A psychologist recently told me, "When a couple comes to me and they have wrecked their marriage over the past 20 years, my goal is merely to help them improve their relationship by 5 percent. Why? Because as soon as someone sees 5-percent improvement, they get hope. The minute someone gets hope, anything is possible."
I realized that's equally applicable to leaders and the church.
Hope is powerful. A 5-percent rise in hope will fuel innovation and creativity in our churches. That's all it takes. When a church's hope level rises, the church begins to thrive. And how do we raise the level of our hope? By putting four factors into practice.
Recharge your batteries
Nobody dreams well, innovates well, or exudes hope when they're running on empty. Once I finally realized what drains me and what recharges me, my hope level improved. I began adjusting the way I approach draining experiences and maximizing the times of refreshment.
For instance, I used to meet with critics one-on-one. It was totally draining. Then a couple wrote saying, "We're concerned about the church finances, and we have concerns about the teaching ministry. Can we meet with you?" I knew they were coming with criticisms.
Previously I would have seen them privately. By myself. And afterward I would have been exhausted. So I changed that. I asked two of our other pastors to join us and two of our board members, specifically the financial oversight board member. As a team we were able to answer their questions and provide the answers they were seeking. The criticisms were baseless. I will never forget this, one of my favorite ministry moments: about 10 minutes into the meeting the husband turned to his wife ...