (The first two paragraphs are from the Larry Osborne piece)
“Years ago, I watched the management team at Nordstrom’s almost commit organizational suicide by their failure to understand this difference. [We not only have a future to create, we also have past gains to protect.] Concerned by slumping sales, they decided to overhaul their stores in an attempt to become more hip and reach a younger crowd. Following the lead of a couple of fast growing new clothiers who had recently burst onto the retail scene, they made significant changes to their ambiance, inventory and marketing in order to draw the kind of people who were flocking to these new retail outlets. (Does that sound like a lot of churches?)
“But here’s what they missed. The customers they already had didn’t want the changes. They shopped at Nordstrom’s because they liked the very things that turned off the younger and hipper crowd. And unlike the new startup stores, Nordstrom’s had a huge infrastructure and overhead to support. Losing large numbers of current customers to chase potential customers put them in a near financial death spiral.”
Todd, of course draws the inevitable parallel to churches where I think it is even more pronounce[d]. Do the demographics some time in your giving patterns. It’s the over 50 crowd that pays most of the freight, and anymore are the only ones that routinely pledge and fulfill that pledge. Wholesale innovation in an existing, healthy but starting to fade church is a recipe for hastening the end. I’ve seen it happen more times than I can count.
Larry Osborne has three points for preservation AND innovation. Find John’s article here. What these guys says really needs to be heard. Check it out (at least one of them!!)