Which work best: principles or techniques?
This past weekend I had the privilege of speaking at a Momentum conference in San Francisco. (If ever you have the opportunity to attend a Momentum conference, I highly recommend it. It was warm, inviting, participatory with plenty of time for the Holy Spirit to lead–and he did, in extraordinary ways.)
One of the speakers was Ross Rohde, author of Viral Jesus: Recovering the contagious power of the Gospel who blogs here.
Ross shared about the danger of turning success into a technique. Someone listens to the Lord, obeys him and sees outstanding results. Others, seeing their success, assume that if they copy what that person did, they will get the same results. The problem is, all they have done is copy a technique without listening to the Lord, who may have a totally different strategy for their situation.
Principles, on the other hand, apply in any context.
An example: you hear about someone who has great success starting a church in their local Starbucks. It’s easy to think: here’s the answer to our group’s problem with reaching out. Everyone in our home church should spend time in a coffee house.
It may or may not work–I’ve come across wonderful churches that have started out of the harvest when the Lord told a group to change the place where they get together to the local Starbucks. The technique is in always using the local coffee house for evangelism.
The principle is that if you want to see people become disciples, you have to get outside your Christian ghetto and into a world that so desperately needs Jesus.
How do you avoid techniques? The answer is to listen to Jesus and do what he says.