Which Is Better: Grow Fast? or Grow Far?

Up and Down...

Let me jump in with this quote, heard from my friend John, who heard it from his friend Tony, who heard it at this year’s Willow Creek Leadership Summit…

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
~ David Gergen

Since arriving as Pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, we’ve made quite a few changes. More changes are sure to come, as is the nature of growth and time. There are times when I’m not sure I’m moving fast enough, but God has clearly spoken to me about trying to bring everyone along who wants to come along together. So we’re aiming to grow farther, not just faster.

Fast growth can be awkward. It can create risky health situations. It can cause an organization to be off-balance. The early church experienced rapid and phenomenal growth and problems arose, which they handled by recruiting and ordaining more leaders (see Acts 6). Growth is the goal as long as another lost person is alive, but rapid expansion can create issues at times.

My own advice about leadership, which flows out of my own experiences of both success and failure, is to grow as fast as you can as long as you don’t break these principles…

  • Make sure your character is ready for the success you enjoy.
  • Don’t step on heads to get there – God doesn’t bless this.
  • Shepherd the whole flock, even those who are nervous around change.
  • Always remember you don’t have all the answers – don’t get cocky.
  • Remember that God prepares leaders in a crock pot, not a microwave.
  • Integrity is the issue in the long run, not talent, charisma, or connections.
  • Don’t be intimidated by naysayers.
  • If nobody is following, you’re no longer leading.
  • If you’re not out in front, you’re not leading.
  • You have to love people in order to lead them like Jesus.
  • You always have another lesson to learn.

Now go for it! Get as far as you can as fast as you can, but don’t go alone, go together.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Mi Pah

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About the Author

I'm Brandon. I'm the Lead Pastor of Grace Hills Church in Northwest Arkansas, which my wife, Angie, and I planted in January of 2012. I previously served as a Pastor at Saddleback Church and still manage Pastor Rick Warren's online, global ministry to pastors, Pastors.com. I also lead a blog about blogging, a blog about social media, and a blog about men's issues. And I've written a book - Rewired, which challenges the church to adopt social media to spread the good news about Jesus. I sometimes take on church website design projects and I coach pastors and leaders as well. I'd love to hear from you!
1 Response
  1. "Remember that God prepares leaders in a crock pot, not a microwave."

    I like this one especially. Too often our impatience gets the better of us and we put ourselves or others into positions of leadership before their time. Sometimes God uses the situation; other times, he lets us fail. Oh that we could wait and let God's low and slow preparation form us.

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