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No Experience Necessary

When Jim Gilmore took 75 pastors on a tour of Las Vegas, he pointed them beyond the gambling, showgirls, and Siegfried and Roy. They saw Vegas as "an experience." Gilmore introduced them to the strategies used to wow visitors.

It's all part of what Gilmore and fellow economist and business partner Joe Pine call The Experience Economy. Their book by that title (published by Harvard Business School Press) is capturing the attention and imagination of the marketplace.

Well, Vegas is one thing, but what about where we live? How does the Experience Economy affect churches in ordinary places? We asked Gilmore to wander with us through downtown Chicago and comment on the "experience-seeking culture."

Leadership editors Marshall Shelley, Kevin Miller, and Eric Reed walked with Gilmore through streets and shops, and asked Gilmore, a devout Christian, how all this informs our approach to worship and evangelism. What we found—and his application of it all—really surprised us.

We met Gilmore ...

July/August
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