A good observation by Tim Keller in his book Ministries of Mercy:
We have done a good job of teaching that every believer is a minister and to be a witness. But we haven’t done a good job of teaching that every Christian is to be engaged in mercy ministries. We have almost completely ceded this work to secular agencies and authorities.
I saw this on Food for the Hungry’s Twitter feed the other day. What a great opportunity: For $25, you can provide medication and everything else necessary to deworm 500 children who have been infected with parasites due to poor sanitation.
Here’s the description on their site:
In the areas we go, dirty water, lack of sanitation and poor hygiene result in almost every child being infected with parasites. Malnutrition and even death can result. The good news is — on average, it costs about a nickel to deworm 1 child. Treatment keeps a child healthy for 6 months or until clean water and sanitation become available.
There is no reason not to do this. For a very small gift, you are able to make a very large impact in the lives of a large number of people. If you can, up your donation to 100 and help 2,000 people.
When I was at ETS two weeks ago, one of the sessions I went to was on a biblical view of economics. Wayne Grudem argued for a largely capitalist framework (which I agree with) and Craig Blomberg argued for a “third alternative” between capitalism and socialism.
I think Blomberg was confused, not rightly understanding the definitions of capitalism and socialism, and thus not realizing that there is no “third alternative” here (though there are degrees). But, it was great to hear Blomberg, as he is a very solid NT exegete and theologian (his essay on the Sabbath in the recent Perspectives on the Sabbath: Four Views is excellent, for example; on the other hand, I cannot recommend as highly his book on money and possessions, Neither Poverty Nor Riches, because I think it suffers from much of the confusion that was evident in his presentation at ETS).
In the question and answer session, one objection Blomberg made to capitalism was its tendency to create a proliferation of useless items, such as pet rocks and those really dumb singing fish you can put on the wall.
Now, the first point to make in response here was made by someone in the audience who had actually bought a pet rock during family night with his kids a few weeks ago, and it made for a memorable experience. I myself think pet rocks are pretty neat (though I don’t have any), though I think those singing fish really are quite atrocious. So much is in the eye of the beholder. Who gets to make the call? The point of capitalism is: you. You get to make that call, not the government. Amen.
The second point, though, is that there is nothing in capitalism itself which says people need to make pet rocks or annoying singing fish. The essence of capitalism is simply that people are able to pursue whatever endeavors are of interest to them. Capitalism does not say you have to make singing wall-mounted fish to make money; it does say that, if that’s what you want to do and you can (somehow!) get people to buy them, you are free to go for it.
So, I defend people’s right to make those singing fish that I hate so much. But, having recently been to Australia and overdosing (probably) on souvenirs for the kids, and right now feeling like my wife and I are starting to drown in the “stuff” that accumulates after 13 years of marriage and having 3 kids and so forth, I have a better proposal.
Even though we are in the midst of a quite severe (and long-lasting!) economic downturn, we are still a society of extreme abundance. An economist friend of mine recently pointed out that the US produces 1 billion units of clothing per year. The number could even be 100 billion; I can’t remember for sure. But it was simply massive.
I’m glad we produce a lot. I think that is a partial fulfillment of the creation mandate, and that it is good, not evil. However, I suggest that we could get by with producing less of some things in order to produce more of other things. We need more pastors. We need more missionaries. We need more people devoted to serving those in need. We need more people devoted to the causes of fighting large global problems, like extreme poverty and corrupt leadership. Many of these things cannot in themselves be done at a profit, but can and must be done.
When society reaches a point that we have a proliferation of trinkets and other such things, it’s not a sign that capitalism has gone bad. Rather, it’s a sign that we need to use the freedom that capitalism affords us to point our efforts more fully in another direction — namely, the social sectors. We need more non-profit organizations, more churches, and more people going in to ministry and non-profit work in general. We can afford it. It will mean less singing fish, and perhaps less pet rocks. More seriously, maybe we won’t be producing exactly the 1 billion articles of clothing per year (which I am fine with as long as Banana Republic doesn’t go out of business). The point of our prosperity is not simply or mainly to enable us to keep buying more stuff, though the desire to accumulate is not evil in itself. The point of our prosperity is, rather, to divert some of our ability to accumulate more to efforts that focus more directly on using our abundance to meet pressing global needs.
