Misinformation is Deadly to Your Church (or Church Plant)

Wednesday is for Thinking

Battleship WW2On Veterans Day I watched a short video about a Japanese attack on an American fleet during World War II.  Seems the Japanese launched 5 kamikaze manned torpedoes at a fleet anchored near Guam. Two detonated on reefs, one was destroyed by a depth charge, one was spotted and rammed by a destroyer and sent to the bottom, and one found its mark and sunk a tanker. In 2001, 57 years after the incident, the American Navy recovered over 2 million gallons of fuel oil from the sunken wreckage. Overall, the mission that cost the lives of five courageous Japanese naval personnel was unsuccessful.

But in a classic misjudgment, the report that was sent back to Japanese naval headquarters was inaccurate. The initial report said that multiple American ships were sunk and that chaos had ensued. This was not true. The report was wrong. And this was not new. The Japanese navy had “a tendency to overestimate their victories and exaggerate their successes.” The end result in this case was that the Japanese invested more heavily in the “kaiten” one-man torpedoes and wasted valuable resources in manpower and materials.

Bad information led to bad strategic thinking.  The Japanese thought they were doing better than they actually were and missed opportunities to change direction and strategies.

I wonder how often the same thing happens in our churches.

Too often, I fear that churches do not evaluate their missional approaches with a realistic picture of:

  • Their own health as a church.
  • Their strengths and weaknesses.
  • The community needs.
  • The community’s perspective on the church. (Often what we think the community thinks and what they actually think are worlds apart.)
  • and numerous other issues.

And the reason is that we really don’t want to admit the truth.  

All is not well.

We overestimate our successes and exaggerate our victories.

Bringing great honor and glory to Christ and abundance of joy to the community requires a courageous commitment to honesty about our successes and failures.


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