The #3 Pencil Principle

“Make something hard enough for people and they usually won’t do it” A great story is told in industry circles about the 1950’s controller bent on saving money for his accounting firm. This was back before computers when accountants “kept books” with pencils. The penny pinching controller commanded all pencils purchased by the firm must […]

Duck Hunting

“You don’t have to get all the ducks to have a good hunt. It’s obvious to anyone who ever spent a day crouched in a duck blind: You don’t have to get all the ducks to have a good hunt. A returning hunter focuses on what they bagged, not what they missed. A good duck […]

Bit Market

“There’s no market for drill bits — the market is for holes.” In management circles the story is told of the new CEO who took over a 100 year old company that had manufactured drill bits but had been floundering for a decade. The old vice president for marketing, wanting to impress the new chief […]

Competence Failure

“Work gravitates toward competence until failure” It is a curious proverb reminding us that sometimes competence can lead to failure. How? Because in organizations and institutions, (the church included), “work gravitates toward competence until failure.” When there is more to be done who gets asked to do it? Do the incompetents get asked? Not usually. […]

Sale on Seniors

One of my jobs as writer of this column is to spot trends and report them, especially trends among the emerging generation now in college. The most recent trend I’ve seen is our college seniors are willing to work for almost nothing if the working conditions are right This started a few years ago but […]

Who Goes to Hell?

A question that rises in all religions is who’s in and who’s out. If the religion has a heaven and hell, this question often boils down to who gets to go to heaven and who winds up in hell. The Christian religion has answered that variously through history, and it is recently being asked again, […]

Two-Stage Marriage

Marriage in America is changing into a two-stage process, and whether we like it or not the church will have to react or respond to this significant social change. The engagement of Prince Edward and Kate Middleton only highlighted the change that a Pew research study presented in a quieter way: Marriage is becoming a […]

Stages of Outrage

In my reading I’ve noticed the church seems to go through stages in its outrage against evil. Mostly I’ve been studying the history of alcohol. I can’t forget other issues completely, but the stages in the alcohol outrage seem to provide the most accessible template for examining this issue. Here are the five stages history […]

Emerging Adulthood

It is no secret by now that there is a completely new stage of development among American adulthood—“extended adolescence” or what is coming to be known more respectfully as “emerging adulthood.” In the 20th century, we saw the new stage “adolescence” or “teenager” emerge—an extended period between childhood and adulthood, roughly from age 13 through […]

What’s Wrong with the Church?

Earlier this year I described the Five Stages of a Generational Revolution as Bad, Add, Keep, Build and Protect. I observed emergents were still in the “Bad” stage of their revolution—they were mostly complaining about what’s wrong with the church they are inheriting. Boomers were mostly in the “Protect” stage of their own revolution, I […]

Deconstructing Church

Deconstructing Church: Five Stages of a Generational Revolution Since the 1970s I have been an eyewitness to the Boomer revolution in church. In 1970 all the power was in the hand of the so-called “greatest generation.” We Boomers didn’t think the way they did church was so great. We had our own ideas and initiated […]

Welcome to Your 20s Assignments

When college students graduate they often don’t recognize their biggest assignments are unfinished. Decisions once made during college years are now made during the 20’s. The most recent developmental research shows that young adulthood now extends into the early 30’s. We used to send kids off to college expecting them to graduate as adults. Not […]

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