Monday, September 29, 2008

Discipleship and Ferrari

In the late 1990’s a survey was made of the world’s most recognizable brands. Among the top three was Ferrari together with IBM and Coca-Cola.

The world of business was stunned at these findings because while the other 2 brands have spent billions of dollars on advertising Ferrari never had an advertising budget (not until 1993).

How could a company that sells less cars than most car manufacturers be more recognizable and that popular? The simple answer to this phenomenon is that while not everyone can afford or own a Ferrari, most everyone wants one.

The bigger question is how did Ferrari get the world to love it so much considering it did not advertise? And considering most people can’t even afford it. The answer was it kept its focus on running races and winning them.

More significantly it dominated the world of Formula 1 racing, the World’s most popular race. Viewed by millions Ferrari became a constant winner and set the standard for construction and performance.

Here’s the discipleship relationship interface. Though you may not think anyone is watching, people are. Though you think people are not impressed for now – just keep winning the race of life and in time they will want to know how you do it. Finally, don’t forget that just like the Ferrari we are made from the best craftsmanship, created to do great things – and are set to run a race that was prepared in advance for us.

In short keep being a disciple it will always result in making others disciples.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Discipleship and Volkswagen

At the end of World War II defeated Germany was in shambles. The Allies (mainly Great Britain and the United States) were working hard to figure out what to do with some of Germany’s industries that needed serious rehabilitation. One of those companies was Volkswagen.

By 1948 Henry Ford II and some of Ford’s executives from all over Europe were debating on whether to take over Volkswagen’s factories. The conclusion was summarized in the words of Ernest Breech, then Chairman of Ford: “I don’t think what we are being offered here is worth a damn.”

As history would have it, Ford walked away and Volkswagen fell into the hands of a ragtag team of German businessmen. What no one foresaw was two decades later Volkswagen would sell more than 12 million units of the Beetle, many of which in the US and made it one of the most successful companies in Europe then.

Why did Ford walk away? Several reasons. Volkswagen was politically incorrect at the time, they were from a losing country and their bitter enemy. They weren’t shaped right, a beetle? The engine was in the wrong place – at the rear of the car. And a host of other reasons that just did not seem right.

This is where discipleship is relationship interfaces with this story. Often we walk away from ministry opportunities that could bring millions to Christ just because the things we see don’t look familiar or are up to our cultural, political or even religious upbringing. Sometimes we think there is only one way to do things.

What the executives for Ford failed to realize was that the Volkswagen was the dream of one of Europe’s greatest car designers – Ferdinand Porsche. After designing and building some of the fastest cars of his time he dreamed of building a small car for everyman – “the people’s car”. Everything in the Volkswagen was designed to do was just that. A car that could be produced cheaply and required less parts and did not need much maintenance.

As disciple makers we need to realize that God has designed the Gospel for all mankind. It’s not whether it is politically, culturally or economically correct and is not even about our religious preferences. All it needs is a ragtag team of men and women who passionately believe the original vision of its designer.

Rom. 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

Prayer and Pyrotechnics