Church Planters: Learn the Lessons From Sears (Yes, Sears)

The lessons from Sears include three big takeaways. Church planters: take note from the demise of a century-old retail giant.

Church Planters: Learn The Lessons From Sears (Yes, Sears)

3.      They didn’t innovate fast enough.

Have you heard of “Sears Grand”? Probably not. And that’s the problem. Designed to compete with Walmart, it was rolled out too slow. As in only 10-20 stores per year. In comparison, there are now nearly 5,000 Walmarts operating in the U.S. alone.

And online shopping?

Not a priority. At least in terms of investing for success. From 2006 to 2008, the Sears website went down for hours at a time on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And, according to the Washington Post, Sears seemed unconcerned. They “expected” it to happen.

Oh my.

So slow on innovation, and cavalier toward efficiency and effectiveness in areas of innovation.

Sears says it is hanging on.

To those who forecast its imminent death, a company representative said, “The folks who are playing taps at our funeral, we’re not in the box.” Going further, a Sears spokesman said: “People are shopping us to the tune of $20 billion in revenue. Clearly we mean something to a lot of people.”

But are they meaning something to the coming generations? The very future of Sears?

A professor at the University of Florida recently asked his students whether they have shopped at Sears in the past year.

Zero hands went up.


This article originally appeared here.

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James Emery White
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His book, The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated, is available on Amazon. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, visit, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on Twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.