It is a common practice in retail stores to put an item out "on sale" that is in fact a loss to the store financially. The assumption is, if they can get enough people in the door, attracted by their "loss leader", they will actually buy other things at a significant enough markup for the store as a whole to make a profit.
Firms like WalMart and others have perfected this practice and have it down to a science. They know exactly how much to mark something down and mark other things up to generate enough profits to keep their firms rolling, and more importantly, their stock prices rising.
But what about being a leader of a community that is facing real losses? How do we do that? When it isn't a gimmick to attract more dollars, members etc... but is actually the reality of the community. When loss becomes real and can't just be wiped away by marking up other prices?
A couple weeks ago I commented about the loss Kendra and I suffered in our lives, and tonight our community (not our family, K, Annika and I are just fine) of Trinity suffered a significant loss. This is new ground for me, how do I lead this community through its loss? Attempting to make sense of what has happened, why it happened and where we go from here.
The good news here, and in any situation in which we are called to lead a community through loss is that we have a God who is a "loss leader." This is a God who lead with Jesus. Who gave all God had on the cross and counted not the cost. Who claims us in baptism and gives us the name of "child of God and inheritor of eternal life." This is a God who is a loss leader, who didn't just lead with the loss and then expect us to make up the rest with bigger margins, God led with the loss in order to make gain for all. Romans 14:8