Excerpt #10: The “Next Step Mindset”
In conjunction with the release of our new book about men’s discipleship ministry, No Man Left Behind, we are publishing 12 excerpts to give you a taste of the book. This one is from Chapter 10, “Capture Momentum with the Right Next Step.”
In No Man Left Behind, we were going to say that Chapter 10 “may be the most important chapter in the book,” but our editors took it out. That’s how important we think capturing momentum is!
You can get everything else right, but if you consistently fail to capture momentum when you create it, you will not build a sustainable ministry.
In every interaction you have with a man, whether it is one-on-one over lunch, a small group kickoff, a men’s retreat or seminar, or any other activity, you must always be thinking, What is a reasonable next step? And then constantly communicate these steps to men. Every leader in your ministry needs to have a capture momentum “next step” mindset. The “next step mindset” is like shifting from 1st to 2nd gear, rather than 1st to 4th. It’s a step that doesn’t ask the man to go from a small commitment to a big one. Instead, it’s a step the man can actually visualize himself doing and succeeding at it—like joining a 6 week follow up discussion group after a weekend seminar.
Getting men to take a first step and then not showing them what’s next is like leading a man to Christ and then abandoning him to live in the world with no discipleship. If you are not going to follow up, perhaps it would be better for Christ’s Kingdom to not raise men’s expectations in the first place.
Will capturing momentum eliminate peaks and valleys in your ministry to men? No. You will still have men come and go, and you’ll still have events or activities that draw lots of men who drop off. But over time your trend line will be sloping upward, indicating a sustainable ministry that continues to produce passionate disciples.
Desired general upward trend in men’s discipleship in your church
One of the primary missions of the space shuttle is to put satellites into space. The shuttle blasts into orbit, then an astronaut uses the robotic arm to pick up the satellite and place it in space, where it takes on the speed and trajectory of the shuttle itself. All according to plan.
Remember Skylab? (All you under-40-year-olds, check it out online on wikipedia.) The SkyLab was a huge satellite work station – a precursor of the International Space Station. The United States put it into orbit in 1973, with plans of going up in the space shuttle in 1979 to boost it into a higher orbit. Unfortunately, the space shuttle wasn’t ready until 1981. SkyLab didn’t have enough momentum to hold its orbit that long, and it crashed to earth in late 1979. (Luckily, the only casualty was an Australian cow).
Be careful not to do this with men in your church. If you use an event to blast a man into a spiritual experience that draws him closer to God, don’t just hope he can maintain his orbit. When a man crashes to the ground, there is always a lot more to worry about than an Australian cow.
For the glory of Christ and no other reason,
Pat Morley, Ph.D.