Monday, July 23, 2012


When a church has “outreach momentum” the ministry can grow rapidly.  When the whole church gets involved in outreach - inviting, welcoming, including, reaching – there is positive reinforcement.  Without momentum, the few in your body with evangelistic fervor can get to feeling lonely and discouraged.  As the old saying goes, “a single log makes a lousy fire.”
Who is responsible for creating and sustaining outreach momentum?  The leader.  The pace of the leader is the pace of the team.  Saints used to say, “If we want a fire in a the pew, we must have an inferno in the pulpit.”  So in addition to keeping your own fire going for outreach, as a leader you must be a catalyst for others and the organization, perhaps through one of these means:

An event is a one-time activity that can bring a “spike” to energy and catalyze momentum.  Events are a way to hyper-activate “bringers and includers.”  Events can also place your ministry in people’s awareness.  

Campaigns are sustained efforts for outreach.  Sometimes campaigns are themed, such as 40 Days of Purpose.  A campaign amplifies momentum by having everyone’s attention focused for a period of time.  

An emphasis is a repeated idea or ideal, with the hope that it will prompt new behaviors.  Hybel’s “Just walk across the room” is an excellent emphasis, as would be, “Let’s try to all meet our neighbors by the end of this year.”

An initiative is an outward-focused objective that can stir people’s passions for outreach.  An initiative might be, “We don’t want to see any child in our county go to bed hungry.”  Or, “We are going to pray every Wednesday at 6am for the lost in our county.”

Collaboration is a partnership with another outreach organization to create synergy.  “We are partnering with Young Life to see if we can send the entire Senior Class to camp.”

These are just some of the means for stoking the fire.  However a leader does so, s/he must keep the mission stirred up in the minds and hearts of God's people. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Do you ever second-guess where you are going?  Sometimes you wrestle with the Spirit, "Did I hear you right?"  Sometimes you have to duel with your own subconscious, "This isn't going to work, is it, Dave?"  Should you be doing this kind of mental gymnastics?  The answer is, "It depends."

Seth Godin, in a blog, lays out the wisdom of both not reconsidering, and reconsidering:

There are two common mistakes here:
Frequently reconsidering decisions that ought to be left alone. Once you enroll in college, it is both painful and a waste to spend the first five minutes of every morning wondering if you should drop out or not. Once you've established a marketing plan, it doesn't pay to reevaluate it every time your shop is empty. And once you've committed to a partnership, it's silly to reconsider that choice every time you have a disagreement.
In addition to wasting time, the frequent reconsideration sabotages the effort your subconscious is trying to make in finding ways to make the current plan work. Spending that creative energy wondering about the plan merely subtracts from the passion you could put into making it succeed.

On the other hand, particularly in organizations, failure to reconsider long-held decisions is just as wasteful. Should you really be in that business? Should this person still be working here? Is that really the best policy?
Jay Levinson used to say that you should keep your ad campaign even after your best customers, your wife and your partner get bored with it. Change it when the accountant says it's time. And Zig Ziglar likes to talk about the pilot on his way from New York to Dallas. Wind blows the plane off course after a few minutes. The right thing to do is adjust the course and head on. The wrong thing to do is head back to New York and start over (or to reconsider flying to Dallas at all).

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Lament is a tool that every minister of Christ should have in his or her tool bag.  What does it mean to lament?  It means to express passionately your grief.  It is crying.  It is mourning.  It is grieving.  Sometimes it's all you, or others, can do.

I've not seen much written on this topic, but in Wayne Cordeiro's book Sifted, he writes:

"A biblical response to disappointment, to the unanswered questions, the unresolved tension, the pain and suffering people bring to us is inviting them to lament.  This means that when a person comes to you, and the problem cannot be solved, you point them to Jesus and invite them to honestly pour out their heart to the Lord.  We know that God is the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3).  When we lament, we acknowledge that God is good and sovereign, yet life is not as we would like it to be.  We find validation for our grieving in our lamentation.  We learn that our emotions are permitted, that it is right to express them, even when those emotions include anger at injustice.  The biblical form of lamenting allows people to feel and express the discomfort and disappointment they experience living in a fallen world.  When you invite people to lament, you are acknowledging that you, as a church leader, are with them in their journey, and you empathize with what they are going through.  You do not try to cheer them up.  You do not try to fix all their problems.  You allow them to feel the hard truth, the raw emotions of the problem or circumstance.  And you point them to God."