Using an Audacious Challenge to Get Results

Darkness in and of itself is a challenge. When you couple darkness with a place that should be shining with light, it becomes a true test. Such is the case in our church’s sanctuary. The fixtures are original with the building, circa 1973. Bulbs burn out and can’t be replaced. Wiring that’s forty feet off the floor has to be inspected. LED bulbs would bring 21st century light to the situation.

Do you have any idea how much it costs to upgrade lights in a church? Take a guess. Consider: new fixtures, new wiring, new dimmers, the cost of labor, rental of a hydraulic lift. Before you know it the total is at least $75,000.

Most churches don’t just have $75,000 lying around. Ours certainly didn’t. So in January the Church Council decided to present our congregation with an audacious challenge: Raise pledges of at least $75,000 by the end of February, or we won’t move forward with the project. It was a wise move. People are tired of the dimly lit room. They want to be able to see very important Words. And people tend to give monetary resources to things that are tangible — like lights that will help them see every Sunday.

So we had roughly six weeks to raise commitments of $75,000. It was a true step of faith. People told me they didn’t think we could do it. But I’ve seen it done before. I watched a central city congregation I served raise the money to build a $2.5 million addition to a school.

Sometimes people simply need to be challenged. They need a compelling reason and a strong goal in order to move forward. That’s what we had. And it meant that we reached the goal even before the deadline.

So we took another step. We presented our people with a “stretch goal.” If we could raise $90,000 we could also take care of some of our outdoor lighting, as well as the lighting in our other buildings. As I write this we stand at about $82,000.

It’s amazing what people will do when they are challenged. Divine intervention and human competitiveness, along with an added dose of self-interest, have completed many a project and reached many a goal.

This isn’t just true for churches and organizations. It is also true for individuals.

So I’m challenging you today to set for yourself a goal that you’ve always thought was just a bit out of your reach. Write it down. Post it in a prominent place. Set a deadline for yourself. Have someone hold you accountable.

I’m betting that you’ll get results. You might even pleasantly surprise yourself and move past it to something bigger and better. Go ahead. Take the step today.

What audacious challenge have you placed before yourself, and then went ahead and made it happen?

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