Seth Godin recently posted about Brand Exceptionalism. It was nothing short of brilliant. (I’ve come to expect that from him.) He clearly articulates where many churches are when he writes:
The problem with brand exceptionalism is that once you believe it, it's almost impossible to innovate. Innovation involves failure, which an exceptional brand shouldn't do, and the only reason to endure failure is to get ahead, which you don't need to do. Because you're exceptional.
Sometimes the greatest trap to our success is — in fact — success itself. When we begin to believe our own press, we become different people. All of a sudden, we stop...
- Listening to others.
- Engaging in relationships.
- Pushing ourselves to achieve beyond where we are today.
When churches start to believe their own press, they...
- Start thinking about programs instead of life change.
- Work to protect what is and stop asking what should be.
- Eliminate risk instead of embrace it.
Being an exceptional brand...or better...being an exceptional church means opening our hands, discerning the will of God, and moving with confidence in the direction we are being called. There is nothing about the Gospel that is safe. It changes everything and challenges the core of people and institutions.
The church we claim to be must match the description others give to us. If not, we are fooling ourselves into thinking we are something we are not. Technology not only helps us stay connected with one another but provides important, objective feedback that either affirms or stands in direct contrast to what any particular church claims to be.
The path to exceptional begins with honesty. Honestly rarely allows us to stay where we are and almost always exposes the need to change, innovate, or modify. Doing so places us in a vulnerable, transparent position that reveals our true motivations.
Based on Seth’s definition, would you classify your church as exceptional?