PARAGON 360 INSIGHTS

Playing to Win in 2021

2 minute read

Shifting Your Mindset and your Ministry to Achieve Success

As a leader, it can be challenging to get excited about the New Year when COVID-19 is surging, political tensions are boiling over, and economic uncertainties are clouding our view of the future... and who knows what’s going to happen with toilet paper and murder hornets. Many businesses and churches took a big hit last year and most by no fault of their own. Nevertheless, the cards have been dealt and we must play wisely to win. The main ingredients will be hard work and monumental personal sacrifice. Secondly, it’s going to take a different mindset.

"We realized that to survive, our mindset needed to focus on how to win, not simply how to avoid losing."

A Shift in Mindset

At the beginning of the shutdowns last year, like most organizations, Paragon shifted to a defensive posture to protect the business and weather the storm, obviously not knowing where we were heading. Once we realized that this was going to last much longer than a few months, we made the strategic decision to go back on offense. We realized that to survive, our mindset needed to focus on how to win, not simply how to avoid losing.

At the height of the shutdown, we communicated to our team that we were in this to win it and we were not staying on defense the rest of the year. Our very survival, like any business, hinges on what we do today and how we respond to the challenges we face. It is not enough to rehash yesterday’s victories and polish our trophies from the past. We need to think like winners and adjust our game plan as needed. Playing to win is really about a mindset.

Playing to Win

When you play to win, you play with energy and excitement. You are aggressive and proactive. When you play to not lose, you are timid and stiff. You are not calling the plays; you are reacting. You are trying to hold your ground... not actively seeking to advance. When you play to win, you aggressively work to put points on the board. You are strategic and thoughtful. You trust your instincts and make bold moves. When you are playing to not lose, you are overly cautious. You often hold back and try not to make mistakes. And sadly, many who try to play it safe end up losing because they stopped doing what made them successful in the first place.

Hard Work Still Pays Off

As mentioned before, the other piece is about hard work. There is no substitute for hard work and determination. There is a societal change going on right now that says you don’t have to work hard to get to where you want to go. Don’t fall into this death trap. When the rules of the game are followed consistently, everyone has an equal opportunity for success. Though we have equal opportunity, we are not guaranteed an equal outcome. Success demands hard work, long hours, and a fierce determination to win. This is true in sports, church, business, and in any organization that faces opposition. As the old saying goes, “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”


"Churches around the country made a quick-pivot to get online but now it's time to take a step back and determine what's the best way to engage online."

A Future-Forward Ministry

Often what is true in business is also true in ministry. Looking to the past doesn't pay off. Instead, we must cast a vision and plan for the future. We've had to be reactive but now it's time to be proactive. You can play to win in your ministry by shifting your mindset and getting laser-focused on a few areas.

  1. Create the Future: Start considering what the next ministry model looks like. How have your congregants responded to the shift in ministry style over the last year? What practices should you keep and optimize? What practices should let quietly die? Consider the innovation that churches across the country have experienced and leverage their learnings for your ministry. Cast vision for what you believe your ministry model should look like over the next 3 to 5 years. Bring your leadership team along to create the future.

  2. Invest in Your Team: Just like businesses and ministries, many people have simply been surviving this past year. Training sessions have been canceled, conferences have gone virtual, connections have been lost. We are asking our teams to do things differently and we need to invest in their education and growth. As innovation continues in our technology, in the way we reach congregants, and in our internal processes, we must give our teams the tools they need to adapt.

  3. Amplify Connection: Find new ways to increase connection and engagement with your congregants. Churches around the country made a quick-pivot to get online but now it's time to take a step back and determine what's the best way to engage online. We have legitimized online worship, sermons, and community but what works on stage doesn't always work behind the camera. The expectations of the online experience continue to increase each day people can't be together physically. It is important to consider how to amplify the online experience. Many churches are beginning to convert underutilized spaces into broadcast studios. Through studios, they are delivering high-quality content to various audiences across the congregation including sermons, youth ministries, kids ministries, Sunday school, announcements, and special online events. Finding ways to amplify the experience will be the catapult for continued growth in your ministry as you plan for the future.

At the end of the day, you need to think like a winner and plan for the future. Don't be afraid to dream and cast a vision for what's next. What worked yesterday won't necessarily work tomorrow so try new ways to minister to people, test out new systems and processes, dig in with your team and continue to forge ways to create a meaningful connection with your audience. While it won't be easy, nor will it all be perfect, you will be building for the future and you will know that you left it all on the field. If you want to discuss how Paragon can help you build for the future, give us a shout.