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Attraction Rather Than Promotion: A Better Way to Grow a Church

A.A. and the 12-Step Program has a special place in my heart because that’s where I first became open to “spirituality.” It’s also the first place I experienced grace from people. I remember opening up my heart and really letting people know what was going on inside of me. And the strangest thing happened… nobody judged me! They didn’t even give me “concerned” looks. It was like they were saying,”Josh, it’s OK. You’re not alone. We know what you’re going through. And you’re not a bad person.” It was certainly an “attractive” culture. And later on I learned that this was part of their “growth strategy.” In other words, the founders of the program made a deliberate decision to focus on “attraction rather than promotion.” You’re probably familiar with A.A.’s “12 Steps” but they also have “12 Traditions” they use to govern their groups. And Tradition 11 is all about attraction vs promotion. It reads: “Tradition 11: Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion. There is never need to praise ourselves. We feel it better to let our friends recommend us.” The crazy part about this “attraction growth strategy” is that it worked in a big way. In fact, as of January 1, 2015 there’s an estimated 2 million people in A.A. in 175 countries. After attending well over 100 A.A. meetings and even more church meetings, I often think about some things churches could learn from A.A.’s culture. And this whole “attraction over promotion” is one of the most important. And if you’re a Christian reading this and you don’t think there’s anything to learn from a...

What I Learned in My Crusades to Ban Alcohol, Legalize Pot, Destroy Religion and Save the Nation

For the last 20 years I’ve been involved in some sort of “crusade.” I’ve argued that: Alcohol should be banned. Pot should be legalized. Religion should be destroyed. America should be delivered from crazy liberals. However, over the last several years I’ve been learning how to spend less time arguing, and more time encouraging people. And today I want to share my story in case you’re tired of wasting so much time arguing and debating. So if you find yourself getting sucked into debate after debate… if your blood pressure spikes every time you open Facebook and you want to change that then keep reading. By the way, after I share my story here’s what I’m not going to tell you to do: “Now, just stop arguing and be nice!” “Follow this nice little 5-Step Plan to be free from argumentativeness.” “Arguing is just a symptom of the flesh. So just kill the flesh.” Remember, this blog is called “Beyond Cliches.” So I try to do my best to avoid using powerless cliches to solve real problems. And my personal opinion is that many people who are prone to argue actually have a gift of exhortation that’s been twisted. So I don’t think God just wants to “kill” that part of you. I believe He wants to “redeem” it and use it for His glory. OK. So here we go… let’s turn the clock back to 6th grade when I was 11 years old.   Stage 1: Ban Alcohol! I remember my Mom telling me she thought I would be a lawyer one day because of how much I argued and debated. My Mom was, and is,...