Skye Jethani: The Daisy Cutter Doctrine
Ur participates in the blog tour for The Divine Commodity with an exclusive excerpt.

Today over twenty blogs are participating in a book tour for Skye Jethani's The Divine Commodity. The fact that Jethani is a card-carrying Urthling is why we felt the Ur audience should participate in the blog tour as well. Below is an excerpt from Chapter 9 of The Divine Commodity where Jethani addresses the assumption that Christ's enormous mission is best accomplished by equally enormous strategies, and how this mindset is rooted in consumer sensibilities. A longer excerpt from the book is also featured in the spring issue of Leadership.

In the coming days we will be announcing a contest in which 50 Urbanites can win a free copy of Jethani's book. Until then, you can click here for a list of the other 23 blogs participating in The Divine Commodity tour today.

Book Excerpt:

The pattern is predictable. A few thousand young church leaders gather at a warm climate resort for two and a half days to have a "life changing ministry experience." They shuffle into the hotel's main ballroom, bags of complementary goodies in hand, where their internal organs are realigned by the worship band's bass-thumping remix of How Great Thou Art. After which the marquee speaker will fire up the audience with a call to "change the world for Christ," "impact a generation with the Gospel," or "spark a revival in the church." Throughout the stump speech, the presenter will wax eloquent about the fate he or she foresees for the new generation of church leaders in the audience. "Your generation will do what mine could not." "You will be the generation to change the world." Convinced of their manifest destiny, the twenty-somethings will head off to breakout sessions where they will learn the skills to impact the world - usually from other twenty-somethings.

I say the pattern is predictable because I've been to a fair number of ministry conferences and I've led my share of breakout sessions, and like most church leaders I've gotten use to hearing the drumbeat of revolution. I call it the Daisy Cutter Doctrine: "Change the world through massive cultural upheaval and high-impact tactics."

Daisy Cutter is the nickname of the largest non-nuclear bomb in the military's arsenal. In our age of laser guided "smart" bombs, the Daisy Cutter isn't dropped to destroy targets anymore but to intimidate the enemy. When impact is more important than precision, there's nothing better than a 15,000 pound daisy cutter for the mission.

Likewise, the Daisy Cutter Doctrine is an approach to mission that values high-impact and visibility above all else. This explains why most presenters at ministry conferences are leaders of big churches. Their ministry's size is valued, and in some cases envied, by those in attendance who have come to learn how they too can ignite their full potential for maximum missional impact.

April 16, 2009

Displaying 1–10 of 14 comments


September 12, 2009  12:24pm

Shouldn't any book titled "The Divine Commodity" at least be available as a free download?

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Wayne Park

April 29, 2009  12:29pm

Perhaps then, what the church needs is a transfusing / infusion of spiritual pastoral theology, instead of some of the market-driven stuff that's out there. Something akin to the pietist movement where pastoral leadership was synonymous with deep piety and spirituality. Perhaps then, the answer is not pastoral career advancement, but quite the opposite, pastoral career suicide. At least in the sense where we are constantly seeking to advance our self-aggrandizing schemes. Eugene Peterson argues that "careerism" is exactly that which usurps true spiritual and pastoral ministry. I'm inclined to agree.

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April 24, 2009  11:07am

russd "Think Global, Act Local" is for earth day. The great commission is Both think and act both local and global. "persona non grata list" Welcome to being a Berean. Keep it up. Your job is to please the Lord, not men. If you keep it up, I know what comes next. LJ has articles on how leaders can "nudge" folks like you out to go somewhere else and make it feel like it's all normal. In the system, the local institution is more important than any individual, no matter what truth he has to offer.

