Wednesday, September 07, 2011

An inside look at STRETCH-Structuring Your Ministry For Growth-Part 2

Last week we started asking people to twitter about STRETCH to win a copy so here's my seven winners so far...


Email me your snail mail address at
and we'll send it out!

I'm still giving out a free book everyday until September 15th just for tweeting, so have at it...

@jimwideman is giving away a copy of his latest book STRETCH #kidmin #leadership  #jimwideman

I mainly classify structure in two forms. The first is a growth structure; this is the one you want to have so you are able to grow. But what stops growth is the other kind of structure—maintenance structure. A maintenance structure will swallow up your growth structure.

Allow me to explain. Here in America, when you are 75-80 percent full, you are full. This is not always true in other countries, but it is true here. A seven-passenger minivan will only hold five Americans, but in Uganda, a seven-passenger minivan can hold up to thirty people. I saw it with my own eyes when I was there a few years ago. In America, once your growth structure hits 75-80 percent, you have entered maintenance mode, and the only fix is to enlarge your growth structure.
I discovered this at my very first church. When I started in children’s ministry, seven kids attended my children’s church (six normal kids and a little boy named Bubba). I believed God wanted us to grow, so I put together a plan and a strategy to reach a hundred kids. The closer I got to a hundred, the harder it was to break through. In fact, I got stuck at seventy-five. What I did not realize then was my growth structure had just turned into a maintenance structure with no help from me. I was stuck, and if I wanted to blow past a hundred children, I had to be willing to change my structure.
Although I had not hit a hundred yet in my children’s ministry, I enlarged my structure to handle over two hundred children. Soon we passed right over the hundred barrier and kept growing. If you are not experiencing growth presently, it is likely because your structure is holding you back. You are stuck and swamped in a maintenance structure. You need to stretch.
Most of us really do want growth, even if we are scared of it. We want God to send us more kids and more families. We want to share the Gospel, we want more salvations, and we want more of a movement of God. But let me ask you a question: if He sent those things to you this Sunday, would you be ready? If a hundred new families walked into your church, would you know what to do with them? Would their kids have teachers? Would they even have a classroom? If fifty people who wanted to serve approached you this Sunday, could your system handle it?
That’s what structure is all about.
Growth structure means you are organized in such a way that you can better handle what God sends your way. Maintenance structure means you are organized in a way that gets you by from Sunday to Sunday. Growth structure means you are thinking ahead and creating systems that will last as God sends you the growth. Maintenance structure means you are thinking, This is what we’ve always done. When you structure for growth, you are creating a foundation of rock that keeps your ministry stable through whatever storms God sends along.
Let me ask you another question. Why would God send you growth if you aren’t prepared for it? Why would He send you a boatload of new families if you don’t have a system to care for and follow up on them? Why would God entrust you with a lot of salvations if you aren’t ready to follow up on decisions? Why would God send you dozens of new volunteers if you aren’t structured in a way that creates a good service environment for them?  
Some of your ministries are already growing, and you are about to pull your hair out. You are stressed out. People are frustrated. You are running like crazy. And eventually, all of that stress will stop the growth.
It’s kind of like what you do about your pants when you start gaining weight. You either get bigger pants, or you lose weight. The same is true in ministry: if we don’t get bigger pants (a bigger structure), then all of the structure starts choking out the growth that is happening. 
Still more to come...

If you desire to see growth in your own personal spiritual life and the life of your ministry, then order a copy today.

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