“More is less”

John Kirkby, i61 Movement and CAP

More is less. Only by ruthlessly eliminating anything that is not strictly necessary we can focus on the most mission-critical activities.

Anything in me, anything achieved, every breakthrough, advance and innovation is all because of His spirit and redeeming salvation.

Over the last 30 years since I found faith, God has nurtured the entrepreneurial and leadership gift He gave me. I founded Christians Against Poverty and for 25 years saw it grow to an international ministry, seeing 1000’s find faith and freedom. Over the last 2 years I've gone again and founded the Isaiah 61movement. Using the i61m app, a unique simple goal setting tool inspiring and helping the 8 out of 10 Christians who don't currently share their faith, to start. 3 simple steps of Sharing their Life, their faith and Jesus.

My plea to you as Christian leaders in whatever context don't forget Jesus. Have just 3 core values that reflect Him, any more are too many. Ours are to be Christ-centred, faith filled and generous.

Then I would say Less is MORE. Coming from an organisation with over 1,500 workers in 5 countries to 5 part timers with almost zero resources I've seen again the power of “less is More”. It makes us have the “Ruthless Elimination'' of everything that is not mission critical. Meaning we ditch loads of good stuff as we know it's “good stuff that takes us all away from the God stuff” you've been asked to do. Great ideas and initiatives can, if not checked against your mission, take you always from it.

It is estimated that an organisation left alone will grow by 10%.

In other words if you just left what you're doing to its own devices it would nearly double  in just 7 years. So being neutral on cutting stuff out won't cut it. You have to be deliberate, keep it focused and simple. The fewer resources you have, the more mission critical your work must be. This pushes you to  ask yourself is this really really mission critical? Will it ever be mission critical even if it succeeds. When talking about things we always say “so what?” meaning great idea, but what will it drive forward? The gift to say “no we won't do that” is massively underestimated, a vital skill to learn as a leader. The culture of less is more is vital.

Over the last 2 years, with just 5 part time staff we've gone from having the idea, developing the concept, building the App, going through a year-long 3 stage trials, launching it across the UK, and now are seeing amazing growth and impact.

Why? because we know less is more. A 3 point plan not a 12 point plan. You have to build a really focused “why-do-you-exist-missions-and-vision” statement. (We combined them to have less!) Ours is “Every Christian Confidently Sharing Jesus” and we have now got the culture working alongside our core values, “more is less

Three key moments when “ruthless elimination" and “more is less” need to be at the forefront of decisions.

1. When hiring people, what they will do is as mission critical as everyone else. Could someone stop doing what they are doing which is less mission critical to do this?

2. When new ideas are developing, ask early on “so what”? Even if this works it would be a distraction, is it more important than all we are doing?

3. When budgeting, one of our biggest drivers is regular income as a % of expenditure. Regular sales, known income however you want to name it. If this drops stop doing stuff until it's growing. This limits your budget which for a “more is less” organisation is good. Increasing activity, spending more money, and hiring more people is not special. What makes our great leadership is NOT hiring, NOT expanding costs, finding innovative ways for your team to achieve more is very special. Yes harder, more effort but hugely rewarding. “The Harvest is plenty, the workers are few''...use “workers' efficiently and effectively”.

Three words “Less is more” sums it up, praying by His spirit you will hear Him say.

John Kirby

Dr John Kirkby CBE

Founder Isaiah 61 Movement and Christians Against Poverty

3 times winner Sunday Times Best Leader