Last week I preached about a topic called Subsidiarity. It really takes root in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26. I love the term but it can easily be confused with just trying to make things more efficient. It should not be looked at that way. Instead, it should be seen as a way to make a system more effective.
In mechanical terms efficiency and effectiveness are almost always synonymous. Make a machine better, faster, and more error free and you will get a more effective machine. But people are not machines. In fact, the more you treat people like machines the more they break down. I think discipleship demonstrates this principle very well. The harder we try to streamline the process the worse it becomes. The more we try to do it in mass, the less it sticks. By spending time on marketing, presentation, and expedition the less effective we truly are.
- Efficiency says, “let’s get more people in the room.” Effectiveness says, “let’s spend as much time with the ones who want to be here.”
- Efficiency says, “let’s try to make this happen faster.” Effectiveness says, “let’s spend as much time as it takes.
- Efficiency says, “let’s focus on the group.” Effectiveness says, “let’s focus on the individual.”
- Efficiency says, “let’s put on a disciple event.” Effectiveness says, “let each one make one disciple who can make one disciple.”
- Efficiency says, “let’s cater to the crowds.” Effectiveness says, “let me spend 3 years focused mainly on 12 people… one of whom will betray me.”
I don’t know about you, but I want to be effective for Christ, not efficient.
I’m not sure Christ will be impressed with our focus on efficiency. I know he will be pleased that we tried to follow his model of making disciples.
I really like this video by Ken Robinson, a pioneer in education. If you just replace education with “Religious Education” or Discipleship” I think you will see a very similar trend in the U.S. There are so many instances where the pressure to perform eclipses the awe of God and it causes many to drop out of church. How can we be more effective rather strive to be more efficient?