The Same ‘Ole Same ‘Ole

The North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists has come out with a new initiative, “REACH North America” I believe the foci of this initiative are spot on, that said I am concerned.  I am concerned because while the language is new and well focused, I worry that the methods are going to be the “same ‘ole same ‘ole”.  Why do I have this worry?  Because the first major event related to REACH is a Net Evangelism event.  This event is taking place in the Fall of 2011 and already I have received a number of things in the mail (both snail mail and e-mail) promoting this event.  It seems this is the major thrust of the NAD’s strategy for this year.  I believe in evangelism, I have no problem with Net events, but I am challenged by the reality that our rate of growth has been in decline for the last couple of decades and yet we seem to be going back to the same well over and over again.  In the mid to late 90’s and into the early ’00’s we had numerous Net events.  I personally was blessed by two of these events tremendously, Net ’96 and Net ’98, that said my blessing doesn’t negate the reality that these were the major evangelistic events of the last couple decades and yet here we are in 2010 trying to figure out how to stem the decline of our church in North America.  So we are in decline even though we had Net Events throughout the last two decades, and what are we pushing with great might this year again? Another Net event!  The definition of stupidity according to Albert Einstein is, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”  Please hear me, I am not saying Net events should be eliminated, I just believe if we think a Net event is going to play a major role in stemming our decreased growth, and I hope I am wrong, but I am afraid we’re just being “stupid.” I believe Seth Godin’s counsel is key here, “If it’s a new problem, perhaps it demands a new approach. If it’s an old problem, it certainly does.”  Folks after 15-20 years of this struggle to reach North America the problem is an old problem, it definitely demands a new approach not the same ‘ole same ‘ole!

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