Yesterday we talked about the importance of momentum for any organization. Today we’ll dive deeper into some practical steps you can take to prepare for momentum.
Something to clarify. There is a reason we didn’t title this article “How to Create Momentum.” You don’t create momentum. God does.
As one great pastor told us “If you think you created momentum, you better be prepared to own it when it leaves.”
All you can do as a leader is to prepare your organization for momentum.
Imagine you go out surfing. No one is guaranteed to catch a perfect wave. In fact most days you won’t. All you can do is paddle out and put yourself in the right position. You hope that one day the monster wave will come to your spot. If it does you’ll be ready.
If you, as a pastor, bear the burden of manufacturing momentum you’re headed for a burn out. You prepare. You pray. You respond with gratitude if God moves in a big way.
With that being said. Here are some practical steps you can take to help with that preparation.
Celebrate Stories of Others
When discussing as a team this was one of the first things to come up. As a leader it is you role to celebrate the stories of others.
Stories are vision with a V8 engine.
Stories communicate what God is doing in your church in a way that people can actually relate to.
Only stories will carry your vision from the conference room to the living room.
When you begin to tell the story of God’s vision for your organization impacting lives a funny thing happens. People begin to buy in. They begin to believe that this isn’t just a dream. They believe your vision has legs to run. When everyone in your organization begins working towards the vision, you’ve positioned and prepared yourself for momentum.
One question that is helpful to ask. If God brought massive momentum to your church, would you be able to sustain it with the current buy in from your team? Momentum before you’re ready can turn into a curse instead of a blessing.
Give It Away
Quick, answer this question. You have to move a couch up a flight of stairs. It weighs 200 pounds. How do you make it happen? Answer: Find someone to help lift.
The same is true in our organizations. It’s so easy as a leader to believe that if something is going to get done you have to do it. Especially the big stuff. Listen up.
It’s better to have someone do a task 85% as well as you then it is to do the task yourself at 100%. Why? Giving big things away empowers someone else to carry out the vision, get their hands dirty, and help with the heavy lifting.
Momentum never occurs in an organization built on the back of one person. That means listening to ideas and input from the entire team. There is a 100% chance that every person on your team knows something about your organization that you don’t.
You need their input and their talents to prepare for momentum. Momentum is like a flywheel (to steal this from Jim Collins’ book Good to Great). It takes lots of people pushing in the same direction for a long time to really start getting the wheel of momentum to turn.
Try to turn that flywheel or lift that couch on your own and you end up with two things. A torn rotator cuff and an embarrassing story of your failure.
Focus on Less
There is a pull in church leadership to take on more. It’s easy to feel like the more you do the more effective you are. In fact he opposite is true.
Focusing your vision on a few key areas is one of the best ways to prepare for momentum.
When you laser focus on what you do well (and what you don’t) your team can clearly measure results and (see point one) appropriately celebrate stories. It’s so common that churches have committees to form committees and want to put in include every ministry under the sun.
You can’t do everything. If you try it will just cause confusion.
The pressure of performance is something every pastor struggles with. They so badly want to see amazing things happen that they push too hard. Instead, aim for small, 1% changes over the next month. When you set your sights at 1% you can focus on making the right adjustments to prepare your church for momentum. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by the need to do too much. Focus on less and prepare for momentum.
Be Mindful of Your Season
The reason roller coasters are thrilling is because of the way they manage the momentum of the rider. There is the tension and build up as you go up, up, up. There is the crazy energy release of excitement as you drop, dip, spin, and loop. Then there is the recovery period. Your heart rate calms down and your adrenaline drops to allow you to walk around without your heart exploding.
There is a season for the tension on the way up, there is a season for the drop, there is a season for recovery.
Learn to love them all.
If you can’t fall in love with the process of building your organization then you’ll never be satisfied even if momentum comes. We get the opportunity at the 127 Group to do performance coaching for many college athletics teams. One of the things we preach is that sleep is the best performance enhancing drug there is. The same is true for your church.
Appreciate seasons of “chill.” Don’t always be rushing towards the next thing. Seasons of recovery are great times to take your team out to lunch and dig deep into their lives. Take a sabbatical. Spend more time with your family. Appreciate the season you are in with regards to momentum for your church.
Take time this week to ask questions about what season your church or organization is in. Is it in the phase of tension, momentum, or recovery? What practical steps can you take to prepare for momentum this week?