Your Church Should Be More Like the Mafia

Posted: September 15, 2010 in church, leadership, missional

It really should. Can you think of any organization that better fosters commitment and loyalty?

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”

Though the title is tongue-in-cheek, La Cosa Nostra as an organization, though criminal, creates for its members a sense of identity, belonging, purpose and deep commitment. Here’s why:

They Know What They Do. There’s no ambiguity about the mission, and no uncertainty about what should happen when and what the leadership structure is. They askew distractions and petty arguments. They do what they do. And they do it better than anyone else.

They Know What They Don’t Do. For years, drug dealing was outlawed within the mafia.  The saying was, “If you deal, you die.” Dealing drugs, though lucrative, brought too much attention to a secretive organization and wasn’t worth the heat. They knew what they were not going to do which allowed them to continue doing what they did well even better.

They Tend Thier Neighborhood. Too many churches have forgotten their best potential audience: their neighbors. Don’t allow podcasts, Twitter, Facebook, and all things “Interweb” to distract you from opportunities across the street. Plus, God is pretty clear about that whole loving your neighbor thing. For years the mob enjoyed the protection of their neighbors because their presence was a benefit to their neighbors. The mob invested earnings back into the local community. This means giving things away to your church’s neighbors.

They Do “Favors”: Favors Build Loyalty. The Mob built their empire on “doing favors.” Unfortunately, many churches only want to extract from their communities and members. Your church needs to do things for the community while expecting nothing in return. This is the way you build trust, respect, and, oh yeah, loyalty.

They Remind People of the Consequences. In the mob, the consequence for not “playing ball” was harsh. How much worse is it when churches lose sight of the consequences when the people God has entrusted to them never engage God. There are bad consequences — in both this life and the next — when we fail to make people an offer they shouldn’t refuse.

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