The law of unintended consequences


Airplane
The airline did not anticipate the consequence of their policy.

Every decision has consequences. Good leaders anticipate those consequences and will take them into consideration when choosing a path forward.

Recently I had an experience where an airline implemented a policy of charging $50 to fly standby on an earlier flight (the airline I usually fly will allow me to fly standby for free).  I can only assume that some manager thought this a good way to increase revenue. For me the real consequence is that this airline will now be my last choice when choosing a carrier. My reluctance to use this airline again is an unintended consequence of a policy that must have seemed a good idea at the time.

Wisdom would say that we should not sacrifice long term goals to achieve a short term one. By trying to bilk an extra $50 out of me the airline will now get no revenue from me in the long term until they change their policy or other airlines become equally senseless.

In the same way, the church can sacrifice long term progress for short term gains. Our time frame for evaluation of our effectiveness is eternity. We will be judged on how well we did in making true disciples with whom we will spend that eternity.

To pump up programs and cultural relativity to bring people in the door and then waffle on teaching them to obey the commands of Scripture is to sacrifice the long term goal for short term gain. We do not need more attendees but we should want many more true disciples.

In the end, Jesus will not evaluate you on the church budget, the church attendance, the TV ratings or the number of programs. The question will be “did you make true disciples?”

Don’t sacrifice a long term relationship for $50 today.