A few years ago, I found myself sitting next to a stranger at one of the largest ministry conferences in America. After making a brief introduction, I remarked on how great the church’s production had been. The reply from my new friend, a church planter of 2 years, was surprisingly disappointing: “This is all great. But we could never afford any of it.” Rather than finding inspiration in what he could do in the future, he chose discouragement in what he could not do in the present.
It is natural for leaders to desire perfection. But resources are almost always smaller than dreams. Effective leaders lean into the words of Luke 16:10: “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” While God may have placed big dreams in your heart, He may have also placed very few resources in your hands. Rather than making excuses based on what you lack, begin making progress with whatever you’ve been given to leverage. Here are 3 steps that can help you do this:
1. Set Your Priorities
If there’s one truth about resources, it’s that there will never be enough. I have served in both small and large churches. In every situation, we had to make tough decisions about where we would invest our money and time. If you’re struggling with the fact that you cannot do everything as well as you’d like, make a list of your top 2-3 ministry priorities. A good question when setting priorities is this: “Which area(s) of ministry, if improved, would make the greatest impact on the entire church?”
2. Give Yourself A Pass
Even with a clear focus on a few priorities, you will never be able to do everything that you’d like. It is easy to compare yourself to a larger church and feel discouraged by the small step you are able to take. Rather than becoming paralyzed by comparison, celebrate the progress you are able to make. Be comfortable with the fact that you are doing your best whether or not you are currently the best.
3. Invest In Your People
Too often, I hear pastors use the quality of people in their churches as an excuse for not making progress. They’ll say things like, “We just don’t have any strong leaders in our church.” Strong leaders are attracted to organizations that are doing something great, not waiting for someone great to show up. God has placed specific gifts within each of the people in your church. Do you ever underestimate what each person can do?
Ultimately, the act of leveraging resources is a matter of stewardship. I truly believe that God has given you all that you need to take the next step He is calling you to. As you prove yourself trustworthy with the little you have, you can trust that more will be given. God never called us to do everything perfectly. He called us to use all that we have to make progress.