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Why Doing Less Creates More Ministry Impact

In a meeting I was in recently, a leader was talking about the core values of his organization. His concern was that he wanted to make sure they didn’t lose their grip on those things that have made their organization great over the past several years. But his dilemma was that all of the programs, events, and services were wearing him and his team out. How can an organization keep the potency of what matters most without wearing out the teams who have to create the events and services that communicate those core values?

The answer is: Do Less, Not More.   

In simple terms:  “Decreasing Frequency Increases Potency.”

As leaders, we often think just the opposite. If something is important, we think we need to do it more, to really let people know how important it is to our organization. However, what often happens is the potency actually goes down the more frequently we do something, rather than having it go up. Let me give you an over-simplified illustration of what I mean.

As a corn-fed, Midwest-raised boy, I enjoy a good steak now and then. So when my wife, Sarah, and I are on vacation we will go out to a nice steakhouse and eat some good ol’ fashioned red meat. At the end of the night, I’m tempted to think, “That steak was amazing, I should eat steak again tomorrow night.” But here’s what we all know to be true: If I eat steak every night, eventually I will get tired of it. And if I eat it for too many weeks or months in a row, I will probably end up with a nervous twitch at the very mention of a cow.

Too much of a good thing is never a good thing. We know this to be true when it comes to lifestyle things like eating steak, but far too many of us, as leaders, miss this when it comes to the organizations we lead.

We think, “If it works, then we need to do it more!” If a service works, if an event was a success, then what we need to do to keep the momentum going is do that more frequently. We think, “Let’s have an event like that every month…or we need time like that every week…” When in reality, by increasing the frequency, we are actually decreasing the potency.