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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.

20 Jun '08

Leverage and contrarians

Posted by T.J. Addington in church leadership, Healthy leaders, ministry teams, missions


Ministry leverage is the ability to understand how to take finite resources whether people or financial and leverage those resources for maximum results. Leverage is a way of thinking about how we do what we do in order to achieve out of the ordinary results.


I spoke to a pastor this week who understands leverage. Fifty percent of the job description for everyone they hire is to raise up and train others to do what they do. Even if they are qualified to do the ministry they need to perform they will not be hired unless they are also able to train others to do that ministry. This pastor understands the power of leverage. He can hire someone to do a ministry or he can hire someone to multiply those who can do that ministry.


Larry Osborne and his leaders at North Coast Church in Vista, California stumbled onto leverage when they ran out of space and decided to try to replicate the teaching in their services via video preaching. The lack of space forced them to ask the question, how do we continue to grow without adding more services in our main auditorium? Today North Coast has thousands of people attending with several dozen worship venues.


Strategic people (and all of us should be strategic) are always asking the question, “Is there a way that we could get more done if we were to do something differently?” Sometimes we are forced to think that way when we run up against a wall. But we should always be asking that kind of a question just as a matter of stewardship.


This is a significant question in the world of missions. With 6.5 billion people on our planet, most of whom do not know Christ, we must think leverage and multiplication in everything we do. That is why the central ministry focus of ReachGlobal is to develop, empower and release healthy leaders around he world. It is not what ‘we’ do but what we can empower ‘others’ to do. We used to think of our personnel as ‘church planters.’ Today we think of them as ‘trainers and coaches’ who partner with others to help them be successful in their ministries.


Strategic folks are contrarians. Not in the sense of being contrary but in the sense of questioning conventional wisdom. Conventional wisdom is conventional but it is not always wisdom – or very strategic. Strategic folks are always asking “Why do we do it this way?” and “Is there a better way to do what we do?” Conventional wisdom in car manufacturing has nearly put Ford and General Motors out of business. The Japanese and Koreans questioned conventional wisdom and refashioned the automotive industry. Amazon questioned conventional wisdom and changed the way books are sold.


One of the secrets of those who understand leverage is that they think – a lot. And that takes time that is not available in the typical hurried life. They are also willing to take a calculated risk, go against conventional wisdom and try something new.


Here are the kinds of questions strategic people ask:

-What could we do to increase our impact and influence using our current resources?

-What are others doing that gives them leverage in their ministries?

-Are we doing addition or multiplication in the ministries we are involved in?
-Why do we do what we do the way we do it?