Dr. Collins concludes his book with the principle of the flywheel. The idea of the flywheel is that as effort and actions build upon one another, they gain momentum. After many pushes, things finally change and what seemed to have little impact has actually contributed to the success later on (165). To embrace this idea requires faith that small actions today will have positive contributions later on. If a company can embrace this philosophy and stop just looking for one giant moment or push that leads to success, they will find their company has sustaining success and momentum.
Benefits of “Good to Great” in Ministry
First, leadership has been a buzz word in the evangelical world for some time now, and I have personally begun to wonder if it was overrated. Yet what Dr. Collins describes as Level 5 Leadership has convinced me otherwise. This type of leadership within the church would call for a deeper commitment from pastors to the success and growth of the church. Today many pastors have taken more of a corporate approach to the church as they seek to move up to better positions and ones of higher esteem. In consequence, a humility that defers to the renown and mission of the church is often forsaken, because pastors are conflicted in their interests of accomplishing the goal of their ministry and keeping an eye out for a more alluring job. If a genuine concern for the well-being of the church could take center stage, then this would help solidify the determination for the mission. With personal agendas set aside people are freed to focus more on what needs to be done than what they want. Level 5 Leadership would lead us away from ministries being associated with the accomplishments and character of an individual to the world seeing churches as a collective body that desires to bless and live out the Gospel.
Second, ministries are often handicapped by their subconscious fear of conflict and facing unpleasant truths. Dr. Collins says that if churches are going to succeed then they must be willing to face facts, even when they are not what we would like to see. For example, many ministries will remain committed to outdated methods of evangelism, apologetics, and music and then not want to face facts about why their churches are not growing. Church boards meet all across the country ignoring the elephants in the room, because they are afraid of change or the confrontation that might ensue. Ministries would do well to learn from Dr. Collin’s point that great organizations must be ones where debate and discussion are encouraged and fostered. It is through these conversations and facing our faults and weaknesses that we are able to move past our pride and desire to be comfortable and start to find ways to advance our mission of seeing people resonate with the Gospel. Being a lover of truth, as our faith commands us, is not just something to practice when things look bright, but we must also be ready to do so when in times of tribulation. By doing this, we will not only strengthen our ministries but demonstrate that our faith and hope is not put in the status of our circumstances but in our King, leading others to do the same and become followers of Jesus.
Third, living in a culture of instant gratification we often expect that our ministries should become instantly successful and grow like the weeds in our backyard. We believe that success and momentum in our churches is just a matter of producing the perfect service or finding that outreach event that will send people pouring in the doors. Tragically, it is not that one dynamic series or amazing worship team that leads our churches to success. It is often because for many years the church has done the mundane and done it faithfully, giving their time, energy, and efforts without seeing much result, but all the while God has been crafting them together to build a church of significance.
Dr. Collins says that too often organizations are looking for that one event or action that can propel them into success, but it does not work that way. Rather, arriving into greatness is much more like pushing a flywheel for a long time with not much movement, but over time your efforts begin to build on each other moving the organization into success. The idea is that great churches and companies do not just happen over night. Churches need to begin to see that success is not instant and something that just happens. We must realize that our labors are not in vain, even if they do not produce the outcome that we may want. Possibly, the success that we are told we must achieve is not what God wants. Instead, he may be interested in just our faithfulness in being willing to push the flywheel with all our might, regardless if it moves as much as we would like. This change in attitude would allow us to focus more on loving Jesus and leaving the results in his hands, instead trying to make them on our own. After all, he may allow us to work the soil, but he is the one that decides when and where something will grow.
Opinion of Good to Great
While Good to Great is written and oriented toward companies and the business world, many of its ideas that lead to greatness can easily be transposed to ministry. As I read, I was surprised that it was not about newly discovered business techniques that would lead to greatness, but their greatness was much more human. What I mean by that is that is Dr. Collins seems to have pinpointed values and character traits that will contribute to a great organization. These values such as humility, perseverance, honesty, and clear direction are not just values that corporations need to embrace but all organizations should, including churches.
Filed under: Ryan's Study