An Abundance Mentality

Rejecting scarcity thinking and adopting an abundance mentality produces at least four life-changing results as you lead your church or ministry.

Will we have enough?

If you’ve ever started a church, led in church revitalization, or pastored a local church of any size, that question drives a lot of discussion, prayer, and decision-making.

Will we have enough people? Will we have enough volunteers? Or will we have enough space? Will we have enough time? Will we have enough money?

The “enough question” becomes even more pointed when there are losses. When people leave the church, volunteers don’t show up, or money begins running out, we’re tempted to take on a survival mentality in order to not lose anyone or anything else. That survival mentality assumes resources are scarce.

That assumption leads to a lot of bad things.

For starters, we lose our peace. Our hearts are hurried, and we make decisions from a posture of fear. A survival mentality also makes us suspicious, even jealous of the successes of others. When others gain while we lose, we feel threatened and inadequate. Left unchecked, bitterness grows. And perhaps most difficult, a survival mentality causes us to doubt God and question our calling. We begin leading from insecurity rather than from a deepening confidence in God’s power and provision.

As a missionary and church planter, the apostle Paul understood what it meant to wrestle with the “enough question.” In his letter to the Philippians, he wrote:

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly because once again you renewed your care for me. You were, in fact, concerned about me but lacked the opportunity to show it. I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. I know how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content​—​whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me. Still, you did well by partnering with me in my hardship.Philippians 4:10-14, CSB 
And my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.Philippians 4:19-20, CSB

Despite suffering profound losses, Paul never allowed a survival mentality to invade his missionary zeal. His calling was sure. So, even when people who loved him could do little to help him, he stayed the course. Even in seasons of scarcity, his joy was full. Contentment, the settled assurance that God would provide, marked his life and ministry.

But Paul wasn’t just sure of God’s provision. He was confident of God’s abundant provision. God supplies all our needs “according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, CSB). Rather than a scarcity or survival mentality, Paul embraced an abundance mentality.

Rejecting scarcity thinking and adopting an abundance mentality produces at least four life-changing results as you lead your church or ministry.

1. It removes the bent toward competition

If leadership is about winning and losing, we want to win. So, we measure our church against other churches. Whether attendance or programming, we compare. We should learn best practices to improve as a leader, but too often we seek validation through competition.

An abundance mentality, on the other hand, reminds us that God expands our capacity to reach the world by connecting our church with the worldwide church. This connection may not be a formal partnership, but local churches are tied to one another through fellowship in Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit. As a result, our unique congregations are networked with one another. And the Lord himself has fully supplied us to reach our communities together. Ours is not a competition, but rather a holy communion of the saints.

2. It squashes any sense of entitlement

Paul could have been frustrated with the Philippians for not providing needed aid. He had left everything behind to travel across Asia Minor, planting churches and bringing the gospel to un-evangelized cities. He suffered abuse, rejection, and persecution of all kinds along the way. It would have been natural for him to feel like he deserved help from the Philippians. But he didn’t.

God has promised His provision for us to accomplish His calling on our lives. He may do it through people who are close by or far away. He may use expected means or unexpected circumstances. In whatever ways God works, His provision is according to His providence, not our expectations or preferences. And whether the provision is a little or a lot, it is enough. God is on the hook for the work He has begun in you, and He will come through.

3. It builds trust with others

When we adopt an abundance mentality, we are free to sincerely care for other churches and ministries. They are not our competition. They are kingdom partners. We consider them more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). We serve with open hands. And we pray for other churches asking God to bless them and to expand their influence.

This confidence, this sincere faith in God, builds trust with other pastors and churches that opens opportunities to share ministry, creates an environment for prayer and unity, and bears witness to the redeeming work of Christ to the world.

4. It elevates kingdom collaboration

The apostle Paul saw that where the church at Philippi lacked, the church in Macedonia excelled. Not every church can do everything, but every church can collaborate so that everything that needs to be done to make Jesus known in the community is done. A survival mentality says, “If we can’t do it, it can’t be done.” But an abundance mentality says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, CSB).

Paul had confidence in Christ’s strength because he had personally experienced God’s provision through God’s people working together. Without the kingdom collaboration of local churches, Paul had no missionary journeys. He personally experienced God’s provision, was empowered by it, and knew that making disciples of all nations depended on it.

The question is not, “Can your church survive without collaborating with other churches?” The question is, “Can our communities survive if we don’t?”

Survival is not our aim. Every tribe, tongue, and nation turning to Jesus is. And God promises abundant provision for that great work.

Daryl Crouch

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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