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Kodak and Congregations


Why does your congregation exist?  Really… why?

The Wall Street Journal had an article today about the demise of the Kodak Corporation.  In brief: even while developing the first digital camera, Kodak did not adapt with the changing ways people recorded memories and made some business decisions which have proven to be less than successful.  Now one of the oldest and most successful American corporations is facing its potential demise.

Why did Kodak exist?  Did they exist to produce film for cameras or did they exist to help people preserve memories?  It certainly seems as though Kodak had operated assuming the former.  As cameras moved away from film and into digital photography, Kodak was left behind, because they operated and made decisions based on their mission of producing film.  How might Kodak have operated, what decisions might they have made, if their mission was to help preserve memories, rather than produce film?

They likely would have more quickly embraced and leveraged their production of the digital camera, which they invented… in 1975.  Simply put, Kodak would not be facing bankruptcy and questions of future viability had they recognized that their mission was helping people preserve memories – which is what film is/was used for.  They mistook the means (film) for the end (preservation of memories).

Why does your congregation exist?  How often do we mistake the means for the end?  Ultimately we are to go, make disciples, baptize, and teach.  We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves.  When we get overly bogged down with the means with which to do those things (worship wars, technology, and so on) and forget about the ends (being and making disciples of and for Jesus Christ) we will fall and fail, as Kodak did.  We are awfully good at being caught up with the means and forgetting the ends.

This does not mean that the means are irrelevant.  How we do things does matter; but when we lose sight of the WHO and the WHY, then guaranteed the HOW won’t matter.  In our congregations, let’s learn from Kodak.  Let’s keep our focus on WHY we do what we do; let’s not confuse the means with the end.


One Comment leave one →
  1. 6January2012 15:29

    Excellent example Keith! Thanks for speaking about a very important connection that we can surely all understand and relate to!

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