Fast Company recently posted an article, A Successful 21st Century Brand Has to Help Create Meaningful Lives. An enormous study of how consumers around the world interact with brands finds that only the companies that make life better for consumers create impactful connections.
I’m always intrigued when culture begins to understand something the Church has been doing for centuries.
Understand that I’m not advocating for “consumer church.” In the above title, there’s a huge difference in my mind between “makes life better” and creating “impactful connections.” The first often takes the form of a prosperity or “name it and claim it” Gospel, in which God wants to improve your life and make you successful. The second – creating impactful connections – is what we’re focused on 52 weekends a year: to first create meaningful connections for guests with people in our church, and ultimately with Christ.
“It’s a simple question of philosophy. ‘CEOs are painstakingly trained to deliver outputs: stuff like slightly better sneakers, phones, or cars. And that’s exactly the problem, not the solution,’ says Haque. ‘Because what people are really looking for are outcomes: the real human benefits those outputs results in. … If you’re still seeing your business essentially as a giant factory producing outputs, instead of as a system that creates real, positive human outcomes–you’re still stuck in the industrial age, while the rest of the world, especially your customers, are beginning to take a quantum leap into what I call a human age–an era where a life meaningfully well lived is what really counts.’”
We’ve talked about this before. Sometimes we focus more on “outputs” – our individual seeker-friendly, artsy, fun, hipster, social justice-focused styles – rather than outcomes. Instead our focus should be on the only reason any of us are in ministry in the first place: the outcomes of a life forever changed by Jesus: restored marriages, addicts set free, the lost found, broken hearts overflowing with love, disciples who in turn connect him with others.
I’m incredibly fortunate to work at a church where I regularly hear people say (tweet, post, instagram), “I love my church!” and “I feel at home here.” These are people finding Jesus. Discovering grace. And that is the key difference between the Church and a corporation: rather than devising ways to bring meaning to a consumer’s life with the sale of a product, all we really have to do is be who we are. A family. Living lives of meaning together as loved children of the King.