I know there is one important consideration and possible objection here, which is actually a point I’ve made for years and that I make in my book (if I don’t cut the chapter due to length). And the objection is that I may seem to be pitting business against social good, when in reality it is business, not charity, which is the long-term solution to global poverty.
So I want to say clearly that I am not doing that. I do believe that business is the only long-term solution to large global problems like global poverty. And I’m not saying that when a person opens a business and makes money that he is not contributing greatly to the welfare of society. They are. But business cannot do this alone, because not all needs can be met at a profit, and there is injustice blocking the way in many instances. We need to be a society of both excellent businesses and great non-profits.
This is not anti-capitalistic, but is precisely the freedom that capitalism upholds and champions. Start the organization you want to start, not looking to the government to keep you afloat but rather, under the grace of God, your own efforts and ability to produce things of value. Capitalism is about freedom, and starting non-profits is just as much in line with capitalism as starting for-profits.
What I’m saying is that we are at a point as a society where the enormous wealth we have created virtually demands that we give much more consideration to using that wealth not to buy more things and enhance our own positions, but rather to fund those who are meeting the types of essential needs that cannot be met at a profit.
Don’t stop buying better things altogether, or even to a huge degree necessarily, but do direct more of your money this year to your church, to missionaries that are raising support and, for some of you, to starting organizations devoted to meeting pressing needs on a global scale.
Stated that way, it sounds like it’s a set-up to say “no, we need less people on the planet,” and so forth. I don’t think that way, and only gave the post that title because it’s the title of a very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal.
And, the answer of the article is: “Yes, says Nestle’s chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, but not if we burn food for fuel, fear genetic advances and fail to charge for water.”
I agree that the world can continue producing enough food for a long, long time as advances in technology and so forth continue. I don’t have any fear that the resources of the planet are insufficient to meet the needs of a massive, growing population. And, for those who want to see the new heavens and new earth as populated as possible (as I do), the growth of world population (and the corresponding spread of the gospel) is a wonderful, excellent thing. Along with it, of course, we have a responsibility to be wise and smart (and ambitious!) in fighting global problems, chief among them poverty in the developing world.
Now, back to the article. What I found interesting about it, and what I hadn’t thought much of before, was the connection between hunger in the developing world and conversion of food into fuel.
Here’s the first part of the article, which talks about that:
As befits the chairman of the world’s largest food-production company, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe is counting calories. But it’s not his diet that the chairman and former CEO of Nestlé is worried about. It’s all the food that the U.S. and Europe are converting into fuel while the world’s poor get hungrier.
“Politicians,” Mr. Brabeck-Letmathe says, “do not understand that between the food market and the energy market, there is a close link.” That link is the calorie.
The energy stored in a bushel of corn can fuel a car or feed a person. And increasingly, thanks to ethanol mandates and subsidies in the U.S. and biofuel incentives in Europe, crops formerly grown for food or livestock feed are being grown for fuel. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most recent estimate predicts that this year, for the first time, American farmers will harvest more corn for ethanol than for feed. In Europe some 50% of the rapeseed crop is going into biofuel production, according to Mr. Brabeck-Letmathe, while “world-wide about 18% of sugar is being used for biofuel today.”
In one sense, this is a remarkable achievement—five decades ago, when the global population was half what it is today, catastrophists like Paul Ehrlich were warning that the world faced mass starvation on a biblical scale. Today, with nearly seven billion mouths to feed, we produce so much food that we think nothing of burning tons of it for fuel.
Or at least we think nothing of it in the West. If the price of our breakfast cereal goes up because we’re diverting agricultural production to ethanol or biodiesel, it’s an annoyance. But if the price of corn or flour doubles or triples in the Third World, where according to Mr. Brabeck-Letmathe people “are spending 80% of [their] disposable income on food,” hundreds of millions of people go hungry. Sometimes, as in the Middle East earlier this year, they revolt.
The film releases in October. Here’s the synopsis:
WE HAVE EVERYTHING WE NEED. WILL WE DO EVERYTHING IT TAKES?
Premiering this October, 58: is the inspiring true story of the global Church in action. Witness bravery and determined faith in a journey from the slums of Kenya to the streets of New York. Confront the brutality of extreme poverty and meet those who live out the True Fast of Isaiah 58 and create stunning new possibilities for the future.
