Catalyst One Day Session 4 – Andy Stanley

andy_stanley1Don’t Be That Couch

Andy Stanley

Whereas programming begins as an answer to a question, over time it becomes part of organizational CULTURE.

A.  As culture changes, many of the questions remain the same, but the answers DON”T.

B.  The tendency is to institutionalize our answers.

C.  If we institutionalize an answer, the day will come when it is no longer an ANSWER.
Couch metaphor – grandma’s stained couch – in love w/it because of the memories, stains are memories. Couch fulfilled a function when new, now needs to be removed. Stained now. Not beautiful.

When we fall in love w/programming, tendency is to keep it around too long. We become emotional about programming/ministry. Identify couches that need to go. But everybody’s in love w/the stupid couch.

See the couch differently, for what it is now. Can drag around expensive, ineffective couches.

II We must continue to be more committed to our mission than to our programming or our model.
Don’t fall in love with program/model.

A.  Over time, sustaining the model can become the MISSION.

B.  Over time, the model can work AGAINST the mission.

III Points of discussion

A.  What have we fallen in love with that’s really not as effective as it used to be?
What are we emotionally attached to? We created it, and trained for it.

B.  Where are we manufacturing energy?
Pretend/manufacture enthusiasm about an event. Cringe factor? Have a mtg about it asap. You should feel great about everything that’s happening. Don’t kid ourselves. That couch is good!?

“If we got kicked out and the board brought in a new CEO, what would he or she do?  Why shouldn’t we walk out the door, come back in, and do it ourselves?” – Only the Paranoid Survive by Andy Grove
New person would see the ugly couch and it needs to be addressed. As leaders we are responsible to step up and acknowledge the ugly couches.
i.e. baby dedications – good leadership saw that it looked old, took a year to revamp.
Write a letter to the child that they receive on the day they receive Christ.

C.  What are our organizational ASSUMPTIONS?

Leaders must bring the underlying assumptions that drive company strategy into line with changes in the external environment.
Wrong assumptions lead to bad decisions.
What assumptions about how to connects Singles? Not band/speaker/production. Community service. works

The assumptions a team has held the longest or the most deeply are the likeliest to be its undoing.  Some beliefs have come to appear so obvious that they are off limits for debate.

  1. What do we assume about people and how to reach them?
    What assumptions drive our programming decisions?
    We assume Christians love to worship.
  2. What do we assume programatically?
  3. Which assumptions are false?
    Information and inspiration are enough for transformation.
    Moments create movements.
    If parents and kids attend kids programs together, they’ll be better at raising their kids spiritually.
  4. Which assumptions are true, but not fully leveraged?
    People don’t stick to a production, they stick to a relationship.
    How do we create sticking points for relationships?

To reach people nobody is reaching, we need to do things nobody is doing.


What we are doing is so important, we can’t keep these couches around anymore. Tools come and go. Challenge is to lead people in our church to know this.


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