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Maximizing Church

mintools.com says:

Since there is a limit on the time we can serve, we need to
look for maximum effectiveness. Structuring our ministries
around our giftedness will help us do that. Knowing where
we are spiritually gifted will help us know where to put
our focus, energy, and time. It will show us where we
should plug into ministry.

Maximum effectiveness. What a modern, Western concept. Super-size my spirituality! Everything else is maximized these days, why not my gifts? I find it interesting that the word "maximize" is present in the 1913 Webster's Dictionary but not the 1828 version [1]. The word "maximum" certainly is, but in my guess, that word has always meant "apogee"--the limit of a function, the peak of achievement with a corresponding descent from that height. The maximum was an observed property, not a manufactured one. It is only in the last hundred years or so that we have begun to maximize as a verb--that is, to increase output to the highest degree and keep it there. Brewer's entry seems to support that theory:

The greatest and the least amount; as, the maximum profits
or exports, and the minimum profits or exports; the maximum
and minimum price of corn during the year. The terms are
also employed in mathematics.

Proving this would be a good Master's Thesis.

What happens when we turn church into management? We cut people out that don't fit our optimum model because they keep us from maximizing our effectiveness. We have all the gifts and all the faith and all the service, but have not love. What a waste.

Permalink 11/20/08 06:48:42 pm, by fumanchu Email , 292 words, Categories: Misc , 2 comments »

2 comments

Comment from: Ryan [Visitor] Email · http://www.ryangwillim.com

I don't think most people think that the act of "maximizing" has a ceiling. That is to say, the actual definition may be something along the lines of, "...increase to the greatest/highest possible amount..." or whatever. But I don't see a barrier to that in our everyday lives. We're always taught that we can do "more" and be "better" and "go further". And unless you're continually blowing your old record out of the water, you're not making progress.

So to "maximize" your spirituality is already an intrinsically flawed idea, and internally hypocritical to the actual, possibly lost, definition of "maximize". Maximizing is only good enough until the next try.

I think patience and, god forbid, meditation would do wonders for people who are uncertain of what to do next, especially regarding issues of spirituality. The whole concept of, "If you don't know what to do, do something" is reckless and dangerous. ESPECIALLY if it's being fueled by another person in the same situation, like so many spiritual leaders in our culture, i.e. pastors, clergy, etc.

It seems from my travels that very few people have a clue what they actually believe, but they're always more than willing to tell you what you should believe!

12/22/08 @ 19:48
Comment from: fumanchu [Member] Email

Here's a Google ngram result on "maximize" to bolster the point:

http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=maximize&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3

12/21/10 @ 16:17

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