I asked those on our team what they thought about the MAWL concept (model-assist-watch-leave) for starting churches. Nobody knew what I was talking about. However, when I reminded them of the bicycle illustration Curtis used to illustrate the MAWL steps, they immediately knew what I was talking about, and enthusiastically agreed it was a great methodology for starting churches.
Not once did anyone make reference to any of the statistics, strategic initiatives, graphs, charts, websites, or other step-by-step methods that were shared. However they remembered well what was said about "horses and mules", "rabbit and elephant churches," and "mother ducks with their ducklings." And, of course, what stuck the most in people's hearts were the stories Curtis shared from his own life and ministry.
This reinforces something Seth Godin recently wrote on his blog post Learning by analogy ...
The other day, I was talking to someone about a complex and specialized issue...He [asked], "do you have an example of how this has worked for you?"Stories, analogies, illustrations are more powerful in getting our points across than our step-by-step manuals and information-style of sharing.
Put aside your need for a step-by-step manual and instead realize that analogies are your best friend. By the time there is a case study...it's going to be way too late for you to catch up.