Why Is This Ministry Taking So Long To Get Going?
If you have implemented, or attempted to implement, a men’s discipleship ministry in your church, then I am 100% certain that you have found it (a) harder than expected and (b) taking longer than expected.
Why is your men’s discipleship ministry taking so long to get going? Actually, all change initiatives take a long time to get going. In fact, scholarly literature suggests that nothing of real consequence happens in less than about ten years. It’s like the country western singer who spent 10 years sleeping in his car between gigs in order to become an overnight success. Even google.com, arguably the most successful program launch in the history of world commerce, took four years from initial concept until the first day they went online.
It takes ten years to build anything of consequence. The key, then? Adjust your expectations to a ten year horizon. Richard Foster said, “Our tendency is to overestimate what we can accomplish in one year, but underestimate what we can accomplish in ten years.” So give your men’s discipleship ministry ten years to take root.
The Bible says that it only takes 11 days to travel from Mt Sinai to Kadesh-barnea. Yet Moses led the Israelites through the wilderness for 40 years (see Deuteronomy 1:1-3). Why? Because they were a rebellious people. God told them to go take the land, and they wouldn’t. Then God told them not to go, but they went anyway. So rather than instant success, he delayed their success. God did not bless them until he had humbled them into obedience. As David said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word” (Psalm 119:67).
So why is your men’s discipleship ministry taking so long to get going? First, because it is the natural order of things-about ten years. Second, because God’s norm is not to bring instant success. First he wants to build the character of his son Jesus into us, who “humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8). He wants us to lead like Jesus, and that is going to take a while.
Together in the Battle for Men’s Souls,