One of the greatest disciplines I ever learned as a pastor was that just because the church across town was doing something, it didn’t mean that my church had to do it.
Very few weeks went by that I didn’t have a member or one of my staff come up with a bit of panic in their voice and let me know about the latest and greatest idea that some other church or organization was doing. The implication, of course, was that we were lacking and in danger of being obsolete and ineffective.
First of all, I have been around long enough to realize that there is always a new “silver bullet” that I must just absolutely put in my church-growth gun. But I’ve also learned that the gun powder in those silver bullets often have a very short shelf-life and pretty soon the same person that is trying to guilt me into doing yet one more thing has moved on to yet another thing!
Now this does not mean that we should not be open to new ideas, strategies, and ministry initiatives that improve our chance of achieving our mission of finishing the Great Commission (Matthew 24:14). But what it does mean (here’s the punch line) is that you must not pick up one more thing to do until the right person is available to champion the new initiative.
We’ve all seen companies who started well but, in their efforts to keep a double-digit growth trajectory, out-grew their talent pool by trying to grow too fast and do too many things. Soon their strength and niche in the market became diluted and their service become shoddy and, instead of a growth trajectory, they began a downward spiral.
Churches (and leaders) do this as well.
I learned this the hard way. There’s not enough space in this blog to share with you the burdens and guilt I allowed other people (who had no intention of being a part of the solution) to lay on me because, heaven forbid, we were not doing what some happening church across town was doing.
When someone comes up to you with the latest and greatest idea, reject immediately any idea that includes “we ought” in it. What that means is “you ought.” (It is almost certain that “Mr./Mrs. Bright Idea” has no intention of taking ownership.) Instead, listen for, “I must do this…” When you hear that you may have a winner and it may be time to add something else to your ministry portfolio.
The ONE THING for today: The right person must come before the right idea. If you are looking for one more thing to do, make it finding one more potential leader and pour yourself into helping them grow into the champion for the next great idea.