5 Ways Leaders Grasp Momentum

Next to God’s favor, there’s nothing a leader desires more than momentum.

Momentum is a force that is greater than the sum of all your leadership energy, effort and resources combined.

Momentum is not a mystery, it contains elements such as vision and competence, but it cannot be manufactured upon demand.

Momentum is the spiritual X-Factor that propels your church forward at a rate that is difficult to explain. You work hard, but God’s hand is evident in the momentum of any real substance.

The more we understand momentum, the better we can lead toward it.


5 thoughts to strengthen your leadership grasp of momentum:

1) Momentum is fueled by vision and activated by faith.

This is clear evidence of the partnership we all have with God for spiritual momentum in our churches.

Vision is the source and fuel of momentum, and faith activates God’s hand toward momentum.

Without a clear and compelling vision, there is no direction to follow. Without faith, there is no invitation for God to provide a power larger than human leadership can muster.

It takes both large vision and great faith to see momentum catch traction.

Momentum is not magic; it’s available to all leaders and their churches.

2) Momentum is sustained by competence.

When vision and faith are part of your culture, the stage is set for momentum. God is not obligated, but He is now invited. Leadership competence is then required to build and sustain momentum for as long as God’s hand is upon it.

This leadership competence comes in the form of strategy. The strategy helps sustain the momentum that vision and faith support.

Don’t over-complicate the idea of strategy. Strategy is your simple and clear written plan. That’s it. Do you have a plan? Is it clear? Are you working it? Are you adapting as required?

Stay focused on:

  • Vision
  • Faith
  • Competence
  • Strategy

3) Momentum, or the lack of it, might skew your perspective.

When you don’t have momentum, and you’re struggling to grow, it’s never as bleak as it appears.

When there is no momentum, that doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. It does not mean God has abandoned you. Sometimes (to borrow a phrase I love), you are waiting for God’s next “fresh wind and fresh fire.”

Keep praying, working hard, and making the best leadership decisions that you can.

When you’re experiencing great momentum resulting in rapid growth, it’s never as good as it appears.

Momentum covers a multitude of flaws and problems!

When things are going great, and the “big mo” is with you, it’s tempting to think that you made it happen and “this is the way it always works.” It’s easy to forget that without God’s power the momentum is over, or you begin to think that you now have all the answers.

Remember where you came from and how you got momentum. Keep at it. Momentum doesn’t remove the hard work, it multiples it.

Thank God daily, because you didn’t do it all yourself, and keep working hard.

4) Momentum can take an unexpected twist toward entitlement.

Momentum and entitlement seem like unlikely partners. Here’s how it happens.

When your church is experiencing tough times, everyone is in the same boat. You are trying to survive. There is no surplus. There are no perks to compete for. There is no fame or notoriety. It’s all-hands-on-deck to keep the ship afloat and moving forward. Everyone hunkers down and works hard for solutions.

When a church finds success, it can take a very different turn. Favor brings rewards, and soon many want a piece of the proverbial pie. It might be desired recognition – a new title, a place on the org chart, more staff, a new building with nice offices. It doesn’t really matter what it is; the point is that it can cause leaders to lose focus on what got the momentum going.

Leaders can become distracted by potential rewards. This always kills momentum. (There is nothing wrong with rewards, it’s when those rewards become the focus.)

5) Momentum never lasts forever – keep your foot on the pedal.

The natural response to things going your way is to let off the gas and coast a little.

When you experience momentum, it’s not the time to coast. It’s time to push the pedal to the floor. Take full advantage of the favor God is granting. God delivers the favor, but you fan the flame!

When momentum fades, don’t panic. Focus on the small wins.

Momentum comes in different seasons and different ways. Don’t try to copy the momentum you once had. Let God grant His favor how He chooses.

Keep leading with fervor for the vision and faith that God is with you!

12 thoughts on “5 Ways Leaders Grasp Momentum”

  1. This is awesome Dan, thank you!

    I would also like to mention that taking a moment to write down the blessings found in favor is huge. It helps to keep us going when momentum fades.

  2. One thought that came to my mind as I read this is that these principles are not only applicable to churches and organizations. They also apply to our personal and spiritual growth and to our relationships. I’m reminded of a statement I believe by Fred Smith of FedEx that John Maxwell shared in a video I heard recently: Fred Smith said “We all climb until we reach a plateau; we stop to rest and get assimilated; then we climb again; when we decide we have made our last climb, we are done.”

    I’m a cyclist and I love some of the analogies you can gain from sport; here is what I know about momentum on a bicycle; first, it’s always easier to keep momentum going when you are in a group that is working well together, sharing the work at the front and allowing each team member to conserve energy in the draft; you can go much farther and you can get to the goal much faster and with much less energy; second, going downhill, when momentum is the greatest, is much more dangerous than climbing; climbing is harder but descending requires you to stay focused and concentrate because the momentum (speed) is significantly higher, the margin for error is much less and if you do crash, the result can be much more severe.

  3. Thanks Dan, that was what I needed to here! Good stuff! The Lord has taught me, in scripture, to start with taking every thought back captive to Christ Jesus to demolish strong holds and arguments that go against God’s knowledge. This type of captivity with Christ brings us into obedience (2 Corinthians 10:5). Things go so much better going to His power for me than me stepping out on my own. On the other hand He has allowed me to step out on my own in a leadership role within the church and things didn’t go so well.

  4. Very well said. Thanks. I like Andy Stanley Leadership podcast on momentum too. Momentum comes when you start something new and improved.

  5. Love this. Just said this on twitter the other day “Momentum in your organization can’t be forced, but it can be sparked. Be intentionally shaking things up to launch new momentum. // So many pastors are creating false momentum and it’s destroying culture in their church. Thanks for this post to encourage healthy leadership.

    1. Love your phrase Justin… can’t be forced, but can be sparked. So good and so true! Love to hear a couple thoughts from you on what you mean by false momentum. (And, you’re most welcome.)

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