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12 Quotes And Church Growth Lessons From Alison Levine Who Climbed Mount Everest

Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts unexpectedly missed Friday’s Chick-Fil-A Leadercast.  However, Alison Levine filled in and gave some incredible leadership insights.

Levine has scaled the highest peak on every continent and also skied to both the North and South Poles.  In 2002, she led the first ever women’s expedition of Mount Everest.  If anyone can teach us something about going to the next level and new heights, it’s Alison.

The following are Levine’s comments and applications:

  1. “Even though your going backwards, you’re making progress.” – When climbing Everest you don’t go straight up but rather up and down.  Though this is frustrating, your body has to get used to the altitude.  Church leaders, if your attendance keeps going up and down or has plateaued, don’t get frustrated.  God may be conditioning you for the next level.
  2. “Fear is OK.  Complacency will kill you.  You have to adjust to your environment as it’s moving and shifting.” – New construction, hiring staff, or expanding ministry can be scary during these unstable economic times.  However, waiting for perfect conditions will kill momentum at a minimum.  At worst, it may kill your ministry.
  3. “When you’re in leadership, you put on a smiling face.  Your team won’t endure what you won’t endure.” – Positive leadership gives your church a sense of security.  Leadership always points to a brighter tomorrow.
  4. “Storms are always temporary.” – There are many pop-up storms at high altitudes, but they do pass.  The higher your church goes the more pop-up storms you will have, but they will pass.
  5. “A plan you work on in the morning may be outdated by the afternoon…Focus on execution over planning.” – Developing the plan for growth is fun because planning does not have a cost.  Execution requires a price to be paid.
  6. “Walking away from the deal is harder than moving on.” – Churches that continually grow know when to end ministries that are no longer as effective as needed.
  7. “One person’s bad judgement can take out an entire team.” – Moral failures or selfishness by staff or key leaders can kill your church’s growth.
  8. “Even when things feel calm, there is still a risk.” – Often the greatest enemy of future success is current success.
  9. “You don’t have to have total clarity to put one step in front of the other.” – Growing churches don’t need all the answers.  They aren’t afraid to try things and sometimes fail.  Just keep moving forward.
  10. “Being on that summit doesn’t change your life.  It’s the lessons learned in the journey.”
  11. “There are always more mountains to climb.” – As effective as your church is and as large as it may become, there are still people who are hurting or don’t know Christ in your community and need to be reached.
  12. “You have to weather the storms to enjoy the view.” – Ministry is hard.  I don’t have to tell you that.  However, I do feel the need to give some words to many of you who may be frustrated, discouraged, and wanting to quit – DON’T GIVE UP!  You’re almost to the top.  The view will be worth the price you are currently paying.
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Brian Dodd is a church stewardship & leadership consultant. See www.briandoddonleadership.com for additional insights.