What the Church can learn from Kodak

I grew up with Kodak.  They made all the film that we used to take our family pictures. At one time they were one of the leading companies in the world. I was greatly surprised to hear recently of the company’s bankruptcy filing. A Judge in New York is giving Kodak permission to borrow an initial $650 million from Citigroup. The company is required under its bankruptcy financing terms to produce a reorganization plan by Feb. 15, 2013.

The company is trying to re-invent itself over the past decade. They have moved into digital printers.

To me it is sort of odd that their future is now in printers which may have caused them to decline in the first place.

As you know the company dates back to the late 19th century and the technical and marketing genius of founder George Eastman. The estimate is that the company is worth $5.1 billion but has debts of $6.75 billion. It does not take a financial genius to figure out that they are on deep trouble.

So what can the church learn from the Kodak company that would help it stay healthy?

1. Don’t forget what you do best.

At some point it appears that Kodak may have become a little sloppy with their product while other companies were producing the same thing with a cheaper price. What does the church do best? We have something to offer that no other entity does…the Gospel! We must not get off track from teaching, preaching and sharing with people what we have discovered…salvation through Christ. The church must become very careful that we are not doing so many other good things that we miss doing what we do best.

2. Keep the Mission in mind.

Many companies who get off track have become complacent and lose their mission and purpose. Their success actually is actually the cause of their downfall. Matthew 28:16-20 is our purpose as a church. We are to “make disciples.” How an individual church fulfills that mission will look different from church to church because of the location, people, resources, etc. The mission is the same but the vision and steps for fulfilling that mission will need to be contextualized in each church.

What is Vision? “A clear mental image of a preferable future, imparted by God to His chosen servants…based upon an accurate understanding of God, self and circumstances.” George Barna, The Power of Vision

3. Continue to do new, innovative things.

Somewhere along the way the Kodak Company got passed up by other companies doing new, creative things. Churches should always be open to find new ways to reach and disciple people. If we continue to do the exact same methods we will continue to get the exact same results. Actually we usually will get fewer results. A new ministry usually reaches new people and adds excitement and energy to a congregation. Start a new men’s group, Sunday School class, outreach event, new worship service opportunity, mission project, or home Bible study.

Look around your community and find a need no one is meeting and then your church develop a plan to meet that need for the glory of Christ. This will open doors to share the Gospel.

Keep the Son in Your Eyes,

Mike James

 

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