There comes a time where we have to make a decision. What will we invest in? It is a serious question and not a budget exercise. If we are going to be intentional and proactive, we need to make an investment. Jesus is after the best. It is criminal to live cautiously. Jesus said so. He means it.
“The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest. ‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’
(Matthew 25:26-30 The Message)
At first that may be just time. Eventually it will be about people, our processes, our strategies and our technology. If we don’t become intentional in our approach to our digital disciple experiences we will continue to be haphazard in our approach; reacting, responding, solving toxic experiences in real time. This intention however must be about heartfelt experiences. It must create a passion for our mission and God’s work.
There is of course, a very real cost to reacting. Scrutinize your budget and you will see that most of our fixed expenses are reactionary. What if we invested in proactive and intentional experiences of the heart up front? Could we radically reduce our reactionary and bloated fixed expenses? In fact, my guess is the reactionary expenses vastly exceed proactive expenses. I know ministries that are ramping up their expenses in reactionary engagement and relationships. The good news is that they are succeeding in shifting the negative to neutral or even the positive.
So what is the outcome of taking a negative and balancing it with a positive? Is it engagement or damage control? So what is the cost and value of neutralizing the negative? Shouldn’t we start with the amazing? What is the return on that investment in the stunning? What is probably most concerning is that most ministries are not measuring much of this. And why are we struggling to raise more money? Why don’t we have the reach we should for the Good News (Gospel). Why is our revenue flat? Why are members not engaged and increasing their contributions?
Is the experience we are creating wonderfully sharable? If not, what is our investment over the next 3 months going to be in changing that? We must invest in not only a positive experience but an experience that screams out for our members, volunteers and donors to share it with everyone they know. That encourages others to join in. It also offsets any negative experiences anyone else has shared. Think about it. We all read the ratings and comments. If there are 100 over the top ones we can ignore the one that is virally negative writing it off to a weirdo.
What is the biggest deal? Trying to offset the negative experiences or proactively creating amazing ones? Creating amazing ones is everything. That is not an exaggeration. You know, from your own experiences that it is true. The cost of reacting is always eclipsed by the upside of the stunning.
Think of what you want. You are a consumer. You are the disciple who wants something from your ministry. Are you looking for the ordinary? No, you are looking for an experience with Jesus, no, the experience. You want it to be amazing.
Any ministry that recognizes you, remembers you, and gives you an amazing disciple experience will win your heart. And it is all about your heart. You will be loyal to them no matter what. That is what we know as relevance. A passion of our heart that transcends anything else.
And so, that heartfelt experience is not just a so-so something. That heartfelt, amazing experience, is everything. That kind of vision is the father of innovation. Who needs the mother of invention in that kind of world?