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We are all called to a place of leadership, so the positional level of leadership is really the entry level. This position is typically based on title, not talent or ability. Therefore, it is extremely limited. It has no safety net. If you lose your title, you will lose your following. If you do not move on from the positional level, there is no place of authority to fall back on. You simply return to the general ranks from which you were raised in the first place.

Very little can be accomplished on the positional level. If you remain on this level, you will experience great turnover. People are not going to serve for any length of time under someone they are forced to follow but do not want to serve. A lot of turnover is one indication that you are on the positional level and are not moving up. You will not be able to keep people.

Another indication that you have remained on this level is hearing a lot of grumbling and griping. The Bible calls it strife and division. How often have you heard these words: "Those rebellious people in my department don't understand God's order of authority! I'm sent to this office. I'm anointed to stand here. Look at them. They're touching God's anointed." That is the cry of someone trying to promote his own agenda from the most basic level of authority. The result will be turnover, strife and division. Until that leader changes his attitude, he will never go any further.

The Fun Level
The relationship level is the fun level because everybody likes to be liked. At this level you are leading because people respond willingly to the direction they are given. You have done the things necessary to cultivate those relationships. You have gained their trust, a measure of their respect, and they want to follow you. You have been open and transparent with them. You have let them know you care about them, you love them, and you want them to be happy. You have done the things which make them want to follow your lead. All these factors make this the fun level.

And this is the level where you will begin to get extra effort from those who are working for you. They won't perform simply within their job description. One of the earmarks of your move up to the relationship level is that, as the need arises, those under you will willingly put in extra time. They will go beyond what is required in order to fulfill the direction you bring to them. So it is vital that you give attention to cultivating the relationships which will bring you to this point.

Still, I have seen managers who are really good at cultivating relationships, yet they never produce any results. They are charismatic leaders; everybody likes them. But they reach a certain point of growth or ministry development and level off because they do not develop the kind of organization which will produce results. Consequently, they never grow. Their growth curve levels off pretty early because the people get discouraged at the lack of fruitfulness. Eventually, they will have to start over.

The Plateau Problem
As a pastor, I have discovered that I can know only about 250 to 300 people in my church really well. I can remember their names, and I know their families and their backgrounds. But past that, I start getting a little confused. It is too difficult for anyone to really know more than a few hundred people in any meaningful sense.

A lot of churches grow initially, then level off somewhere between 100 and 200 people. They have a charismatic leader, and the folks like him. They want to follow his lead, but organizationally he does not know how to build a foundation for growth. He does not know how to communicate his vision, set goals and objectives or manage by those objectives. He does not know the basic principles which provide for more growth, so he stops growing. He loses the potential producers from his congregation, the ones who like him and want to serve under him, but are driven by result-oriented activity.

You see, that is part of the way we are made. Most people want to see results; they want to know that what they are doing is producing good results. So people who are well-equipped educationally or spiritually to do big things within that ministry tend to go somewhere else because the direction that is needed is not coming. Eventually the ministry will consist of complacent people who are happy coming to church once every other week or so, people who aren't concerned about results. The congregation will dwindle to a number the pastor can handle. I call this "growing a church down to a level a pastor can manage," the sign of not graduating from the relational, or fun, level. This principle applies to businesses as well as churches.

Big "MO"
"Momentum" is a popularized concept for entrepreneurs, political leaders and sports figures. More and more, its value is being recognized. Momentum is defined as an impulse or a driving force which feeds upon itself. In other words, the success that you realize is involved with generating your next success.

You can see momentum at work in the presidential campaign of 1992. It is my personal belief that incumbent George Bush lost the campaign to Bill Clinton because he could not sustain any momentum. I believe he had more people agreeing with his proposed policies than Bill Clinton did. But in spite of popular support, Bush could never generate enough groundswell of momentum to carry him to victory. So he lost.

Momentum must be a fact of life if success is to result. If you are talented or diligent and hard-working, without momentum, you can experience success only on a sporadic basis. But momentum fosters consistent success rather than occasional victory. It is momentum that carries you from one victory to another, from one success to another. It is momentum that gives you the ability to sustain repetitive successes and ultimately achieve the long-range goals you have set.

Maxwell's Maxims
There is a lot of teaching about momentum right now. A lot of it is secular. But there is a man, well-known in the body of Christ, whose teaching on momentum is excellent. His name is John Maxwell. In his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Maxwell has made some critical observations about momentum which will give you an appreciation for the concept and its value as well as its critical importance to your ministry's success.

"Many times momentum is the only difference between winning or losing," he says. There may be somebody who has great skill, talent and ability, wonderful ideas and is a good communicator, but he still doesn't win.

Let's take a look at some other of Maxwell's maxims: "With momentum, leaders look better than they really are. When you're on a roll, when you're winning and things are going your way, you look mighty good."

"With momentum, followers perform better." They in fact perform on a much higher level than they normally would. They produce more fruit.

"Without momentum, leaders look worse than they really are."

I heard another man make this comment: "If you have momentum going for you, you can make mistakes and the people that you're leading will forgive you very quickly. It won't be a big issue. Without momentum, you make mistakes and they never forget and seldom forgive."

Momentum is the greatest of all change agents, according to Maxwell. "It's easier to stir momentum than start it," he advises, so be very conscious of not killing it once you have it.

Maxwell lists the following as earmarks of an organization which has momentum:
  • Expectancy
  • High morale and good attitude
  • High energy for getting projects completed
  • High commitment level
  • Confidence in the leadership

No MO, No Go
On the contrary, in organizations where momentum is absent, you will find doubt in the leader's ability. The decisions he makes are often questioned. That uncertainty produces procrastination at times when important decisions must be made. Decisions are not made in a timely fashion because the leader does not want to expose himself to any more criticism or doubt in his ability. Oftentimes decisions are avoided altogether.

Risks are rarely taken in an organization where there is no momentum. You have to be willing to risk some things to make progress in the Kingdom of God. I'm not talking about foolish or haphazard risks. I am talking about risks which may seem to carry a natural, negative consequence; but after prayer, you are confident the Lord has led you in that direction. Oftentimes, there comes a devotion to false symbols. This is how a religious spirit can enter in. In other words, when we do not have momentum to achieve the things that are really in our heart, we lift up ritualistic practices or things which have no value, focusing our attention upon them. Because we are not making progress toward our goals, we raise these false icons in our ministries and in our lives.

Without momentum, complacency is always in evidence. Loss of purpose is always in evidence. The goal becomes to maintain the status quo. These characteristics are quite a contrast from the organizations in which there is a high energy level, an expectancy of good things to come, confidence in the leadership, depth of commitment and human and financial resources available to get the job done. And the only difference is momentum.

Good News
The good news is that we can learn some basics about generating momentum that will enable us to become effective leaders. Maxwell makes the observation that there is a formula to help generate momentum in an organization. And there are three major contributing factors: The attitude of the leader, the atmosphere of the organization and the experience of success among the people, the corporate body. These are the three principle ingredients in momentum. If we can generate the right kind of attitude in the leadership, if we can generate the right kind of atmosphere in our church or in our organization and if we can begin to experience some success, momentum will result.

What attitude is right? What kind of organizational atmosphere do we want to generate? And what about success?

Source: Positioned for Promotion by Mac Hammond
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Minute, which is seen locally in the Minneapolis area and can also be viewed at He is also the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.

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