by John Lindell
No matter the type, size or age of an organization, momentum is an invaluable commodity. When it comes to momentum leaders look better than they actually are, followers perform better than usual and change is easier. Without momentum, everything is much harder and capable leadership can appear inept. While it is true that every church or ministry experiences seasons of momentum, a leader abdicates responsibility when they relegate momentum to time and chance.
Mission and Momentum
Some may scoff at the idea that the church leadership should dedicate serious consideration to a commodity that is far more likely to be discussed in the business world than in an ecclesiological context. After all, the church is not a business. The problem with that attitude is that the business community recognizes the value of momentum, because they know how crucial it is for growth. Yet, church leaders, who would readily admit that they are charged with declaring the greatest truth and carrying out a mission with eternal implications, proportionally invest far less time in thinking about cultivating momentum. If our mission is important then momentum is important.
The Momentum Equation
As a pastor, when I think about momentum, it comes down to a simple equation: the attitude of the leaders (paid or volunteer) + the atmosphere of the organization + the accomplishments of the people (by the power of the Holy Spirit) = MOMENTUM!
First, it is important to recognize that momentum begins with the leaders. You will never see momentum in your organization unless it is first present in the attitude of your leaders. It is fascinating to look at Israel’s history with this in mind. Think of the first four kings of the nation: 1) Saul lacked momentum; 2) David created momentum; 3) Solomon built on the momentum; and 4) Rehoboam stopped the momentum. Momentum begins with the attitude of the leader. What you see in David and Solomon, along with any other leader who will positively affect the momentum of their organization, is that they are leading in vision and enthusiasm. Vision, because you have to know where you are going and enthusiasm, because you have to be excited about where you are going. The bottom line is that you cannot kindle a fire in another person’s heart until it is burning in your own. Momentum starts with the leaders.
Second, momentum is contingent on the atmosphere of an organization. Though every organization has its unique characteristics, the factors that create momentum are constant and include: expectancy, energy, sacrificial commitment, encouragement, confidence, community and celebration of victories. Any place or ministry with momentum will include healthy doses of each of the above.
Finally, momentum is cultivated by the accomplishments of people empowered by the Holy Spirit. Dependence on the Holy Spirit is a non-negotiable. As people align themselves with the Spirit’s work and see through His eyes, great things will happen and, in response, celebration is appropriate. Often we see something great take place and, instead of pausing to celebrate what has happened, we plow right on to the next thing. The Bible is filled with examples of people taking time to celebrate their victories. Celebration should not only be the response to the victories brought by the momentum of the Holy Spirit working in our lives and ministry, but the very act of celebration sustains and produces additional momentum.
For the church to give time and energy to the cultivation of momentum is absolutely within the purview of its mission as it seeks to unite and energize people around the profound task that God has ordained it to accomplish. Give the time and energy necessary to cultivate momentum!
John Lindell is the Lead Pastor at James River Assembly in Ozark, MO. This post has been adapted from leadership coaching he does with the James River Assembly staff. ©2012 James River Assembly. All rights reserved.