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  • Brandyn Simmons

Little Bets

Are you tired?

There’s nothing that can wear a pastor or entire congregation out more than putting all of your time, effort, and energy into a Hail Mary project to revitalize your church and then, after months of exertion, have your congregants show very little buy-in and see the project fall flat.

So what do we do next? We beat ourselves up, ask ourselves why we even bothered with this vocation in the first place, remind ourselves that it’s the congregants’ fault anyway, and then hunker down for a while under our blanket of complacency and bitterness until the muses whisper the next big idea into our ear. We just know this one will work (although we doubt it deep inside), but congregants are thinking, “Another project!?” And so the cycle repeats.

I am a huge fan of Jim Collins and his books and love the idea of the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal), but I’ve also found that they can leave me worn out and cynical if they don’t go exactly as planned. I also realize that not all of us can be Bill Gates. Lately, I have discovered an approach that is more manageable and less taxing on the ego: Little Bets.

In his short, but powerful book, Peter Sims talks about how great companies and entertainers have built their empires, not on betting all their chips on one product or service, but by making small feasible experiments based upon their gifts and already occurring natural direction. The other key factor is the practice of mindful awareness so as to be able to notice the discoveries as they emerge.

So how does this play out for your church? What little bets are there for the making that you may not have noticed before? In this time of virtual meetings and new ways of “being church,” what might it look like to dream a little with your congregation and see what small experiments you can try? Not only is this approach more manageable, but it’s A LOT MORE FUN!

Even in thinking of this different way, do you notice the change of emotions inside yourself as opposed to taking on a major project? This same shift in emotion will occur in your congregants and people will be motivated to dive in to dreaming and co-creating your church’s future one bet, one discovery at a time.

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