ArticlesFeature Article

Sterling Tarrant “What If We Didn’t Grow”

If you’re going to take time to read this, I need to let you know up front that there is a sentence below that scares the living daylights out of me.


You’ve been warned about the danger…here we go.


I watched a brilliant TED talk from an economist named Kate Raworth about how we’re getting it wrong in economics when it comes to our constant focus on growth.  Resources – like natural resources, energy sources, raw materials, etc. aren’t equal across the board. So striving endlessly for growth ultimately leaves many with scarcity and a precious few with abundance. 


And if you haven’t realized it, growth isn’t sustainable forever – a focus on growth in and of itself can be dangerous.  That’s how tumors behave, for instance.


Don’t we tend to act that way, though? Not like tumors, per se, but we’re always focused on growing our audiences. 


And every month when the ratings come out, this is what I tend to see:   Our competitive nature toward growth makes us worry about giving up growth POTENTIAL to someone else. 


Raworth said we need a new model.  Instead of focusing on GROWTH, we should work on helping all THRIVE.  Yes, economies should grow, but not take.  Economies should sustain and feed back into themselves, but not discard mindlessly or destroy potential. 


I thought that was an interesting model.  What if we all had that mindset?  


What if we rewired ourselves and our programming so that it was not all about things that grab audience for our own growth, but instead helped audience members thrive in their relationship with God? 


What if we rewired ourselves to help listeners find God in the way THEY’RE wired?   (I’m looking at you, Enneagram followers!)


Here’s the sentence that scares the living daylights out of me:  What if we pointed them to different places that would help them grow?  What if you heard stuff like this on your air?


  • “We’ll keep the Casting Crowns, the MercyMe and the worship going, but maybe take a break and check out this podcast tomorrow…”
  • “I gotta tell ya, this Brant Hansen guy makes me think of my Christianity in new ways…”
  • “Maybe turn us down and pick up a book. I’ve been reading this great one from Andy Stanley…”


What if we weren’t so focused on growing audience numbers, but growing Christ followers who THRIVE instead?  Listeners who are changed so much because of the Jesus they find at your station that they can’t help but share.


Remember “Miracle on 34th Street?”  “We don’t carry that brand, but Gimbels does…”  People still came back to Macy’s.  Even more so because of the goodwill.


What if we were all in an alliance to help listeners thrive in the way that works best for them… and we do it in a way that works best for us… with compelling and bite-sized spiritual truths, in the length of a song (or less). 


All together. One body, many facets.


It reminds me of a song: “And when we rise, we will rise together.”


Sterling Tarrant is President, TarrantCreative.com  A strategic thinker, a creative writer, and an audio producer.  Some have dubbed him the “Godfather of Christian Radio Production” with his 40+ years radio career focusing on creative messaging.  Sterling is also the Director of Creative Audio Services for Hope Media Group. Contact Sterling at sterling@tarrantcreative.com

One thought on “Sterling Tarrant “What If We Didn’t Grow”

  • Excellent thoughts and encouragement Sterling. Some timely and practical challenges!

    Thanks for taking the time to share!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *