All of us have experienced ministry momentum... The church is growing... People are meeting Jesus... Things are just falling into place... Doors are being opened... Numbers are increasing... But, what is the best way to leverage that momentum to experience its full effect?
Here are 3 things that God has shown me recently to help intensify ministry momentum rather than kill it.
My initial response to success and momentum is to work harder and do more.
In John 6, after Jesus has just fed 5,000 people with a dang Lunchable, thousands of people are chasing after him to hear him speak and see his miracles (I would call this incredible ministry momentum). Jesus' reaction is to "withdraw again to the mountain by himself."
WHAT? Jesus, you've got all this ministry opportunity! You've got thousands of people who want to know you! Why not preach another sermon, give an invitation, or at least put out a really good blog?
One of Satan's sneakiest spiritual warfare schemes is to get us tired... spinning our wheels while our tanks are on empty.
Taking time to refuel and rest in the midst of successful ministry seasons, or really any season, shows our reliance on God. "Be still and know that I am God."
Overextending ourselves shows that we are Christian atheists trusting in our abilities rather than God's promises. Resting shows our faith that Jesus is the one who's really doing the work (Matthew 16:18).
Rest can look a thousand different ways. My rest may look different from yours, but make sure it refuels your tank. For me, it's getting solid amounts of sleep, eating healthy food, working out, reading a good book, and laughing with good friends.
A leader that is rested will come back to his ministry labors oozing with passion, overflowing with joy, and white hot for the vision God has placed in his heart. That leader is unstoppable.
My instinctual desire after ministry success is for people to serve me… because I'm obviously that important. All I want to talk about is me: "Look at me!" "Look at how good I'M doing!" "Did you see what I just did?"
In John 6, after Jesus spent time alone on the mountaintop, he served his team. The disciples were in the middle of a storm and Jesus went down from the mountain into their situation to help them out of it. Instead of expecting his team to serve him, Jesus lowered himself to serve his team. What if in the middle of ministry momentum, we stopped looking for applause from our team, and we started looking for ways to serve them?
"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:3-8)
Nothing kills ministry momentum more than a selfish leader looking for more applause expecting to be served.
Nothing multiplies ministry momentum more than a leader who lowers himself to serve in the midst of momentum.
Who on your team needs to be encouraged right now? Who on your team needs you to be generous to them right now? Who can you celebrate for the role they played in the recent ministry success other than yourself?
Ministry momentum is intoxicating. It's like you've got beer goggles on. The world just looks totally different. Much of this fresh perspective is actually a positive thing because we have more faith than normal and are willing to make decisions based more on that intensified faith. But in these seasons, we also have the tendency to put our focus on the advancement of the ministry, rather than the advancement of the gospel.
We've got to take time to refocus on the real mission. The real mission is not advancing the ministry. The real mission is connecting a dying, deteriorating world with the most valuable thing in the universe- a loving God that is infinitely valuable who satisfies the deepest longings of our souls.
Take some time today to remember WHY you are in ministry. Take some time today to remember where you were when God saved you.
When our eyes are on Jesus and we are laser focused on what He's called us to, the momentum will be milked for all its worth.
Ministry momentum sometimes feels kind of like the drunk uncle. It shows up when you don't expect it, you never know how long it's going to stay, and it leaves unexpectedly. But, these 3 ministry momentum multipliers will ensure that we leverage it to its full long term benefit. Let's rest instead of burning out. Let's serve rather than thirsting for applause. And most importantly, let's make sure to refocus ourselves on what really matters.