Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions What the Church Can Learn From the Astounding Rise of Uber

What the Church Can Learn From the Astounding Rise of Uber

What can you learn as a church leader from the astounding rise of Uber, the ride-hail company born in San Francisco just a few years ago?

Quite a bit actually.

Uber has disrupted a century-old industry (taxi cabs) in a little over five years. The City of Toronto has seen a major battle emerge between cab drivers who want Uber banned, the city and Uber itself.

Ditto in New York City and many other cities.

At the heart of Uber’s story (and the controversy around it) is the massive change an industry can undergo in such a short span of time, and how rapid change can spin old models into almost immediate chaos.

If there’s one thing too many church leaders struggle with, it’s change.

There are at least six things you can learn as a church leader from the recent rise of Uber.

1. Owning a great taxi cab is no longer enough

In an age where everyone used taxis, having a clean cab, or a slightly less expensive cab, or a larger fleet of cabs that provided quick service was a competitive advantage.

Not so when an industry gets disrupted.

Uber uses ordinary people’s cars and allows users to rate drivers for their friendliness and cooperation. And they offer a price that’s meaningfully below a typical cab ride.

In the age of Uber, you can have the best taxi cab in town and still be out of business.

What can church leaders learn from this?

Polishing a current model of ministry to make it better often comes at the expense of true innovation.

And, as I indicated in this post outlining five disruptive church trends for 2016, church online will continue to morph into an advance of the church’s mission rather than just a supplement to what we’re already doing.

2. Innovation doesn’t ask for approval

Uber innovated in three primary areas that the taxi industry never did: They lowered the price, enlisted anyone who wanted to drive as a driver and gave consumers the ability to instantly call a car via their phones.

Are there problems with Uber? Sure … many think Uber needs some regulation.

But that’s not the point.

The point is they already won real marketshare before most people even knew what was happening.

Uber is a great example of how innovation changes things rapidly.

Cities and the taxi industry are catching up with Uber long after the love affair between many consumers and Uber began.

This is a note to denominations and even churches with large bureaucracies.

Innovation doesn’t ask for approval.

It just happens—much to the annoyance of existing power structures, which tend to be about preserving what has been.

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Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.