October 15, 2018, Sears filed for bankruptcy. What happened? To truly understand, we have to go back in time to a man by the name of Gutenburg. Gutenburg invented the first version of the printing press in the 1400’s in Europe. Things did not move that quickly back then. It took another 200 years for a printing press to make it to America and even longer for the press to be common. But it was just in time for Richard Warren Sears to start a mail-in watch and jewelry store. He took advantage of all of the farmers in those days who had to come to town and buy from small general stores with very little selection. He revolutionized retail sales by his innovation.
Now, fast forward to the 1990’s, what had begun as a military instrument morphed into what we now call the Internet and a man by the name of Jeff Bezos was in his garage coming up with what we now know as Amazon.com. He did what Sears had done hundreds of years before. He changed with the times the way people purchased what they want. While Bezos was building the first company to be valued at $1 trillion dollars, Sears did not change. The company built on innovation did not innovate this time. Now Amazon is ruling the world and Sears has filed bankruptcy. What is the point of this story? The Scripture says that we are to be wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove. Churches must be wise in their organization or they will die.
According to Thom Rainer, church growth expert, 100-200 churches die each week in the United States. Why? Many fell into the same trap as Sears. Their model of growth had worked for so many years and when society began to move from catalogs to online, from Sears to Amazon, they did not move with society.
The Church should never change its message. But like Paul who recognized that different groups had to be reached through different means, churches must look at the society around them and figure out how to reach them. Missionaries have always done this. When they go to a new culture, they learn the language. They learn the culture. And they develop a plan for reaching that people group according to that culture. But in America, too many churches are doing just the opposite. They are not changing their methodologies and they are dying.
One way that businesses have adapted to our culture is by giving their customers more choices. Coke for example has nine different flavors of Coke. Not only this, but they have Dasani water, Fanta sodas, fairlife milk, Gold PEAK tea, Minute Maid juices, Powerade energy drinks, Sprite, Smartwater, Vitamin Water, Zico coconut water, and many, many more. No wonder this company is still on top of its game though it is 132 years old.
Here at CrossRoads, we want to add another choice to the people in our community. Next Fall, we want to add an early service for those who want to go to church, but also have a busy day planned. They don’t want to miss church, but they have errands to run, social plans, kids sports games, NFL games, etc. Will you help us. If you will, get out your phone right now and text Pastor Lee @ 210-834-3364 and say, “I will help with the early service.”