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Articles > Ask the Teacher: > Being People vs. Program Centered

Being People vs. Program Centered

"Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, 'Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us'... Jesus stopped and called them [the two blind men]. 'What do you want me to do for you?' he asked."1

I recall having read how, in the 1940s, 80 percent of all watches sold were made in Switzerland. In the late 1950s the digital watch was presented to them, but they rejected it because they already had the best watches and the best watchmakers. The man who developed it subsequently sold his idea to Seiko—and the rest is history!

In 1940 Swiss watch companies employed 80,000 people. Today, they employ 18,000. In 1940 they made 80 percent of all watches sold. Today, they make 20 percent—and the majority are digital! This story demonstrates what happens when an organization or an individual chooses to die or fade away rather than change.

While in the church our message of God's love and His great gift of salvation never changes, our methods of ministry and communicating this message need to change with the changing times and the changing needs of people. What worked yesteryear may no longer work today. And if our methods no longer work, we need to discard them. Becoming product, method, or program oriented instead of being people oriented spells death to any ministry, organization, or business.

When Jesus came, He cut right across the grain of man-made religious dogma, programs, and traditions that were not relevant to the needs of the people of Hhis day.

In His ministry He was always sensitive to the felt or perceived needs of His listeners and targeted His ministry to address those needs. As illustrated in His encounter with the two blind men His question was, "What do you want Me to do for you?" To which they replied, "That we may receive our sight." Before meeting people's spiritual need, Jesus always ministered to an individual's personal and felt need. For us to do less is being less than Christ-like.2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me always to be sensitive to the felt needs of people, help me to be as Christ to them, and meet them at their point of need. In so doing grant that they will be drawn to and accept You as their Savior and Lord. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

1. Matthew 20:30, 32 (NIV).
2. Adapted from the book, I Hate Witnessing, a Handbook for Effective Christian Communications by Dick Innes. Available from


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.

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