It’s In the Mind


Most people know that it was Roger Bannister who first ran the mile in less than four minutes. It was on May 6, 1954, in Oxford, England, that Bannister achieved what was, at the time, the unbelievable feat of running the mile in 3:59.4 minutes.

Have we convinced ourselves that low goals are all that are possible and thus have given up on the dream that God might be ready to do a new thing in our midst?

Prior to Bannister’s achievement, it was assumed by many people that the four-minute barrier would never be broken. In fact, there had been some books written contending that it was physiologically impossible for the human body to move at such a speed. One could certainly understand why such contentions were believable. Since no one had ever broken the four-minute mile, perhaps it was impossible to do such a thing.

However, once Bannister performed the feat, notice what a short time it was before someone else did it also. In fact, while it had taken until May 6, 1954, for the first person to break four minutes, it took less that two months for the second person to do so. It was on June 21, 1954, in Turku, Finland, that John M. Landy ran the mile in 3:58.0 minutes.

What we think we can do really does make a difference in what we are able to do.

Some of the largest churches in the United States today are located in regions where the conventional wisdom had always been that “large churches cannot happen here; you have to go farther South for such churches.” Think of all the churches that denominations have closed because the last remaining members were convinced that “all the people have moved away,” only to discover that within a year of the church’s closing, another church has opened there with more than 100 participants.

A small town church with few remaining members and serious financial challenges had not had a youth ministry for thirty years because “there aren’t any youth.” When a young independent pastor asked to rent the church one weeknight each week, the church was quick to agree because they needed the income. For over a year now, more than forty youth in this tiny town have gathered for worship with this young pastor.

Have we convinced ourselves that low goals are all that are possible and thus have given up on the dream that God might be ready to do a new thing in our midst?


About Author

Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr.

Lovett H. Weems Jr. is senior consultant at the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, distinguished professor of church leadership emeritus at Wesley Theological Seminary, and author of several books on leadership.

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Discovering God’s Future for Your Church

Discovering God’s Future for Your Church is a turn-key tool kit to help your congregation discern and implement God’s vision for its future. The resource guides your church in discovering clues to your vision in your history and culture, your current congregational strengths and weaknesses, and the needs of your surrounding community. The tool kit features videos, leader’s guides, discussion exercises, planning tools, handouts, diagrams, worksheets, and more. Learn more and watch an introductory video now.