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Building something big from scratch

God has given me the privilege in the last few years to be a part of three ministry start-ups that have had to grow large quickly. Swaziland in the summer of 2004 was 192 separate one-week mission trips in almost every high school in the country. Every day was an adventure as we created a t…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

God has given me the privilege in the last few years to be a part of three ministry start-ups that have had to grow large quickly.

Swaziland in the summer of 2004 was 192 separate one-week mission trips in almost every high school in the country. Every day was an adventure as we created a team of 900 who ministered over 2 months.

After Hurricane Katrina, thousands of volunteers were needed in New Orleans and Mississippi. AIM has mobilized nearly 4000 of them.

And the World Race is a ministry juggernaut that is growing faster than anything I’ve ever led. Stay tuned – the future looks incredible.

Lessons I’ve learned from starting these ministries:

1. Big problems require big dreams and big faith. Bruce Wilkinson was the best I ever saw at this. He told me he promised the Lord he wouldn’t sin thru unbelief. He refused to ever think small.

2. Expect the naysayers. Most people expect the status quo to never change and many secretly hope you’ll fail so that by comparison they won’t look bad. They can’t help saying negative things – expect it.

3. Resources are rarely the problem. In former generations, resources may have been a problem, but in our day and age of abundance, they aren’t. What we lack is bold leadership.

4. Don’t delegate the design. When you build your house, only you know what it should look like. Leaders need to honor their vision by investing time in designing it well.

5. Hire capable people, but recognize that each stage needs new skill sets. Your people decisions will usually be the most important ones you make.

6. Ensure the frictionless flow of info so you can make decisions fast. Be reconciled to the fact that you’re going to make mistakes. So go ahead and make them quickly so you can learn from them and move on.

Comments (5)

  • Hey Seth, have you ever read Bruce’s book “Dream Giver?” It is an easy read and one that is highly motivating to dream BIG (!) and good direction on not giving up.

  • good times on the first 2 together…learned alot and changed who i am…probably good and bad just like most of life. trusting your insight on the 3rd

  • Barry Dillar, founder of Blockbuster is quoted as saying,
    “A good idea is worth doing badly.” Barry practiced the art of failure much as you are talking about.

Comments are closed.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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