Margaret Marcuson: A little at a time: Learning from a 100-year-old man

I was inspired last month by the story of Captain Tom Moore who wanted to raise money for the British National Health service charity by walking 100 laps around his yard with a walker. He hoped to raise $1250 by his 100th birthday. His efforts went viral, and he raised over $39 million (my numbers are from NPR). He’s being honored with a knighthood. I don’t cry often, but this brought me to tears.

Captain Tom started small and ended up doing great things, as people responded to his efforts.

Jim Collins, author of Built to Last and Good to Great, said in a recent interview:

"What we found is that the most durable results happen as a series of good decisions that accumulate one upon another over a very long period of time, that create a massive compounding effect… you get a really good thing and you build strategic compounding over a very long period of time, and then you end up with this spectacular result." Shane Parrish, Farnam Street Brain Food #370, 5/24/2020

In ministry, it’s often hard to feel like you’re doing enough, learning enough, being enough, especially now. I’ve talked with many clergy through this covid-19 shutdown who feel that you are working longer hours than ever, or using brand-new technology, and still don’t feel they are doing enough. I’ve talked with others who have MORE time, and feel guilty they aren’t working harder.

I’ve found that attending to your own leadership a little at a time is the best way to make change in yourself, and to give others room to change. You don’t have to read and implement a whole book. I’ve seen many of the wonderful virtual offerings right now and felt overwhelmed—I just couldn’t take it in. If you’ve felt like that, too, give yourself grace.

One minute of prayer can be enough. One short reading can be enough. I read a few pages from a devotional book and something related to ministry each morning, and it amazes me how much I can get through over time. Remember, you don’t have to take part in a hundred webinars of the many outstanding ones on offer right now. You just have to take a few minutes each day or even each week to stop, read something brief, and reflect. I can’t promise you’ll raise $39 million. However, I will say you can gain (or maintain) a greater sense of peace and possibility in your ministry.

There’s a brand-new opportunity to take a step at a time, like Captain Tom, toward sustainable ministry. Click here to find out more.