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The Top 5 Ministry Excuses You Must Stop Making

Excuses. We all make them from time to time. But we should banish them from our vocabulary forever.

And here’s why I believe that’s so critical:

You can make excuses, or you can make progress, but you can’t make both.

Most of us want to make progress, but instead we make excuses.

I was reminded of that twice this week. The first time was in in this great post by my friend, Casey Graham.

The second time was the day when my 17-year-old son, Sam, and I were driving to his track meet.

He and his team have qualified as provincial finalists in the 4×100 meter high school relay.

Sam and I were talking about training and which school has the best facilities.

My son’s school has a gravel track.

It has no marked lanes.

It’s not great for training.

They have to estimate handoffs on the relay and practice their steps with best guesses because their track isn’t marked for any of that.

And yet his team has advanced to the provincial finals.

The team with the best track in the county (a multimillion dollar top rate install) has been eliminated.

I said I was surprised … Sam was too. He said as a rule, the team with the great facility rarely does well, and yet his school always places first or second, even with the inferior training facility.

The conversation reminded me of the power of excuses.

It would be so easy for Sam and his teammates to try less hard and convince themselves that they’ll never make it to the finals unless they get a track like other schools.

But they didn’t. They trained like crazy anyway, and went all the way to the finals.

The conversation convicted me again: You and I absolutely have to stop making excuses now.

Question: Ever notice that ministry leaders often have a whole list of well-rehearsed excuses as to why their ministry isn’t more effective than it is?

Tell me if this isn’t true:

The leaders who make the most excuses make the least progress.

The leaders who make the most progress make the fewest excuses.

So in the name of getting on with our mission, here are the top five excuses I’ve heard church leaders make. (And regrettably, in different seasons, I’ve made some of them.)

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Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.