Polarizing Effectiveness

A couple of years ago, Guy Kawasaki, former Apple executive and current venture capitalist, told some of the leaders of Good Shepherd: “It’s good to polarize people.”

Those are scary words to hear.

Pastors and church leaders naturally want to comfort people, not polarize them.

But Kawasaki’s next line put it all in perspective: “Mediocrity comes from trying to please everyone.”


So we’ve slowly but surely tried to move away from mediocrity and towards effectiveness. To get there involves . . .

  • Not asking the question, “but who will this make mad?” quite as often;
  • Remembering that we have the goal of “de-weirding” Christianity to a world that all-too-often sees us as judgmental and out of touch;
  • Reminding each other that people matter to God, especially ones “missing” from him;
  • Honoring the adrenaline rush that comes from saying or singing or projecting something unexpected and provocative;
  • Showing extravagant love to those people who have been with Good Shepherd forever and stick with it even when it stretches them. I think many of them would rather be part of a church that is alive yet uncomfortable than a church that is predictable but dying.
  • Celebrating all the new people who say, “I can’t believe you all did that in church . . . and that’s why I’m coming back.”

So whatever your venue of ministry, you can polarize your way towards greater effectiveness.