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5 Secrets of Building Ministry Momentum

Momentum. Few of us have it. All of us want it.

How do you generate momentum? And how do you build and sustain momentum once you have it?

I believe there are some secrets to building momentum. I also believe that none of these secrets are easy to do. If they were, everyone would have momentum.

And yet … these secrets are not impossible to master. They are a challenge. But not because they are difficult. They are a challenge because they require keener insight and greater courage and discipline than most of us ordinarily have.

With insight, courage and discipline, mastering these secrets is quite obvious and imminently doable.

Here are five secrets of building ministry momentum:

1. Identify one experience that everyone needs. This is where keen insight is required. I often say that you’ve chosen the right church-wide campaign when you can legitimately say, “We’ll still be talking about what happened in the fall of 2015 10 years from now.” If you can’t say that about the campaign you’re considering … you’ve probably not identified the one experience that everyone needs. Another line I often use is that “you don’t want to get to November and wish you had been part of a group that is using the study.” Can you see how these two statements might form a test for whether you’ve chosen the right campaign? See also How to Choose the Right Church-Wide Campaign.

2. Choose the optimum window to offer the experience. This secret requires both insight and courage. In my experience, while the source of momentum may be somewhat of a mystery, the reasons for a lack of momentum are abundantly clear. There is a right window to offer every experience. You know what it is. I know what it is. When the right season is interrupted by an event or program that could (and should) be held some other time … that other event or program needs to be relocated. And that takes both insight and courage. See also When Is the Best Time to Launch a Church-Wide Campaign.

3. Narrow your focus to the experience you’ve chosen. This is an enormously important secret. If you want to build momentum, eliminating all other competing events and programs is essential. I know, eliminating is a very strong word. The key really is this. If you want to create momentum, you need to put a laser focus on the experience you have already declared is the one experience that everyone needs. This is not the time to promote everything equally. This is the time to focus the spotlight on the one thing you’ve chosen. See also 10 Principles for Building a Thriving Small Group Ministry.

4. Make the offer irresistible. Everything matters. The way you talk about the experience in your weekend service (announcements). The way your senior pastor refers to it in the sermon. The insert in the bulletin. The website. The church-wide email. The newsletter. Everything must ring true and ring loudly. Make it affordable (free if you can). Provide incentives for everyone who invites a friend (make it even more affordable). Ask everyone to consider donating a little extra so the resources can be free to everyone who cannot afford to participate. Everything you are doing must feel like a can’t afford to miss this opportunity. See also Budgeting for the Preferred Future.

5. Make the first step obvious and easy. This secret may feel like a no-brainer. But trust me … so many of us are NOT doing this. The first step MUST be totally obvious. Sign-up? You shouldn’t have to figure it out. You shouldn’t have to hope. Or wonder. How you sign up should be TOTALLY obvious. Where you sign-up should be TOTALLY obvious. And it should be EASY. If you have to be psychic (I usually say Carnac the Magnificent) to figure out how to sign up … it is not easy. See also How Would You Rate the First Steps Out of Your Auditorium? 

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Mark Howell serves as Pastor of Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV. He founded SmallGroupResources.net, offering consulting and coaching services to help churches across North America launch, build and sustain healthy small group ministries. He spent four years on the consulting staff at Lifetogether and often contributes to ministry periodicals such as the Pastor's Ministry Toolbox and ChurchCentral.com.