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In 1985 Boston Chicken (now Boston Market) opened in Newton, MA. Within a few years, it became Chick-fil-A’s first real competition. Around 1990 Boston Market raised a bunch of money to expand. The leadership at Chick-fil-A spent over a year exploring strategies to fend them off. The leadership gathered to plan the fastest way they could grow and get bigger. Uncharacteristically, Truett Cathy, who founded Chick-fil-A in 1946, started pounding the table until he had everyone’s attention. As everyone quietly stared at him, he said, “I am sick and tired of listening to you talk about how we can get bigger. If we get better, our customers will demand we get bigger.”

Cathy knew the danger of focusing on getting bigger without being better. He also knew being better would make them ready for getting bigger.

The end of the story is, by 2000 Boston Market had filed for bankruptcy and was bought out by McDonald’s. The same year, Chick-fil-A topped a billion dollars in sales.

I can’t think of a conversation I’ve had with a church leader who said to me, “I don’t think we could handle one more person. We’re done growing.” Everyone wants to get bigger! Especially, when problems are being faced, the default solution is always, “If we were just a little bigger.” However, there is great wisdom in Cathy’s words for two reasons:

1. Control.

Getting bigger is not really in our control. It is the Lord who adds to the church. But it is within our control to get better at what we are doing.

2. Capability.

Focusing on what we can control (getting better) gets us ready for getting bigger. Without the infrastructure, getting bigger could be just the thing to derail the church. Sometimes a church isn’t prepared for growth. Focusing on getting better makes us capable to handle getting bigger.

You owe it to yourself to get better at what you do. What can you do personally to get better at what you do?

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