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Small Giants: Time

August 27, 2007

In reading the book Small Giants I couldn’t help but think about time. These companies took time to become what they are. Each company struggled with what to do next and each company often times had employee issues and missteps. What they needed most to move past all of these was time.

My first job in ministry gave me three years at a set salary. They told me after that point we would have to see how things were going because they didn’t know if they could continue to pay that amount.

I worked there for three years to the day before starting work at my next position. The thing is at a certain point I looked at that place as training, a place to learn how to do my job, and nothing else. Did I still outreach and seek to share Christ with others? Without a doubt but I understood that it wasn’t where I would be long term. It was a great place with great people but I realized we had two very different ideas of what church should be and do. I understood I didn’t have time.

Not that long ago I received a call from a friend about their ministry position. He told me that some benefactor within the church had committed a sum of money to make sure that the new minister was properly compensated. He said they had committed to three years.

There is an underlying assumption about growth built in to both of these offers. At some point more money must come in to keep the compensation the same. I don’t think we realize just how much this growth assumption colors our decisions and our goals.

I recently read a want ad for a minister that invited him to come to a small church in a growing community. They touted their growth potential because the underlying principle is one of growth. Come here because it is a growing community, surely some of those will want to help our church grow.

The problem is we need time more then we need growth statistics or numbers. We need time to build relationships with those in the community. We need time for the people to get to know and trust us. The members need time to get the know the minister, they need time to become passionate about what God is doing, but guess what, they have trouble seeing anything if they don’t see growth.

How many ministers get the time to do ministry right? How many last past two years? Nothing has happened so I better look for a better place to grow a church. Willow Creek has an interesting book called Reveal that I recently finished. For me it has a lot that questions the idea of growth by numbers. It seems that Willow Creek has learned what these Small Giants have, growth in numbers isn’t everything.

If you are in a place where numbers rule I would recommend you start working to train others to see their dangers. If you are in a place where the lack of numbers keeps you down, don’t. Now I must confess that some people are small because they like it small and they don’t want to see people come to Christ, but I know an equal number of people who constantly wonder what they are doing wrong because they don’t see the numbers.

If you are truly following God it doesn’t matter, maybe all you really need is time. How many ministries never really got going because we don’t give them enough time? I think all the companies profiled in Small Giants would agree, maybe you just need to give it more time. Maybe you should structure more time into the equation.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 28, 2007 3:19 am

    Excellent post.
    I have seen so many ministries that I think could have been so incredible that weren’t given enough time to grow. Weren’t given a chance. People weren’t patient. They wanted to see immedient increase. Alot of people today don’t understand that God provides the increase. Yes, how many ministries today never really got going because we don’t give them enough time?

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