Thinking Out Loud

November 18, 2010

Sometimes Bigger IS Necessarily Better

I’ve been thinking (not out loud) all day about this one.

Sometimes a church or ministry organization will begin a period of rapid and accelerating growth.   They hire new staff.   They add new programs or services.   They need larger premises in which to conduct their activities.

All this time, there are people critics standing on the sidelines suggesting that they’ve created a monster, and now all their energies need to be spent feeding the beast.

And that’s often the case.

Sometimes growth is a natural product of the effectiveness of a church or parachurch organizations ministry.   If it’s working, if it’s blessing people, if it’s bringing people into the kingdom, we want to see it grow, right?

Now… I know there are people reading this who have an issue with “big.”    They like to give to niche mission organizations and perhaps their weekly worship thing is a smaller congregation or even a home church.   Is that you?   Then trust me, I’m on-side.  I know the intimacy that comes through worship in a smaller group, and I know that your missions giving yields more bang for your buck when the people in the office and the people ministering on the front lines are the same people.

I’m not, across-the-board, in favor of “big.”

But I also realized today that there are some major liabilities that can take place when you have a ministry that is powerful and effective, but somewhere along the line you failed — or were unable — to build an organization.

This isn’t about the fact that as president of my own company, I occasionally empty the wastebaskets or clean the toilets.   I don’t mind modeling servant leadership.    In fact, there’s nothing I would ask any employee to do that I don’t do or haven’t done myself.     I believe good leadership involves getting your hands dirty.

I’m just realizing that perhaps as a leader, I failed to set my sights on greater possibilities, and am paying the price today for not bringing in more strategic partnerships.

Because I think that sometimes, bigger is better.   Even in church and ministry.

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