Trickle Up?

Trickle-Up just may be the new Trickle-Down.

“Trickle-down economics” refer to the policy of providing tax cuts or other benefits to businesses and rich individuals, in the belief that this will indirectly benefit the broad population. The term has been attributed to humorist Will Rogers, who said during the Great Depression that “money was all appropriated for the top in hopes that it would trickle down to the needy.” – Wiki

The trickle up effect states that benefiting the poor directly (for example through micro loans) will boost the productivity of the society as a whole and thus those benefits will, in effect, “trickle up” to benefits for the wealthy.

Allow me to draw a possible correlation between all of these trickles and the local church. For years many churches have had a top-down ministry plan.  “Our primary focus will be ________.”  While there is nothing inherently wrong with this strategy, it naturally places someone or some group at the bottom of the focus – last in line.  What groups would this be in your church?

What if we inverted our focus?

Michael Fitzgerald wrote a fascinating article for Fast Company entitled “As the World Turns”.  He asserted that innovation now trickles UP from emerging to advanced economies.  And as I read this piece I considered the following through the lens of my local church filter:

– Developing countries have low cost, high quality workers who can create and execute great ideas.  The church has long ignored a large segment of their congregation – the “forever” singles and the seniors.

– Those developing countries have hard to reach consumers who force companies to come up with new ways to serve them.  The church must tap into this people group to begin to minister to their needs.  This means our church staff should reflect the diverse needs of our congregation.  They alone know how to best reach their circles of influence.

– Developing country consumers don’t want Western retreads, but their own unique products and services, some of which may appeal to Westerners.  Our Seniors and Singles need their own focus!

– There are suppliers in developing countries who are rapidly accessing developed markets.  If we don’t minister the love of God to them, the enemy will…..and shame on us.

The Trickle is inevitable.  The direction is not.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. What if the inversion looked like this instead…

    A person in the church had an idea (or a calling) or was ministering to someone or somewhere, and it was obvious that God was in it (success or growth), and the leadership of the church came and threw some resources behind it to make it even more effective…
    That would be a little more like ‘equipping the saints for the ministry’, wouldn’t it? They have ministry going and need some equipment or equipping or resources…
    What if organization followed activity rather than activity filling up the organization?

  2. Andy – spot on!

    Your described model would bring the joy back to serving God through the local church. A joy that, in my opinion, has been diminishing rapidly over this past generation.

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