Weekly Newsletter

Pastor: Willy Mafuta

How Come Ford has Become one the Best Selling Cars in America?

Last Sunday after the church service, I joined Chris and Bob at the back of sanctuary and for a few moments we talked about cars. I don’t know whether many of you are aware that Bob and Chris are pretty handy about cars.

I mean they can relatively fix well some mechanical issues and put the car right back on the road. (pls don’t call them to fix yours, they won’t mind giving you some advices though).

The whole conversation started when I mentioned that it was more comfortable driving a truck (Bob let me used his truck when my car was being fixed in Iowa City) . It was a casual conversation among the three of us.

I have always been fascinated how FORD in the last 15 years has turned the chips to become one of the best selling cars in America .Is there anything, in this turning around that the church as a social institution could learn?

Some of you probably remember that about 15 or 20 years ago, FORD was given several acronyms meme such as:

Fix Or Repair Daily

Found On Road Dead

Backwards... Driver Returns On Foot

Backwards... Dorks Ride On Fords

Factory Ordered Road Disaster

Factory Ordered Rebuilt Dodge(Datsun)

None of the above matters anymore. With innovation, creativity, ingenuity and good marketing tools, FORD has managed to target a new generation of consumers and put into the market a product that is attuned and customized to the need of its clientele.

The end result has been astounding. No one feels embarrassed to drive a Ford car anymore. Actually, people want it. Ford has become competitive in the market driven consumer Society.

I think there are lessons that we as Church could learn in this analogy of turning things around. We have a new generation of worshipers that are demanding. If we don’t cater to their spiritual needs and provide a fresh product of our Christianity, we are on a losing battle.

Of course, by doing this we should keep in mind what one of the Christian theologians, Von Harnack, calls “the sanctity of the eternal gospel.”

Think about our church for a moment. 80% of members are over 70 years old. Most of them are retirees and live on a fixed income. They do their best to continue to financially support the church, attend the service as often as they can and participate in the governing body of the church.

There are about 40 active members in our congregation with 90% attendance rate on a given worship service. (Something to be proud of).

Those over 70 years old are the pillars of our church and yet we cannot let them carry the load forever, or even overburden the few young working families that we have. On Sunday for example, our church pledge drive brought 1/3 of our operating budget, short of our targeting goals.

We need additional 5 or 6 new families to join us and enlarge our potential pools of income. And in the last 6 years or so, we haven’t added a single family. This year alone, we have lost 5 of our faithful church members. First UMC needs a quick turnaround to be sustainable. Whether individually or collectively with our yoked churches should have to be determined.

This is the reason; I introduced the “Imagine New People” initiative. It is not a silver bullet, but it is an initiative that takes us to a new direction. It might take a year or two or even longer, before we see a dramatic turn around, but it is worth laying the foundation. Until then, we need to maximize what we have assets and think outside the box.

I am of the belief that the cost should not determine our vision. It should be the way around. We can’t look in our limitations and fail to dream. We need innovation, creativity and ingenuity to cater to a new generation of worshippers, X, Y and the millennials.

With creativity in our worship services, with an intentional outreach to our neighborhood, with a target marketing tools online, and with prayerful considerations, we can create a sustainable agenda with short and long term metrics.

The only think that could stop us is the fear to fail to dream and try and trust that we are in the business of God‘s Kingdom where surprises are for those who pray and seek God’s guidance.

I want you to be hopeful. With trust, faith and obedience to God, there is nothing that could stop us to envision a new future in New Hampton. The pioneers of this Church have taught us this truth-claim.

As I conclude this reflection , the words of Psalms 127: 1 ring in my ears “Unless the Lord builds the house those who build it labor in vain” and of the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:37 echoes this by asserting “With God, we are more than conquerors”

 

Blessings!

Dr. Willy L Mafuta, Ph.D, Th.D

 

 

 
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