The disciples came up and asked, ‘Why do you tell stories?’

He replied, ‘You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn’t been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That’s why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight.’
— Matthew writing about Jesus talking to the disciples

“Receptive insight” should be the goal of every expression.

I was at a writing conference designed to help write better copy for internet and radio advertising.  We went through several writing prompts to help hone our ability to state what needed to be said clearly and simply (not my strong suit).  My plan to honor the objective of the abbreviating exercise, was to use less, but bigger and more elaborate words… clearly missing the point.  I wasn’t the only one.  Finally, in a fit of frustration, the instructor punctuated his exasperation with, “Just say the damn thing!”.

I am reminded of that often when me or others overcomplicate.  My desire to say more and say it better (at least in my estimation) often counts clarity as a primary casualty.  By trying to make it more powerful or substantial, I actually intend the opposite.

We’re incorporating a new methodology into our organizational coaching.  It is a execution/accountability tool that fits beautifully on top of the very comprehensive process we already use.  We see it as a real Godsend; the next in a series of beautifully complementary tools that the Father has illuminated for us at precisely the right time and in the right manner.  It is humbling to feel so guided and equipped.

We’re about to spend a couple of days formalizing the next steps in the evolution of our Our Father's Business (OFB) journey.  We’ll be revisiting basic things like core purpose.  It will be an interesting series of discussions.  Our very broad and grand aspirations for OFB have determined a fairly extensive purpose (or mission statement).

Our new execution/accountability methodologies align much more closely with the instructor of the writing course.  They have 8 rules they apply to writing a purpose statement:

  1. State it in 3-7 words.
  2. Write it in simple language.
  3. Make it big and bold.
  4. Give it an “aha” effect.
  5. Write it from the heart (as opposed to the mind).
  6. Make it involve everyone.
  7. Not about money.
  8. Make it bigger than a goal.

It is going to be a heck-of-a task for all the well intentioned and broad dreaming visionaries we will have in the room to say something in 3-7 words, but the evidence is mounting that “keeping it simple stupid” is not only a best business practice, it is the gospel.  Matthew goes on to write later on in what is now known as the 13th chapter of his account:

All Jesus did that day was tell stories—a long storytelling afternoon. His storytelling fulfilled the prophecy:

I will open my mouth and tell stories;

I will bring out into the open

things hidden since the world’s first day.
— Matthew quoting the 78th psalm

He told them simple stories because the complicated and intellectual expression of the truth through the law had kept the real treasure of the gospel hidden from them from the very first day.  He was God incarnate.  He came to unlock what was hidden and obscured.  We need to do the same.

Is your purpose or mission articulated and shared with those you lead?

Have you simplified and over communicated it enough for them to clearly understand?

Should we be surprised that they don’t embrace and embody it to the degree we would prefer?