Change is a reality. We can recognize and deal with it, or we can let it run over us.

Kodak is a prime example. A successful organization for decades, changing technology finally caught up with the organization. Management thought it was in the film and camera business when it should have recognized it was in the picture business.

First came digitization, which allows us to take and store photographs in a digital form rather than on film. One can imagine how the executives at Kodak once laughed at that silly concept. Yet soon millions of people were storing their favorite images on their computers, then on their phones rather than on paper. Then they discarded the camera altogether and began taking photos with those same phones.

As a Feb. 17, 2015, article in The Wall Street Journal noted, “In 1996 Kodak employed 140,000 people and had a market value of $28 billion. In January 2012 it filed for bankruptcy. Instagram was founded in October 2010 and was bought by Facebook in April 2012 for $1 billion. It had 13 employees at the time.”

The last buggy whip maker thrived for a while, but then it was all gone. Kodak was the last buggy whip maker of old-school photography. Unfortunately, many of our churches are the last buggy whip makers in their neighborhoods, clinging to the methods that comforted the flock in the 1950s but oblivious to the changing culture around them.

As organizations such as Kodak didn’t do, we need to focus on our real mission, not cling to outdated methodology. We are not in the pews and parsons business—we are in the gospel business. We are not called to defend and cling to the methodologies that our grandparents used to grow churches in their generations. We are called to be students of Scripture and culture so we can determine how to communicate God’s truth most effectively to a lost and dying world.

Michael Duduit

Share This On:

About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

Related Posts