Giving People a Chance

WikinomicsI’ve been reading a very intriguing book called Wikinomics.  The premise of the book is that the way business and creativity is practiced on the Internet is transforming brick and mortar business as well.

The premier example of the creativity of the Internet is Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia produced through the collaborative efforts of its users.  In other words, anyone can write an article for the online publication.  His best example is about the bombings that occurred in London on July 7, 2005.

Four synchronized bombs exploded in the London subway.  Eighteen minutes later the first entry about the bombings appeared in Wikipedia.  Within minutes other Wikipedia users were adding additional information to the original article, correcting spelling, etc.  By the end of the day, over twenty-five hundred users had created a comprehensive fourteen-page account of the event that was much more detailed than any other single news outlet.

There are other great examples of how people have collaborated to create wonderful ideas and products.  As the old expression goes, “Two heads are better than one.”  Mozilla is an open source internet browser created by collaboration.  Joomla and Linux are also products that are open source and the product of multiple users. 

All of which made me think about how many people “do church.”  Hierarchically.  Top down.  Professional.  Hired.  In other words, if you are a lay person, there is not much for you to do.  Show up.  Worship.  Contribute.  Study.  And go home.  But what if you were a full-on contributor to the life of the church?  A significant part of a team.  Making contributions that affected the well-being and momentum of the church.

The apostle Paul may have been talking about an ancient version of Wikipedia when he likened the church to the human body.  He described it as an organism that relies on all its parts, and each individual part, no matter how tiny, makes important contributions to the function of the whole.

Now that’s what I call collaboration.