Monday, February 1, 2010

Think Different (ly)

In 1997 Apple Computer introduced their “Think Different” ™ advertising campaign. The campaign featured people who changed the world — scientists, social reformers, ministers, entertainers, athletes, explorers, artists — because they thought about things in ways different than the general populace. (For more information and links to the video, go to

We are all familiar with the idea “if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting.” Let me introduce a new spin on that. If you keep thinking the way you’ve always thought, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.

Stephen Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People introduces the See-Do-Get model. What you see influences what you do, and what you do determines what you get. So to change what you get you must change what you do, and you will only change what you do when you change the way you see things, in other words to get different results we must learn to think differently.

I believe the church in North America needs to think different(ly). Why? It’s simple. The results we are getting are unacceptable. It’s not my purpose to defend my position, simply to state it. Anyone who has been a longtime lover and observer of the church knows that the church in North America is in trouble. A quick review of the Glenmary reports of religion in America from 1990 to 2000 verifies this. Baptist Christians, my denominational family, particularly should be concerned. Whereas, we were once strong and growing, we are now a denomination in decline. If we think we will survive, much less thrive, by doing what we’ve been doing, we are sadly mistaken. We need to learn to think different(ly).

As the executive director of UBA, I believed we, as a staff and as an organization, needed to think different(ly). I believe church leaders need to think differently. So to that end, I’m devoting this year to helping us learn.

In January I introduced the concept at our Quarterly Meeting. (To view an edited version of that presentation go to our website at , click on QAM Presentation, and the three part series will open. Right click on the center of the video and Zoom In to make the image bigger.) Other presentations will follow. Throughout the year the theme of our Pastor to Pastor series will be think different(ly) … about the church, about the church in the community, about making disciples. I will work with our staff, our moderator team, our subsidiary corporation leaders and our Associational Leadership Council to look at UBA and see where we need to think different(ly) in order to fulfill our vision of a transformed city.

All my life I’d been admonished to “think” — by parents, teachers, professors, my own self talk. Until I began studying about thinking, though, I didn’t realize no one had ever really taught me to think or helped me understand why I think as I do much less taught me how to think different(ly). As we learn, we will pass our learning on to you with the prayer that by thinking different(ly) we will begin to do things differently which should change the results we are getting.

God help us. Amen.