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April 23, 2009  4:38pm

I have had similar misgivings about the direction that many churches have taken in order to boost the size of their congregations. I got myself onto the persona non grata list at my church for expressing the opinion that our megachurch should be more focused on service as opposed to growth. Our Lord impacted the world to the extent that the measure of history revolves around the time He walked the earth. Jesus Christ became the most significant man in history without the aid of a worldwide broadcast ministry, without a 20,000 seat worhip arena, without the Internet, without branding, and without travelling halfway around the world to serve people suffering from the same problems as people 10 miles away from Him were. No, our Lord achieved all He did by walking from town to town and impacting people's lives one at a time. There still is something to that old saying "Think Global, Act Local"

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April 21, 2009  8:15pm

"Today the church emulates the methods of corporations and business". 1. Churches tend to have top-down, pyramid oriented leadership with special titles and position driven power. Do I need to give scripture to show how this "nullifies the commands of God"? When leaders maintain these forms, any talk of "servant leadership" is mere lip service. Lip service is often very sincere but it is hypocritical none the less. 2. When a church system is systemically forced to consume 75 - 85% of the collection merely to maintain it's own perception of function, it will be subtly and tragically become driven by desires for more money collection to benefit itself rather than to fulfill the real purpose of giving which is to benefit those beyond the givers who are in physical or spiritual need. Even though it is given "tax free status" as a "non-profit", it must seek profit for itself more than others. This is how a church can raise $75,000 to send 24 teens to India to "help" an orphanage and "see" the needy, and not one nickel goes to the needy. (Those who do not grasp the huge tragedy of this are those who are well accustomed to walking by sight, not by faith.) 3. The corporate approach to leadership is to increase the number of people who look to you as the expert (perpetual dependency). This is typical church leadership to a tee. God's Word calls for reproductive leadership that fully trains others so you can go else where or to send them out - full reproductivity. (Does anyone know of a Senior pastor who resigns after 20 years to go else where and the men in the church are "fully trained" to do what he does? Luke 6:40. We should not need to look to church history to see what we are doing wrong. We just need to look at what we are doing now and compare it to what the Bible says we should be doing. The only thing history shows us is how long we have been so stupid, suckering for the devils ploys at deceiving the household of faith. I think Skye is right. The church is very addicted to, enamored by, and falsely confident in Daisy Cutter approaches to accomplishing God's big purposes. Wasn't there a small allegorical book written 30 years ago written about this theme where believers drop leaflets from an air balloon as their BIG effort to "reach all nations"?

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April 20, 2009  6:28pm

Chris, The subject is broad as the timeline, first century to the twenty-first century, and he cites history as a premise for the comparison. I'm asking, what specific examples in Christian history using worldly models that he can direct me to. Nothing complex, very simple question, thats all I was looking for.

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Jason Chollar

April 18, 2009  7:07pm

I agree that we need to be careful not to get caught up in the hype and examine our methods to make sure they line up with scripture. "Today the church emulates the methods of corporations and business" In what way? The retreats and such? How do you suggest we act differently?

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Chris (Jesdisciple)

April 17, 2009  1:52pm

D'oh. Paul doesn't go over carnal versus spiritual in that passage, but it's a similar concept. I was thinking about 2 Corinthians 10:1-6.

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Chris (Jesdisciple)

April 17, 2009  1:49pm

sheerahkahn, I think you've likewise left everyone else to our own devices as to how that passage confuses you. VIA, I agree. It's not that small begets big, but that God is big and everything we call "big" is actually quite small. This is obviously because we're looking at a wrong realm - carnal vs. spiritual, as explained by Paul above.

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April 17, 2009  12:46pm

Very nice. I'm so thankful for the sentiments. I'm hesitant to adopt, however, the Biblical adaptation of "small" and "big." For just as a consumer methodology doesn't do justice to "mission," neither does proof-texting do justice to the Scriptures. AND, perhaps there's a correlation there; that we are innately bad at proper contextual hermeneutics, first in Biblical interpretation, and second, as it would naturally follow, in ministry philosophy. This prophetic voice is necessary, however, and refreshing. I'm really hoping for a complimentary copy :-)!... Please!? :-)

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