A new friend and Inner Metro Green member recently dropped off a signed covenant letter, a wonderful monetary gift for the burgeoning church, and a great book for me. Events like this are as exciting as a seven year old’s Christmas, at least for church planters. There is still a lot of work to do, and we are still in our infancy stage, but the church plant is beginning to take root and sprout! Keep on praying for us and our wonderful city.
I am really digging the book my new friend gave to me. It’s called Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. It’s pretty fascinating reading, especially from a contemporary church planter/pastor’s perspective. The premise of the book is that creative - or sticky - idea creation is a fairly disciplined process that can in fact be learned. Yes, some people are actually born with a natural ability to form and articulate creative and sticky ideas. Those folk who are not so biologically lucky need not fret! Sticky idea creation is an art that can be learned, mastered, and implemented!
Chip and Dan Heath cite six principles which seem to be universal to all great sticky ideas. These six principles are: Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotions, and Stories. Every really great idea that spans time creatively touches upon each of the principles in some fashion. The book unpacks each of these six principles in detail. Get the book!
The two brothers unpack each of these principles in the book. Made to Stick is must read material for anyone trying to form, articulate, and make tangible an idea, or in our case, specifically, a different way of “doing and being church.”
The following is a Made to Stick excerpt illustrating a sticky idea and the viral nature of such ideas (I think your quick recognition of it actually substantiates Chip & Dan’s claims concerning the sticky, time-spanning, and viral nature of certain ideas):
“In the 1960s and 1970s, the tradition of Halloween trick-or-treating came under attack. Rumors circulated about Halloween sadists who put razor blades in apples and booby-trapped pieces of candy. The rumors affected the Halloween tradition nationwide. Parents carefully examined their children’s candy bags. Schools opened their doors at night so that kids could trick-or-treat in a safe environment. Hospitals volunteered to X-ray candy bags. In 1985, an ABC News poll showed that 60 percent of parents worried that their children might be victimized. To this day, many parents warn their children not to eat any snacks that aren’t packaged. This is a sad story: a family holiday sullied by bad people who, inexplicably, wish to harm children. But in 1985 the story took a strange twist. Researchers discovered something shocking about the candy-tampering epidemic: It was a myth.”
Researcher sociologists Joel Best and Gerald Horiuchi combed through every reported Halloween incident dating all the way back to 1958. They found zero incidents of this sort of candy-tampering. A few kids (two) were poisoned via candy, but it was not an act perpetuated by strangers. One child accidentally dipped his candy in his uncle’s heroin stash; another child’s candy was laced with cyanide by a father trying to cash in via insurance fraud.
The above example is, of course, an example of a very sticky idea with very negative connotations. There are plenty of positive examples in the book too. The Halloween candy-tampering idea is just too recognizable to pass up, especially if the point made has to do with the widespread and instantaneous recognition of sticky ideas.
The book has it’s own website too (most books do today). Go on, click over.