"When they zig, you zag."
I don't know who said it first, but a lot of people have said it since.
I'm a zagger.
I’ve tried to be a zigger. To go with the flow, not against it. To pick the low-hanging fruit.
But, time after time, without intending to, I find myself zagging. Getting off the interstate. Finding the road less traveled.
Being Original Is Overrated
Swimming upstream is hard. So why do I constantly find myself doing that? After all, I don't want to be rebellious. I don't feel like a maverick. And I'm not starving to be original.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."
A few decades after Lewis, Rick Warren has become fond of telling a story about a pastor who said "I'm going to be original or nothing!" and that pastor became both. "Don't strive to be original. Strive to be effective" is Warren's takeaway from that story.
C.S. Lewis and Rick Warren are right. If you try to be original, you'll fail at both originality and effectiveness. Yet, despite my agreement with them, I keep finding myself zagging when most of my contemporaries are zigging.
Because if most people are zigging, their zigging needs are already being met many times over. But what about those who need some zagging?
(Yes, those words are sounding really weird to me right now, too.)
Meeting An Overlooked Need
Sure, there may be a lot of people who need zigging. On the other hand, it may just be what’s popular right now.
Either way, I'd rather meet an overlooked need that's not being met than an obvious need that's already being well served.
Zagging is not about originality, it's about finding and filling an otherwise overlooked need.
For instance, I didn't write The Grasshopper Myth or start this blog because writing about small church ministry is a booming industry. Quite the opposite.
I noticed that small churches were a vastly under-appreciated and overlooked segment of the church. And I happen to be one of those overlooked small church pastors!
While almost every church leadership book, blog and conference was zigging about becoming bigger, there was practically no one zagging about how to pastor well in the ministry setting most pastors actually serve in – the small churches of the world.
So I zagged. And here we are.
Become A Zagger
If you're looking for an area of influence, impact and effectiveness in your life and ministry, you might want to consider becoming a zagger, too.
This is especially true in a small church. You can have a big impact and great effectiveness by meeting a small, overlooked area of need.
So don't just jump on the latest bandwagon. Find an overlooked, unmet need. See what you and your church can do to meet it in ways no one else has thought of yet.
Not because you're trying to be original, but because you're looking where no one else is looking. And finding needs no one else is meeting.
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