A 1% Difference For Your Ministry

Football has started, kids are in school, and fall is in full swing. Of course the reality of Young Life is that “fall” is in full swing by mid-August. Here at the “beginning” of the year I’d like to offer a few thoughts, things that might make your year more productive.

An idea that has captivated me recently: Kaizen (the term means small continuous improvements).

“Put simply, the Kaizen approach is based on the belief that continuous, incremental improvement adds up to substantial change over time.”

Small adjustments can make a BIG impact:

Here’s the effect of a one-degree change in a flight plan:

  • After 100 yards, you'll be off by 5.2 feet. Not huge, but noticeable.

  • After a mile, you'll be off by 92.2 feet. One degree is starting to make a difference.

  • After traveling from San Francisco to L.A., you'll be off by 6 miles.

  • If you were trying to get from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., you'd end up on the other side of Baltimore: 42.6 miles away.

  • Traveling around the globe from Washington, D.C., you'd miss by 435 miles and end up in Boston!

Sometimes this is called “1 Percent Improvement.” Over time, 1 percent can make a big difference. The question is: WHAT 1 percent are you going to focus on? What small thing could make a big difference for your area, committee or club next year? What would produce the greatest impact if you focused your energies on a few critical small changes*, and didn’t get distracted by the hundred loose ends tugging on you daily?

*Notice I didn’t say “easy changes,” (they never are), and you have to stay with them doggedly to get the benefit.

ACTION STEP: What if next year … ?

  • You spent more time planning committee (or club) meetings and always finished on time?

  • Every adult meeting started with a great devotional, a kid sharing, or a leader giving a ministry update?

  • A group of adults prayed for club every week?

  • You identified the 10 most important donor relationships for the area and did a great job thanking them and keeping them informed?

  • You identified the three critical things that would make your area/club better and focused on that till it happened?

You get the idea. I don’t know what your 1 percenters are, but you do. Think about it. It’s worth it.

A lot of people are focused on football right now, but I’m thinking, what will be the few “1 percenters” that will be my highest priority this year?

— Written by John Evans (jevans80@mac.com )