Home > Blog > Disruption: Rethinking Your Approach [Part 1]

April 29, 2017

Disruption: Rethinking Your Approach [Part 1]

By Mark DeYmaz

 

In an opinion piece for CNN, Mel Robbins, an expert on human behavior and motivation, wrote about people and organizations known in the business sector as disrupters. “The disrupter,” she wrote, “is someone [or collectively an organization] whose entire ‘brand’ is … to turn the way we do things on its head. … [Disrupters] break the mold, change our thinking about the mold and then hand us the new rules for how things work.”[1] By way of example, Robbins cited companies such as Amazon, Uber, Apple, and Facebook that completely changed the game in their respective industries from the way we think about retail and online shopping to how we catch a ride, use our cell phones, and connect relationally on the Internet. Disrupters such as these, she wrote, “don’t fix what’s broken because they don’t innovate from inside the system.” [2] Rather, they operate outside conventional wisdom, turning systems upside down to affect systemic change.

The Role of Disrupter

Stated another way, disrupters can both see and sense what lies ahead, around the corner, long before others have even arrived at the intersection of present and future. Because they are out front and ahead of the curve, disrupters first define, then refine, and ultimately create new realities by changing the way we see things, think about things, and get things done. And once disrupters gain momentum, they don’t merely envision the future; they create and establish it. They frame the questions, shape the narrative, and influence the conversation. In so doing, they challenge what is and inspire what is yet to come.

That night in my hotel room, reflecting further on the concept of disruption, I soon recognized that Jesus Himself was a disrupter. In fact, you might say that He was and remains the disrupter of all disrupters! Think about it:

• He disrupted darkness and gave us light (Gen. 1:2-3).

• He disrupted the law and gave us grace (Gal. 3:23).

• He disrupted sin and gave us salvation (Rom. 10:9).

• He disrupted death and gave us life (Rom. 6:23).

• He disrupted time and gave us eternity (John 1:1-2, 14; 3:16).

Jesus as Disrupter

If Christ is a disrupter (and He is), surely He expects His bride, the church, to be one as well; that is, a disrupter with Him in heart, mind, and purpose. More specifically, He expects believers to walk, work, and worship Him together as one, in and through local churches, beyond the distinctions of this world that so often and otherwise divide (John 17:20-23). To the degree that we are willing to do so, collectively, we will become disruptive by advancing the common good, influencing systemic change, and redeeming entire communities along spiritual, social, and financial fronts.

But therein lies the problem.

Due to the systemic segregation of local churches today and in the eyes of an increasingly diverse and cynical society, the vast majority of pastors in the United States have virtually no credibility when attempting to resolve the most pressing concerns of our time: race, class, and culture. Therefore, at a most critical moment in our nation’s history, when demographic shifts are bringing change to America, most churches and the pastors who lead them are not framing the questions, shaping the narrative, or influencing the conversation beyond their own insulated audiences. The fact is this: Christians are as painfully polarized as the society in which we live. Moreover, the people in our communities know it. They see it. Our message is undermined, and we are marginalized because of it.

The Church as Disrupter

Today, the typical local church is not disruptive; rather, it has been disrupted.[3] In what should otherwise be the church’s finest hour, our collective witness has been undermined by a lack of thoughtful, proactive, and holistic engagement on matters of race, class, culture, and community. More often than not, our words are spoken too late, only after problematic situations of real or perceived injustice arise or receive widespread attention. Thus, when we do speak, our words ring hollow, inauthentic, and self-serving, whether spoken from the pulpit, on social media, or in the streets. Thus, in the eyes of secular society, in what some refer to as a post-Christian era, we have lost the right to speak, to lead, to be heard, and more significantly, to offer a Christ-centered, biblical perspective in moments of sociopolitical concern, confusion, or crisis.

Is this not what it means to be as noisy gongs and clanging cymbals (1 Cor. 13:1)?

Excerpt from Disruption: Repurposing the Church to Redeem the Community by Mark DeYmaz (Thomas Nelson and Leadership Network; March 2017, pp. xxviii – xxx).

Click here to learn more.

[1]

Mel Robbins, “Why Trump Is Beating Fox News and GOP Rivals,” CNN (28 January 2016), www.cnn.com/2016/01/27/opinions/donald-trump-republican-robbins.

[2] 

Ibid.

[3] 

Consider that between 1990 and 2009 more than fifty-six million people were added to the rolls of the US Census while only 446,540 people were added to the rolls of the American church; less than 1 percent. As researched in a study of more than 200,000 churches by David T. Olson, and cited at the Mosaix National Multi-Ethnic Church Conference in San Diego, CA: November, 2013.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark DeYmaz

Mark DeYmaz (@markdeymaz) is a recognized champion of multiethnic church planting, growth, and development, for the sake of the gospel throughout North America and beyond. He is the founding pastor of Mosaic Church in Little Rock, AR, and a co-founder of the Mosaix Global Network. His books include Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church and the recently released small group study, Multiethnic Conversations.

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