This afternoon, I went in to Barnes and Nobles to spend a gift certificate that has been burning a hole in my pocket. As I perused the stacks and racks of books, I saw Seth Godin's new book The Dip.
I thought I would sit down and read a few pages to see if it interested me. An hour later I had read the entire book.
I found this short book to be a very good read, and a worthwhile read for any church planter. Here is the gist:
1. Discover what you can do best.
2. Know when to quite and when to persevere.
3. Quit everything that distracts you from becoming the best.
4. Quit everything that you cannot become the best at doing.
5. If you can become the best at it, keep pushing through the dip!
The take away for me is that in order for a person to be the very best or for a business or team to be the very best they have to stop doing a lot of things. They may do those things very well, but if they cannot become the best at it, they need to focus on the things that they can be the best at doing. They need to specialize.
I have always been a generalist. I like lots of things, but this book has challenged me to discover what it is that I can be the best at, and then pursue it with passion.
My only reservation about his book, is that sometimes persevering through the hard times does not make you the best. During the first few years of planting the church, I hit the dip. Everything became a struggle, and I definitely wanted to quit. I tried to quit, but God refused to let me.
I sent out resumes. I called people. I tried to leave, but NOTHING happened. I stuck it out, and God ended up changed me in the process. If I had not gone through that dark time, I would not be who I am today. But on the other end, I was no more successful as a church planter than when I started.
As I consider planting the new church in Huber Heights, I want to be the best church in the northland area. Not in a way that is a competition between us and other churches, but in a way that we are constantly challenging ourselves to grow and do things better. I don't want to steal people from the other churches, I want to steal them from the clutches of sin. I want us to be the best at turning people who are far from God into fully devoted, mature Christ-followers.
I think Seth Godin would say that my dip was sticking to church planting, but pushing through to find the right location and tactic.