Raw Material + Process = End Product

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It’s been a long time since I actually worked an algebraic equation.  I’m guessing it’s the same for you.  Still, I’m working on an insight that is helping me form theory and practice for an essential question in grouplife…and a kind of equation is proving helpful for me.

Here’s the equation: Raw Material + Process = End Product.

Here’s a little definition:

  • Raw Material: the people who are part of your congregation and crowd.
  • Process: The strategies you are using to develop the people.
  • End Product: What you are producing in the lives of the people.

With me so far?  Let me tease out the concept just a little with an example:

Church A has a working attractional concept that attracts a mix of non-users (unchurched unbelievers) and transfer growth.  That’s their raw material.

Their process includes an engaging weekend service with topical series (based largely on felt needs) and contemporary music designed to attract and bring back the mix they’ve targeted (non-users and transfer growth).  While there are exceptions, the mix they’re attracting regularly invite their family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to a service that seems to be designed for them.   In addition, they talk about the importance of groups all the time and make it easy to join or host a group.  Groups are designed to generate relationships and conversations that help spiritual next steps happen.  There are also on-campus events designed to make it easy to get connected, but every on-campus event (or class) is designed to lead to grouplife.

The end product they’re designed to produce is a fully devoted follower of Christ (you might have another term but you get the idea).

Initial Takeaways:

  • The effectiveness of the process must be evaluated in light of the end product being produced, both quality and quantity.
  • Keep in mind that “your ministry is perfectly designed to produce the results you’re currently experiencing.” Andy Stanley
  • The end product you are producing is not a coincidence.  It is the result of the effects of the process on the raw materials you have.
  • If you’re not happy with the end product (results), you need to address the design (process).

Full disclosure: my equation and thinking is a work in progress.  What I know for sure is that you can tinker with the raw product you have to work with by adjusting some major elements.  You can also make changes to the process that will affect the end product.  What you can’t do is dismiss the impact of your process on the end product you are currently producing.

What do you think?  Have a question?  Want to argue?  You can click here to jump into the conversation.

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  1. Jay Daniell on April 25, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I like the way you think. God always seems to deliver a message that we need to hear. Thanks for being the messenger today.

  2. markchowell on April 26, 2013 at 6:06 am

    Thanks Jay! Glad to hear what I’m writing is helpful.