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April 3, 2014

“Synergistic Integration”


Seeing the synergy

In my new role, here at ECO as Director of Operations, I really didn’t know what to expect when I hit the road for some serious business travel. Hotel and airline life are not exactly glamorous, but they do certainly have their own culture. Often, all the travel time allows you to read a lot and this can be rewarding especially when you read something or see something that strikes a chord and makes you think, “This could certainly apply to what we are doing today!” And what we are doing at ECO, as we build a denomination, is trying to keep up with what God is already doing in our midst.

I recently saw a television commercial for LaQuinta Inns and Suites. You might have seen the commercial I’m thinking of, the one where one guy (Jerry) is standing next to a box where several others are crowded in together and responds to the boss’ demand for ideas by saying,

“synergistic integration.”

And the story goes, “When Jerry stays at a LaQuinta, you know what he does? He thinks outside the box!” I love the LaQuinta commercials if nothing else to get a good laugh. But that word “synergy” is one that excites me. When the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, big things happen.

Pita chips and hummus

The other day, I stumbled on a story of Sabra in Fast Company Magazine. Sabra, if you haven’t seen or tried it, is a brand of hummus that currently holds 60% of the American market share. That’s significant! But what impressed me about the story was how the company formed and where it is now.

Sabra was started in New York by Rabbi Yehuda Pearl in 1986. An Israeli food conglomerate purchased half of the company soon thereafter. But the hummus market was not much to speak of back then. In fact, only 26% percent of households actually buy it today (I only tried it myself six months ago and it is great!). But in 2006, PepsiCo had just bought Stacy’s Pita Chips, and they saw a potential for a wonderful partnership. Pepsi then purchased the other half of Sabra and now are seeing sales of both Sabra and Stacy’s skyrocket!

Both Stacy’s and Sabra did things well, they had good products on their own, but together they created synergy. They made each other better! It’s like a modern day story of peanut butter and chocolate.

Synergy across the country

As I look at ECO and some of the things we are doing, I see synergy happening. We are coming alongside folks who do things really well and partnering with them and praying for synergy as we do. With our mission partners, our church planting partners, and missional coaching partners, things are beginning to take shape. ECO doesn’t need to reinvent wheels when there are great wheels already out there.

We can have synergy of our own by partnering with others who are doing things well for God’s Kingdom. And not only will we see this at the Synod level, but prayerfully, in our Mission Affinity Groups with the sharing of best practices amongst sessions and pastors, we will begin seeing synergy happening all over this land as we engage in mission together, and make each other better for Him.

And in the mean time, stay in whatever hotels you like best.

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