Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Saturating the market

Last week Judi and I drove to Tennessee for a funeral, and I saw something I've never seen before. We stopped for gas twice, and both times I noticed that the gas station we fueled up at was also on the other side of the highway. First we hit a BP on the east side of the highway, and when we got back on we noticed an equally large BP on the other side. Two copies of the same gas station, located less than a football field apart. On the way home, we saw the same thing with Shell stations.

After thinking about it, I get the logic. People driving aren't looking for a specific chain, they're looking for a gas station on their side of the highway. So I have no doubt that both locations will thrive and do well... there's plenty of people buying gas.

Saturation's an interesting strategy. It seems like we're hard-wired to expect scarcity, even when there's no real scarcity. It's easy to imagine the manager of one Shell station worrying that another Shell on the same exit would make him lose money, but obviously the larger corp doesn't think that's the case. There's some similar issues with churches, I think.

Joe recently had someone ask if he felt threatened by the success of other churches. His response was perfect, I thought: "They could grow to 100,000 people and we could grow to 100,000 people and the majority of Cincinnati would still have no connection to a local church." If we think there's a scarcity then we're clearly focused on the wrong folks.

A big church within a couple miles of the Vineyard just opened up a young adult ministry. They're going to be able to throw a lot more resources at it than we will. How do I feel about that?

If I'm about the Kingdom of God, instead of the Kingdom of Micah, then there's really only one answer to that.

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