How to Gain and Sustain Momentum at your Church

There is one resource that every organization needs and smart leaders seek out. It is a resource that cannot be purchased, borrowed or copied from someone else. Churches and organizations that have it, experience far greater wins than those that do not. Teams that have it perform at their best, without it they almost always flounder. It is a key determining factor in whether a church or ministry thrives or dies. It’s a single word. Momentum. Momentum is the force of your organization’s forward movement toward fulfilling its mission. Take a few seconds and rate your current organizational momentum in the ministry or church you lead?

Momentum Scale

  1. Stuck—No momentum
  2. Losing Speed
  3. Maintaining
  4. Gaining Speed
  5. Advancing (Unstoppable)

If you are 3 or below, your church or ministry needs a boost of momentum. If you ranked yourself a 4 or 5, momentum is present but you need to be sure you know how to sustain momentum. Creating and sustaining momentum requires understanding what gets people moving. Take a look at this definition.

Momentum is sustained motivation over time. There is a very real relationship between organizational momentum and personal motivation. As personal motivation goes up and to the right so does momentum. As motivation diminishes in your team, among your attenders or even within yourself, momentum loss is inevitable. It’s motivation that gets you moving. Now rate the motivation level of your team. Where do they fall on the scale below? Rate yourself? People will rarely be more motivated than their leader. How do you rank?

Motivation Scale

  1. Discouraged
  2. Losing motivation
  3. Maintaining
  4. Gaining Motivation
  5. Driven

How do your momentum and motivation scales compare? If your team is like most teams, high momentum scores go hand in hand with high motivation scores. The reverse is true as well.

So, what does it take to be motivated or to motivate someone else? There are two necessary ingredients: clarity and energy. Here is another way to say it. Motivation requires clarity of vision and energy to make it reality.


Clear motives create real motivation. If there is confusion among your team they will be less motivated to get moving. When the vision is fuzzy few people follow. If momentum seems low, ask yourself these questions.

  • Have I been crystal clear about my expectations?
  • Have I given those I am leading really clear short term and long-term goals?
  • Are my values clear enough to define the behaviors of my team?
  • Can my team imagine and articulate your organizations preferred future?
  • Have I clearly defined our strategy and trained the best practices for ministry?


The other necessary ingredient of motivation is energy. You may see clearly where you want to go, but without energy you will never get there. Ask yourself what fuels your team members and what drains your team members. Become an expert in what energizes them. Here is a quick list of energy boosters.

  • Trust: People are energized when they follow a leader who is trustworthy, consistent, caring and competent.
  • Fun: Laughter lifts the spirit. Game nights, outings and fun surprises fill the tank.
  • Rest: How much time is your team getting to refresh? Challenge them to get real rest not just vegging out in front of the television. Model it.
  • Exercise: There is a clear link between physical exertion and motivation. The more motivated they are to be physically healthy the more likely they are to be motivated in other areas of life.
  • Relationships: Meaningful relationships in our life fill the tank. Create ways to build relationships among the staff or volunteers.
  • Faith: Provide opportunities for your team to grow spiritually. Coach them on how to cultivate a personal devotional life with Jesus. Again, model it.

Ask yourself this question? What can I do this month to focus and fuel my team? How do I give clarity and energy to my ministry leaders? The best way to start is to simply ask these two questions. What is currently unclear or confusing? What gives you energy?

Motivation is not created overnight, but with intentionality it will grow and so will the momentum of your organization or team.

This is a guest post by Brian LaMew who serves as the Campus Pastor at the Tempe Campus of Sun Valley Community Church. You can keep up with Brian on Twitter or Facebook.

Posted in Leadership

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