Life Principle - Sustainability
At the end of the last century Fredric Vester identified six growth force principles found in nature. We are discovering that these principles can be applied to our life and ministry to increase the potential for health and growth. Today we’re looking at the life principle of sustainability.
The principle of sustainability challenges us to consider how what we’re doing will produce the resources we’ll need for the next cycle of activity.
In nature we observe how the leaves of a tree will fall and become part of the nutrient base for the next cycle of leaf-bearing. Farmers will plant crops in a rotation that allows the replenishing of the soil using complementary crops in order to sustain the viability of the soil for farming.
Henry Ford utilized this principle when he increased workers pay so that they could afford to purchase the automobiles that they were making. Not only could they purchase the cars, they then became spokesman and advertisers for the next cycle of business
In the same way, we must look at the way we’re operating to see if the way we’re doing ministry will produce the resources we need for the next cycle of ministry.
For example, if a church sees a new attendee as the goal, the church may treat a newcomer well until the person is coming regularly but then disregard the need for discipleship. On the other hand, the church utilizing sustainability recognizes that not only could this newcomer become a key leader if developed, but the newcomer also has a whole network of people who could be reached with the Gospel. Continued development of newcomers and members then becomes a critical part of doing ministry.
Consider how you are managing your life and energy to be ready for the next cycle of ministry. Are you running on the edge of burnout and hoping to hold on or do you take the time to rejuvenate your soul and spirit through appropriate rest, play and time with God? We’re in this for the long haul, not the end-run sprint.
As you make decisions, here are some sustainability questions you may want to incorporate into the process:
- How can we do ministry in a way that not only supports our present membership base but also expands into new relational networks?
- What resources do we need to pour back into the ministry to increase the potential for the next cycle?
- How is the lifestyle I’m creating today going to sustain me for my life and ministry of the future? What will I need to change to still be healthy and vibrant 10 years from now?
- What great old ideas could be recycled in a new form for effective ministry management or planning?
- How are we creating a ministry environment that will be conducive to sustaining ministry into the next decade?
Thinking about cycles of ministry can help us consider how we can make our ministry more sustainable for the future.
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