Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Need Help? Try The Patton Driven Church

I am always amazed at the silliness that surrounds modern church outreach planning. Sometimes it is hard to cut through all of the emotionalism, stupidity, jargon, and marketing. Nine times out of ten, it seems that well-intentioned people miss the mark when setting up a system. They create a shallow task force with too much zeal and very little courage or capability. They throw unarmed sheep to the wolves. They push all of their efforts against challenges that are nearly impossible while ignoring the areas where true success is almost effortless. They cast all of their energy in places where they know that they will be rejected, but ignore people who come to them with an open mind. They take the easy way out; the coward's way out.

The long term results usually speak for themselves. I am tired of all these baby-boomer hippies who are trying to reinvent a wheel that has been turning just fine for 2,000 years. Outreach does not start by the creation of some "missional" initiative, novel packaging idea, or inside the pages of some book. Despite what some people will tell you, effective outreach systems were not suddenly invented in the last four decades. The persecuted ancient church knew just a little bit more about courageous witnessing than a bunch of fat, safe, rich, and over-stimulated Americans.

Outreach naturally flows from unending catechesis and the Divine Service into a Christian's vocation. It is kept alive by the Means of Grace and sharpened by penance, fasting, and prayer. It is dirty and difficult work that takes sacrifice, empathy, and patience. Since that traditional model is scoffed at and ignored by people who listen to human sources more carefully than God's Word these days, I am now advocating that this ancient system repackaged as The Patton Driven Church.

Could there be anything more bold and motivated than The Patton Driven Church? I ask you: who has a better track record of motivating ordinary people to do extraordinary things in the face of impossible odds? Who is the expert at overcoming adversity and inspiring people?

We are Christian soldiers after all; not a Christian sales force that works on commission. It is all about discipline and training rather than purpose and goals. Oh, if we could only learn about leadership from a man who knew a thing or two about leading people to lasting victory!

General George S. Patton:

"Always do more than is required of you."

"I'm not going to subsidize cowardice."

"Untutored courage is useless in the face of educated bullets."

"I believe in the old and sound rule that an ounce of sweat will save a gallon of blood."

"Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack."

"Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom."

"If I do my full duty, the rest will take care of itself."

"If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn't thinking."

"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."

"I don't know what you think you're trying to do, but the krauts ought to pin a medal on you for helping them mess up discipline for us."

As a special bonus, I will throw in two military quotes that are not from General Patton:

"The more you sweat in training, the less you'll bleed in battle."
-An Old Warrior Axiom

"Only well armed and equipped, adequately trained and efficiently led forces can expect victory in future combat."
-General Matthew B. Ridgway


Another Kerner said...

I do not know who said it, but these may be worthy to include in any warrior's list of quotations:

"In time of war, hell hath no fury like a pacifist."

"Remember, when the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is no longer our friend."


Another Kerner

Mike Baker said...

Thank you Another Kerner,

It was very hard to find Patton Quotes that were clean enough to be put on a Lutheran Blog. It was a shame because some of the more profanity-laiden ones were the ones that supported what I was trying to say.

Ultimately, this should be all about training and discipline prior to the mission field. There is an old saying that, "no plan survives contact with the enemy."

Every Soldier knows that, when things get hard, you fall back on what you practiced daily. This is what I am trying to say about outreach. If you are not equipped and prepared for the long haul, you have no hope of winning.