A few years ago, I read about the British Rowing Team and their quest to win an Olympic Gold medal at the Sydney Olympics. The team agreed to filter every aspect of their lives through one key question in pursuit of their lofty goal, “Will it make the boat go faster?”. This question served as a way to hold each team member accountable for shared goals. It determined what the team members would say yes to and more importantly, what they would say no to.  

One of the team members developed a multi-layer process for pursuing success. I have adapted this process and because this is Thrive in Five for Wesleyan leaders, I’ve added a layer at the beginning applicable in our mission contexts. 

Here are five layers of Ministry Success:  

  1. The “Kingdom of God” Layer. The first layer might also be called the “Joshua 24” layer. Ministry success is not possible without 100% submission to following the Lord. In Joshua 24:14-15, we are encouraged to choose this day whom we will serve. Joshua was determined that he and his household would serve the Lord. The first layer of ministry success is a willingness to follow the Lord no matter where He might lead and no matter what that might mean. Have you made the Joshua 24 choice?
  2.  The “If Anything is Possible” Layer. Once a Pastor or Christian leader has settled the Kingdom of God choice, then the possibilities expand. God’s infinite goodness can then determine what will be accomplished through a local church or district or denomination.  This is the level of dreaming where God calls the impossible possible. An elderly couple like Abraham and Sarah can have a son; the youngest of the brothers will rule over the family in the cases of Joseph and David; a denomination can envision a Wesleyan Church or ministry in every zip or postal code in North America. This layer is also called “The Crazy Layer” because the dream may seem out of reach, but it is a worthy aspiration. If anything is possible with God, what is a dream that God wants to achieve through your ministry?
  3. The “Framework” Layer. To support the “If anything is possible” Layer, you need to provide a framework and a way to measure progress. A framework layer makes this possible, and you can turn your “If anything is possible” goal into a “framework” goal. For example, if your goal is to see a Wesleyan Church or ministry in every zip code or postal code in North America, you can set the groundwork by challenging one church per state or province to plant one church in the next three years and have them challenge other churches to set the same goal. The “if anything is possible goal” is being set within a framework of possibility. Author Dan Sullivan states, “There is no such thing as unrealistic goals, only unrealistic timelines.” Given sufficient time and “framework” planning, with the blessing of God, no goal is impossible. What “Anything is Possible” goals in your ministry require a “Framework” layer? 
  4. The “Everyday” Layer. This is the most granular layer where the filtering question like “Will it make the boat go faster?” or in our case, “Will it help us plant more churches?” can help us create daily routines which contribute the other layers. For example, our General Superintendent, Dr. Wayne Schmidt, keeps a daily prayer list where he prays through a list of denominational leaders in their pursuit of church and marketplace ministry multiplication. This is an example of a key “everyday” action that contributes to the pursuit of the “Anything is Possible” kinds of goals. Consider breaking ministry goals into these five layers and developing daily tasks that help you pursue life changing “Anything is Possible” goals!  

For more information on the resources in this Five to Thrive see the following: 

Hunt-Davis, Ben, and Harriet Beveridge. Will It Make the Boat Go Faster?: Olympic-Winning Strategies for Everyday Success. Kibworth Beauchamp: Matador, 2020. Print.  

Sullivan, Dan. The 25-Year Framework: Your 21-St Century Entrepreneurial Mindset for Continually Slowing down Time While Speeding up Your Progress over a 25-Year Period. Strategic Coach Inc., 2015.  

Intellectual contributor: Dr. Eric Hallet, District Superintendent, Central Canada District 
Executive editor: Johanna Rugh
Curator of content: Carla Working