This news story prompted some new thoughts for me. I look at the story of our drones getting hacked and I see a group of people who underestimated another group. Honestly the folks who designed the predators took for granted that, even though they may live in caves, the insurgents have the internet and aren’t stupid.
After the Cold War came to a close the Russian space program and the US space program started exchanging notes. One of the most telling differences between the two agencies was how they approached problems. While trying to figure out how to write notes in space (without gravity, normal pens wouldn’t work) NASA spent millions of dollars developing a “space-age” pen. This pen could write underwater, in zero-G’s, in the cold…whatever, where ever this pen could write there. The russian space agency found the research fascinating – but ultimately concluded their solution to the same problem worked also – they used pencils.
Often times when money, time, or people aren’t an issue folks start to take them for granted. When you have lots of resources it’s easy to use the unwisely. I have been blessed in my current position. It is the first time in many years that I have not had to spend most of my time thinking about fundraising. I have a budget that is sufficient to do what I need to get done and a bit extra to dream a little. As I’ve reviewed the budget from past years I have seen purchases and payments for some stuff I would have never dreamed of paying for when I was at a smaller church. Not just because I didn’t have the money, but because we had figured out a way to do the same thing cheaper. It was a great training ground for me. It would be a fun experiment to take a children’s pastor who has been really successful at a church of 100 and move them to a church of 5,000 – there’d be an obvious learning curve; but I’d love to see how they managed their budget…I bet they’d do great.
Sometimes it’s like we try to build a Rube Goldberg Machine to get the most simple tasks completed. We can find ourselves asking the questions: “What’s the hottest way to do this?” ”What’s the newest techie way?” ”What’s everyone else doing?” Without asking the question: “Is this the best way?” ”Is there a less expensive way to do this?” Part of being a good steward with what we’ve been entrusted with is asking these questions. This post from NorthPoint is a great illustration of this point.
I think we have to stop and look at things and ask if we’re doing things for the right reason. 1 Corinthians 6:12 “Everything is permissible, not everything is beneficial” - to me means: just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should. The way we have gone to looking at this around our office is we want to create ministry and structures that are fast, flatter, and more personal. We want simplicity. Simplicity allows for better flexibility. So what complicated methodologies can be eliminated?