Wayne Gretzky’s is famously known for his anticipation. His statistics suggest that this key quality set him apart from the other players.
Gretzky’s specialty was anticipation. As his Wikipedia page reads –
Despite his unimpressive stature, strength and speed, Gretzky’s intelligence and reading of the game were unrivaled. He was adept at dodging checks from opposing players, and he could consistently anticipate where the puck was going to be and execute the right move at the right time.
Gretzky gives credit to his father Wally, not some unique one-in-a-million natural talent.
I’ve just learned to guess what’s going to happen next. It’s anticipation. It’s not God-given, it’s Wally-given. He used to stand on the blue line and say to me, ‘Watch, this is how everybody else does it.’ Then he’d shoot a puck along the boards and into the corner and then go chasing after it. Then he’d come back and say, ‘Now, this is how the smart player does it.’ He’d shoot it into the corner again, only this time he cut across to the other side and picked it up over there. Who says anticipation can’t be taught?
Recently I have been able to visit a number of churches. I’m like a “secret shopper,” experiencing what guests experience in settings where no one knows that I am a pastor.
It is clear that some churches anticipate guests and others reveal that guests are one their own. Some don’t anticipate a guest going online to discover service times (They target smart and determined guests because they are the only ones who can find the service times online). Some churches have good signage, making it easy to find rest rooms and the auditorium. Others make it a “seek-and-you-might-find experience. Some churches are intentional about reaching the next generation and others not so much. Some churches are great about reaching people, and hopeless at caring for people who they have reached. Lots of spiritual babies, few spiritual parents. Doesn’t take a genius to anticipate that spiritual immaturity will eventually lead to conflicts and heartbreak when children are expected to raise children.
Some churches anticipate growth and the tendency to lower values in the whitewater of exponential growth. Because they anticipate the challenges, they are able to double down on what is most important to their calling and make sure that they are developing leaders who are capable of shepherding the spiritual babes.
We live in a world where everything is changing. How we communicate is changing with the advent of smart phones and social media. What happened to cassette tapes, pagers, faxes and CDs?
Warren Wiersbe writes,
“methods are many, principles few, methods always change, principles never do.”
Flex or X
Our great challenge is to change our methods without changing the never changing life-transforming Gospel.
Imagine flying into LAX airport and being provided with a map of Los Angeles from 1955… Worthless! Even might be dangerous if you meander into a dead-end street in the wrong neighborhood.
No one was asking for a smart phone, but Steve Jobs anticipated that people would love to have a thousand songs in their pockets. If people in Henry Ford’s world were asked what they needed, it would have been a faster horse. Travis Kalanick had a problem getting a cab in Paris and anticipated a solution called Uber. Uber has been a pioneer in the sharing economy that is changing the transportation industry and threatening the Cab industry.
AirBnB doesn’t own one hotel, yet provides 3,000,000 lodging listings in 65,000 cities and 191 countries.
Over time, all systems and processes will eventually fail. Ask Kodak and IBM.
As Andy Stanley states, “date the model, marry the vision.”
We can never divorce the vision, given by Jesus, to make disciples of all nations. Our model, our methods must change to reach this ever changing world.
A map can be so helpful in anticipating the future, now if someone would only anticipate my need to know how to fold it back up again.
“One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.” PLAYWRIGHT HENRY MILLER
What do you think? Talk to me!