Have you ever noticed the deep longing inside of you for the silver bullet? For that one quick, magical solution that will solve all of your problems?
I know I have. I remember thinking to myself that this one sermon I was getting ready to preach was going to be so powerful that the chains of apathy in my church would finally be broken. The consumeristic tendencies hidden in everyone’s hearts were going to be rooted out once and for all. Everyone in the church would befriend those far from God, share the gospel with them, see them experience new life in Christ, and then disciple them to do the same.
People were going to move from being merely disciples to being disciple-makers.
Instead of the church being a place to get their needs met, the church was going to see itself as a house of prayer for all nations, a hospital for sinners and not a hotel for saints, a disciple-making institute, and a tangible sign, instrument, and foretaste of the kingdom of God. This was going to be the day, the sermon, and the moment that would go down in history.
When it didn’t quite happen the way I had envisioned it, I realized my mistake.
Oh, how naïve I was. I thought the sermon was the silver bullet, when it was actually the discipleship model that the church down the road was using! I mean, just look at how successful they were.
Well, when that didn’t work either, I turned to secular management books. And then to church consultants. And then to . . .
Does any of this sound familiar?
The myth of the silver bullet is alive and well…
…and it’s not because of old reruns of The Lone Ranger, or teenage novels about werewolves. It’s alive and well because we want the quick fix. We have been conditioned for the instant. It’s our hidden addiction.
If our computers take longer than a minute to start, we think something’s wrong. If we want to read a book, we can download it instantly. If we want to listen to one, we can literally press play the moment after we purchase it. If we want toothpaste, laundry detergent, or a few bananas, we can order it on Prime Now and get it within two hours. And now, with the launch of Amazon Go, we don’t even need to line up and pay the cashier at the grocery store!
Sure, this is convenient, but the unfortunate side effect is that we’ve been conditioned like Pavlov’s dog to salivate at the sound of a bell.
The availability of goods and resources—and our consumption of them—have conditioned us to need instant gratification. Regrettably, this has seeped into our spiritual lives and the way we lead our churches.
If you’ve been around ministry long enough, you’ll know that there are no perfect models, no one right way of doing ministry or leading a church (I’m talking about church practice, not theology).
There are no silver bullets—one-decision solutions that will solve all your woes and unleash your church into a new season of fruitfulness.
The only way change happens— significant, long-lasting, macro-level change—is through a series of small decisions, steps, or micro-shifts, that are put into action and completed one at a time.
Isn’t that why the late great preacher of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, Charles Spurgeon, said, “By perseverance the snail reached the ark”?
The snail had no silver bullet. It got to the ark one small step at a time.
Let me ask you a few questions:
- Are you happy with your existing vision, strategy, and values, or do you need to revisit them?
- Are you producing disciple-makers, disciples, or consumers?
- Are you worried that what you’re currently doing isn’t sustainable or scalable?
- Do you need to overhaul your church, but aren’t sure what to do differently?
- Are you thinking about planting a church or campus but want to make sure that you grow by multiplication, instead of addition?
In my book, No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry, I want to invite you to consider.
Consider what God might do in and through you and your church, if you were to implement the small changes, or micro-shifts, that you read about in each chapter.
As you work through each chapter, be sure to leverage the audits, frameworks, and questions. These tools will help you “consider the path for your feet” so that you can stop talking about change and instead do something about it (Prov. 4:25–26).
Each chapter is designed to cut through the noise and complexity of ministry to provide you with sensible wisdom to make your next micro-shift. After all, isn’t that better than the one silver bullet that is larger than life, one-size-fits-all, and often too complex the more you learn about it?
Learn more about the five small shifts by watching the video below and picking up a copy of the book.
*This was a modified excerpt from my book, No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry.