Rather than following God’s desires for our ministry, we settle for what we’re already doing.
When I started at a parish a while back, I was told that last year a typical youth night had about 100-150 teens. That’s great. No, that’s awesome!
But then I was told that they had 100-150 teens at a typical youth night 2 years ago as well. And 3 years ago. That takes away some of the awesome-ness. No, that takes away a lot of the awesome-ness.
There are some people that are happy about being consistent like that. Ecstatic that they are bringing in as many people as the week before. That somehow if they continue to get the same result, they’re doing something right. They settled for what they already had…[Find out more.]
Don’t settle for what you’ve got, when God wants to give you more.
That’s an important biblical principle some people, like the Israelites, choose to learn the hard way.
Let’s catch up: the Israelites have been wandering through the desert for 40 years in search of “the promised land”. And in Numbers 32, we find them just across the river from their destination. They’re so close they almost taste it, and they can probably even see it.
As they camp on the other side of the river from their destiny, there’s certainly a buzz of excitement and anticipation in the air. Then a couple of people go and ruin the mood:
“The Gadites and Reubenites came to Moses and Eleazar the priest and to the leaders of the community and said…’If we find favor with you, let this land [we’re currently in] be given to your servants as their possession. Do not make us cross the Jordan.'” (Numbers 32:2,5)
Two of the tribes (the Israelites are broken up into 12 tribes) approach Moses: “Hey. We’ve been thinking. This land we’re hanging out in right now is pretty nice. I mean, I’m sure it’s not as nice as the promised land, but eh, this’ll do. Just give us this land, don’t make us cross the river and conquer the promised land with y’all. That seems like a lot of work.”
God had great things in store for them. Extraordinary things in store for them. And they just wanted to settle. They didn’t want to work for it. They just wanted to take what they already had because they had decided that thought it wasn’t “great”, it would do.
We Settle for Good Instead of Great
Like those two tribes, we settle for what we know, because we’re afraid to do more. Or maybe because we don’t know how to do more, we don’t know how to go from where we are to where God is calling us. We don’t know how to go from Good to Great.
3 Steps to Go from Good to Great
- Get brutal. Brutally honest that is.
- Once a semester have a meeting where you OBJECTIVELY evaluate everything you’re doing. This is not a time for feelings and opinions, just facts. It’s not a time to strategize or plan, just get the facts.
- Ask questions like: What’s working? What’s not working? What programs are achieving the vision, what programs are taking up space? What programs are costing the most money? How many students are at each program/event? How many new students? How many teens are in the area? How many volunteers do you have for each program? How many do you need?
- Make sure the handful of people you have at that meeting are involved enough in your ministry to know those facts. And make sure you explain that you’re not looking for solutions or emotions in this meeting, but just to nail down the numbers and the facts about your ministry.
- Once you have all these facts, put them together in some organized fashion and schedule a larger meeting to discuss what they mean and where to go from there. Include 2 people from each of these groups: involved students, uninvolved or formerly involved students, committed adult volunteers, outside adults, parents who are gung-ho supporters of your ministry, and parents who question your ministry decisions. But make sure all of them have a loving heart and want what’s best for you and the teens you serve. Send the fact sheet to them ahead of time.
- Because you already went through and got the facts, you can jump right into it. But first, make sure you clearly outline the VISION for your ministry – even if they’ve all heard it hundreds of times before.
- The facts tell you where you are, the vision tells you the direction you want to go, the BHAG is the destination or the end result you’re hoping for. It needs to be concrete, specific and MEASURABLE.
- “If it’s not intimidating to you, it’s probably insulting to God.” (Pastor Steven Furtick, Sun Stand Still)
- What are the three action items you can do now to get you closer to you end goal?
- NO MORE THAN 3 – “If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any,” says Collins.