Here are ten ministry axioms I received from Larry Osborne. I recently ran across notes from a talk by Larry Osborne, Senior Pastor of North Coast Church, entitled, “10 MINISTRY PLUMB LINES” (PRINCIPLES) FOR MINISTRY.”

In my opinion, Larry is the smartest ministry “nuts and bolts” pastor on earth. His books are terrific (especially Sticky Church and Sticky Teams), and if he’s ever speaking near you, especially on leadership, you owe it to yourself to attend. Here are the principles by themselves–the content in between was even better. I’ve added some of my comments in italics after them.

  1. Health over growth. Every time.
  2. Seek disciples, not decisions. This is hard for results-oriented Americans. Perhaps we need to seek a better result.
  3. Programs and preaching attract people. Relationships keep them. I’ve found this to be so true. Growth Groups is a huge part of what we do.
  4. People like it small. Leaders like it big. True, but people’s opinions of “big” and “small” may vary. North Coast has mastered the “small” feel as a big church better than any church I know of.
  5. Build on islands of strength. Don’t orient your ministry around making up for your weaknesses. Focus on your strengths.
  6. Plan in pencil. Be willing to follow if God wants to do something big and/or unexpected.
  7. Weigh, don’t count opinions. Not all opinions are created equal.
  8. If you can’t live with a worst case, don’t do it. The worst case happens more than we think.
  9. Aim to be believer targeted/seeker friendly. Much better and faithful than completely seeker-oriented. I refer to our church as “believer-oriented, seeker aware.” Part of maturing disciples is teaching them to care about the outsider.
  10. The best training is “on the job” training. Books can only teach so much.