You Don’t Get It!

I recently had a meeting with a couple people from a company (that shall remain nameless) and we were discussing target consumer.  It occurred to me after a bit of discussion that these guys really, truly believe they know who their customer is and how to communicate to them, but the entire time I’m thinking “NO!  YOU SO DON’T GET IT!  You are totally missing your customer base!”  Now granted, who’s to say I’m right?  But I couldn’t help but be frustrated because I think they are so missing it and they have no idea.

But before you think I’m just a pompous ‘know-it-all’, I have been those guys.  A few years ago I worked at a company who really thought we were “the stuff”.  We were #1 in our industry and had had a lot of successes.  We thought we were the experts on reaching our customer and that we knew everything about how to market our product.  It was only after being removed from that industry for 6 months or so that I discovered we were completely ignoring a MASSIVE segment of our potential market.   Boy, did I feel like an ignorant, young punk!

So today it has me thinking… how will I know when/if I’m out of touch again?  Who is going to look me in the eyes and say “you are missing it!”?  In my former job, we were talking about a product that I was marketing, but in my current job we’re talking about people’s lives and eternity.  How dare I think I’ve got it all figured out and think I know how to best reach people for Christ.  How can I be sure that we’re doing absolutely everything we can to reach people who are far from God?

God, please protect me from thinking that we have found the perfect solution for ‘doing church’.

I guess the day that I think we’ve ‘arrived’ is probably the day that we are really so out of touch!  What do you think?

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  • jan owen November 13, 2008  

    continued humility is a huge key – and a realization that there is a work that only God can do in people’s lives, no matter how good we may or may not be. God’s worked through me on my worst days AND on my best days. His ways are powerful and mysterious. To say we have it all figured out in things of eternal significance would be to say that we have GOD figured out………..

    Which is improbable. 🙂

  • Benjamin November 13, 2008  

    Those who search will find you, at least if they find your answers are usefull for them. I don’t believe so much in the principle of the Christian mission as it has a rather arrogant (forgive me for saying that) connotation. But that’s just the way i thing…

  • Emily November 13, 2008  

    I am praying for some clarity in this right now. Thanks for sharing.

  • Paula November 13, 2008  

    Yup – EVERY TIME I believe that I finally am on top of my game, a reality check hits to remind me that I still have so much to learn!

  • Big John November 13, 2008  

    boogie boarding in the florida surf taught me that the most dangerous place to be is to think you’re positioned to ride a wave, when in reality, you’re moving too slowly in front of it. too often i know i’ve gotten in front of the wave in ministry, didn’t pace myself right (moving too slowly and pridefully), and got crushed. it’s not just positioning, it’s pace and constantly checking the pulse of the water around us.

  • Rob Tyson November 13, 2008  

    I too worked at that company. Looking back, I was one of those people who shouted “expert” longer and louder than most. It’s a battle I still fight in my newest endeavor. Thanks for the word.

  • Nate November 13, 2008  

    Something that could be very helpful is keeping in touch with all kinds of different churches. Learning about what they do differently, what kinds of people they’re reaching, whether your ministry has the capacity to reach certain demographics OR if you need to humbly admit that you’re not able to reach a certain group of people and instead support the ministry nearby that IS able to.

    And you know what? That may even include ministries that would balk at a modern church like CrossPoint, Connexus, LifeChurch, or Liquid. Often the leaders of those churches are the most critical of churches like ours. Naturally, you’d take everything with a grain of salt, but who said we have to shun ministries affiliated with places like Bob Jones University? They might offer some excellent insight.

  • Jenni Catron November 13, 2008  

    @Big John – love the boogie boarding analogy!

  • Dawn Nicole Baldwin November 13, 2008  

    Nate’s got a great point & I’d push even farther. If the people you’re wanting to reach are those who currently aren’t going to church, it’s REALLY important to stay in touch with that world.

    Where are people hanging out? What’s important to them? What’s keeping them up at night? How could your church help?

    Running focus groups of people who are brand new to the church is a good way to check in [would suggest having someone who’s not on staff moderate though. Doesn’t have to be hired out. A volunteer who knows what they’re doing could work]

    Thanks for the reality check 🙂

  • HisLifeformine November 13, 2008  

    Such a good post!
    Lord help me to not be so focused on my position that I am not willing to hear from others (and accept) that I am off track. That I am missing something – because I always will be, there will always be more for me to learn, more that I can do.

  • Pam November 13, 2008  

    WOW Lay it out there. You have just hit on a subject where I want to take my head against the wall. I would love an offline meeting of an interested group to toss some stuff on the wall and see what sticks! I spend toms of my day on this very debate. Thanks jc for the post.

  • Ron Roark November 13, 2008  

    The fact that you are even asking this is HUGE! Keep asking yourself this question every year and you should stay on point! Very wise…

  • Rachel Rowell November 13, 2008  

    I couldn’t agree more. I think you hit the nail on the head.

  • Dad November 13, 2008  


    You said it best at the end, when you think you have arrived you better re-think what it is you are doing. I’ve been dealing in sales now for almost 12 years. I struggle with this issue everyday. Am I targeting the right market or am I just plan missing the boat. The best way I can express it is how successful are you. If you are growing than you are targeting the right market. But no matter what you do or how you do it there will always be a market that you are missing.

  • brewster November 13, 2008  

    Great post! i hope we get ‘it’. if not, i hope someone tells us. really good stuff.

  • Tracey Smith November 14, 2008  

    Hi Jenni! Great read! Pride does come before the fall…wow…how many times do I have to fall???? 🙂 I do thank God He has always placed friends in my life that usually care enough about me to say the “tuff stuff!” The thing that keeps me pumped about ministry is that when I do think I have it all figured out…He shakes it all up…again!!!! Love your blog!

  • Robin November 14, 2008  

    Good stuff! I think there are so many variations in people that God gives different churches different ways to reach out. Looks like you guys are nailing the niche God has carved out for you~

  • Pete Wilson November 15, 2008  

    I know I’m really late here but just now catching up on my reading.

    I think you made an important point. You didn’t realize just how far off you guys were until you were out of it for 6 months.

    The key is finding ways to withdraw from the daily routines and though processes. While you probably can’t take a 6 month vacation (actually I know YOU can’t take 6 month vacation), you need to find ways to step back. Ask tough questions. Get out of the daily routine. Visit other churches. Think differently.

  • Monica Hunt November 17, 2008  

    What a great post! Thanks for making us all think….we can apply this to so many areas of life. We have to be constantly thinking and evaluating!