Opportunity Creep: It May be Your Biggest Ministry Challenge

The term “scope creep” is a term consultants use when their clients expect more than what the project originally outlined. The idea is that the scope of the project is slowing getting bigger, usually in imperceptible increments. Of course, no consultant wants scope creep to happen, but in an effort to please the client, its hard to prevent sometimes.

The same dynamic is ever present in ministry. It’s called “opportunity creep.”

What is “opportunity creep?” Its roughly the same idea, just applied to all of the positive ministry opportunities a pastor may face in the days and weeks of church life. By calling it “creep” we are acknowledging that it’s all too easy to say yes too much. By positioning this as a problem, we are highlighting that a lack of “opportunity management” can distract and dilute our ministry efforts.

Think about how many kinds of opportunities cross a pastor’s path:

  • We serve a congregation that’s a bottomless well of  members’ needs.
  • We are captured by the buzz of new ideas, new people, and new initiatives happening in church space.
  • We live in  communities riddled with issues that we would love to “missionally” engage.
  • We are digitally connect to an ocean of information and “friends.”

The bottom line: church leadership is rich soil for opportunity creep.

I will address opportunity creep with two follow-up posts:

1) The Five Primary Sources of Distraction in Ministry- this is about spotting the creep.

2) Applying Five Filters to Ministry Decision Making– this is about beating the creep.

Read more from Will here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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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
 
comment_post_ID); ?> "While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 

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