I am just beginning to read Blur: The Speed of Change in the Connected Economy. While this book was written in 1998, the connectedness that Stan Davis and Christopher Meyer write about is still evident today; indeed, even more so.
As I read Blur, I am not particularly interested in finding a cause to our current economic troubles, but rather in discovering the reality of the economic environment and how we could respond successfully to it. Further as a Christian communications consultant, I read every business book with an eye to how it affects the church.
After setting up the conversation in Chapter 1, Davis and Meyer use Chapter 2 to discuss the connections growing between product and service. The marketplace no longer sees a major distinction between the two. In order to stay competitive, one must provide a service along with the product or develop a product to address service needs.
Where does the church fit it? The church has been mainly about service. Its primary purpose is not to sell a product, but to bring together the community of faith on its path toward discipleship. However the church is still in the world and needs to demonstrate to the people how it is relevant.
What services has the church historically provided? These can be viewed as spirituality, feeding the hungry, healing, education (religious, ethical, secular), community, music, quiet place and many more. All of these, including spirituality and religious education, may be found outside of the church.
Combining these aspects of the church with products and services in the secular world may help the church to reach more people and become more effective with its mission. For instance, think about how the use of technology may enhance these services. Deeper spirituality may be found through meditation videos or slideshows; more hungry may be fed by coordinating efforts electronically; healing is provided by connecting with medical information; educational courses are taught across distances at the pace of the student; community is found through social media; music is shared and listened to on digital devices; and even a Web page with nothing but an image may help a person take a quiet moment.
The church has much opportunity to engage. Will it? Will you help it?