This is becoming a big issue for me. Bigger by the moment.
Let me give you just a little background. I was always pretty adverse to macs once reaching high school, when pcs became the norm used in public education. I had used macs in middle school, but not that commonly, and once we had a pc in our home, that was my computer of choice.
My college roommate even had a mac - a macbook. She LOVED it! And I just rolled my eyes and settled down at my little HP laptop and continued my work. Then I rolled my eyes at her as I had to ship my little HP laptop off to the manufacturer to be repaired.
Then I graduated from college. And I came to work at the place I affectionately call my job. And I was informed on my first day that I was to work on a mac - everyone does it. (Bandwagon theory?) I expressed my concerns to my fellow co-workers, and they all said, do not worry, you'll pick it up in no time, and you'll love it.
Boy, were they right! Can I say this...once you go mac you never go back! (I've been dying to say that for weeks now...)
So, today, I open Gavin's blog, and he's got a post about this meeting with a guy, Jim Palmer, and he mentions some of the shifting vocabulary, one being PC - Mac. I just nodded my head and continued on my merry way, agreeing with him just to the point of nodding my head, but not eliciting any sort of response. After all, I've experienced that shift, PC-Mac, along with many of the other shifts he mentioned.
Then in my searching, I came across another blog who was responding to Gavin's post. Read it here.
This post inspired me to respond. You can read my comment at the bottom of his blog, or read it below. This is what I said:
The key to me is the focus on customers, not profits. The way this translates into the church for me is a focus on quality, not quantity. We have to focus on ensuring that the people who are already in our churches are connecting with God on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Then the numbers will come, because if you are in a place that you are invigorated and encouraged and energized, you can't help but tell others about it. Growth, as you suggested, is definitely a by product, rather than a goal. If firmly feel that our goal has to be creating disciples for Jesus Christ - and that doesn't mean just getting more and more people to the front of the church to be baptized and take the membership vows. That means once one person comes to the front and is baptized and takes the membership vows, they are then integrated into the life of the church, and continually challenged and inspired to grow in their discipleship. It isn't a "join the church, then you're done" mindset, which is what I think we too often have. Joining the church is just the beginning.
Like Craig, I feel I am blessed with a church that is beginning to focus on the aftermath of joining a church, not just on getting people to the front of the sanctuary. Whatever its faults, in a 3 month period, we had over 100 people join our church. Growth as a by-product of an emphasis on quality.
[So ends my comment on his blog, but anyone who knows me knows I always have more to say.]
I keep returning to this generational theory stuff, but does it apply here, too? Is it, in general, a generational thing to focus on results in numeric value? Our profit margin, bottom line, numbers, membership, whatever it is, I see so many "establishments" in our society (the company I work for, churches, even the recent ongoings in the TN Conference) focus on things that can be measured numerically, on paper, "see?? We are a success!! Here's proof!" Maybe it's not necessarily a generational thing, but a shifting paradigm. Because I don't want to say everyone over 40 thinks in numbers and everyone under numbers thinks in undefinable quality. Because I know that not to be true - I know people on both sides of the "age line" who think the opposite.
There's a shift occurring in our world, eluded to by Gavin. Maybe it happens in every generation, and I'm just noticing it because this is the first shift I'm really old enough to be aware of. But I think there may be something larger going on here. I've heard of a commentator saying that what is occurring in our world right now is comparable to the Industrial Revolution, and it could be hundreds of years before we really see the movement going on for what it truly is and the impact it would have on our world. I kind of like thinking I could be a part of something to change the world. I guess I'm still young enough to hold on to that idealist part of my innocence. Or maybe that's a generational thing, too.