March 7, 2012

Momentum: It’s essential to moving forward

Today I learned an important lesson on the ski slopes on Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia about MOMENTUM.

It's been nearly 5 years since my last attempt at skiing. In the first couple of hours, I am proud to say that I only fell once, and it really wasn't a bad spill. Skiing on a recovering stress fracture in my shin did have me moving very gingerly across the snow.

It was then that I came across a long, basically flat section of snow. After slowing down as I came down the hill (fear of falling at a high speed compelled me to slow down), I realized that I didn't have enough momentum to make it through this flat section of the ski trail.

I leaned forward as for as I could using my ski poles and upper body strength to keep me moving forward.

And then it happened. Moving at a snails pace, leaning forward, trying to pick up momentum, I lost my balance and fell face first in the snow. (For those of you who know me, no curse words came out…not because they weren't on the tip of my tongue, but after the word "OH…." came out of my mouth and before the next word did come out, my face was in the snow, my open mouth full of snow, and my skis were sticking straight up in the air…Imagine me kneeling face down to pray with my face on the ground and my backside up in the air, and you sort of get the picture)

My lack of momentum caused me to press forward hard to get it back, and I busted my face in the process (only a small cut, and some "snow rash" on one side of my face, and what looks like half my eyebrow hair is gone…I may blog about this another day).

Momentum is one of those things that when you have it, you know you have it, and when you lose it, well, you know you've lost it. Without it, there are times you feel like whatever you do, no mater how hard you try, you just can't get on track.

Momentum is important in skiing for sure, but it is also important in one's life and in the life of a church.

People & churches spend great amounts of time trying to get momentum, countless hours of energy trying to keep it, and when it's gone, they struggle trying to figure out "how the heck did we lose it".

The truth is, if we are going to find the results we as individuals are hoping for, and the "fruits" our church is striving for, we definitely need momentum in both areas.

Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church, outlines the two elements of momentum; creating it and sustaining it. Here are four of those points.

  • If you want to create momentum you are going to have to change something.

  • Change always produces conflict.

  • You have two choices to deal with conflict.

    • Choice one is to back off when you are in conflict. This will result in decline.

    • Choice two is to push through the conflict and the results will produce growth.

  • If you want to sustain momentum you have to practice certain "key routines" in "excellent ways" over and over.

Here's a couple of things I have learned about momentum in life, in the church and in skiing.

First, momentum is not constant. It comes and goes, moves up and down, and is a lot like a wave on the ocean.

Second, though many may disagree, I believe that people, a church, even a team can do things that can help them catch the wave of momentum when it comes by.

So, with all this said, how should I catch momentum, in my life, in my church, and in skiing?

Well, you really can't just sit back and wait for it…because momentum most likely won't just come to you. I could have waited for someone to come by and give me a "push" when I slowed to a stop skiing, but no one was stopping to do that (just like no one offered to help me up after my face first crash).

For many people, they are caught in this trap of hoping for momentum to just come back to them, and use this as an excuse to just do nothing while telling others they are actively watching and waiting on the signs that momentum is passing by, and then they will "jump on board".

I believe that if your have lost momentum in your life, your church, or your team, you have to begin by DOING SOMETHING…EVEN AT THE RISK OF FALLING FLAT ON YOUR FACE!

Change something!

Don't keep doing the same things and expect different results.

Get a quick win!

Don't just talk about it for 6 months, find a change that will have a positive impact on attitude, and JUST DO IT! Start something new every month if necessary, knowing that half will make it and half will "fall face first into the snow". The half that make it will give you enough momentum to overcome the crashes.

Do certain practices well, over and over!

The only way to sustain something is to do it well over time. Keep practicing! Don't give up! Don't let a failure, a head first crash, or a few people stop what you need to do! If they want to be critics in the stands, fine, but if you're like me, we're in the game of life and want old "mo" on our side.

Lead by example!

Understand that people watch what we do. If you try something to catch momentum in your life, church or team, and crash face first in the snow, and quit, what example are you sending to those following you (like your family, church family, or your self-esteem). Get up, try it again. Try something else. But don't quit after the 1st try. Let people know by your example it's ok to strive for something that is important and miss the mark, but it's not ok to quit after just a few tries.

Momentum is essential in moving a skier forward.

Momentum is essential to moving a congregation forward into a new future.

Momentum is essential to individuals move into their God given potential and purpose in life.

Momentum; GET SOME!

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