Taking A Risk For HIS Glory!

In our daily Bible Reading we have moved into the book of Acts. If you are not following us with the Bible reading plan; it is not too late you can pick up a reading schedule at the church. I love the book of Acts, because it chronicles the life of the early church. It amazes me to see the way the early believers were ready to take a risk for the sake of advancing the Kingdom. They risked everything to see lost people saved, to be able to help those in need, to be able to Worship and bring Glory to HIS NAME! I pray our church will be willing to take risk if HE leads us to do so. Consider the story below and then lets pray to God that we never fall into the same pattern.  

Schwinn Bicycle was the leader in the industry for a hundred years. Edward Schwinn, the fourth generation of Schwinn’s in the business, took control in 1979. Thirteen years later, the bicycle company was on life support, having watched its market share fall by 60 percent. Analysts attribute the decline of the company to a refusal to live in the present. Because it was family owned, and always had been, Edward Schwinn refused outside financing when the company began to show signs of weakness. Because Schwinn was “the name” in bicycles, Edward Schwinn refused to spend money on keeping the brand name in consumers’ conscienceness. Because Schwinn was always the kind of company that operated on a handshake and long-term commitment, Edward Schwinn agreed to outsource all their manufacturing to the same Chinese supplier, Giant Manufacturing, without adequately protecting Schwinn’s long-term interests. By the end, in 1992, Schwinn Bicycle was 75 million dollars in debt and was loosing a million per month. No investor would come near the company until it could be picked up for next to nothing in a bankruptcy sale. Product recognition among children dropped to close to zero. And Giant Manufacturing ended its deal with Schwinn and began producing its own bicycles in plants that was originally paid for with Schwinn money. The company declared bankruptcy, and the Schwinn family lost all control over the family’s business. Edward Schwinn’s explanation for the fall? “We are where we are.” To which one family member responded, “Where we are is out of business because you were asleep at the wheel.”

As I read the story of the down fall of this company there are several things that come to mind. The company did not want to change, they had always been a family company. This is much like some Churches that fail because they refuse to change old traditions. Many Churches get comfortable and are very good at keeping the long time members very satisfied, but are also very “new comer repellent”; meaning that the way they do things often unintenually repeals the lost and un-churched. This company also saw little need to put money into marketing or strategy. Many Churches are full of people who get angry when the Church spends money to encourage it’s workers, train it’s volunteer’s, advertisement, outreach, etc. Edward Schwinn forgot that “it’s not about the family” and many Churches forget that it’s not about us, it’s about God and His kingdom agenda. Therefore many Churches wake up one day and find their-selves in trouble. I also think the statement made by a Schwinn family member could also be said about most Churches “asleep at the wheel”. Do you remember Jesus asking His disciples to pray, but they feel asleep? He rebuked them and asked “couldn’t you pray with me for one hour?” Because many Churches become so secure in their rich heritage and past glory, they “Spiritual fall asleep at the wheel” They loose their hunger to pray and seek the Lord in passionate worship, as a result they loose sight of the lost and see no need to change because “we have a great past”. One day they wake up and realize they have forgotten to pray, to seek after the things of God, they begin to scramble and hope it’s not to late.

The answer is to return to a hunger and passion for Jesus, to spend hours in prayer prayer and fasting, to repent and corporately cry out for God’s mercy and forgiveness. We must remember that our’s is a spiritual task which can only be achieved by spiritual people who employ spiritual methods.  
Seeking Him First,
Bro. clayton

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