Oct 19, 2017

Three Questions Leaders Must Ask To Take Their Leadership To The Next Level

“I can’t afford ________.”

“It cost too much...”

Two phrases I hate hearing.

Worse yet: two sentiments I hate feeling.

The thing is I get the feeling. I’m planting a brand new church right in the heart of the most expensive city in the United States: New York City.

There are so many costs already associated with launching a brand new church, but doing it in a city where everything is literally two, three, or even five times as expensive as other parts of the country is overwhelming.

Sometimes I hear what my other church-planting friends pay for facility and venue rentals and I laugh... What they pay in monthly rent for a gorgeous venue is what we’ll end up paying for a single week in a crammed theater or basement!

Other times I learn about a piece of land or property that a church has acquired at an unbelievable price and I cry realizing that the chances of owning church property in the heart of Manhattan is about as likely as me rooting for the Boston Red Sox! I’m not saying it won’t ever happen, but it’s going to take a bizarre set of circumstances and a wild series of events before it ever does!

Despite all of the financial challenges planting a new church poses, here’s one thing I’ve learned:

Refusing to invest in myself, or the team I’m leading, is a cost I am NOT willing to pay!

We live in a day and age where we have access to more free information and resources than ever before. We also live in a day and age where certain events, experiences, and resources do have a financial cost associated with them.

And I’m 100% ok with that. You know why?

Certain things are worth the price of admission! The exchange in value goes beyond the dollar. There is information, knowledge, resource, tools, wisdom, experience, and ideas to be gained on the other side of the financial exchange.

Not to mention the benefit of experiencing all of those aforementioned items alongside of my team members. The return in value that we collectively gain far outweighs the price we paid.

I’ve learned to view these experiences and opportunities as investments not costs.

I’m not suggesting that we be flippant with the resources and money our people and God have entrusted to us. Nor am I suggesting that we run from conference-to-conference...after all, I am a married, bi-vocational, church planter in New York City with plenty of activities on my calendar.

What I’m saying is that if you – a ministry leader – believe that a conference, a workshop, a resource, an event, or whatever you want to call it has the potential to positively impact the way you do ministry and better help you fulfill the calling God has placed on your life then IT’S WORTH THE INVESTMENT!

Here are three questions I use as guide rails to help me determine whether something is worth the investment or not:

1. What is my primary calling in this season of life and ministry?

When I consider using church money (or my own personal money for a church expense) I begin with the calling God has placed on my life. In John 15:16, Jesus said He has chosen us and appointed us to bear fruit. Leveraging the right resources, conferences, and experiences can be the exact thing you need to the bear the fruit Jesus has called you to produce.

Who has God called you to be and what has He called you to do? When you look at it through this lens, you begin to see conferences, workshops, and events as opportunities to grow and get better.

2. Can this event/experience/resource help me fulfill my calling? If so, how?

Once you’ve identified how God has marked you, you should next consider whether this investment will further your calling and maximize your impact. Not only should you consider if it will further your calling, but you should also answer “How so?”

Answering that second question helps define what you are after and creates expectation for how God will use the experience in your life. Of course, no single event will answer every question we have, provide every answer we need, or settle every uncertainty we face, but God honors our pursuit of wisdom and blesses us when we seek it (see James 1:5).

3. Is this an investment I should make at this time? Why or why not?

Once you’ve worked through the first two questions, you arrive at your decision moment. You’ve counted the costs (not just financial, but spiritual and practical as well), and now it’s time to determine if this is a worthy venture. Again, remember that the answer to this question should be about more than just the dollars and cents.

Proverbs 4:7 says, “Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” I really believe there are key times where God will challenge us to invest in something financially even though it seems like that wouldn’t be the most prudent decision.

There’s a pattern throughout the Scriptures in which God’s people are called to take massive steps of faith that require financial investment and sacrifice. But the reward for that type of faith is always an increase in blessing, resource, and vision.

Remember: the Master chastised his servant, not because he lost money, but because he wouldn’t do anything with the little bit he was given.

So there you have it! Let’s commit to growing together, investing in ourselves and our teams, and building church in the way and to the degree God has called us to!

Ricky serves as the Vice President of The Growth Company and will be at The Preaching Event Roundtable on November 8-9 if you would like to connect with him.  He and his wife are also planting a brand new church – Meta Church – on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Together, they have a beautiful daughter and have served in churches of various sizes from Washington state to South Carolina.

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