How Did We Get Here?

While speaking to a group of local pastors recently, I asked the following question, "Pastor, what is your product?" I could tell that some of them were a little intimidated by my use of business terminology. I explained that my question was not meant to address them personally, but rather the broader aspect of the Church. In other words, if the Church were a factory, what should its product be?

Many of these men had a difficult time articulating a response. Finally, after a few minutes had passed, I initiated a second question, "What is Chrysler's product?" The immediate response was "cars." I then suggested that while it is true that they do assemble cars, cars are not really their product. As confusion began to break out, I continued, "Chrysler's product is really transportation. They manufacture different kinds of cars to satisfy a wide range of transportation needs."

The pastors seemed to readily accept this notion. I then restated my first question, "So, using this illustration, what is your product?" One gentleman readily answered, "The product of the local Church is to produce Christ-like people." What a great response! We should be producing people who truly reflect Jesus. However, aren't Christ-like people really like cars? You see I believe that the product of the Church ought to be a Godly world. It would follow, then, that the product of a church in Colo-rado Springs ought to be a Godly Colorado Springs.

I wanted these pastors to see the big picture. Just as Chrysler remembers each time they manufacture a car that their purpose is to satisfy and provide transportation needs, we as the Church need to recognize that the purpose of building up Christ-like people is to produce godliness in a hurting world.

I continued my teaching that day with a challenging question, "Most of us would agree that Chrysler is doing a pretty good job in delivering a quality product, now tell me, how do you think the church is doing?" After a brief time of reflection, I followed with this final illustration: Let's assume that Chrysler has gone out and purchased the best raw materials available. At this point, they throw all of this rubber, glass, metal, plastic, etc. into a box on the factory floor and call it a car.

Clearly, we would never identify this box of parts as a car. It could never lead to transportation. Now I want you to think of an average man or woman sitting in church receiving the greatest raw material the world has ever known (not since Jesus walked the planet, have we been equipped with such extraordinary wisdom and knowledge). To think that this man or woman will step out of that building a Christ-like person is as ludicrous as believing that a box of parts is a car.

So, how should we go about solving this problem? Chrysler figured out a system that we, as the Body of Christ, should consider and employ. First, they went to the drawing board and asked themselves an important question, "What is this car supposed to look like?" Then they drew up every detail. With a clear vision in mind, they initiated an assembly line. They realized that they could not attach the wheel before the axle or the engine before the frame. (It's interesting that in the academic community, we know that you do not teach advanced calculus to a first grader, yet somehow we have lost that concept when trying to develop Christ-like people.) For Chrysler, the work is done part-upon-part, for us it should be done in a similar manner, precept-upon-precept.

In continuing their process, Chrysler does not stop at the assembly line. They do not want to take any chances. Before one of their cars is allowed to leave the factory, they send a person with a clipboard down to the end of the line. This person is required to give the car a thorough inspection. Then they go to the checkbox on top of the form that asks, "Is this product ready to represent our company?" If the answer is yes, a check goes in the box and the car is out the door.

Could it be that our lack of spiritual depth stems from the fact that we have failed to apply this same kind of process in training the followers of Christ? The church must begin to practice what I have coined Intentional Christianity, or Christianity with a purpose.

In the business world, when sales are down, management calls a time out. They want to pinpoint their problem and make a deliberate attempt to find a solution. The time has come for the Body of Christ to call a collective time-out. We need to rediscover our vision. It's time to rise to the occasion and walk as God intended. Now is the time to rethink our strategy, to change our mindset, to change our world!

Years ago, I developed a chart to illustrate the direction of our future as a nation. My premise is that there are only two ways to govern man: God's way and man's way. God's way of governing is an inside-out process. The heart is changed first, making it possible for the basic laws governing man to be effective.

D'Acchioli, Vince. Wired to Work! Huntington House Publishers: Lafayette, 2001, p. 94-96.

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