General CBF

Reinventing the wheel

By Ryan Clark

We’ve all reinvented the wheel.

Maybe you figured out how to print name tags using mail merge or found a free source of hot dog buns for the cookout. You’ve moved the website to a new template and now there’s an online giving option. You’ve started a new course on mission service preparation. Then, you walk into the room of your colleagues, proud of your recent accomplishment.

One person looks at what you did and obliterates any pride you may have had by pointing out, “Yeah, Kevin solved that one back in 2010.”  Kevin doesn’t work here anymore and no one volunteered to tell you there was already a solution to the problem you spent 2 hours or 2 days solving.

People saw you running around, making phone calls, printing pages. They heard your updates in staff meeting. Why didn’t they say anything?

The truth might be that your co-workers are sabotaging you. They send discursive prayers your way when you walk past their office. They giggle to themselves every time you open your mouth. There might be one worker with a secret file that contains earlier versions of the very work you’re doing just waiting for the moment when they can pull it out and show you while saying, “Oh, here’s what Phil did in ’08.  It looks just like your project.”

But that is almost never the case.

A probable reality is that no one really liked the previous solution in the first place. They were kind to Kevin and Phil and let the solution they found stand, but as soon as they moved on the collective wisdom of the group shifted to a different solution—a solution that probably didn’t put more work on the remaining staff’s plates.  People can write their own name tags. Just buy the hot dog buns.

Or, most likely, the culture changed (attitudes, software, internet accessibility, parking, laws, carpet color), and what made perfect sense just 4 or 5 years ago doesn’t make as much sense today. We’re all now working in a different context so the wheel needs to be reinvented (literally in some cases).

Global Missions hosts a new event called Mission Collective. Mission Collective is a one-day event for equipping churches in best practices for mission through collaboration. We gather expert practitioners, church leaders and CBF staff around a relevant topic- bringing together collective wisdom for collective action.

Mission Collectives occur where and when a congregation senses a need to address a particular issue in their community or congregation.  Global Missions staff works with the host church and state/regional CBF organizations to invite additional churches to discern a topic, plan and staff the event.  A few topic examples include: Engaging Internationals, Reclaiming Evangelism for the 21st Century, Strategic Partnerships and Short-term Missions with IntegrityClick here to read more.

You’re not being sabotaged, unless you’re doing it to yourself.

Discover the untapped resources in your church and community, draw outside resources you didn’t know exist and reinvent the wheel—at least one more time.

Come learn more about Mission Collective during the workshop “Mission Collective: Collective Wisdom for Collective Action” at General Assembly on Thursday, June 18 at 2:45 p.m. in Moreno A at the Hyatt Regency. The workshop will be presented by CBF Coordinator of Global Missions Steven Porter and Global Missions Church Engagement Manager Ryan Clark. 

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