Are You Recycling or Upcycling?

In your church are you recycling or upcycling past ideas or programs?

Pretty compelling question when you consider that many of our churches started as inspired movements, but now find themselves operating as institutionalized organizations. In attempt to recapture the past spirit, we most often take old, broken ideas and begin to recycle them. Even past success that are no longer as effective as they once were are subjected to recycling attempts. We smash them, repackage them, and form fit them in the same program or ideology, hoping for the results we saw back then.

Most times we are disappointed.

What if you could upcycle, instead of recycle, to a purpose of higher and greater value?

This concept of upcycling came across my radar during a conference session this week. After the terrorist attack on September 11 left the World Trade Center a wreckage of twisted steel and broken concrete, 7.5 tons of that steel was forged to form a critical part of the bow of the USS New York. The New York is Marine Amphibious Transport vehicle and every time they deploy over the landing ramp in service to our country, the Marines on board cross this bow and are reminded of their greater mission for freedom.

The motto of the USS New York is: “Strength forged through sacrifice, never forget.”

What if we worked hard to melt down and recast the programs and ideas in our churches that are no longer serving their original intended purpose? Or if we bravely recast our past fears, better yet, the successes. What if the forging process of vision clarity and the resulting articulation and implementation allowed what once would have been either discarded or dissected to achieve new life?

Imagine for a moment the thought of charging ahead into God’s preferred future for your church or organization, across the bow of the great work He did in the past, instead of tripping over it.

It was said that as the shipyard workers were handling the steel in the USS New York project, they treated it with high honor, as a religious relic. One worker even delayed long awaited retirement to be a part of the project.

When we give people a higher vision for the work they do every day, it changes they way they serve. We call them to something greater than simply completing a task.

Do you have a vision pathway established for your church or organization that allows positive upcycling of past ideas? Or are you bound to try to refit successes and failures into new molds?

Recycling can be effective, but upcycling can be inspiring. 

Find out more about forging a vision pathway and download a Church Unique visual summary.