Someone asked me, “How do you keep Community BBQs from becoming a fad?”
I thought it was a great question, so I thought I’d share my answer here:
Good question. I have an answer, but I don’t know if it’s right at all. I guess I actually have a theory. And time will tell if it’s an answer.
Slow the roll. I don’t promo it. I don’t encourage people to come every week. In fact, I encourage them not to. I encourage people to come once a month. And I let them know why. I encourage people to come once a month so that they will continue to come consistently and not get burned out on it. Relationships take time and consistency to develop and build. Relationships are our goal (not numbers or food). When people ask me to come and talk about the Community BBQs, I’m more than willing. I’m thrilled to. But I don’t seek out new partners, volunteers, resources, etc.
This does a couple of things…
1. There can be no doubt that it’s growing because the Spirit is at work through it and leading people towards it. That means that I can be certain this isn’t happening because I pushed and made it happen, but because it’s God’s will. And if at some point it is no longer God’s will for this to be happening, then I hope I don’t hesitate to see that, shut it down and let it go.
2. The buzz is lessened. Fads come about because of buzz. Trends come from experience.
A fad happens because something seems cool and everyone’s talking about it so everyone goes and tries it at the same time. But people aren’t really excited about whatever the buzz is about. They’re excited about the anticipation. You see a spike in popularity, but it’s short-lived. It isn’t really for many of the people who were trying it out. So they don’t stick around. You wind up developing over inflated expectations and structures and find yourself left with disappointment and decline. Basically, people who have no idea what they’re talking about are excited about it and talking. This creates buzz. But that buzz tends to be sort of an ignorant thing.
A trend happens slower, but more solid. A trend spreads because people who have been there, done that are sharing their experience with someone else. And it’s a completed experience they’re sharing, not the anticipation of an experience. Since they’ve been there, done that, they’re not sharing the experience with just anyone and everyone; they’re sharing it with others whom may be interested in it also. That someone else then comes and checks it out too. They experience it and pass the word on again. This is more slow and subtle than a buzz. It’s more of a hum. When something’s buzzing, it’s almost never a good thing. But when something’s humming… well that’s the good stuff.
I suppose only time will tell if I’m right though. 🙂