I’ve been reluctant to share this article with folks, but it’s too honest and raw not to share. A couple of months ago, I wrote an article – at the request of Leadership Journal – about the “price of getting personally involved in justice.” The editors of Leadership Journal entitled the article, “One Pastor’s Quest.” Honestly, it could have been entitled, “One Pastor’s Many Mistakes in Trying to Do a Good Thing.”
As our ministry, One Day’s Wages, approaches its 1-year anniversary, what people mostly see is the growth and the positive attention it has received through individuals and media. But behind the scenes, it has been one of the most arduous and difficult seasons of my life.
I’d like to strongly encourage you to take a few minutes to read the full article – so that you might learn from my mistakes. Please…learn from my mistakes.
After having started three fairly large undertakings with planting Quest Church, starting a non-profit community cafe & music venue, and most recently, One Day’s Wages, I can tell you that I’ve made some mistakes and blunders along the way. There are many, and each of these could be a chapter of a book, but here’s a quick summation of some of them. Here are five important advice I can give especially to those who are starting something new, including church plants, non-profits, businesses, and anything else you can think of that involves working with other people…
Sacrifice and Cost
There’s a cost and sacrifice. Just remember that, because the minute you forget that is the moment you’ll get your arse kicked. Pursuing visions and dreams will always cost you something, and more often than not, it’s not just one thing.
For the record, I won’t listen to anyone that’s not willing to sacrifice something for their visions and dreams.
The Entrepreneurial Exodus
With every endeavor, there’s always been a small exodus of people that disagree, misunderstand, and eventually depart. I call it the Entrepreneurial Exodus, and yes, I just made that up. When we finally launched the church…people left. When I was stupid enough to do a building campaign in the first year of our church, renovated a building, and started the cafe…people left. When another church “merged” into Quest…people left. When ODW was getting started…people left. Starting new things opens you up to disagreements, criticism, and the entrepreneurial exodus.
It’s not ideal, but it happens. There’s a reason why it’s been documented that in the process of a church engaging and finishing a building project, up to 30% of a congregation leaves. This is a combination of #1 and #2.
Energy and Tenacity
The energy required to launch any vision or dream is beyond what you can probably fathom. And for those that think they know it simply because they know in their knowledge but have yet to experience it through their heart and soul – Be prepared and know that it’s going to be incredibly difficult, and be prepared to feel it as you go through it.
But here’s the key thing: This is only for a season and not forever.
For many, this is what separates dreamers and those that dream and implement. When I look at those that have pursued and lived out their dreams, one of the commonalities is tenacity. Be tenacious. I’m no longer as impressed with ideas. I’m more impressed with passionate and tenacious people with ideas.
Cast Vision and Over-Communicate
One of the biggest blunders I’ve made is to under-communicate.
Cast the vision. Distribute the vision. Share the vision. And share it again. In short, over-communicate until people tell you, “That’s enough. I get it…” Don’t leave too much room for misunderstandings and assumptions.
Because if you do…it will always happen. Always.
People over Project
This is key. When you start something, you’re essentially working on a project. You’re giving life and birth to something. In the business language, you become a project manager, but when you elevate the project over the value of people, or more bluntly, when you use people to pursue your project, you’ve missed the point, and you’ll hurt some people along the way.
That sucks. It’s single-handedly the source of my greatest pain.
What’s important to note is that if you’re not careful, it happens when it’s not intended.
How do I know? Because I have done those very things.
Vision and projects may perish. People don’t. Learn how to value people.
And yes, I’m still working on that one, and for that matter, all of the above.