This article is a part of our Ministry Agility series

Remember Google+?

It was a social networking platform developed and launched in 2011 by Google. Believe it or not this was the company’s third foray into social networking. In 2009 they launched Google Wave, and, after merely one year, they shuttered Wave to launch Google Buzz (2010-2011). Google+ actually had a successful launch and was, at one time, the fastest growing social media network. In July 2011 alone the network grew by a million people a day for 21 days. For whatever reason, the site launched well but did not sustain and eventually became a wasteland of networking. I think everyone flocked to it because of Twitter and Facebook, and it was a time in social networking history where everyone jumped on every new offering so as not to miss out. Google shuttered + in April of this year. Like me, you probably thought they closed it down long before that. But what is interesting is that Google hasn’t given up on social networking. Shoelace, their newest entry into the market, is currently running an invitation-only beta on iOS and Android. Google has chosen to launch this one under the brand Area 120, but it’s another attempt by the company to get into social. Some might ask why they don’t just give up. Why not move on? I can’t answer that and barring the “why,” I have a more interesting question: how do does Google move forward?

Every attempt at entering the market has failed. They have tried for almost a decade. Yet, they continue to move onward toward the mission. Shoelace, the new platform they are working on, has shifted its goal of connecting people, to connecting people who don’t know each other. So rather than being another Facebook, Shoelace is trying to do something new or newish, depending on how you frame other networks on the market. All of this is interesting, but what has it got to do with the church and ministry? Great question. This example helps us see how ministers can lead with agility.

Be Relentless with Mission

Google has a mission to create a successful social media platform; again, I don’t know why, but it is certainly clear that they want one. As a minister, we have a mission that is much more critical: make disciples. Lead people to Jesus and lead them to be like Jesus. Evangelism and discipleship. No matter what happens in our church or ministry, we must be dogged about this mission. We must pursue this mission above all else. People may have laughed at Google for sticking with Google+ for eight years, but you can’t fault their relentlessness. We should be even more relentless in our mission of making disciples.

Lead people to Jesus and lead them to be like Jesus. Evangelism and discipleship. No matter what happens in our church or ministry, we must be dogged about this mission. Click To Tweet

Adjust When Necessary

Every mission will hit roadblocks. Jesus never said making disciples would be easy, and He gave us a model to follow. Methods may change, but the mission remains. We have to make adjustments when they are necessary. This may mean changing a program or ministry. It may mean having that difficult conversation with a key leader. Whatever it means, agile leaders will adjust in order to continue on to accomplish the mission.

Jesus never said making disciples would be easy, and He gave us a model to follow. Methods may change, but the mission remains. Click To Tweet

Know When to Move On

Google gave up on its first two forays into social media after a year each. They knew, probably based on usage metrics, when it was time to move on. But they didn’t move on from the mission; they moved on from the process (platform) that didn’t work. In ministry, we must be able to say certain things aren’t working. And when they are not working, we must have the agility to move and respond. But moving on doesn’t mean giving up…

Don’t Give Up

Even now, Google is working to succeed in the social media world. They may have changed their program, but they are focused on their mission. Programs and processes will change, but the Gospel never does. Christ’s command to make disciples is and will be the mission of the church until Jesus comes again. We can find rest and resolution in those facts. A great deal of agility is stamina. Without the strength to go the distance, we will not be agile and able to adapt. Our strength is in the Lord. Empowered by His Spirit, we can do all that He has set before us to accomplish His will.

While Google is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, the Gospel is not. As a minister, lead with agility to press on in the mission of making disciples. The end result is always worth it.

 

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