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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

12 Jun '11

Ministries don't drift toward success!

We wish we could but it does not work. Drifting toward success simply does not work. It takes a clear direction, intentional strategy, courageous resolve and long term thinking to get us to where we need to go. Think about those four descriptors. Do they represent the ministry you are a part of?

Clear direction. If you had to describe in one minute or less what your ministry was about and where it was headed, could you do that? Clarity of direction is not complex (forget the multi page position papers that no one remembers). Rather it is clear, concise, and easily understandable. If you were to ask each of the members of your team to do the same thing would there be significant alignment about what they all said? If not, some dialogue might be helpful!

What is your intentional strategy to accomplish your clarity of direction? Is it understood, easily communicated and make sense? Is that strategy a shared strategy by all members of your team and are they actually living it out rather than using it as a slogan? More to the point, do you have a strategy at the macro level to accomplish your goals or do you just hope that your activity gets you to where you desire to go? Remember there is a significant difference between activity and results.

Direction and strategy don't mean a lot without courageous resolve. There are many impediments to actually accomplishing the mission you have starting with people who may not want to cooperate, obstacles that get in the way, competing agendas or simply difficult circumstances. One of the reasons that ministries often do end up drifting is that they don't want do to the hard work of tackling these obstacles, courageously resolved to move in the right direction regardless of the costs incurred. It is much easier to simply let people do their own thing for a scattered result than to ensure that everyone is one the same page for a significant result. But that takes courage, conviction and resolve. Without those, ministries drift.


Long term thinking is the fourth key to helping move toward success rather than simply drift. Long term thinking is the result of leaders and teams thinking deeply about the desired future and what it will take to get there. They are not interested in the flavor of the month, the newest leadership guru or doing what everyone else is doing. They are thinking long term for long term results which is why courage to get there is so important. Can you articulate the long term results of what you do? One of the ways to do this is to ask what your five or ten year broad goals look like. They ought to paint a picture of the long term impact your ministry desires to have.

Drifting is easy, requires not real work, does not require discipline or accountability. It is also poor stewardship and won't get one to success.