We have to be very careful with progress. Progress can be fun. Most leaders want to see progress. Most people do also.
But, as much as we may want—and need—progress, there are reasons we naturally tend to avoid it.
Here are seven reasons we avoid progress:
It stretches us – Progress always takes us to areas we’ve never been before.
I recently hired a personal trainer. We spend a lot of time stretching. If you stretch enough, as much as I may need to, it hurts! I have to feel a little pain so I can eventually feel better and be more productive in my workouts.
It invites change – Always. You can’t have progress without it. Progress loves to stir interest in something new. And, to fuel and maintain the momentum brings continual change.
It’s like buying a new couch for the living room. Pretty soon, if you like the couch enough, you want more new things. You might have to have a new rug in front of the couch. And, then a new chair. And, new curtains. (You get the idea.)
You have to improve – I often say, “You have to get better to get bigger.” It’s true. Progress requires more energy and effort as it progresses.
Every time I’ve initiated some type of development opportunity, it’s required a learning curve among our people. We have to figure something out we have previously never done.
It’s often messy – Progress often goes where there is not a defined system or procedures. In finding new territory, progress gets messy at times.
Most of us, even the risk takers among us (people like me), prefer something in our life that is safe and predictable. Getting to real progress seldom is.
It often defies logic or boundaries – Traditional lines of thought won’t always work with progress. You’ll have to think beyond what’s pre-determined, established and even normal at times.
In church revitalization, for example, as much as we try to build upon the past there really isn’t any way to move forward unless you challenge the way things have always been done. This is often where the resistance begins. It’s uncomfortable.
It invites competition – No one pays attention to a stagnant organization. Show people a little progress and someone will want to join the fun!
Of course, we are all on the “same team” in church work—right? But, our competition isn’t necessarily other churches. The more we find ways to get people into church—the more there is in the world to distract them.
It begs for more – Progress begets progress. People want to keep experiencing the thrill of victory.
And, that stretches us even more, which invites more change, and makes us even more uncomfortable.
You can’t say you haven’t been warned. We have a choice. If we want to achieve progress we have to make sure we are prepared for the “progress” it brings.
This article originally appeared here.