Why Doing Less Creates More Ministry Impact
by Matt Keller
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 he 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 ole’ 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.
If our quarterly team meeting was powerful, we think, “We should move that to monthly…” If the time of prayer at the end of a service was impactful, we think, “We should start doing that every week…” We think that greater frequency will increase potency, but in reality, the opposite is actually true. The more we do something the less impact it will have.
At Next Level Church, the organization I lead, we try to infiltrate this thinking into everything we do.
1) 75 minute services.
Could we preach longer, or worship longer in our weekend services? Sure, but we don’t. We would rather leave people wanting more than leave them thinking, “Are we done yet?”
We do corporate communion every 6 to 8 weeks, because many of our attenders have come from a church background where communion was served so frequently that it lost it’s potency. We would rather do it less frequently but have it be a powerful, memorable experience than do it every week and have it just become a religious exercise.
3) Water Baptism.
We only do water baptism twice a year, because we want it to be a powerful, impact-making experience for those being baptized and for those attending the services as well.Last weekend, we baptized 175 people… now that’s impactful!!!
4) Prayer and Fasting.
At NLC, we believe in the power of prayer meetings and fasting, individually and corporately. We designate the first Monday of every month to prayer and fasting. We have resisted the urge to make it a weekly thing, because we know that it would kill the momentum and decrease the potency of the experience of prayer and fasting once a month.
S.O.A.P. is how we read and study the Bible at Next Level Church. Each quarter we create a SOAP Guide that gives people one chapter of the Bible to read everyday. Some comments we hear occasionally about SOAP are, “Why do we only read 1 chapter?” “Wouldn’t we grow people faster by encouraging them to read the entire Bible in a year? or to read 3 or 4 chapters a day?”
Our logic is this: SOAP has never been meant to be the end all, be all of Bible Study. It’s an on-ramp that is doable for everyone. For the more experienced believer, they can study the Bible with way more depth then just one chapter a day.
We are convinced that more does not necessarily increase the potency of what someone is reading in Scripture. We believe if someone can receive one verse every day that is a timely God-word for them, it has the power to change their life.
When it comes to building momentum, energy and power in your organization, think less, not more. Decreasing Frequency will Increase Potency every time.
So, leaders, what events, services or programs are you doing too frequently? What in your organization or department could become insanely more powerful or potent if you just ratcheted down the frequency of it?