Travel from the sun-scorched plains of rural Ethiopia to British shopping centers, from Brazilian ganglands and the enslaving quarries of India to western churches, businesses and conferences.
58: invites audiences to discover the incredible work of God through His people in our hurting world. Meet ordinary people, hear their stories, and see their struggles and their victories as 58: shows the relentlessly loving God at work through His Church bringing hope to the darkest challenges of our day. Experience eye-opening reasons to lift our expectations of the future.
Woven with Biblical truth, this film draws audiences into life-changing examples of the True Fast of Isaiah 58 — a young British woman prevailing over the pressures of consumer society, Ethiopian Christians working to restore their environment, an American business owner promoting Fair Trade coffee and connecting his local community with the work of ending poverty, a local pastor in India working to be a Good Samaritan to those enslaved by bonded labor, and the sacrificial generosity of New York youth giving up their own food for the sake of those with even less. These impatient revolutionaries and ordinary prophets present viewers with an empowering vision of the Church rising up to its remarkable potential to end extreme poverty, by bringing God’s words through Isaiah to life in our time, in our day.
Experience 58: this October on television, online, on DVD, and at screening events throughout the U.S.
Here’s a book I’m looking forward to reading more of: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty.
I don’t know if I will agree with everything — or even most — of what I read here. In general, the main way I assess a book is to see whether it gets the core issue that goes to the heart of the subject. If it gets that core issue, it is usually extremely helpful. If it doesn’t, it usually less helpful (and sometimes, completely unhelpful). I haven’t read enough of this one yet to know which category it falls in, though much of what I have read so far has been helpful.
Here’s a key idea from the first chapter that seems extremely useful: One effective way to fight poverty is to break poverty down into several component parts, and then use experiments and evidence to identify which solutions work best in each case.
At the very least, that’s an extremely helpful tool. It helps identify, for example, whether aid is a good idea or not. The authors don’t seek to give an answer to whether aid is good or bad in general; rather, they argue that the question is whether particular instances of aid can do good or not. I think that’s a critical point.
To think about this from a Christian perspective: The biblical passages on generosity to the poor, for example, would seem to imply that aid is indeed an important component in fighting poverty. But we also know that aid alone cannot lift the poor out of poverty, because, for example, it can create dependence. And authors such as William Easterly have made an effective case that aid often makes things worse (see his The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good and The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics.
The solution, I would argue, is not that aid has no place, but that it needs to be embedded in the proper framework and suited to the particular situations where it is the best tool. I think this is biblical, and we also tend to think this way in our own lives. If a friend hits hard times, for example, most of us can discern when aid would indeed be important and useful, and when it wouldn’t. You have to use judgment. Sometimes it really would be helpful and essential component to helping him get back on his feet. And sometimes it wouldn’t. It is the same, it would seem, in the cause of global poverty.
Just some initial thoughts. Looking forward to dipping into this book more.
No man has a right to be idle. Where is it that in such a world as this, that health, and leisure, and affluence may not find some ignorance to instruct, some wrong to redress, some want to supply, some misery to alleviate?
In other words, be constantly on the lookout for good that you can do. Use the time and energy that God has given you not to make your own life easier or more restful primarily, but rather to meet the needs of others, both nearby and on a global scale.
Here are some easy things you can do right now, in just a few minutes:
- Empower an entrepreneur in the developing world with a $25 loan through Kiva.
- Help bring rescue and restoration to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression through a $250 gift to International Justice Mission.
- Give one person the gift of clean, safe water through a gift of $20 to Charity:Water
- Contribute to theological famine relief by helping supply pastors in the developing world with resources through a gift of $100 to Desiring God.
This is what true productivity is: Being creative and thoughtful in finding ways to use our time and skills to become fruitful in good works.
Warfield (quoted in Keller’s Ministries of Mercy):
Objection 1. “My money is my own.”
Answer: Christ might have said, “my blood is my own, my life is my own.” Then where should we have been?
Objection 2. “The poor are undeserving.”
Answer: Christ might have said, “They are wicked rebels . . . shall I lay down my life for these? I will give to the good angels.” But no, he left the ninety-nine, and came after the lost. He gave his blood for the undeserving.
Objection 3. “The poor may abuse it.”
Answer: Christ might have said the same; yea, with far greater truth. Christ knew that thousands would trample his blood under their feet; that most would despise it; that many would make it an excuse for sinning more; yet he gave his own blood.
