They Are Consistently Hacking My Agenda

If people are using the thing we make for something other than our intended use, maybe we should start perfecting it for how they’re using it and stop judging them for using it wrong.


Take youth group. I may bleed and sweat to design gatherings for, say, junior high kids, that teach them the Bible, but if they are consistently hacking my agenda to socialize with their friends, then maybe I can reverse engineer the youth group as a tool for them to socialize even better. Hack the hackers.

Give over youth group to hanging out? Give up completely on Bible study? No. Design the Bible study to meet the socializing need youth are expressing.

The same goes for parents.

If parents are insisting their kids participate in confirmation as a vague sort of cultural and moral rite of passage and not an entrance into active church membership, then maybe that signals the need for a high quality version of the thing they’re defaulting to. Maybe we could design confirmation to be a high impact experience of moral and religious exploration that issues in some sort of ritualized conclusion detached from the question of church membership.

What kind of impact might that have culturally? Who says a cultural rite of passage is less crucial today than institutional growth?