Some Have It, Some Don’t
Beautiful buildings, cool environments, and the right technology aren’t necessary to have it. A person surrendered fully to Christ gets it. Once a person has it, he can’t keep it to himself. The good news: if you don’t have it, you can get it. The bad news: if you have it, you can lose it.
Bringing It into Focus
It is not a model, system, or result of programs. You cannot purchase it. It can’t be copied. Not everyone will get it. It cannot be learned. Even though it can’t be taught, it can be caught. It happens when we allow God to grow certain vital characteristics in us and in the ministries we lead.
Without vision, the people will never get it and keep it. Without a compelling vision, staff and volunteers get frustrated, disagree, and burn out. It doesn’t show up on its own. It follows big vision. The vision must be memorable, portable, and motivational. You can’t overcommunicate vision. People give sacrificially toward, tolerate inconveniences for, and love to share a compelling vision.
Those who do it all tend to lose it. The clearer your vision becomes, the easier it is to guard what God calls you to do. Instead of saying “and,” maybe you need to say “or.” If you chase two rabbits, both will escape. To be great at a few things and experience it, you have to say no to many things. Innovation requires saying no to a thousand things. When focus increases, options decrease. Those who have it stick with what brings it. You grow with your nos.
People on teams that have it enjoy it together. As long as you’re afraid of intimacy and spiritual partnership, you likely won’t experience it. God is calling us to more than just a personal relationship with Jesus. He wants us to experience a shared relationship with him. Those who don’t have it compete with one another. Those with it complete one another. We need to take time to celebrate our wins together.
To have it, you have to share it with each other. It dies when it is alone. Leaders with it understand the big picture, have fun, get naked, celebrate the wins, and fight behind closed doors.
Leaders with it do more than just think of new ideas; they actually do the new ideas. Innovation is more about mindset than money. God often guides by what he doesn’t provide. Problems are opportunities in disguise.
A Problem to Solve + Limited Resources + Increasing Passion = Exponential Innovation
You have everything you need to do what God wants you to do. Innovative leaders do anything short of sin to reach the lost. “All it takes is one idea to solve an impossible problem” (Robert Schuller). Innovation is awesome, but don’t put your faith in it. Keep your faith in Christ.
Willingness to Fall Short
Failure is not an option. It is a necessity. If you’re not failing, you’ve stopped dreaming. You’ll eventually stop learning and you will stop growing. Those who have it fail often. It is impossible to please God without faith, which means we have to risk. Sometimes the fruit of your steps of faith is measured not so much by what God does through you as by what God does in you.
Failure is often the tuition for success (adapted from Walter Brunell). Debrief after you fail so it becomes a learning experience. If you’re breathing, God’s not finished with you. If you’ve failed, you have learned something others haven’t and are in the perfect position to try again and succeed. Great leaders learn the art of failing forward. The pain of regret is often greater than the pain of failure. So get out of the boat.
Hearts Focused Outward
When we love deeply, love makes us do things we wouldn’t otherwise do. To have it, we have to care about those who are far from God. Many people don’t. We need to recognize that our friends desperately need Jesus. When our churches look inward instead of outward, we’re basically saying to nonbelievers, “You can just go to hell.”
Outreach is a team event, and we each have a part to play. Be careful not to blame yourself if someone rejects Christ. If you do, you might be tempted to take credit when someone accepts him. Love overcomes any obstacle. We need to be willing to do whatever it takes to reach people who are far from God. We need to have the faith to clearly share the gospel story and expect people to respond.
The more possessive and competitive we are, the more divided we become. A kingdom-minded ministry is more about what God is doing everywhere than what God is doing right here. If you are kingdom minded, you will speak well of and promote other churches and ministries.
A kingdom-minded ministry is generous and hungry to partner with others to get more done for the glory of God. When you have it, you know that it doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to God. He gives it. Since it is his and not yours, you’re willing to share it.
The more you try to keep it, the less of it you tend to have. The more you are willing to give it away, the more of it God seems to give. Kingdom-minded churches ask, “What do we have that we can give away?” and, “How can we partner with other ministries to grow God’s kingdom?”
Do You Have It? Does It Have You?
If you want your ministry to have it, more important than anything else we’ve discussed, you must have it. As we increase, it decreases. God is what you need and is the answer to your problems.
If you think you can buy it, you’ve already lost it. You might need to start with the confession, “I’ve lost it. I’ve taken my eyes off the prize. I’ve been distracted from a wholehearted pursuit of Christ.”
Ask God to give it back. To get it back, do the things that brought it before. God will help you find what you didn’t mean to lose.