by dan grider
Bridges instead of Monuments
We can learn a lot from Sears the classic retail giant.Sears created the largest customer base in the world with their famous Christmas catalog. Sears revolutionized how retailers operated.Sears launched the Craftsman and Kenmore brand, followed by All-State insurance By the end of World War 2, Sears was topping $1 billion in sales.They pioneered credit cards and innovated fresh brands like DieHard batteries. Sears could do no wrong. Sears built anchor stores in shopping malls all over America.
In 1973 at their peak they built the world’s tallest building: Chicago’s Sears tower. They lost their way by celebrating their success. At their zenith they turned their attention to building the worlds tallest monument to themselves. This storyline goes back to the Tower of Babel. The Sears story is a classic tale of misplace focus.
If they had taken that same energy and refocused on their core mission they could have had a different outcome.
In the past four years, Sears has been selling everything just to keep the lights on. Nothing’s worked. They have finally had to admit defeat. Churches all around the country are facing a similar storyline. They are desperately trying to find new and better ways to attract people back to their once bustling locations.
They should have been building bridges instead of towers. Too many churches and ministries build sprawling campuses pointing to their past greatness rather than bridges; monuments rather than movements; and legacies rather than life giving crucial conversations.
My new book Crucial Conversations “Bridging the Awkward Spiritual Gap” Has been written for bridge builders. May you continue to use your energies to build bridges to a world in desperate need of the life the Jesus gives, instead of legacy monuments to leaders and ideas that will fade with time.