Adventures in Limited Capacity
Faith + Character + Knowledge + Consistency + Systems = Capacity for Growth
Capacity is defined as the maximum amount that something can contain. Growing leaders & churches requires expanding capacity personally & organizationally. Our influence & the size of our church often matches our capacity. Over & over again as my church has hit growth barriers, I’ve come to realize that MY limited capacity has been the greatest barrier to our growth. Here’s some things that have limited my capacity to grow & have served as a lid on my ability to grow others:
1. Lack of Faith
Faith in God grows our capacity, because we see clearly the infinite power & potential of His power. Faith in God empowers us to take risk, overcome obstacles, & believe the impossible can happen for God’s glory.
2. Lack of Character
Character issues can put a lid on your leadership. Of course, immorality can disqualify you as a leader & hurt the growth of your church, but other character issues that are seen as tolerable or acceptable can no less limit your capacity. Pride & the insecurities that come with it, can keep us from letting go of the reigns of ministries that others can lead, limiting the opportunity for growth. Unforgiveness & bitterness toward others can keep you from growing spiritually & cause you to hesitate to trust others. Taking responsibility for the problems & priorities of the organization is also a huge character issue. Leaders that blame others instead of pushing to solve problems & give up easily when things get tough will put a lid on the growth of their church. To grow your church or organization, grow your character.
3. Limited Knowledge of the Community
Limited knowledge of the community leads to missed opportunities to reach out & missed application of the gospel to the real needs of the people in your context. Many times churches ignore community organizations, events, & environments, which would be valuable places to grow our influence & share the gospel, along with learning more about the communities needs & open doors that the gospel could penetrate. Someone said, “Don’t plant a church in your head, plant it in your community.” To do so, we must get out meet people & ask God to show us open doors.
Axiom: “It’s not what you do today, it’s what you do everyday that counts.” One of the #1 complaints I here people make behind their leaders back & that I’m sure has been made about me is – “He starts a bunch of stuff that he doesn’t finish.” Which I usually, push back on them with – “What did you do to get behind the idea & move it forward.” But it is a great challenge for leaders that are wanting growth. Sometime we just try good ideas & when they fall a little flat, we give up on them. Instead, we should do the deep work of devising solid strategy, thinking long-term & then stick with it, even through dry seasons. This sets a solid foundation for volunteer buy in & consistency of action that is needed to bring a harvest.
5. Lack of systems in place
I think almost daily about Edward Deming’s great quote – “Your system is perfectly designed to give you the results you’re getting.” Systems involve more people & energy which expands capacity. As leaders, we often hesitate to build systems because of fear of losing control or because of added complexity in relationships. God designed the world in systems – hydrosphere, geosphere, atmosphere, biosphere. The human body has nine systems – Central/Nervous, Respiratory, Digestive, etc. Living organisms that expand & grow do so through systems. To expand capacity, a leader must know when to create a system out of the relationships he/she has built.
Faith in God + Character + Knowledge of the Community + Consistency of Action + Developing Systems = Capacity for Growth.
What is the lid on your leadership & the organization you lead? What may be limiting your capacity for growth?