Holly Brown: When Taking on More Could Lead To Less

In our pursuit of leading people to Jesus, I have found that we often make decisions on more, not less: more programs, more services, more opportunities, more staff, or more systems.

The list is endless and the intentions are good. However, while more of any of those things will allow more opportunities for more people to know Jesus, I have learned that more isn’t always more.

There are times when more is less. A good leader knows how to tell the difference.

It’s not more to launch another campus when your current ones are not operating in the black. While you may reach more people in new places, it may cost you sleepless nights, lack of trust and money, and a decrease in staff morale. This is less, not more.

It’s not more to add another service when your existing services are only fifty percent full. Have you ever walked into an auditorium that seated 300 and yet you were only one of fifty in the room? You notice. Other people notice too. The lack of energy and expectation can be distracting. Is this the type of experience you want to provide for a guest? This is less, not more.  

It’s not more to add so many layers of control that you remove the power of leaders to make their own decisions. This can unintentionally create managers and not leaders, and good leaders will only last so long in an environment like that. Leaders don’t necessarily make things easier, but good leaders will always make things better. More control leads to less leaders.

Smart leaders know the difference between faith and foolishness, and between strategic and rash. More so than not, less is more. 

Sometimes more does lead to more ministry, more people coming to Jesus, more people finding purpose and community, and more momentum. But, sometimes it simply leads to less sleep, less money, less trust, and less staff buy-in. In my life, I’ve even had to admit that sometimes more is about my ego and less about reaching others.

Here are a few questions I have learned to ask myself to help differentiate when more is more and when more might be less:

Are we at max capacity so we need to make a move here, or are we simply trying to create momentum? If trying to create momentum, is there a better way?

WHY do we want to add more? Is it ego? Is it insecurity?  Is it the right next step?

Do we have the resources to make this move? The dollars, the leaders, the infrastructure, the space?

What is our financial status after we implement the more? Do we have the operating costs to sustain this long term?

If this doesn’t work, what will this cost in terms of sleep, trust, stress, dollars? How trusted are we with new ventures right now? Do we have enough equity with our attendees if this doesn’t work?

Can we reach the “more” by refocusing on the things we are already committed to?

Are we being as effective as possible with the people and the things we are currently committed to?

Truth be told, sometimes more is more! Those of us who haven’t taken a risk or tried a new way of doing things in years might need to lead with, “Yes!” a little more often.

But maybe you’re like me and you naturally enjoy taking risks. Does your heart skip a beat every time you read the Great Commission? Does it make you want to plant one hundred campuses, and ask every campus pastor to add services? If so, maybe these questions will be a good filter for you as well.  I have learned the hard way that far greater than the financial risk, is the risk of losing our peace of mind, our health, our trust, and our staff morale. In order to preserve these priceless things, let’s be leaders who can distinguish when more is more and when more is less