Opportunity Creep: It May be Your Biggest Ministry Challenge

The term “scope creep” is a term consultants use when their clients expect more than what the project originally outlined. The idea is that the scope of the project is slowing getting bigger, usually in imperceptible increments. Of course, no consultant wants scope creep to happen, but in an effort to please the client, its hard to prevent sometimes.

The same dynamic is ever present in ministry. It’s called “opportunity creep.”

What is “opportunity creep?” Its roughly the same idea, just applied to all of the positive ministry opportunities a pastor may face in the days and weeks of church life. By calling it “creep” we are acknowledging that it’s all too easy to say yes too much. By positioning this as a problem, we are highlighting that a lack of “opportunity management” can distract and dilute our ministry efforts.

Think about how many kinds of opportunities cross a pastor’s path:

  • We serve a congregation that’s a bottomless well of  members’ needs.
  • We are captured by the buzz of new ideas, new people, and new initiatives happening in church space.
  • We live in  communities riddled with issues that we would love to “missionally” engage.
  • We are digitally connect to an ocean of information and “friends.”

The bottom line: church leadership is rich soil for opportunity creep.

I will address opportunity creep with two follow-up posts:

1) The Five Primary Sources of Distraction in Ministry- this is about spotting the creep.

2) Applying Five Filters to Ministry Decision Making– this is about beating the creep.

Read more from Will here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

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