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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

I love thinking outside the box.

I love thinking outside the box. That's one of the reasons I love church planting and that I am excited about what God is doing at Ridgeview. I've said since our beginning that I love this aspect of who we are. Many churches will say, "We haven't done it that way before" in an effort to silence anything new or different. At Ridgeview, I want that same phrase to become a watchword for us....Hey, we've never tried it that way before. Let's give it a shot.

This requires a willingness to talk with others, learn from others and, above all, a willingness to see failure as a not-so-bad thing. One of the companies I have always admired is Southwest Airlines. It isn't the largest airline in America but has continually been one of the most successful, partially because of its willingness to learn. And one of the places they turned to for help demonstrates this outside-the-box thinking.

When faced with the challenge of plane maintenance and quick turn around (which is how airlines make their money and increase customer service), Southwest didn't turn to business leaders or other airlines. They consulted the pit crew boss of an Indy 500 race car driver. Here's a guy who is responsible for changing tires, refueling a car and servicing an engine all in a matter of seconds. I'm not sure what the takeaway was for the people of Southwest but I think it's impressive that they were willing to open their ears to others who might teach them.

Apply that to your spiritual life. You and I can get caught in unhealthy ruts because we do the same thing the same way all the time. Now, as one who likes his routines, I understand that they can be a good thing. But if you never change your perspective, never stretch yourself to look at your faith in a different way, then you are limiting what you can be in Christ.

Thinking outside the box spiritually may mean changing the place you serve at your church or maybe starting to serve for the first time. It may mean changing the version of Scripture you read or the place that you have your quiet time (or maybe trying a quiet time for the first time). Whatever you do, don't allow routines to turn to ruts which in turn become spiritual dryness and even death. The Bible says that God makes all things new and that His mercies are new every morning. It even encourages us to sing to Him a new song. Maybe what we need is a fresh new encounter with Him each day. That very well may mean getting outside your place of comfort and trying something new...

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