I love to see people overcome opposition. A few months ago I had a survey that I wanted potential new staff to fill out (as part of the interview process). The online form I used for the survey broke. It was not intentional at all, but how staff candidates responded taught me a lot about what they were made of. There were several that I had to track down as they got stuck with the broken survey and did nothing. Others submitted what they could with the broken survey and didn’t worry about what didn’t work. However, there was a select few who overcame this obstacle. One called the company that hosts the survey to find out why it wasn’t working. Others cut and pasted the questions in an email or word doc and submitted their answers that way. Although I didn’t break the survey on purpose, this incident taught me a lot about how people react when faced with an obstacle. Some make excuses and others get creative and push through.

Something else happened last week that totally blew my mind. As you know, I have this little project on the side right now called the Illuminate Project. It was started as a tool to equip children’s ministry in the local church in a major way. It’s a low cost, regional children’s ministry conference designed with the volunteers in mind. The response is exceedingly positive around these events. However, many churches end up not coming, even some who initially set plans to attend. I get to hear a lot of excuses. Excuses like:

  • We don’t have the money
  • Volunteers don’t want to give up a Saturday

Honestly, those are the two big ones. However, I got a message from a Marie Ray, a Children’s Pastor in Nashville, TN. I randomly met her on a shuttle bus in Chicago after the Kidmin conference and then again in Nashville a few months ago. She got excited about Illuminate and messaged me last week to tell me that she was about to register 50+ volunteers for the conference. I was blown away. Nashville is the only Illuminate location where any church has brought more than 50 volunteers and Marie’s church wasn’t on my radar as a church that was going to bring that many. She went on to tell me that she really didn’t have any conference money, so she threw out the challenge to her volunteers. She told them about the amazing experience she just had in Chicago at Kidmin that cost her hundreds of dollars to attend, yet they could experience a very similar training event (many of the same speakers) for just $17.50 a person (Although Illuminate costs $30 a person, the early bird rate saves you $5 and if you take more than 50, you get a 30% discount). So Marie pitched this vision for them to come to Illuminate and pay their own way. Last I talked to her, she was up to 56. WOW!

So, excuses are lame. With vision and pure determination, anything is possible.

If you’re in the Nashville area and you’re not going to attend Illuminate because of one of the excuses I listed above, maybe you should reconsider.