LeaderLines – from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Hillcrest Church Office
April 15, 2004

LeaderLines is a weekly “e-briefing” providing valuable information and inspiration to those who serve at Hillcrest Baptist Church.

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Here is this week's LeaderLines. . . .

“Good to Great: Getting the Flywheel Spinning”
by Tom Goodman

In last week’s LeaderLines, I introduced you to Jim Collins’ best-selling business book, Good to Great.  In that book, he highlights the common habits and decisions that led eleven companies from average performance to superior performance.  It was one of the first books I read when I accepted the call to Hillcrest because we’re a good church that can be great for God.

In each of the good-to-great corporate transformations, there was no miracle program, no magic formula, no one-shot seminar, and no stunning personnel hire that suddenly catapulted the company into greatness.  In fact, in most companies it was difficult to pinpoint the moment that the turnaround happened.  In every business turnaround Collins examined, it was the triumph of steadfast discipline over the quick fix.

The companies experienced what Collins called “the flywheel effect.”  Here’s how he put it—
Picture a huge, heavy flywheel.  It's a massive, metal disk mounted horizontally on an axle.  It's about 100 feet in diameter, 10 feet thick, and it weighs about 25 tons.  That flywheel is your company.  Your job is to get that flywheel to move as fast as possible, because momentum—mass times velocity—is what will generate superior economic results over time.  Right now, the flywheel is at a standstill.  To get it moving, you make a tremendous effort.  You push with all of your might, and finally, you get the flywheel to inch forward.  After two or three days of sustained effort, you get the flywheel to complete one entire turn.  You keep pushing, and the flywheel begins to move a bit faster.  It takes a lot of work, but at last the flywheel makes a second rotation.  You keep pushing steadily.  It makes three turns, four turns, five, six.  With each turn, it moves faster, and then—at some point, you can't say exactly when—you break through.  The momentum of the heavy wheel kicks in your favor.  It spins faster and faster, with its own weight propelling it.  You aren't pushing any harder, but the flywheel is accelerating, its momentum building, its speed increasing.
I like that image, because it’s a perfect picture of church work!  Doing the right things consistently and repeatedly eventually creates an exciting momentum.

Last week, Herb Ingram, our interim Minister of Education, introduced our Sunday School leadership to numbers that showed that Hillcrest attendance has essentially remained the same for the last ten years, despite Austin’s population boom.  So, we leaders need to start pushing—pushing for a re-evaluation of the things we’re doing, pushing for people to build relationships with those who need Jesus, pushing for a quality in our work that will make our members want to bring their friends to Hillcrest.

Like pushing against a stationary flywheel, it’s hard work just to make a little progress and that can discourage church leaders—has it discouraged you?  Keep pushing with me, because doing the right things consistently and over time makes a good church great.


P.S.  Our entire Ministry Staff just spent three days in Palacios with about fifty Hillcrest Senior Adults sharing our vision and hopes for the future.  Gene, Herb, BJ, Jim and I are so grateful to our senior saints for the fellowship, the “42” lessons, and the great response to our presentation of the proposed new schedule.