Marginal Gains and Church-Planting

marginal_brailsfordTalking about the recent success of British Cycling, the main influencer, director David Brailsford often refers to ‘the aggregation of marginal gains’. He explains it as “the 1 percent margin for improvement in everything you do.” His belief is that if you improved every area related to cycling by just 1 percent, then those small gains would add up to remarkable improvement. These include technical improvements, but also ‘marginal’ areas, such as getting the right pillows and hand-washing techniques to avoid illness.

Recently, I’ve been observing how discipleship is forged through the small details of life: how I respond to family members when tired or irritable, whether I stop to speak to a neighbour when pressed or busy, what I watch on TV or invest in reading… The list is endless! As some have said, either Christ is Lord OF all, or He is not Lord AT all.

But equally, the same can be said for church-planting; we’re seeing how apparently small things have great significance in the long run. How an offer to pray for somebody leads to a searching of meaning in Christ, how going to watch a football match round a friend’s leads to in-depth conversation about faith, generosity and leadership.

So at this time of Easter, when the cradle of Christmas leads to the empty garden tomb, via a cross-shaped piece of wood, we remember how the small things changed history. And we remember that it really is worth paying attention to ‘marginal gains’ in our walk with Christ and our involvement in God’s mission.

We’d value your prayers as David has been invited to be one of six speakers at an ecumenical outreach initiative in Brive town centre on Saturday 11th April. There will be a flashmob every 15 mins, followed by a 15-min talk on ‘Finding the meaning of life’ in the main town centre church, the Collégiale Saint Martin. A fantastic opportunity to share the gospel through our unity as churches in the town!