Who is Your Tribe?

Michael Hyatt’s excellent blog has a guest post by Mary DeMuth that explores how she discovered her tribe (a la Seth Godin‘s, Tribes).  This post got me thinking about the ways we find our tribe.  How do we figure out the group where we have the most potential for impact and influence?  DeMuth has a few suggestions.

  1. Ask others, “What is my one thing?” My friend Alex has often said everyone has a “one thing.”  This is the theme of your life and ministry – the well you find yourself continually returning to when you feel dry.  If someone asked you to communicate one message (verbally or through actions) and one message only, what would that be? DeMuth suggests sending a wide variety of people you know an email asking them to help you define you and your ministry (or calling).  I may do this.
  2. Seek Professional Help. As an author, DeMuth had the ability to consult with a variety of experts to help her whittle down to the core of what she lives to communicate.
  3. Finally, so some soul-searching.  Here, I’ll quote DeMuth in full, “Frederick Buechner says that the place that you ought to serve is “where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.” So define that.  In your opinion, what is the world’s greatest need? (Everyone’s will be different). What is your greatest joy? How do they intersect in your life right now? How would you like them to?  Another exercise: List your three favorite movies. (Don’t think about it; just list them.) Now look over your list. What is the common thread in all three? That common thread is typically your passion colliding with the world’s greatest need.”

I’d take the movie thing with a grain of salt, because I’m not quite sure what gritty westerns (Tombstone, Unforgiven, etc.) and stupid comedies (Talladega Nights, Dumb & Dumber, etc.) have to do with my passion colliding with the world’s greatest need, so take the movie thing with a grain of salt.

However, it could definitely be a good exercise to spend some time thinking about your greatest joy,  your understanding of the world’s greatest need, and how you see those intersecting in your life.  If you’ve identified your tribe, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Resonant Preaching

Seth Godin’s blog is one that I really enjoy reading.  Today, in a discussion about politics, he makes a statement that I believe is a good conversation starter for thinking about preaching.  He writes,

Start with the truth. Identify the worldview of the people you need to reach. Describe the truth through their worldview. That’s your story. When you overreach, you always fail. Not today, but sooner or later, the truth wins out. Negative or positive, the challenge isn’t just to tell the truth. It’s to tell truth that resonates.

Does this sound like preaching you’ve heard (or done) lately?

Are you Incompetent?

I’m reading a book by Seth Godin, who I just found out is a really creative and interesting thinker. It’s called, small is the new big: and 183 other riffs, rants, and remarkable business ideas. It’s really just a collection of essays from Godin in hardback edition, but it’s really thought-provoking.

One of my favorite so far is a riff/rant on competence.

Competent people have a predictable, reliable porocess for solving a particular set of problems. They solve a problem the same way, every time. That’s what makes the reliable. That’s what makes them competent.

There is a side effect to all this competence however,

…competence is the enemy of change! Competent people resist change. Why? Because change threatens to make them less competent. And competent people like being competent. That’s who they are, and sometimes that’s all they’ve got.

Godin seems to argue that there is a “new competence” in the world, which he calls zooming,

In the face of change, some of us are becoming competent at zooming: Our skill set includes the ability to move from opportunity to opportunity doing the same thing, only differently. It’s this new breed of competents, of people who in another age might be labeled incompetent, who are going to lead us through the changes we encounter.

He doesn’t define these zoomers as people who can’t become competent, but people, “who have the option to become competent but choose to try something new.”

Managers, in Godin’s line of thinking, are the most dangerous competents of all. They are, “the ones who will do everything in their power to fight the next round of necessary changes because they’re in love with their competence.”

The most successful organizations have a skill Godin calls velocity.

Velocity is a company’s ability to zig and zag and zoom – to make significant changes when significant changes are necessary.

Any organization that needs to change must be willing to take risks and have the resolve to become incompetent for a time, in order to develop new forms of competence to meet challenges and changing dynamics in the world.

Let me toss a few questions into the air and see what happens? Would you characterize your church as an organization that is competent? Would you characterize the UMC as competent? Are we able to make significant changes when necessary? Are we willing to become incompetent for a time in order to meet challenges with new approaches?