That's right, you've heard it before: Location, location, location.
The axiom is that you want to be located where people already are going by and can easily stop in. You don’t want to be somewhere where you have to try to draw them in with your product—no matter how wonderful that product is.
That is the point about location—A good location beats a good product. A good location beats sub-par service. Bad businesses (with inferior products or substandard service) can do well in good locations. Good businesses (with superior products and services) do poorly in bad locations.
Location is a trump card. A good location beats all the other things you can do (or fail to do) to make your business prosper. It almost seems unfair. Why should a mismanaged and inferior enterprise do better than your own? Because it has a better position. You may be able to sink 65% of your three-pointers, but all they do is make 98% of their lay-ups.
That is why it is much more important to spend more time and energy (and resources) on securing a good location for your business than spending it on logos, advertising, or even employee training. If location is a trump card for all these other things, businesses are wise to go after the best locations, first, before investing in so many other things.
So… what does this mean for ministry? Are there “locations” in our society we can try to “secure” in order to make it almost impossible to fail?
I’m mulling this one over… I could see “locations” for ministry in three ways:
- Physical location of our services. And I don’t just mean “services” in terms of meetings (although, that is a part of it, too), but of any kind of service/ministry we would offer to the public who needs it. If we are in places where people are at already, it will make it much easier to serve them. We will have more people who accept the service we have to offer. Even though I’ve listed this first, it just might be the most important.
- Cultural location. This just means doing things according to the “culture” of where people are at. Call it being culturally relevant, if you like.
- Mental location. This means we are dealing with the exact issues that are in people’s minds as to why they are where they are with God. Now, this doesn’t mean the “real” issues. Sometimes real issues are subconscious. These are the conscious issues in people’s minds—what they think about God, about others who believe in God, about organized religion and about where they fit in the eternal scheme of things. These are the kinds of things Paul was talking about when he made the “take every thought captive” comment. (No, he actually wasn’t talking about lust.)
Securing a good location is “getting a corner on the market.” It is positioning ourselves right under the basket so that we can make the highest percentage shots possible. The question is—how do we get to that location in the communities we are trying to reach?