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When to Try Door Number Three

When to Try Door Number Three


Weariness had set in and I was ready to throw in the towel. The organization I started wasn’t growing and disappointment and stress had taken their toll. So, I sought the counsel of a well-known minister.

I asked one simple question: “Is it time for me to quit or should I persist?”

He savored my question for a few seconds, then replied, “Persist a little longer, because God may show you a better way.”

Rather than urging me to go through Door Number One, retreat, or Door Number Two, fight till the end, he proposed Door Number Threepivoting in a new direction. His advice ultimately led to the founding of Convoy of Hope, an international relief organization that has provided tangible help and the message of Jesus to more than 115 million people.


Whether it’s a church program or missions project, at one time or another you too must decide whether to push the delete button, press on in faith, or pivot in a better direction. The door you choose is an important one, because the wrong option may squander God’s money or waste people’s time.

So, how do you know which door is right? The process begins with listening to the Holy Spirit and ends with exercising common sense.

In my new book, Disruptive Compassion: Becoming the Revolutionary You Were Born to Be, leaders are challenged to measure outcomes and ask themselves the right question: “Are we doing the best thing?” Because, if something isn’t really working, leaders have a duty to redraw their plans and repeat their efforts until they get it right.


Revolutionary leaders know that change invites opposition. Doing the best thing often brings out the worst in people. But the alternative to confronting difficult people is complacency and convenient ignorance. In other words, it means tolerating mediocrity when you could be innovating for success.

Before long, basking in the sun of complacency dulls a pastor-leader’s sense of purpose and perpetuates surrender to the status quo. It isn’t merely the absence of progress; no, complacency erodes it. It fosters an attachment to the usual that robs your church and community of something better.

You’re fooling yourself if you think your leadership can survive seasons of mediocrity. It resembles hypothermia, with an onset of symptoms so gradual they aren’t noticed until the medical condition proves fatal.


As a pastor-leader, you were born to make a major contribution to the world. You don’t need to settle for impotence when you were made for importance. Instead, make the hard decisions (pivot) and plug your ears to the lies of complacency:

  • “Things are just fine the way they are.”
  • “Don’t make waves – let someone else deal with it.”
  • “You have enough on your plate already.”
  • “People won’t like you if you make changes.”
  • “It’s too big of a risk.”


Pivoting for the sake of pivoting does not guarantee positive results. Strategic pivoting requires research, reconnaissance, and persistence to achieve the desired outcomes. Here are eight questions to consider when contemplating a pivot:

  1. Why is change necessary?
  2. What’s been holding us back from change?
  3. What are the consequences of change?
  4. Do we know what we want to pivot toward?
  5. What’s the cost of accepting the status quo?
  6. Am I ready and willing to face opposition?
  7. Can the people I lead see failure as an education and keep trying until we get it right?
  8. And, what is the desired outcome?

You won’t know what lies behind Door Number Three until you say, “Enough is enough – what we’re doing isn’t working. It’s time to pivot and try something new.” Only then will you discover the risk is worth the reward.

—Based on Disruptive Compassion: Becoming the Revolutionary You Were Born to Be, by Hal Donaldson, CEO of Convoy of Hope.

How To Use This Book

This book is a crash course in what it means to become a revolutionary. Use it to equip ministry leaders in your church to evaluate the resources they already have, navigate real concerns and risks, check their motives, and ultimately become an agitator with purpose.

No one ever said we’d save the world by playing it safe.

Disruptive Compassion dares to make a bold claim: you possess the power to provoke real and meaningful change. Why? Because God has empowered you to rewrite the story of tomorrow. Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus created a model for revolutionaries that has been followed ever since. These principles are just as powerful to guide our journey today.

Disruptive Compassion is your invitation to move beyond pity, helplessness, and outrage. Let it be your playbook for making a difference right where you are.