100 – Two tiny letters with massive impact [Podcast]

We need to master the use of the letters "N" and "O"

Welcome to Season 3 of the Your Church Matters podcast. I’m back from hiatus and excited about what’s ahead.  I’m also excited to reach the amazing milestone of releasing EPISODE ONE-DADGUM-HUNDRED!

In this episode, I’m talking about the massive impact possible when we master the use of the two tiny letters “n” and “o.”

Every pastor (and most leaders) have gotten requests to add something new (program, ministry, activity, resource).  Sometimes they come in the form of, “Pastor, God has put it on my heart that our church should …

How can we respond well?

8 Principles for Responding

  1. No” should be our default answer.  Give me a reason to say, “yes.”
  2. Filter every request through your church’s mission, vision, and values.  This is your big “YES” through which all requests must pass.
  3. No” doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t be done.  It means that you are not going to do it yourself, it is not going to become an official ministry of the church with people and financial resources and calendar priority.
  4. Don’t leave the impression that the door is open for the request at a later date.  “Not at this time” is not a clear response.
  5. Give people permission to do ministry and equip them with skills to fulfill their calling.  Make “equipping” a strategic priority rather than simply adding new programs and ministries.
  6. Make your mission, vision, and values so central that they become a way of thinking for your congregation.  If those things become your church’s identity, requests will not be for new things, but for ways to enhance what’s already happening.
  7. Develop strategic processes that keep your folks engaged in ministry.  Engaged and fulfilled people are not usually looking for something new.
  8. Constantly evaluate what you are doing.  The 4 Helpful Lists is a great tool.

Every “yes” requires you to say “no” to something else.  Choose wisely.


Every YES requires you to say NO to something else. Choose wisely. Click To Tweet


A Two Letter Bonus

The letters “n” and “o” are not simply used in the word “no.”  They can also be used in the word “on.”

When we understand ourselves, our strengths, our vision, and our “yes,” we then know what is “on.”

ON” ministries get full out support – financial resources, people resources, calendar priority, visibility, public celebration, passion.


Do you have questions about how to discover and implement your mission, vision, and values?  Or how to develop strategic processes?  Or how to move from telling and providing to training and equipping?

Send me an email and let’s talk


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To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

1. Comment section below

2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

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4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music for intro)

*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music for outro)

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, argumentative, off-topic, or just plain unhelpful.