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When Leaders Must Pull the Plug on a Ministry

As leaders, we are constantly casting vision to spur our teams forward. Some ideas work and take off like wild-fire while others slowly produce results.

Other ideas never really fly.

You cast the vision, attempting to create buy-in, but the concept never takes root or begins to grow. The vision languishes and people start to seem indifferent.

When do you cut your losses and pull the plug?

I’ve been faced with this question several times, even recently in one of our endeavors. While never simple, here are a few warnings signs it might be time to take the program off life support.

No Buy In.

We’ve heard the old adage that ideas are not taught, they are caught.

If after some time, the idea still seems to only be pushed by you or a select few, you have to consider the team has not caught it.

No Momentum.

You promoted the event or tactic, and no matter what you try, it feels like you are spinning your wheels.

A good idea will gain speed and multiply; involving other giftings and talents making it more well-rounded.

Lagging Results.

Perhaps the idea is actually in effect, but the results are not there. While there is always a case for being faithful and plowing the ground, wisdom and evaluation must always be a part of our journey.

If the results are not there after some time, it may be time to cut the losses.

No Buzz.

Is anyone besides you or the inner circle talking about the idea?

One way to take the pulse is not to bring up the issue for some time. Does anyone notice? If you have not had a certain meeting or gathering recently, is it missed?

When a successful program goes out of the spotlight or the “to update list”, your team will let you know about it.

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Chris Lautsbaugh lives in Muizenberg, South Africa. He serves with Youth With a Mission (YWAM), teaching and training internationals to be missionaries and church leaders. Together with his wife Lindsey, they lead and steward training programs and ministries in and around Cape Town, reaching out to under privileged communities, planting churches, and meeting needs associated with the issues South Africa is facing. They have been in missions for 35 combined years. They serve together with their two boys, Garett and Thabo. Chris blogs at www.nosuperheroes.com and has published a book on grace, Death of the Modern Superhero:How Grace Breaks our Rules.