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November 11th, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

11 comments (+ Add)

Avoid Promises

When God is blessing you with more than you can handle, I’d suggest you avoid making rash promises.

I have seen many pastors make promises during the wave only to later eat their words (or be bound by a promise they wish they’d never made).

  • We’ll never do a fundraiser!
  • We’ll never borrow money!
  • We’ll be in the new building by June of next year!
  • We only hire staff from within!
  • I will always teach live and in person.

Many ministries experience the “wave” early in ministry. They might assume it will last forever. Be careful you can keep the promises you make.

Try not to make immature promises you won’t keep.

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  1. Nov 11, 2009 at 7:26 am

    I have seen recently some meet harsh criticism because they stood and boldly proclaimed what they would never do and only a short time later they were eating those words. It was sad to see happen and it has damaged them in more ways than one. I see this warning as not being something that is said when you are riding the wave but really anytime. We need to keep outselves from making rash promises at any point.

    Good reminder!

  2. Nov 11, 2009 at 7:34 am

    Thank you for your observations. We were brainstorming yesterday just how we can do some of those things you listed above. Our region of the country seems to be 2-3 years behind the rest of you, so the use of video (although we have a video cafe) will take our people some getting used to. We have already borrowed a bunch of money, so figuring out what a debt load we feel comfortable moving forward.
    We did lose a bit of momentum a couple of years ago. I think when the worship leader stands up and starts the service with “This is our last Easter in this high school.” And then next year we’re still there get’s a little demoralizing.
    We’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way. That’s for sure.

  3. Nov 11, 2009 at 7:49 am

    So true Craig! For me Multi Site has been a good example of an area where we’ve learned it’s important not to make too many promises, because as anyone that’s doing it knows, its always evolving and changing!

  4. Nov 11, 2009 at 9:48 am

    I’ve often heard it said, “under promise, over deliver” and in most cases this certainly applies.

    We like to make bold promises - it makes us sound more daring, decisive & devoted… but, in truth, it ultimately reveals pride & lack of prayer. Ouch. I know that I’ve made this mistake more than once (probably more than I can count)…

    People aren’t looking for big promises, they’re looking for confidence & truth wrapped in sincere humility & love.

    You’re a great example in this.

  5. Nov 11, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Been there, done that…..learned the hard way… the way, watched your phone interview on CNN. Great job.

  6. Nov 11, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    I cringe every time I hear a young leader say, “We will never…”. Under-promise, Over-deliver.

  7. Nov 11, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Depends on the nature of the promise, I suppose. To me, this seems like a way for many pastors to get out of a commitment that they would be wise to make, out of fear that they’ll fall short.

    I know that’s not your intention, but that’s how a lot of pastors will use it.

    How about, “Keep the promises you make.” Wouldn’t that both cause us to question what we promise and encourage us to act boldly and responsibly?

  8. Nov 11, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    My wife and I are raising support so that we can do full-time ministry work in Germany. People kept asking us when we were leaving. According to our words we should have been gone in August. Now we just say when we get enough monthly support.

    Unless we know for certain we can do something I agree we shouldn’t make promises.

  9. Nov 12, 2009 at 7:22 am

    We forget sometimes ..HOW powerful our words are..I know I do. Great wisdom.

  10. Jan 19, 2010 at 10:40 am

    The Power of The Tongue to give life or to kill it…imagine how many people you have killed by broken promises and how many are still alive by kept promises, how many are barely with you by unfinished promises….dont count your eggs before they hatch…..if i have 1million dollar with a proper plan on how to spend it i will have no money for misuse…but given 1million dollar with no plan am the most dangerous person in this world….

  11. Jan 22, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Amen! There is a tendency for mega-leaders to create manstras. After using the mantra many times from the protection offered on their side of the pulpit, people begin to believe it–whether it is true or not, or even theologically sound, or even God-honoring. The early nay-sayers are discounted. And the mantra takes on a “Thus saith the Lord” echo effect. Mega-leaders need a few in-your-face colleagues who speak the truth and intentionally think often, “I love this guy–but not everything he says is golden. I need to tell him that last mantra should be discarded.”