Sell The Problem, Not The Solution

December 31, 2008 by  
Filed under Leadership

William Bridges, in his most helpful title, Managing Transitions, offers the sagacious wisdom – – “Sell The Problem, Not The Solution”. There is a persistent mad scramble to “fix” the problem. Bridges states the obvious, but almost always ignored wisdom, essential to Transformation. There are no quick fixes. There is ‘death in that pot’ my brothers. The declension from passionate orthodoxy did not come upon us quickly and it will not be extricated by the application of simplistic “outside in” programs, a new method. If there is not an ethos and pathos, an emotitonal conviction that there is a problem, NO SOLUTION WILL EVER BE EMBRACED!!

When IgniteUS was founded, our Purpose was and is singular, clear and urgent. We seek the power of the Spirit of God to bring Transformation to the church in America. The need for this is obvious even to a casual observer. The decline in the institutional church is precipitous, accelerating and dramatic. So, churches will readily accept the need to change with a sense of urgency, right? WRONG!!

There is a pervasive numbness among men charged with leadership responsibilities. Notice I did not grant them the noble title “Leaders”. Leadership is about effectivenss not titles. They are ‘at ease in Zion’. They are much like the Scribes & Pharisees. There is most certainly a problem, but, not with us! The sense of urgency that the church in America is on the fast track to spiritual disaster is absent. Facts alone will never change values. We present data ad naseum, by volume. It has little or no impact. Their eyes glaze. They look at their watches and wonder – – ‘when will this be over?’

So, we are giving humble and passionate effort to “Sell The Problem”. The Problem is real, immediate and urgent. When you read this, fall to your knees and cry out to the Living God. Implore Him to awaken the church. Plead with Him to come upon us.

Transformation is an “inside out” process over time. It requires Transparency and Vulnerability. It requires repentance and humility that comes through brokeness. It begins with Leadership. It ripples out through the Leaders and makes its way through the body person by person.

So Pastor, have you “Sold the Problem”? We exist to equip and walk with you through that difficult but ever so glorious process. Where can we go Lord. You have the words of life. Bring Your Power and Grace to the church. We wait upon You with hope and anticipation.


2 Responses to “Sell The Problem, Not The Solution”
  1. The Fillinger Files says:

    Only God can change a heart and he does that through His word. Jesus prayed for us that God’s Word would sanctify us. That is how he brings Transformation. We need pastors that preach the Word in season and out. Al Mohler has an excellent book discussing this lacking need in our churches – He Is Not Silent, a Theology of Preaching. That is a good place for leaders to start. May God send revival and a hearing of His word. The day is coming when there will be a famine. I pray it is not this day. Happy New Year to all.


  2. Russ says:

    Leading Change – Called for a Purpose

    Edmund Burke, an Irish orator, philosopher, and politician said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

    The movie, Amazing Grace, is the story of a man called to the purpose of ridding the world of the evil of slavery. During the movie, the friend of William Wilberforce commented that he [William] had found God. More aptly, William replied, “He found me.” (I couldn’t help but say “amen” after his remark.) Wilberforce was called for a purpose. Over 20 years, he faced harsh opposition, and his health suffered, but he persisted. He did something with what he believed. His compassion became passion for this purpose. He persisted through to its completion. After he had successfully led the political movement to abolish slave trading in Great Britain, he continued his fight to abolish slavery. He saw this succeed as well and then he died a few days later.

    We often read scripture without seeing the parallels throughout history and in current times. As a result, we gain knowledge but the application rolls off our backs with no impact. In reading Acts 21-22, I cannot help but see the parallel between the story of Wilberforce and Paul during his final visit to Jerusalem. The Jews who were following Paul around inciting crowds against him continued in Jerusalem – “they stirred up the whole crowd against him and seized him.” (Acts 21:27) The passage indicates that the entire city became aroused, and they were trying to kill Paul. Why? Because he was delivering the message of Christ to the Gentiles, violating Jewish law, and specifically on this day he had brought Greeks into the temple “defiling this holy place.”

    The Jews had lost their purpose somewhere along the way. In Genesis 12:3, God had told Abraham, the Father of the Jews, that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” — all peoples, not some or those you select or prefer, but all peoples. The Jews had replaced God’s purpose with their preference, God’s compassion with their customs. Ironically, the rejection of the Greeks and the attempted killing of Paul were all in the name of God. Steven Weinberg said:

    “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

    Despite the opposition, Paul persisted. The chaos and uproar attracted the attention of the commander of the Roman army stationed there and he stopped the violence. Paul asked for permission to speak to the people. “Having received the commander's permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the crowd. When they were all silent, he said to them …” The text says that “when they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet.” According to

    “Aramaic is a close sister of Hebrew and is identified as a "Jewish" language, since it is the language of major Jewish texts. Aramaic has been until our present time a language of … debate in many [traditional Jewish schools], as many rabbinic texts are written in a mixture of Hebrew and Aramaic.”

    Paul knew how to relate to people. He was demonstrating to these Jewish religious leaders that he was familiar with their religious language. With their attention, Paul proceeded to give his testimony. In relating to them, he stated, “I am a Jew … brought up in this city. … I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.” He begins with his credentials and similarities to them. And, then he associates with their actions and their cause:

    “I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as also the high priest and all the Council can testify.”

    After he demonstrates an understanding, he transitions to his conversion experience. In this experience, Paul communicates that he has been chosen for a purpose:

    “The God of our fathers has chosen [me] to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth … [to] be his witness to all men of what [I] have seen and heard.”

    Then, Paul became very specific regarding his call to reach the Gentiles, the non-Jew, when he referenced the command from the Lord — “Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.” The passage tells us that the crowd listened to him until this. As soon as he mentioned his calling to the Gentiles, the Jews “raised their voices” and asked for the Romans to take his life.

    The Jews were not chosen because God preferred them; they were chosen to be his vessel to reach all people groups. Yet, their reaction here was blatant racism and prejudice. Contrasting the characters: a) the Jews of Judaism placed their preference and prejudices ahead of their purpose; b) the Jewish believers were complicit by passively standing by; and c) Paul was passionate for Christ and his calling, his purpose.

    As Christians, we must consider others before ourselves (Philippians 2:1-5). Christ demonstrated his love to us (and the world) while we were separated from him (Romans 5:8). He loves us in spite of who we are or where we are in our life. Jesus considered people’s needs as he related to them both physically and spiritually. Do we put ourselves in their shoes, see their needs, and feel their feelings. Evangelism is telling people about Jesus; missions involve understanding them before we tell them. [Ed Stetzer and David Putman, Breaking the Missional Code, (Broadman & Holman Publishers), 3] Do we meet those needs with no strings attached? Or, are we excessively devoted to our own preferences allowing our way to get in the way of reaching others? At the end of the day, I have to remember – we all have to remember – that it is not about me, it is not about you. It is about Jesus sending us to peoples to proclaim the gospel in a way that they can understand. Our churches often struggle because we put our preferences over our call – our preferences over our mission. [Ed Stetzer and David Putman, Breaking the Missional Code, (Broadman & Holman Publishers), 3]

    Stay the course in the purpose to which God has called you regardless of the obstacles. And, realize that sometimes your greatest obstacles come from “good, religious” people.