In 1759, Benjamin Franklin discovered that lightning is electrical. It was a signal of change to all candle makers.
In 1769, Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot of France gave us the first actual automobile that ran for 20 minutes carrying four people at 2.25 miles per hour. It was the first signal of change to horse and buggy owners.
In 1806, Humphrey Davy introduced an electric arc lamp to the Royal Society in Britain. It was a warning sign for candle makers.
In 1865, an article in the Boston Newspaper scoffed at radio transmissions, stating, “Well informed people know that it is impossible to transmit human voice over wires.”
In 1899, Charles H.Duell, Director of the United States Patent Office, declared that “…everything that can be invented has been invented.”
In 1903, the Wright brothers moved from constructing cycles to first man-powered aircraft. Some appealed to ban the flight to avoid frightening the horses.
On November 2, 1920, Station KDKA made the USA’s first commercial broadcast. People heard the results of the Harding-Cox presidential race before they read about it in the newspaper. It was a signal of change to newspaper companies.
In 1927, a co-founder of Warner Brothers, Harry Warner said, “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” By 1931, silent movies were replaced by “talkies.”
In 1939, the New York Times wrote, “The problem with television is that people must sit and keep their eyes glued on a screen… it will never be a serious competitor to radio.” Two years later, Bulova clocks were the first TV commercial that reached 4,000 television sets.
By 1952, television ad revenue surpassed magazine and radio ad sales. It was a clear signal of change to radio stations.
In 1966, Times magazine predicted that “Online shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop.”
The history of denial continued among leaders. Three times Blockbuster had an opportunity to buy Netflix. They declined it. Bill Gates wanted to place Britannica on a CD-Rom. They declined it. Bill Gates himself declined wanting to put Microsoft’s Encarta online. BlackBerry ignored 4G wireless network and fell behind.
Sixteen years before the 2020 pandemic, in August of 2004, Craig Groeschel had a satellite uplink built at the Oklahoma City campus that provided LifeChurch.tv the capacity to send a live video worldwide. Craig received criticism for starting an online church.
By 2020, 4.2 billion people were already connected, and 3.4 billion publicly shared their personal information to the world. People are no longer consumers. They are now “prosumers.” They not only consume but produce. They post about you on their 20 plus social channels.
If your audience are connected even when your church office is not, who is really living in denial this time?
(Exerts from my book, The New Normal of Leadership: Innovation & Technology in Church 4.0,