Here’s another nugget from the book worth considering: Google is a platform that helps communities do what they want to do.
Example: Google Maps. Google provides a mapping platform that users can build upon and enhance for free on their own sites. That helps Google and it helps Google’s users. Google wants to collaborate and wants to help others thrive. It cares less about what “consumers”are supposed to do with its technology and more about what communities of “users” are actually doing with it.
Is there something here for churches to think about? What do communities use churches as platforms for?
The congregation I serve charters a Boy Scout troop. That’s a community that wants to serve God and Country. Our church helps them do that by giving them a meeting space. But could we also invite the troop to take the lead on a church-sponsored community service?
I frequently am required to chase off skateboarders from the church property for insurance and liability reasons. Yet are these skaters not simply using the church as a platform for what they want to do, which is not just skate but also hang out and connect with one another? To protect ourselves, we have to chase them away; doing so may actually be causing us harm.
Communities aren’t waiting around for permission from churches to do their thing; we ignore the great stuff they’re doing at our peril, because, if Google is right, helping them helps us.