Recognizing Obstacles as Open Doors for Ministry Innovation and Greater Impact

What’s stopping you?  Are there barriers blocking the path to your dream?  What’s hindering the forward progress of your mission?  What’s deterring the realization of your vision?  And more importantly what’s your attitude about your situation?

Your whole attitude can be transformed when you recognize that obstacles can be open doors for innovation and greater impact.  Pause, and ask yourself a few important questions and see if you gain a new perspective.

  • What’s the real problem I face?  Sometimes the perceived problem is not our real problem.  Skilled leaders learn to identify the problem behind the problem.
  • Is there a field expert I know that can help me process my challenge?  If you don’t know someone personally simply ask yourself “What would __________ (known specialist) do in my situation?”  Opening your imagination this way may give you a fresh perspective.
  • What are 5 options for overcoming my challenge?  Write them down and reflect on them.   Remember some of the best ideas are born out of bad ideas.
  • Is there another approach God is prompting me to take?  Perhaps He allowed the obstacle in order to help you find a better direction.
  • What are the hidden resources I have access to that I’ve not thought about?  This is one of my favorite questions and has helped produce solutions for me on many occasions.  Sometimes the things that are closest to us are the hardest things to see.

Don’t wait for your obstacle to be removed…God put it there to grow you as a leader and to open new doors of opportunity.

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Mac Lake

Mac Lake

I am the Chief Launch Officer of The Launch Network, a new church planting network based out of West Ridge Church in the greater Atlanta, Georgia area. My role is to get The Launch Network up and running, networking with churches and planters to establish healthy church starts across the U.S. and the world. Our goal is to plant 1000 churches in the next 10 years. My passion is growing leaders for the local church. Every time I hear Bill Hybels say “The local church is the hope of the world” my heart comes out of my chest and it increases my sense of urgency for developing leaders who produce leaders.

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What say you? Leave a comment!

Tere Jackson — 03/30/13 7:48 am

I believe we should apply this in everything we do in life. My father fought me at very young age that there is always space to improve and to take my challenges and concerns as a learning experience. When we are positive and believe in excellence we will be always working on ways to improve, innovation comes naturally even in the simplest things doing ordinary things better than anyone else.

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I'm not gonna buy the hype that somehow we can better market the church if take a survey and then address the top-ten issues. The reality is that our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9); in other words we will fabricate excuses to cover the truth. All these reasons are subterfuge for the one true reason: they shun the, "Light for fear that (their) deeds will be exposed." (John 3:20b). Not one of these folks mentioned an improper presentation of the Word of God. The Good News is that we know the #1 reason why 'most' people reject a church and the best way to address this problem is to lovingly expose and confront it. Oh people will still walk out, but at least they'll know why they're leaving, rather than buying into their own lies.
— Dave Wells
My first Sunday visiting a church the pastor used every racial epithet imaginable in his sermon. He was trying to make a point and there was some context for the slurs. But, it was shocking to hear from the pulpit words that would've made me cover my children's ears if they'd be sitting with me. My take-away: this pastor knew, when preparing his sermon, that not one person of color would be sitting in his pews; he was absolutely assured there would be no members or visitors he needed to be sensitive towards. When I met him in the shake-hands-line after the sermon I opened my mouth to protest and he physically used my hand to pull me past him so that I could not stop to talk (he had made eye-contact during the sermon and seen my shocked face). Incidentally, the church had the saddest children's program (cold, dark basement room with ONE class for K-12 consisting of about five kids). There was zero signage and when I asked someone where the kid's program was they said they'd been attending for years but had no idea where the room was. Then, at the coffee hour I was handed one dixie cup of red kool-aid for myself and my two kids to share with a stern warning not to spill it on their new carpet. Needless to say, that was our first and last visit. I left wondering how this private, rich, old white people's club possibly earned the name "church" on their sign out front. I know this is an extreme case but I've never forgotten it. I live in a pretty liberal northern town with a big university and I just hadn't imagined this kind of behavior went on in my own backyard.
— Sarah
I am amazed! All of this complaining about God's people seeking to be friendly and show love by greeting one another (even if not always done to your expectations) is the height of consumeristic, "what about me?" faux Christianity. Sure God's people don't always get it right, but these are petty complaints. If these were stated by unbelievers it might be one thing, but it seems to me, that almost every post is by someone with a great deal of church experience. Let's go to church to worship God, learn and love one another. Then go into the world to love and make disciples. Come on people show some grace and be a light of love!
— Ralph Jones

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