If you’re anything like me, you’ve been involved in opportunities that were doomed to fail before they ever had a chance. It’s easy to find people or circumstances to blame when we don’t want to admit the error lies with us. Don’t feel badly, we’re not alone. I’ve seen it in many places with a great many people and it never gets easier to stomach.
In ministry, negativity is a difficult beast to tame. It’s usually bucking at the gate and when unleashed, tramples anyone and anything that gets in its way. But this doesn’t have to be. As leaders, (I’m not talking paid here – ALL Christians should be leaders), it’s our responsibility to calm things before they get out of control. It’s a lot easier to calm the beast in the gate than after the rampage has begun.
My experience has taught me that new ministries, or ministry changes, generally result in the, “we’ve never done it that way,” response. This is followed by the, “I’m not comfortable with that, “ and “It’s not going to make a difference,” responses. Well, I say phooey! Do you know why your efforts aren’t yielding the return you hope for? Your attitude.
Often, success or failure lies largely in your attitude. You get defeated and weighed down by the negativity you face. I get it. Really, I do. But your lack of excitement, or inability to affect others with excitement, is the ultimate cause of failure – not the circumstances or people involved.
When you fail to motivate others, you fail to lead. No one wants to follow someone that can’t generate excitement about a possibility. It’s time to start casting the vision. If you’re genuinely following God’s lead (NOT your own, and NOT other people’s), you have nothing to fear! Did you get that? It’s important, so I’ll repeat myself: When you follow God, you have nothing to fear! Stop praying that God will miraculously work everything out while you sit back and watch and realize that YOU are His tool. Why are you expecting Him to yield results when you’re not fully invested? Commit to fully doing your part (also, realize that you’ll probably have to do more than your part at first), compel others to follow, and watch God truly have His way in your ministry… and in your life.
I admitted to you that I’ve seen attitude kill ministries over and over, so why pay any attention to what I have to say? Praise the Lord, I can attest that I’ve also experienced the overwhelming blessing that can result from fostering a group of believers who are excited about what God can do through their ministry – whatever change that might require. When you make others feel important – because they are – you’ll be amazed at what they will accomplish. When they feel that what they’re doing doesn’t make a difference, they’re likely to stop bothering.
Now, back up a minute, because I need to qualify the purpose and boundaries of change in ministry. Change should never be implemented for the sake of change itself, but with the intent of making effective those ministries that are not. For me, all tradition is out the window. I’m game for changing anything man has set in place. But doctrine, that’s off limits. Never compromise on the standards God has set forth in His Word. That should never be negotiable.
So, when you’re thinking it’s time for a change, you might ask yourself: Am I following God? Do I believe He has the power to make this successful? Am I willing to get uncomfortable? Am I ready to get others excited? If you answered yes to ALL of those questions, get going!