One of my mentors is Carl George. He was strategically involved when I was a church planter and throughout my ministry– sometimes as a consultant and sometimes in more of a mentoring role. One of the things he cautioned me about was what he called “the tyranny of the model.”

What he meant by that was that as I was designing and piloting a system in our church planting work, I was simultaneously trying to figure out how to generically reproduce it outside of our church. He told me to first find a fit that would work in my own situation. Then after debugging it, I could make modifications that would make it reproducible for others. Trying to solve both equations at the same time means you don’t get a good fit for your own situation.

The first thing is to find a way that works for you. Don’t try to find a way that works for you and will work for others at the same time. Then figure out what’s generic about that approach, what principles could be generalized for others. From there, you can create a principle-based template for others to follow.

The tyranny of the model is a common error I’ve found that visionaries make. They have a big vision to expand what they’re doing all over the place, and they try to do too much all at once.