Momentum Swing: 5 Things to Know

Next to God’s favor, there’s nothing a leader desires more than momentum.

Momentum is a force that is greater than the sum of all your leadership energy, effort and resources combined.

Momentum is not a mystery, it contains elements such as vision and competence, but it cannot be manufactured upon demand.

Momentum is the spiritual X-Factor that propels your church forward at a rate that is difficult to explain. You work hard, but God’s hand is evident in the momentum of any real substance.

The more we understand momentum, the better we can lead toward it.

5 thoughts to strengthen your leadership grasp of momentum:

1) Momentum is fueled by vision and activated by faith.

This is clear evidence of the partnership we all have with God for spiritual momentum in our churches.

Vision is the source and fuel of momentum, and faith activates God’s hand toward momentum.

Without a clear and compelling vision, there is no direction to follow. Without faith, there is no invitation for God to provide a power larger than human leadership can muster.

It takes both large vision and great faith to see momentum catch traction.

Momentum is not magic; it’s available to all leaders and their churches.

2) Momentum is sustained by competence.

When vision and faith are part of your culture, the stage is set for momentum. God is not obligated, but He is now invited. Leadership competence is then required to build and sustain momentum for as long as God’s hand is upon it.

This leadership competence comes in the form of strategy. The strategy helps sustain the momentum that vision and faith support.

Don’t over-complicate the idea of strategy. Strategy is your simple and clear written plan. That’s it. Do you have a plan? Is it clear? Are you working it? Are you adapting as required?

Stay focused on:

  • Vision
  • Faith
  • Competence
  • Strategy

3) Momentum, or the lack of it, might skew your perspective.

When you don’t have momentum, and you’re struggling to grow, it’s never as bleak as it appears.

When there is no momentum, that doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. It does not mean God has abandoned you. Sometimes (to borrow a phrase I love), you are waiting for God’s next “fresh wind and fresh fire.”

Keep praying, working hard, and making the best leadership decisions that you can.

When you’re experiencing great momentum resulting in rapid growth, it’s never as good as it appears.

Momentum covers a multitude of flaws and problems!

When things are going great, and the “big mo” is with you, it’s tempting to think that you made it happen and “this is the way it always works.” It’s easy to forget that without God’s power the momentum is over, or you begin to think that you now have all the answers.

Remember where you came from and how you got momentum. Keep at it. Momentum doesn’t remove the hard work, it multiples it.

Thank God daily, because you didn’t do it all yourself, and keep working hard.

4) Momentum can take an unexpected twist toward entitlement.

Momentum and entitlement seem like unlikely partners. Here’s how it happens.

When your church is experiencing tough times, everyone is in the same boat. You are trying to survive. There is no surplus. There are no perks to compete for. There is no fame or notoriety. It’s all-hands-on-deck to keep the ship afloat and moving forward. Everyone hunkers down and works hard for solutions.

When a church finds success, it can take a very different turn. Favor brings rewards, and soon many want a piece of the proverbial pie. It might be desired recognition – a new title, a place on the org chart, more staff, a new building with nice offices. It doesn’t really matter what it is; the point is that it can cause leaders to lose focus on what got the momentum going.

Leaders can become distracted by potential rewards. This always kills momentum. (There is nothing wrong with rewards, it’s when those rewards become the focus.)

Gratitude and hard work are the only appropriate responses to momentum.

5) Momentum never lasts forever – keep your foot on the pedal.

The natural response to things going your way is to let off the gas and coast a little.

When you experience momentum, it’s not the time to coast. It’s time to push the pedal to the floor. Take full advantage of the favor God is granting. God delivers the favor, but you fan the flame!

When momentum fades, don’t panic. Focus on the small wins.

Momentum comes in different seasons and different ways. Don’t try to copy the momentum you once had. Let God grant His favor how He chooses.

Keep leading with fervor for the vision and faith that God is with you!

Learn more about developing – and maintaining – momentum at your church. Connect with an Auxano Navigator today.

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Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
— Glenna Hendricks
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright

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