Am I Off Here?

“Who do you want your customers to become?” asks Michael Schrage in his new book, The Innovator’s Hypothesis.

Here comes that move where a churchy blogger swaps out the word “customer” in a business book for “person” in a church context.

My first thought is that the mainline expression of Christianity in North
America doesn’t have a vision for what it wants people to become. What it wants the world to become? Sure. People, though? Not so much.

Am I off here?


15 thoughts on “Am I Off Here?

  1. landon whitsitt says:

    Short answer: No.

    Long answer: The Mainline Expression will say it wants people to be “engaged and passionate disciples,” but I think we’re better at using big, theological words than in understanding their meaning or relevancy to/for daily living.

      • Someone is coming to interview me for a ministry class they are taking. One of the questions is “is there a difference between and Christian and a Disciple?”

        I want to say no. But I’m not sure what I will say.

      • My issue with the word disciple has to do with some of the really stirring Pauline language about faith as adoption and things God has done for/to us, rather than stuff we choose to do, which discipleship implies. They’re not exclusive.

      • Good point.
        I wonder though, if we have truly accepted the grace and adoption into God’s family, won’t our lives change somehow to reflect the way we “participate in the grace that has saved me” (thank you Marilynn Robinson).
        To say you could be a Christian without there being some sort of claim on your life (which is what discipleship implies to me) seems odd too.

  2. the innovators are running a business. They need to artfully manipulate other people to the innovator’s desired end: a sale. Of course, tweaking their product to better meet the customer’s needs helps…

    In a church, all parties are supposed to be participating in divine transformation

    So…if the mainline expression of Christianity in North
    America doesn’t have a vision for what it wants people to become

    What is being said is…it (the leaders and the congregations) doesn’t have clarity on supporting and facilitating divine transformation

  3. Matt Schultz says:

    A customer has an easily defined end: Make a purchase. Church members/disciples have millions of various ends. If churches don[t know exactly what that end is, I see that as a benefit. We’re not trying to cram them into our predetermined mold, but rather, are walking with them as God transforms and builds them. Much like the saying about teaching kids in school: Students are not to be molded, but unfolded.

  4. carolynkingshill says:

    I like what Alexandra has to say!! Having been a music teacher, I was always happy and encouraged when students were able to perform/understand better than I could. I had two or three violin students at Payap College in Chiang Mai, Thailand who played much better than I ever could. I thought that was great!!!

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