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5 Dangerous Warning Signs of Complacency

5. Content with early success.

The final mark of complacency is when you have had a measure of success, and it is proving to be enough. Perhaps you were a church plant, and you finally break the 200 barrier. Or buy land. Or build a building. Maybe it’s when you finally go multistaff, multiservice or multisite.

You can reach a certain level of success that pretty much fleshes out your initial vision. What then? More may be on the line than you have realized. You’ve stopped dreaming, which means you’ve stopped pushing.

A year or so ago, I remember watching ESPN at the gym where I work out. There was an interview with Mike Krzyzewski, who was once again going to coach the men’s Olympic basketball team.

He was asked a lot of different questions, but the one that stood out to me was about LeBron James finally winning his first championship with Miami, and how he might compare to Michael Jordan.

Coach K said, and rightly so, that there was no comparing anyone to Michael. But then he said that the real question is how finally winning a championship would affect LeBron.

Would it “quell a fire,” or “light a bonfire?”

Someone like James had craved a title for so long—now that he had it, would he hunger for more or be satisfied and stop trying as hard as he did before?

Would it be a catalyst, or would it make him coast?

Far too many let the fires die.

OK, confession time. Over 30 years of ministry, I have had seasons of complacency. I wrote easily of these five marks because I’ve manifested all five marks. But each and every time, if and when the complacency was broken, it was for one reason.

Realizing it.

So, have you been a bit complacent of late?

Maybe now you know.

And that’s a good thing.  

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James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunct professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His newest book, Christianity for People Who Aren’t Christians: Uncommon Answers to Common Questions, is now available on Amazon or at your favorite bookseller. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.