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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.

18 Oct '08

A sense of Urgency

I am often asked after speaking to our world wide staff, "Why do you have such a sense of urgency?" The question caused me to stop and think.

It is not that I am driven. I believe I have come to the place where I truly have nothing to prove and nothing to lose. I am comfortable with who I am and how God made me. I am glad I can say that at 52.

It is not because I am competing with other mission agencies. There is plenty of work to go around.

It is because without a sense of urgency no church, no business and no ministry organization will be all that it can be. The opposite of urgency is complacency, comfortable, and maintenance of status quo. That is where people will generally live unless someone - a leader - or a crisis - pushes them out of comfortable into urgent.

Any business today that lives in the comfort zone will find itself in a crisis. The rules of the game are changing so rapidly, competition is so fierce, the markets so unpredictable that complacency is frankly death.

It is easy for churches to live in the comfort zone. Most do which is why 80% of the congregations in America are plateaued or in decline. And why conversion rates are terrible and life transformation rare.

Mission agencies have been living in the comfort zone for decades and are just now waking up from a long snooze and realizing that the world changed tremendously in the past thirty years and they did not. Some will not make the transition and will slowly slide into decline.

So what drives my sense of urgency?

First, we have 6 billion people on the face of the earth today. Half the people who have ever lived in human history are alive today (300 years ago there were only 600 million people on the planet). Never before have the stakes for evangelism been so high. Never before has it been easier to reach more people for Christ more quickly than today - if we will sense the urgency and use methodologies that are appropriate for the day in which we live.

Second, It is a matter of stewardship. Like Paul, I do not want to settle for anything less than the best effort, and certainly do not want to rest on the past but press on to the future. Why give myself to anything but the best that I can give - or lead an organization that does the same?

Time is our most precious commodity. All of us are personally running out of time. We need to run the race to the finish and reach the finish line knowing that we absolutely did our best.

Leaders are the ones who create a sense of urgency if there will be one. If there is no urgency in your business or organization, it is a leadership issue. Leaders are also the ones who model a sense of urgency. If I sometimes seem impatient with progress, I am. Without a certain impatience there is no progress.

As Paul wrote so eloquently, "I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me...Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:12-13).