Multiplication Center

What It Feels Like to Be First

January 16, 2017

In 1896 at the first Olympic Games of the modern era, Tom Burke, a law student from Boston University, stepped up to the starting line of the 100 meter dash. Unlike the other runners, who started upright, Burke kneeled down and assumed a four-point stance—the first modern Olympic runner ever to do so. The other runners sniggered to themselves. “What’s this man doing on all fours? How silly!” But 12 seconds later Burke crossed the finish line first and was crowned “the world’s fastest man.” Today every sprinter starts as Burke did.

fosburyIn high school, high jumper Dick Fosbury began to practice by going over the bar backwards. No one had ever done that before. One reporter wrote that Fosbury looked like “a fish flopping in a boat” — but he persisted. “I was told over and over again that I would never be successful, that I was not going to be competitive and the technique was simply not going to work. All I could do was shrug and say ‘We’ll just have to see.’ ” In 1968 Fosbury won the Olympic high jump in Mexico City. In the years following the Olympics the “Fosbury Flop” became the dominant method of high jumping as it is today.

What was at the edge is now at the center.

It’s always awkward to be first. To hear, “You’re doing what!?! That’s crazy!” But maybe, as Steve Jobs noted, it’s the crazy ones who change the world.

On February 21-23, at Mariners Church in Irvine, CA, I’m pulling together a group of churches to figure out how we can better engage Millennials, Nones and the Next Generation (Gen Z) as part of Leadership Network’s HUB initiative. With 18% of churches reporting NO millennials in attendance and with millennials making up the majority of the “Nones” (as in “none of the above” for religious preference) we can’t expect to get different results doing the same old things. The charter of this group is to help shape the future of the church by more effectively engaging millennials, nones and the next generation.

Perhaps you’re one who says, “the old wine-skins are good enough” but if you want to help shape the future of the church I encourage you to click HERE, fill out the information and that gets the ball rolling. Or if it’s easier, just pick up your phone and call me (Eric Swanson) at 303.910.0613. I’d love the opportunity to work with you.

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