Inefficient is not ineffective.
I know what the definition says, and I know what you hear in your head when you hear inefficient. But that is not the kind of inefficiency I am talking about.
The negative connotation that goes along with inefficiency is one of laziness, insufficient, and a lack of caring. I have never heard Jesus described that way, nor have I read Jesus described that way.
But if we look at the life of Jesus, we see that He was anything from efficient.
There is a temptation today to make everything efficient. Your morning routine, your children, your job, your part-time job, your spouse, and maybe even your God. This temptation is in the name of effectiveness, a chance to speed up life and to get to the next thing in the most timely manor. If the fastest way to a point is straight, then you are headed straight.
Efficiency has crept its way in to our culture and has taken on words such as hustle, effective, and passion. And on the surface efficiency sounds great. It has become a way of life for many. This might provide them the opportunity to make more money for their family, write books, and take more meetings. Being efficient is doing everything to its absolute maximum and in the timeliest of manors.
The danger of efficiency is when it turns in to a way of life. When it becomes the only way to operate. When you start to make it your god. The temptation of efficiency is to always want more, to always take on more, and to systemize every action taken.
The thought of inefficiency might be the most inefficient thing you do today.
But looking at the life of Jesus, He does a lot of “inefficient” things.
Whether it was the time He decided to eat with a tax collector named Zacchaeus. Or the time He waited to go and check on His friend Lazarus. Or how about when He was suppose to be rushing off to save a dying child only to stop because He felt someone tugging on his jacket. Or maybe that time He called the Pharisee (the religious leaders of the day) a brood of vipers. Or how about when told the rich young ruler to sell everything and follow Him. Or maybe when He told a group of potential followers to let the dead bury the dead.
I am sure the disciples had several moments where they wondered about Jesus path to efficiency. Where they argued about how effective Jesus was really being. In fact, we see a bit of this exchange when Jesus is teaching a large crowd. The disciples, realizing the potential problem ahead, tell Jesus to let the people go home because dinner is approaching. This obviously was in the name of efficiency. But Jesus had another plan.
Even in Jesus’ time, the demands for him to be efficient were overwhelming. He was suppose to be the one that overtook the Roman rule and lead the Israelite people to power, to authority, and to prominence. His path to efficiency was through shaking the right hands, kissing the right babies, and hanging out with the right people. It was all in front of Him. He needed to follow the plan and everything would fall in to place.
But reading the Gospels, Jesus took the path that no one else would have taken to power, He became death so that we may live. He took on sin so that we may be covered by His grace.
If we learn anything from Jesus it was that He had a plan, it just wasn’t what we would have done. His plan was messy, it wasn’t efficient, and it was all about people. There was no system for Jesus, it wasn’t a step 1, 2, and 3 membership class, and it never made sense in the moment.
I think efficiency is so appealing because it can be predictable.
It is the only surefire way to have a guess at what the result will be. But what happens when efficiency leaves you empty? What happens when the system you created for your followers leaves them empty? What happens all the barriers are removed in the name of efficiency but there is still a huge gap between hearing and doing?
There is nothing wrong with efficiency. But when it becomes the only way to live it starts to rob moments that could have been. Imagine if Jesus never fed the 5000. Would life go on for those people if they had to go home and eat? Yes. Would they have been able to have practical application to the teaching of Jesus and His promise of providing? No.
I am afraid that our efficiency could be robbing ourselves and others the opportunities to have moments of growth. That the very way of living efficient could be stealing the every day miracle of life. Efficiency is the most inefficient thing you can do.
Should we live a life of chaos and wastefulness? No. Should we live a life that allows what some would call distractions (inefficiencies) to interrupt our schedule? Yes. Because those could be the very moment where God is speaking, showing, and doing something amazing in yours and others lives.
Maybe the most efficient thing we can do today is to look for chance to be inefficient in the way we love.
Thankfully my friend Jeff is calling us to live inefficient.
If you thought I was going to go all science up in here you will sadly be mistaking.
I am a science failure. I barely made it through high school chemistry. And in college, I chose every math class I could to get out of any science classes.
I am the least qualified person to talk about how your brain works.
But allow me to ask you a question on how your brain works?
Have you ever paused to think about the process of how YOUR brain works?
I am talking about how you process or deduce information. The way you get from point A to point Z.
Well if you haven’t, I have. I often wonder, how does my brain get from start to finish in any life situation?
Here is what I am learning:
I get from point A to point Z a lot faster then most people.
This isn’t something that makes me cooler then you (well maybe), but for some God given reason, I process information very quickly and can usually come up with a solution long before I have finished hearing or explaining the problem.
This can be a cool thing. But left unmanaged, can cause some communication issues.
I am confronted with this”ability” all the time in my marriage.
Being a newlywed I have moved from living the life of bachelorhood to the life of a family man (and I wouldn’t trade it for the world).
But in this process my brain has not made the complete switch. It seems to be a bit behind on all the details.
One area in particular that my brain processing likes to rear its ugly head is in the way I communicate something. I will often tell my wife about an idea or a solution to something but leave out key components. Like I will completely skip over them. Especially details that are important to the story.
Why? Because I have already skipped over them in my head. I have come to the resolution, gone back through the process, and then come back to the resolution again in my head before I have even finished saying the first sentence.
This is the way my brain works. It allows me to be quick on my feet, calm in chaos, and valuable in judgements, but terrible in explaining process. And because of this, I have already seen down the road of how this can/will effect me. Because as we all know, the details are important. They matter to any situation. Taking someone from point A to Z and skipping E F and G will get several perplexing and frustrating looks.
Your brain is one component of what makes you who you are. It makes you unique, gifted, and able. And even if you don’t understand science like me, you still need to think about how your brain works. Because you might not be connecting all the dots.
Remember 3 years ago when most companies and businesses doubted social media? When a business considered their social strategy good because they at least had an account? Those were the days.
Today, you cannot drive down the street without seeing gas stations telling you to like them on facebook and commercials pushing hashtags. And just as businesses and companies are starting to adopt social media, churches are as well.
Hearing stories about how churches are using social media for the good is always encouraging.
Yesterday at Cross Point Nashville campus social media played a huge part of our service and message.
Upon arrival to the campus that morning we found out that every entrance to the campus except for one was open. There was a triathlon in downtown Nashville that day that closed down several roads and exits off the highway and we were the victims of the route chosen. Having only an hour to react before our 1st service started, we turned to social media to get the word out.
Here is what we did:
We started with a graphic to best illustrate the problem:
This map was created in 15 minutes and was posted on the front page of our website linking to a post with information to what was going on.
From there we moved to facebook, twitter, instagram and most importantly texting.
Each of these tools pointed people back to this map and 3 steps they can take to join us for services that day. We stuck to this plan for the morning and continued to look for ways to alert people to the problem ahead.
Many of us have had “an experience” with social media. Whether it was someone helping you find your lost dog or getting you a job. The good of social media has been felt. But something that I (maybe we) have to constantly remember is the power of social media.
As we walked in to church yesterday morning realizing the potential problem that we were about to face there was not a doubt in our mind how we would get the word out to our attendees. And that is truly the amazing thing of it all. Thanks to social media we were allowed to dialogue with thousands of people and inform them of potential problems facing them as they headed to our campus that day.
We were successful with our message that day for several reasons, but here are 3 that stick out to me:
1. We had equity
The most effective way we communicated about the road closures on Sunday was through text messaging. We often use this tool to announce events, happenings, and upcoming series. But this time we needed to use it to get the word out quickly. We generally send a text message a week to our database. On Sunday we sent 3 in 3 hours. That might not sound like a lot to you (I send at least 10-20 an hour sometimes), but think if a company or organization had your number and texted you 3 times in 1 day. You would probably not say that was an enjoyable experience. But in this moment, when we needed to get the word out, we used our texting tool and heard nothing but positive response. In fact, people were thanking us for alerting them to the issue.
We built enough equity over time, to “spend” a little extra to get an important message out. In social media, you have to build equity with your audience. Give Give Give Give Ask Give Give Give Give Give and then Give.
2. We coached
You ever notice an author or musician take to twitter right around the time their book or album is about to released? You know, when you see them tweet and wonder to yourself “I still follow that person on twitter? I haven’t seen them tweet in forever.” One thing that we have tried to do at Cross Point is make sure that we are always talking. Not because we like the sound of our own voice, but because we want people to know that our social media accounts are a resource for them. It has taken a while to develop this, but our congregation knows that our social media accounts will have relevant information, resources, and quotes for them to check. And not only will we have this for them, we will be ready to answer any questions they have for us.
3. We used equations
Usually equations are those things that allow you to plug in numbers and get back answers (I hated math in high school). For us we plugged in the information and instead of answers got conversation. The temptation in these moments of potential chaos is to go overboard with noise. Instead of blanketing our social network with panic and chaos, we stuck to the initial plan of developing a hub of information, updating our accounts and then going back to regularly scheduled programming. We didn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. In fact, we worked like a well oiled machine. For those that do not know, Cross Point is a multi-site church. We have 5 locations spread across middle Tennessee and 1 online. And because of this, all on staff wear multiple hats on Sunday. For myself, I run the social media, internet campus, and communicate with each campus about the message stream and production. The temptation in this moment was to forget everything else and focus on the problem at hand…road closures.
What really happened in this moment was we worked as a team. Stephen Brewster jumped in with me and handled all the @ replies on twitter. Heather Stevens worked on copy and information making sure it sounded and read correctly. We worked as a team to tackle the issue. And because of this, no one felt overwhelmed by the situation. We planned out our equation, entered in the information and then started to listen. It was an amazing picture of social media at its finest.
I am sure that even without social media people still would have made it to church. But I am also sure that we were a part of something that allowed people to arrive at our campus in a way that might not have been without us alerting them to the problems ahead. And that is, they arrived in a positive and upbeat mood ready to join in worship together as a community.
Thank God for social media :)
How have you seen social media be used to alert people to something? Any cool stories of how you (or others) used social media to share an urgent message?