Commitment Escalation

commitmentWhile it’s not an original idea of mine, I’ve been intrigued recently with the topic of commitment escalation.

In it’s simplest form the term focuses on when to pull the plug.

While this subject is relevant to many areas of life, I find it interesting in how it manifests itself in the church environment.

Here, we often find ourselves trying to fix something by continuing to work at it, spend money on it, committing more and more resources until we’re in over our heads.  It’s not producing the returns we’d hoped for and yet we keep escalating our commitment.  Basically we continue to build a bridge that leads to nowhere.  We believe that if we do a little more we can fix it.

In the church it can be due to history, a special family, a we’ve always done it that way mentality, or any number of reasons. But for whatever reason we continue to force the issue in hopes that the last tweak will fix it.  Sometimes this is much easier than the antithesis, facing the music and admitting something may be past it’s prime.  Worse yet, admitting that what we’d hoped would happen never materialized.

In a time of limited resources, hectic lifestyles, and lack of commitment in general, maybe it’s time to pull the plug and move forward and let go of the sacred cows – whatever they may be, but we all have them.

Just remember, if you get to feeling froggy, some ditches are worth dying in and some aren’t, so pick your ditches wisely.  What may not look like a win at face value may very well be providing assets somewhere else! So, gather true data and evaluate, evaluate and evaluate!

If you want to read more about commitment escalation, the Harvard Business Review has a great article on it.  While the article will focus on business applications, it’s not hard to make the jump into the church environment.  You can read about that here.

But don’t get bogged down in commitment escalation as it relates to the church environment, it goes so much deeper – careers, hobbies, relationships and investments just to name a few.

Maybe there is an area of your life where you need to just pull the plug and stop escalating the commitment that’s never going to produce the results you’d hoped for.

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