Tapping into The Mastermind

The concept of Masterminding is drawn from the 1930s classic “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.  The idea is that when you bring people together from a diverse set of backgrounds to talk about their common interests and challenges they learn from one another and each come away with valuable insights that they can apply to their own situations.  The resulting ideas are greater than the sum of their parts, a kind of two plus two equals five, if you will.

The typical mastermind group consists of 4-6 people, all working at about the same level (CEOs with CEOs, middle managers with middle managers, salespeople with other salespeople etc.), but in a diverse set of industries.  That way they have to work at finding commonality in their businesses.  When they meet, each member of the group is given the opportunity to express a concern or challenge they are facing and then the rest of the group brainstorms solutions.  Some of the greatest business minds of all time have been members of mastermind groups.  It has been argued that the assembly line system developed by Henry Ford may never have made it out of the Ford Motor Company had it not been for the fact that Ford met on a regular basis with Andrew Carnegie and Harvey Firestone.

Some, including Hill and many of his modern day disciples like Jack Canfield and Rhonda Byrne, made famous by her bestselling book “The Secret”, say that masterminding and the fact that the resulting ideas are greater than the sum of their parts is somehow evidence of God.   To back up that claim they site passages like this one;

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. [Matthew 18:20]

Jack Canfield quotes this passage in “The Success Principles” when discussing masterminding.  But when I read that my spidey senses when crazy, something just didn’t seem right about it so I looked it up.

As a practising Christ-Follower I am pretty sceptical when I see scripture quoted in a decidedly secular book.   While the overall concept of masterminding is fairly powerful and there isn’t anything fundamentally wrong with it, I even take part through a bi-weekly breakfast meeting with a group of small business owners,  I knew immediately that Canfield was quoting Jesus out of context and bending the word of God to fit his agenda.

This sentence comes at the end of a passage in which Jesus is giving instruction on how to deal with sin in the church.    He begins by saying this;

If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. [Matthew 18:15-16]

You see, “where two are three are gathered” is not about getting together and talk about our personal agendas, it’s about addressing sin and furthering the Kingdom.  That’s not to say that God doesn’t bless us when we follow his commands but this passage just isn’t about that.

When I was first introduced to the law of attraction my immediate reaction was that it sounded a lot like good old fashioned prayer, with one exception, with prayer the goal is not to always get your own way.  When you pray you can ask for what you want or what you think you need but in the end it’s God who decides.  Regardless of what you want, you get what’s best.  That’s why Jesus taught use to ask “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” [Matthew 6:10].

So while masterminding isn’t a sin Jesus wants us to remember that discerning the will of God is really what masterminding should be all about.  It’s not about trying to influence God’s will in anyway and no amout of “group think” is going to change that.

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