Earlier this year, I read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. One of the key principles is the power of a “keystone habit” and how it can change your life. An example would be if you added into your life the habit of exercising every morning. Because you begin exercising, you become more energetic, therefore, a better spouse and parent, which causes more peace and harmony at home, which causes less stress, which makes the person more productive at work, which triggers a raise, and on and on. One small habit that was incorporated into the person’s life and became a keystone habit to amazing new changes!
Just this week, I was listening to a podcast from Andy Stanley who asked the question – what could be a keystone habit for our church? An intriguing question that I think every church would need to answer on their own. But for Stanley’s leadership team, they landed on this one habit – church members inviting unchurched friends to attend church. If their church could incorporate just this one habit into their lives – it would amass unbelievable change. Inviting an unchurched person to attend worship causes you to see the church through the eyes of an unbeliever, it causes you to become more in tune to the needs of guests in worship, it creates in you a sense of ownership and the list goes on.
Another key component to this book is the idea of cue, routine and reward. The premise of The Power Of Habit is that when a cue is sensed, the routine kicks in, then the reward happens. An example might be getting your running shoes out in the morning. You don’t even have to think about running, you just pull out your shoes and the then the routine begins to kick in. Putting your shoes on is half the battle.
In the podcast about this book, Andy Stanley’s leadership team set up a a cue, routine and reward system for their church and began to teach it. Anytime they were having a conversation with a friend, neighbor or stranger, and hear them say something like “I’m new in the area, I’m overwhelmed by, or I’m dealing with”, it was a cue to invite them to church. The cue (people’s need) surfaced, the routine kicks in (invitation) and then the reward – the possibility of someone getting connected to Jesus in a new way.
Intriguing! Create a keystone habit within the church as a whole. Most of us involved in the church could probably take our mission statement and develop some cues, routines and rewards around it. And remember, it doesn’t have to be a bunch of habits. You must pick just one and give it a try. Just asking the question with your staff and leaders is a good exercise. What one habit could immensely change our church if we began to implement it?
I was inspired by Andy’s thoughts on this book and am praying for our churches and our leadership teams to become more aware of the habits we have as Christians and how slightly tweaking them may bring huge kingdom results!