Oh, my dear Christians! If you would be like Christ, give much, give often, give freely, to the vile and poor, the thankless and the undeserving. Christ is glorious and happy and so will you be. It is not your money I want, but your happiness. Remember his own word, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
The Stanford Social Innovation Review has a good article on Worldreader.org’s effort to help improve global literacy through getting e-books into the hands of children in the developing world, rather than print books.
The lower cost of digital distribution makes it possible to get more books into the hands of more people in the developing world, and thus create a new culture of reading and increase literacy rates.
I’m glad to see this happening. It’s a good example of how the changes in publishing go far beyond simply how we engage with books here in the U.S.; there is potential in the future of publishing to address large global problems, such as illiteracy, with more effectiveness.
I have been pondering for the last few years whether there might be a way to utilize e-readers to help advance the cause of theological education in the developing world. Worldreader.org’s efforts might point the way to some helpful strategies in that regard as well.
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Efforts to improve global literacy typically focus on getting books into the hands of children. Could electronic reading devices leapfrog old-fashioned paper books and catalyze a new culture of reading in places like sub-Saharan Africa? That’s the idea behind Worldreader.org, a start-up nonprofit with worldchanging aspirations.
Dispensing Kindles and other e-readers in the developing world may seem like a fancy solution to a low-tech problem. But Worldreader founder David Risher, a former Amazon executive, says the big goal is to drive down “the cost per book read to the absolute lowest it can be.” Reading selections in many village schools are too limited and, he adds, often too Western to engage young readers. If donated books gather dust in the back of classrooms, they do little to engender a love of reading.
“Lack of access to books has been solved by e-books,” says Risher, noting that thousands of titles are available as digital books. “But there’s no market-driven plan to get e-readers to the developing world.” Worldreader, strong on corporate experience, intends to “prime the market pump,” he says, “and put thousands of books into millions of kids’ hands.”
The infrastructure for supporting e-readers already exists in much of the developing world, thanks to a network for connecting and charging mobile phones in even the most remote regions. E-readers use the same network to download books. During Worldreader’s trial in a village school in Ghana, students used an existing solar charging station to power up their Kindles, which were donated by Amazon. Their comfort with mobile phones and texting meant students had little trouble using e-reader features such as an online dictionary or text-to-speech capability. Because the devices include a built-in light source, students were able to introduce family members to a new activity: reading at home after dark.
(Related to this: You can also learn about Desiring God’s efforts to address the cause of theological famine relief through distributing books to pastors and Christian leaders in the developing world.)
Here’s a video that briefly gives the story of Tegu, “a toy company on a mission to improve the way your kids play and create social change in one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere.”
If you don’t have time to watch the video, here’s a good brief description of what Tegu does and how it got started:
Brothers Chris and Will Haughey didn’t start Tegu with toys on their mind. In fact, the company began with the simple notion that Honduras needed businesses which offered living wage jobs. Home to beautiful hardwoods, the country could have been the perfect spot for sustainably manufacturing any number of wooden products. However, the brothers were inspired by classic wooden toys on a trip to Europe and embarked on a quest to breathe new life into a old industry. Today, Tegu blocks inspire children while addressing unemployment, neglected natural and human resources and the need for entrepreneurship in Honduras.
I saw the founders do a presentation at Redeemer’s Entrepreneurship Initiative last spring and thought the concept was a good example of seeking to help address poverty through a useful business model.
So, for any interested in seeking to address global problems through business, Tegu is another innovative example to stimulate some ideas. And, for any who are looking for a toy that your kids will find stimulating and more profitable than another Veggie Tales DVD (nothing against Veggie Tales!), the Tegu blocks might be a solution with some potential.
This is a fantastic and enlightening video by Scott Todd, who I believe is a ministry adviser for Compassion International.
After watching the video, check out the site he points to, live28.org [update: here's a better link], which is “an action-based alliance of world-class, poverty-fighting organizations joining forces in the largest, most unified effort ever by the global Church to end extreme poverty.”
Tim Keller’s new book, Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just, is now available. Here’s the summary:
It is commonly thought in secular society that the Bible is one of the greatest hindrances to doing justice. Isn’t it full of regressive views? Didn’t it condone slavery? Why would we look to the Bible for guidance on how to have a more just society?
