Ready, aim. Ready, aim…

Admiral David G. Farragut

Sometimes leaders come across like they are a stuttering, dyslexic firing squad – continually using this as the motto above.

That’s all okay as long as they are willing to admit they are stuck and are eager to begin to work toward change. The problem comes when we convince ourselves that what we are doing is fine and dandy even when we are merely marching in circles, and never honestly go forward to engage in real spiritual progress.

Marching in circles is the result of the fear we haven’t dealt with. Often it seems we just fear fear. All of us have our share of fears. The issue is how we will deal with those fears.

Plugin a few basic strategies that will help you pull the trigger and make forward progress.

  1. Tune out the fears that have kept you stuck.

Listen more to what you need to do instead of the fears that have kept you stuck. Usually, those fears are placed in our heads by others who just want to “help.” Part of your job as a leader is to smile, and move forward to do what you know in your gut is the right move.

  1. Peel your eyes to find those who are already going the same direction.

Usually, there are already hey are also dealing with their share of fears that have kept them stuck as well. Some of those I’ve met because we were going in the same direction have become lifelong friends.

  1. Drop unrealistic conditions for launching.  

Sometimes we even need to drop all conditions – even from the get-go.  At times what we think are some conditions, are essential steps before we launch, but are just excuses that coddle our fear of failure.

The course of the Civil War might have been connected with a spontaneous move by the northern Admiral David Farragut. He was charged with taking back the Bay of Mobile, Alabama – a power base of the Confederates. But there was one tiny problem – the bay was loaded with water mines. His commanders insisted they carefully think things through, make a careful plan, and only then pull the trigger. But Farragut realized that all the planning in the world wouldn’t make a difference to their success or failure unless they did something radical and antithetical to the thinking of his commanders.

Farragut figured that victory was only possible if they took the bay by storm. He gave them his famous motto:


The move was a success. Only a couple of ships from the entire fleet were hit, and the majority broke through to Mobile Bay and crushed the South’s ability to take on supplies. Some historians consider that battle as key to the North’s victory in shutting down the South’s key supply area.

Sometimes we are only going to think and think and think, and not move forward a bit.

The big question, no matter what the assignment, is:

What is God calling us to?

Once you’ve nailed that down, usually the keyword is, “Fire!” Thinking is vital, yet our own false fear can mimic progress when we are actually going the other direction.

Go for it! Don’t give in to pressure from “Volunteers” who see themselves as smarter than you, but are really just stuck in their fears that they call “Prudence.”

These commanders (naysayers) work for you. Be the Admiral Farragut of your church plant. Sure, you’ll hit a mine or two, but it will be worth it in the long run. You will have gotten off and running.

Steve has spoken, mentored and modeled to churches and leaders around the world with the simple message that anyone – regardless of their gifting or experience – can be involved in bringing God’s loving kindness to others. His first book, Conspiracy of Kindness has been translated into several languages with more in the works. His first book has sold over 300,000 copies. Altogether his books have sold over 500,000 copies.