This post originally appeared on ministrymatters.com (and was very inspired by a message given by my former District Superintendent, Dr. Rev. Cedrick Bridgeforth)
I can’t verify how true it is, but I received this information recently in my Twitter feed from the account Google Facts:
I remember when Taco Bell first started rolling out the Doritos tacos. I hadn’t been to Taco Bell for a while because of the meat controversy. But when I saw the commercial, I was disgustingly curious. It was a mix of, “What in the world? … Why?” with “I have to try one.”
So I did. And I loved it. My passion for Taco Bell had been reignited (much to the detriment of my health).
I wish I’d been there at the creative meeting as they were tossing around ideas for the next big thing. I picture the meeting going something like this:
“C’mon people! None of these ideas are good! We need something drastic! Something to take people’s mind off of our meat controversy! Something… something different!” The room is silent except for the annoying young intern snacking away on his Doritos. But a thought strikes that young intern, and he tentatively raises his hand.
“Yes, new kid. What is it?” the boss responds.
“Everyone likes Doritos. It’s like the American snack. No one complains when they pick the bag of Doritos from one of those mixed chip boxes. I mean, everyone tries to trade the Fritos, but everyone is satisfied with the Doritos.”
“This might be crazy. But, what if, I mean just what if we make an entire taco shell out of the Doritos? Everyone loves our tacos. Everyone loves Doritos. Let’s combine them and see what happens?”
“Kid, this just might be crazy enough to work!”
This probably isn’t how things really went down. I bring up the Doritos Tacos and this imaginary scenario because often our churches lack the courage to think a bit out of the box. (Yes, I do believe that the introduction of the Doritos Tacos was “out of the box” thinking — whatever that box may be.)
I think we often lack the spirit to lead off a meeting with, “This may be crazy …”
Because we just may be too invested in order, in structure, in building maintenance. It’s one thing to risk everything you have when you have nothing to lose but it’s a completely different story when you have a lot more to lose. And we just may have too much to lose to risk everything. We may be too quick and too willing to embrace the status quo — the “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. Creativity can be seen as dangerous and unnecessary when you have bills to pay, matriarchs and patriarchs to please and a campus to look after.
Tina Fey, in her book “Bossypants,” writes that the second rule in improvisation (the first rule is to say yes) is, “not only to say ‘yes,’ but ‘yes, and.’ You are supposed to agree and then add something of your own.” No matter how crazy, outlandish or stupid the scenario your partner (or team) comes up with, your job is to say, “Yes, and” — to add to it, to run with it, to make it crazier. The moment you acknowledge how stupid, implausible or crazy the scenario is — or even hesitate — you lose the momentum. The scene is over.
It seems to me the church’s response is never really, “Yes, and” but more along the lines of, “Yes, but,” “Yea, well,” “Mmmm…” or the dreaded dead end of, “We should pray about it.” (We should pray about it — absolutely!—but that line is often used more as a way to stop talking about the new idea or new ministry rather than sincerely praying as a community for discernment).
I’ll admit, sometimes people come forward with an idea that I can’t respond to because I’m biting my tongue to keep from laughing. Sometimes I’m thinking about the finances and the cost of going through with it.
But what if? What if we all approached ministry with, “Yes, and.” What if, in our meetings, we encouraged people to start sentences with, “This might be crazy, but…” and instead of instantly dismissing the thoughts, we said, “Yes, and” and built upon that crazy idea. That crazy idea just might be the catalyst for a new fruit-filled journey for our ministry.
In our weighing our limitations, in our balking and hesitating, in our dismissing, in our clinging to the status quo, perhaps we’re forgetting that with God, all things are possible.
Let’s encourage one another to live in the “Yes, and…”
And don’t knock the Doritos Tacos until you’ve tried them.