A retail company wanted to kick-start its expansion by trying to tempt people to ‘cross the aisle’ in its stores from food to clothing .\r\n\r\nAfter some low achieving sales figures they commissioned some research into why this wasn’t working. The research showed that people didn’t want to cross the aisle, and it was a wasted effort trying to get people to do what they were never going to do.\r\n\r\nInstead the research discovered that people were happy to buy both food and clothing from the company but they wanted more clarity. The store moved to a different strategy where they separated products into different buildings, a clearly differentiated shopping experience but still the same brand. Growth followed.\r\n\r\nIt turns out that the company had just not understood the buying preferences of their customers. What was convenient for the company (doubling up on existing facilities, maximising resources) was not clear for the customer.\r\n\r\nUp-selling and cross-selling are well tried methods of increasing sales success but we should never loose sight of the need to investigate more radical options and to invest in where the growth really is and not where we hope it will be.\r\n\r\nApplying this to the question of church growth, this might explain why so many ventures started in church simply never take off. They draw too heavily on existing church resources, hoping to give the new clip-on ministry a boost from the momentum of the church as a whole. But along with drawing on resources the new ministry also draws on the culture of the church.\r\n\r\nIf the aim is to attract new people with a different profile – for example, a younger congregation – perhaps its better to put the new ministry at arms length from its parent, with greater independence to form its own identity.