Monday, July 26, 2010

Purpose Driven Toyota.

About the same time that the contemporary Christian church began to advance the idea of a Purpose Driven church, the business practices of the 1990s began promoting a new business paradigm. It's vision casting ideas were in all of the business and manufacturing books and the church basically copied those ideas word for word in their new church growth books.

If there was one shining example of business in those days, it was Toyota. Toyota had gone from mediocre to awesome so fast and their innovations were state of the art that no one company highlighted this new way of doing business better. If you sat in a business meeting or a manufacturing floor in the 90s, you heard about Toyota and how their successes had to be copied. If you read a business book or went to school for business, Toyota usually came up as an illustration of the latest business practices. Toyota was the Willow Creek of the business world... or should that be the other way around?

So, by proxy, the church was chasing after this kind of business model. The business ethic of thinkers like Toyota has as much to do with the Church Growth as anything else. It is no coincidence that the cracks in the mission of the new church are beginning to show as the recalls, lawsuits, and government investigations loom over the poster boy for purpose driven secular business.

Read this article about what went wrong with Toyota. It is a business critique of success over quality that is eerily similar to the church critique over the Purpose Driven movement. The similarity is no coincidence.

Now it is time for the church to follow the lessons of Toyota once again. When you skip quality and humble listening for bigger numbers in a spreadsheet, you fail.

Grand experiment over. Let's get back to work.

No comments: