hmm... thoughts illustrations

Strategic Excuses

Strategic excuses – The excuse you come up with that makes some strategic sense, but you really want to do because it’s awesome.

– A speaking gig in Hawaii, Vail, or the Florida Keys rolls in. Hey, those kids need Jesus, too.
– My church won’t give me time away for continued education, so I’m going to time a pregnancy so that I can attend a conference on my maternity leave.
– We host an annual youth group end-of-year bash, so I need to put in a deck and buy a massive grill. The hot tub is really for building community.
– I want my kids to have their friends over all-the -time, so we built a 3 story tree house. Sure, we bought my next door neighbors house for the tree and leveled their home, but we got a good deal and now my kids don’t have to go anywhere.

There’s nothing wrong with a strategic excuse. (Well, OK… Maybe some are a smudge selfish) In fact, I think 90% of the people who complain about the strategic excuses their friends have– do so because they haven’t figured out how to make it happen.

Church Leadership

5 Excuses For a Lack of Church Growth

Photo by Mr. Tom Lillis IV via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Here are things that I hear people use as growth limiters when they talk about the vision and day-to-day action of reaching a community with the Gospel.

  1. Budgets – I would do x, y, or z if I had more. More often people talk about too much money in the church being allocated for one ministry while the thing they think will really reach people is under-funded.
  2. Buildings – Either a ministry has too much building so they need to have programs that justify the building or a ministry has not enough/no building and they use that as an excuse to not do something.
  3. Boards – The board is asking too many questions. Or the board doesn’t care. Or the board cares about the wrong things. Or the board doesn’t support your vision.
  4. Butts – We don’t have enough people. Or, more likely, we don’t have the right people. Or maybe too many of the wrong people. But I never hear someone complain of having too many people, in general.
  5. Boundaries – Some congregations are limited by physical boundaries while others are limited because they have no boundaries.

All of these are just excuses.

All of these imply that the spread of the Gospel in your community is somehow tied to the growth of your fiefdom.

All of these are just as much asset as they are liability.

All of these imply that church growth is about the organization and not the individuals leaning into their walk with Jesus.

All of these imply that its our job to grow the church and lead people to Jesus and not the other way around.

This I know to be true.

When you love your neighbors, when you meet practical needs, when you speak the truth in love, and when you lay aside your aspirations for the aspirations God has for your community… nothing can stop the spread of the Gospel message. It is too powerful.

Christian Living


Photo by cmiked via Flickr (Creative Commons)

This is it.

Today is the day.

I don’t have time for could, woulda, or shoulda. I only have time for results.

I know the stats. I know the strategies. I know what it takes to get it done… it’s time to get it done.

[Insert whatever analogy you need to fire yourself up]

I’m a youth worker. It’s in my blood. It is who I’m called to be and it is who I am. And all youth workers are hard-wired to plan stuff out in August. August is our January. We plan vacations, mission trips, concerts, retreats, camps, and everything else. If it is going to happen in 2010-2011… now is when we lay it out.

In August, we lay out our dreams for the school year in August.

August is our ebenezer.

So that is what I’m doing this August. I’m laying down my dreams. I’m laying down my hopes. And I’m putting aside my excuses.

I’m tired of waiting for next year.

I don’t have time to build another year.

I am getting too old to sit around and wait for something good to happen. Or the right kid to show up. Or the wrong kid to “get it.

I don’t want to just hang out with kids anymore without a purpose. We’ve played enough video games, eaten enough pizza, and I’ve been to enough high school games.

This. is. it.

This year.

This day.

This moment.

Now is the only time that matters.

I’ve got no patience for coulda, woulda, or shoulda.

This is my ebenezer.