YES: Your Industry Is Dead


Pete CashmoreLong live, (whatever your industry is)!

Pete Cashmore from Mashable posted this interesting thought on Facebook Monday: “No industry will be spared from the changes that digital technology brings. This is like the Industrial Revolution condensed into a couple of decades.”

That’s a pretty sweeping proclamation from the world’s foremost experts and observers of the digital revolution. There’s a (very fast, compressed) revolution going on.

Then, Landon Whitsitt posted this fun little video of Seth Godin on his blog:

In the video, Godin declares, “The industry is dead!” to which Landon added, “regardless of what industry you’re a part of. That means the church, too.” Bam.

Point. Set. Match.

Sound scary? It is. And it isn’t. No industry will be spared. Viva la industry!

Adaptive Challenges
Well, on Wednesday, Seth Godin posted this on his blog:

“When the world changes … It’s painful, expensive, time-consuming, stressful and ultimately pointless to work overtime to preserve your dying business model. … Again and again the winners are individuals and organizations that spot opportunities in the next thing.”

At the “Re-Mind and Re-New” conference in Tulsa this week, I had the privilege of hearing missiologist Craig Van Gelder talk about three key practices to developing a missional imagination: 1) dwelling in Scripture; 2) re-entering the neighborhood (as a learner, not a do-gooder); and 3) working at adaptive challenges.

It’s that third point that I want to tie into this conversation about the devastation of existing industries. The world is changing. The world has changed. Trying to fix things the way they are now is not necessarily worth much effort. That’s why we are changing the conversation from “revitalization” (getting back to the way things were) to “missional transformation” (becoming something completely different).

Instead our time may be better spent working at adaptive challenges. Van Gelder proposes this question: What issues are we currently facing for which we do not have an answer but we must address if we’re to have a future? The proper response is to become a learner, which actually frees us up to experiment and not be afraid to fail. “Adaptive challenges mean that we don’t have an answer. You know it’s not an adaptive challenge if you have an answer.”

Adaptive challenges. No set answers. Creating the future. The next thing.*


*Not in a commodified, consumeristic way, though. The goal isn’t relevance. The goal is faithfulness, being faithful to the Gospel in our time and our place.



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Posted on 01-19-2012


  1. Super Bowl Ads and the Future of the Church | | the online home of Steve Knight says:

    February 5th, 2012 at 5:58 am

    […] I’m struck by how these same seven characteristics are also defining for the future of my own industry, the church/religious/faith community industry. (Just substituted “churches” everywhere […]

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