Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller Blink introduced us to a psychologist who learned to predict whether a marriage would last based on a few minutes of observing a couple. He also told about a tennis coach who knew when a player would double-fault before the racket even made contact with the ball. His point is that often our first intuitions are right, and first impressions are lasting ones. Gladwell describes the main subject of his book as “thin-slicing” our ability to gauge what is really important from a very narrow period of experience. In other words, this is an idea that spontaneous decisions are often as good as—or even better than—carefully planned and considered ones. What follows is the first of four questions on a blink test for your church to determine if you currently have movement momentum. Over the coming days, I will give you each of the four questions. Read each one to determine if you’re moving in the right direction. Don’t think too long. Just blink.
BLINK: Is your church more interested in quality programs or quality people?
What is the blink about your church in regards to spiritual formation? The promise that church programming alone will make your life better has been exposed. It doesn’t work. Everyday living is where spiritual development is worked out. Loving God and loving our neighbors cannot be fulfilled in a church building. Ask yourself, is your church propagating an implicit assumption that you can live out your entire spiritual journey as a part of a church-sponsored or church-operated activity? Or is the emphasis on more of the discovery of every person’s unique call and the “good work that God has prepared for them to do”? Is the emphasis at your church on recruiting and finding a person to fill every slot or that every person has a mission and we need to help them discover it?
If the blink on your church is that it is more concerned about quality programs, then there is no movement momentum. But if they are willing to kill a program and put life-on-life relationships and the development of people first, there is movementum.
This post is an excerpt from my new book with Alan Hirsch, On the Verge: A Journey into the Apostolic Future of the Church.