We are a people in a hurry.
We want results (and we should) but we want them now and often rather than ensuring that we do something well and sustainable, we opt for what we think will be the quick solution which usually fails in the long term.
We run ministry campaigns but can neglect the harder ongoing training in stewardship and generosity. We want people in groups but don't provide a long term sustainable model that keeps them there or grows their leaders. We want growth and put great energy into appealing services but don't close the back door through meaningful engagement of those who come - and thus many leave. We desire to train new leaders and design programs but don't mentor them through the process and give them opportunities to lead and grow and receive feedback.
Why do we so often neglect long term sustainability in our ministry efforts? Sustainability takes a lot more time and we want results now. Sustainability means that we know what we are going after, are committed to doing it well, have done our homework, thought through the issues, have someone who will lead the effort and are willing to start small and let it grow. In the short run it produces less but in the long run it produces exponentially more than going after quick results.
Take groups as an example. Almost every church values groups but most struggle to make it happen. They run programs to get them going and then they fizzle out and a few years later they try another tact. Yet there are churches (even very large churches) that have up to 75% of their adults in groups on a regular basis. In the first instance, the desire for quick results circumvents long term success. In the second instance, leaders have done their homework, built a sustainable model and are dogged in pursuing it for long term sustainability and success.
The next time you tackle a ministry initiative, ask this question: Am I going after quick results or do I have a paradigm for long term sustainability?
Helping individuals and organizations go to the next level of effectiveness. TJ Addington can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org