Complacency Creep

Yesterday, I was provided a link to post entitled “Have You Been Caught Watching Your Pass?” by Scott Cochrane.  Scott is the Executive Director of The Leadership Centre Willow Creek Canada.  Am I glad he sent it because after reading it, I had to make it available to you.

The following post which is applicable o anyone in leadership regardless of your discipline is taken from his great website  Enjoy and check out his site.

I’m often asked why some church leaders seem to stall or lose traction in their ministry.

There can be many reasons, but sometimes I’ve found it’s because they were caught watching their pass.

Hockey fans know what I’m talking about. It’s what happens when a player focuses their attention on a great play they’ve just made, rather than keeping their head up, alertly anticipating what’s coming up next.

Consider the case of Dan Hamhuis of the Vancouver Canucks. In a game on February 9, 2011 against the Anaheim Ducks, Hamuis was flattened by a thundering body check by Ryan Getzlaf, suffering a concussion that kept him on the sidelines for two weeks.

After the game Hamuis’ own coach, Alain Vigneault assessed the play this way; “I thought it was a good hit by a big player,” said Vigneault. “Dan (Hamhuis) was watching his pass.”

The same thing can happen in leadership. After a season where great Kingdom strides were made, leaders can find themselves not looking ahead to where the Lord is calling next, but instead focusing on the past. In other words, they can be caught watching their pass.

Recently I visited a church that seemed to be in a season of decline. The pastor toured the facility with me, and when he showed me the impressive auditorium he paused, looked around somewhat wistfully and said, “We don’t fill this place much anymore.” Then he added with a hint of nostalgia in his voice, “But there was a day…” His voice trailed off.

Sometimes you can tell if you’re watching your pass simply by paying attention to how your language has changed. A few warning signs can be;

  • When “There was a day…” replaces “I have a dream!” 
  • When “It used to be…” replaces “I believe it could be…” 
  • When “Remember when…” replaces “Imagine if…!”

If you think you might be in a state of ministry decline or plateau, examine closely the kind of language being used these days. If nostalgia is replacing vision, you might be watching your pass.

So keep your head up; you never know what’s coming at you next.

How do you prevent nostalgia from placing vision?

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About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

8 Responses to “Complacency Creep”

  1. Awesome Blog. I add this Blog to my bookmarks.

  2. CCBSteve Who knew you could learn leadership lessons from a bunch of guys playing around on ice? Thanks for sharing, @briankdodd.

  3. nathanreynerson Nathan Reynerson
    “@BrianKDodd: Complacency Creep is a must read for any #leader whose organization has plateaued. #pastors #churches”

  4. I just want to mention I am just all new to blogging and actually liked this web page. Probably I’m likely to bookmark your website . You absolutely come with excellent stories. Regards for sharing your blog site.

  5. Brian, I’m grateful for the generosity of your leadership in sharing this post. There’s a leadership lesson to be gleaned simply in the way you connect and support other leaders. Thanks again!

    • Scott, thank you for your kind words. I love leaders and how they add value to the lives of others. I agree with what Seth Godin says, leaders shouldn’t worry about credit but rather about advancing the tribe. Guys like you are advancing the Christian and leadership tribe. I’m glad to help spread the message.

  6. Great share Brian. It is so easy to allow our former success to keep us from preparing for an innovative future. Hope I am never a victim. Thanks again.


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