But Timothy Keller, pastor of New York City’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church, challenges these preconceived beliefs and presents the Bible as a fundamental source for promoting justice and compassion for those in need. In Generous Justice, he explores a life of justice empowered by an experience of grace: a generous, gracious justice. This book offers readers a new understanding of modern justice and human rights that will resonate with both the faithful and the skeptical.
International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local officials to ensure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators and to ensure that public justice systems – police, courts and laws – effectively protect the poor from violence.
The IJM iPhone app empowers users to stand against oppression by giving them tools to engage in the fight for justice. Users can stay connected directly to IJM staff and projects around the world – while helping to drive the movement in their own networks and communities.
+ Get breaking updates on IJM casework, including the latest IJM-related headlines and breaking news on rescues, arrests, convictions and more
+ Write encouraging notes to IJM’s frontline staff
+ Get equipped to take action with urgent advocacy opportunities
+ Learn about simple steps you can take to fuel the movement, and easy ways to generate buzz by posting to your social networks right from inside the application
+ Organize your church, Bible study, or Campus group into a giving team around an IJM project
+ Interact with a map of IJM’s progress in eradicating slavery and oppression
+ Find events in your area and connect with other users who attend the event
+ Read great culture changing blog content from Gary Haugen, and others
Psalm 41:1 says “Blessed is he who considers the poor.” In his commentary on the Psalms, Derek Kidner points out: “The word considers is striking, in that it usually describes the practical wisdom of the man of affairs, and so implies giving careful thought to this person’s situation, rather than perfunctory help.”
Tim Keller draws out the implications of this in Ministries of Mercy: “God requires not only a significant expenditure of our substance on the needy. We are obligated to spend our hearts and minds as well. . . . We are to ponder the condition of the poor and seek ways to bring them to self-sufficiency. This takes a personal investment of time and of mental and emotional energy. God looks for a willing, generous heart, which freely helps those in need, and what we give with our hands is not acceptable without it (2 Cor 9:7).
So we are to be eager, not begrudging, in helping the poor and we are to give thought to how to do this in a way that helps bring them out of poverty over time, rather than merely doing a few things here and there.
Both of these are related. For if we are eager to help others, including the poor, this implies that we will give careful consideration to how we do it, even creating plans and generating ideas and initiatives to serve with insight in ways that help over the long term. And it means, when possible, we will ultimately seek to address root causes rather than give relief only — as important as relief itself is, all on its own.
Job is an example of this. In chapter 29 he mentions how he not only provided relief to those in need, but also “broke the fangs of the unrighteous and made him drop his prey from his teeth” (v. 17). As Keller points out in his article The Gospel and the Poor, the prophets also denounced “corrupt business practices (Amos 8:2-16), legal systems weighted in favor of the rich and influential (Deut. 24:17; Lev. 19:15), [and] a system of lending capital that gouges the person of modest means (Lev. 19:35-37; 25:37; Ex 22:25-27).”
So we should both seek to provide relief and have a view towards helping the poor become self-sufficient, ultimately seeking to address the root causes that keep people in poverty.
Lots could be said here about the various factors involved here and how to go about this, but I will mention one thing that is not commonly mentioned, at least in the church.
Many attempts to help alleviate poverty (whether in Africa, the US, or elsewhere in the world) have often been based on an inaccurate understanding of economics. As a result, they have often failed to have a last impact, and sometimes have hurt more than they have helped.
Consequently, I would argue that one of the most important things we can do if we are going to make an effective contribution to the solutions for global poverty is gain a correct understanding of economics. There is more that we need to do, of course, but gaining a right understanding of economics is critical for knowing how to direct our efforts rightly. A right understanding of economics, I would argue, is part of considering the needs of the poor (Psalm 41:1).
One of the most helpful books for this is Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics. Sowell’s classic is one of those rare books that helps put all the pieces together. And it’s helpful not only for thinking correctly about global issues, but also issues in our own country (which was his primary purpose in writing it; the sub-title of the first- edition was A Citizen’s Guide to the Economy).
I first came across Basic Economics in a bookstore in about the year 2000. It was shortly after that I made my first trip to Africa, where many of the things I encountered illustrated the economic principles Sowell discussed.
For example, in the country we were in, the government controlled the tea industry and the zinc industry (zinc was used to make the roofs for the houses). This was supposed to make tea and zinc more affordable. Instead, it actually increased the price and decreased the quality. Sowell’s book shows why this is so — namely, because the government monopoly on these items eliminated competition, and thus the incentive to keep prices down and quality up. The nation would have been better off if the government did not seek to control these industries, but instead allowed companies to be free to produce tea and zinc as they chose, thus enabling competition to keep prices down while preserving quality.
Now I’m back in Africa and encountering similar poverty — though not necessarily to the same degree as on my prior trip (which was to a different part of the continent). I think a lot in general about “what can we do about this? How can we help more, and in a way that makes a long-term difference?” And when I’m here, it gets me thinking about it even more.
Anyway, Sowell’s book is very helpful because the only long-term solution to poverty is economic growth — which comes through business and entrepreneurship. Foreign aid can be helpful, but businesses create goods and create jobs — and keep producing goods and providing income through the jobs year after year. Thus, business is the best long-term solution to poverty.
Yet, as Sowell illustrates, certain economic policies make it harder for businesses to start and grow. Furthermore, some of these policies that hinder economic growth actually seem sensible at first. And that’s why it’s so important to educate ourselves on economics — so that we aren’t guided in our thinking and initiatives by stage-one solutions that actually hurt more than they help, and so that we don’t advocate such solutions when they are promoted by others. We have to think beyond stage one.
When it comes to economics in general, here are two very helpful and easy to read books:
- Basic Economics, as I’ve mentioned
- Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics
When it comes to economics and global poverty, here are some of the most helpful books I’ve come across:
- The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else
- When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
And here are some books I look forward to reading when I get the chance:
- The Shackled Continent: Power, Corruption, and African Lives
- The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good
- Solutions for the World’s Biggest Problems: Costs and Benefits
- How to Spend $50 Billion to Make the World a Better Place
In a little less than a month, the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization begins in Cape Town.
The first Congress was held in 1974 and is regarded as a milestone in the history of modern missions. Here’s a bit of the history:
In July 1974 some 2,700 participants and guests from over 150 nations gathered in the Swiss Alps for ten days of discussion, fellowship, worship and prayer. The Congress achieved an unprecedented diversity of nationalities, ethnicities, ages, occupations and denominational affiliations. In fact, TIME magazine described the Lausanne Congress as “a formidable forum, possibly the widest-ranging meeting of Christians ever held.”Congress participants heard addresses from some of the world’s most respected Christian leaders of the time, including Graham, Samuel Escobar, Francis Schaeffer, Malcolm Muggeridge, and John Stott. Ralph Winter’s plenary address, in which he introduced the term “unreached people groups” was hailed as “one of the milestone events in missiology.” In contradistinction to those calling for a moratorium on foreign missions, Winter argued that because thousands of groups remained without a single Christian witness, cross-cultural evangelization should be the primary task of the church. Dr. Scott Moreau (Evangelical Missions Quarterly) and Dr. Mike O’Rear (Global Mapping) have called the people groups concept “the most significant development in evangelical mission strategy over the last 25 years” (Moreau 1998).
Lausanne II was held in 1989, and the third Congress is next month. You can learn about the Lausanne movement here.
I noticed that as of last week, there are still some funds left to raise to ensure that the Congress is fully funded. This would be a worthy cause worth giving to, and if interested you can give online at their site.
A good word from Tom Peters and Robert Waterman’s In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies:
Just as you don’t learn anything in science without experimenting, you don’t learn anything in business without trying, failing, and trying again. The trick, and it’s a tough one, is a common cultural understanding of what kind of failure is okay and what kind leads to disaster. But don’t kid yourself. No amount of analysis, especially market research, will lead to true innovation.
Or, as Jim Collins puts it, “try a lot of stuff and keep what works.” That is, branch and prune:
The idea is simple: If you add enough branches to a tree (variation) and intelligently prune the deadwood (selection), then you’ll likely evolve into a collection of healthy branches well positioned to prosper in an ever-changing environment. (Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, 146).
And this doesn’t just apply to your business or organization. It applies to the rest of your life as well. Try stuff. Make things happen. Build on what works.
Every store should do this: allocate some spaces close to the entrance for families with young children and, by extension, expecting mothers.
As a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, Kurt Warner’s alma mater, I’ll be rooting for Warner in Super Bowl XLIII this Sunday when the Arizona Cardinals take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. I think I started the year after he graduated.