Gaining & Maintaining Momentum, Part 1 by Jason Swann

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In June of 2021, my wife and I left our role at a megachurch and assumed the pastorate at a wonderful church named Cornerstone in Garden City, Kansas.  It’s wild to think of how far and how fast we have grown since that day. When we took over, we had about 450 people. Now, it’s not uncommon for us to have 1,200+ people in church on a Sunday morning, and we’re anticipating greater growth with each week!

As you know, there are no places where there are no problems. Our church is no different. We’ve got problems. Now, you know you either have bad problems or you have good problems. Ours are good problems, but they’re problems, and they’re centered around our growth.

I’m a pastor, so everything breaks down into alliterations with me. When I think about momentum, I think of four v’s, and I’d like to walk you through them in the next few blogs. Momentum is a regular topic with me, and when I’m in my staff meetings or a church setting, I always reference momentum as “Uncle Mo.” You want Uncle Mo on your team. Everybody’s better when Uncle Mo is on the team – even better when he’s on the court! Uncle Mo makes you look better, smell better, sound better, feel better. He makes hard times better. Uncle Mo is your friend. So, if you’re ready for me to jump in, I’ll hit the very first one: Vision.

Vision. I know it seems logical that vision comes first, but in the context of the church, vision must be a combination of the values and strategies you feel God has placed uniquely inside you that will make your community better because you are there.

Our city has about 30,000 people. There are 70 churches in our city. When I think of our vision, I think about our church as a boat. When you have the right people on the boat, then we are all rowing in the same direction. When you have the wrong people on the boat, then they may be rowing in the opposite direction. It’s very hard to gain and maintain momentum when you have the wrong people on your boat.

When we are effective at communicating our vision, our values and strategies that we feel God has placed uniquely inside of us that will make our community better because we’re in it, then the wrong people find their way off the boat. This makes room for the right people to get onto the boat, and everybody can row in the same direction! When everybody’s rowing in the same direction, you don’t even need a superhero or muscle man Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson at the front of the boat. You can have a bunch of skinny people on the boat with you. If everybody’s rowing in the same direction, you’re going to build speed, you’re going to build momentum, and you’re going to be able to carry that momentum over a very long period of time.

My own personal credo, if you would, of sharing vision involves three C’s. I try to implement them every time I share vision. The first one is Calling. You have got to tell your story over and over again. Why are you here? What did God say? How did God say it? When did God say it? Why are you the right person to do it?

The second one is Charisma. If you’re a six out of ten in charisma, then your people are going to be a four. If you’re a four, then they’re going to be a two. You have to be the most excited person about the vision because if it fails to inspire, it will surely expire. You have to picture an irresistible future, and your charisma is mission critical. If you’re not excited about it then why would anybody else be excited about it? If you’re not passionate to be the biggest giver towards it, then why would anybody else want to give towards it? 

The third thing is Credibility, that you’ve successfully taken people places before. In a lot of terminologies, you’ll hear this as level three leadership. It’s not just a calling or telling your story. It’s not just charisma, being passionate, but it’s about credibility – that you are the right man, the right woman for the job. When you’re communicating vision, always filter through those three things. Make sure that that your calling is being spoken about, that you’re doing it with passion, and that you’re communicating “I am the right one. I trust me. I can do this. I can lead us where God is calling us to go.”

In my next blog, I’ll share the next two V’s, but I hope I’ve whetted your appetite to want Uncle Mo on your team and to set the vision so that your people can want Uncle Mo as much as you do! Stay tuned for the next blog. It’s going to be good!

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