Sometimes I Doubt . . .

. . . what we're doing here in the city because no one is really doing ministry the way we are at Echo; I really haven't found a model that resembles us. As a result, I'm left to compare our plight to either the inner-city mission that reaches predominantly impoverished people [which isn't us] or affluent "emerging" churches that do attraction programming that hinges on big events [which we aren't either]. Being in no man's land can be exciting, but it's a lot like running a marathon alone: you have no idea how well you're doing. When it comes to my mental status, I do pretty well as long as I don't dwell on the negatives too long. But even the optimist can stray to the dark side. But it seems that whenever I hit one of those frustrating patches, God sends me encouragement that keeps me going. Sometimes the edification is found in wisdom from my wife, or in words offered by our church leaders, or, occasionally, from people I've never met.

I read the blog of marketing guru Seth Godin because he consistently offers great insight. He wrote a post this week the coincided with one of my low days and it picked me up. He observed that while our society craves the grand opening, they are truly overrated. Godin offered,

"Make a list of successful products in your industry. Most of them didn't start big. Not the Honda Accord or Facebook, not Aetna Insurance, not JetBlue or that church down the street. Most overnight successes take a decade (okay, four years online)."

He continues,

"The grand opening is a symptom of the real problem . . . Grand opening syndrome forces marketers to spend their time and money at exactly the wrong time, and worse, it leads to a lack of patience that damages the prospects of the product and service being launched . . . Far better to spend the time and money building actual relationships than going for the big 'grand' hit."

He concludes,

"The best time to promote something is after it has raving fans, after you've discovered that it works, after it has a groundswell of support. And more important, the best way to promote something is consistently and persistently and for a long time. Save the bunting for Flag Day."

At the conclusion of the summer will have completed three years of ministry here in Walnut Hills and we still have yet to develop the momentum I know we have in us. But at the same time, I'm just starting to feel like we're planting significant roots here. I have no idea how long it's going to take to accomplish our plans; this endeavor that is Echo Church might take a decade [or decades] to gain traction. But I'll skip the instant gratification for long-term meaningful ministry any day.