You’ve probably heard of the Universal Better Curve before – you just didn’t know it. When I was growing up my dad called it the law of diminishing returns. In the context of ministry or an organisation it simply states that at some point spending more resources (time, money, talent – although he primary resource is usually money) on a ministry leads to decreasing returns on investment. For instance spending money on yet another keyboard for the praise and worship team will not significantly increase the quality of worship. The Universal Better Curve is an important concept in ministry because church leaders are entrusted with God’s resources. In addition I am mindful that the resources I have to hand comes about through the hard work of members who are struggling to make ends meet – hairdressers, kitchen porters, retail assistants and the like. So should we stop investing resources.? Not necessarily, but we can look to invest resources on areas that would yield the greatest returns. This may take some out of the box thinking. For instance with respect to a Praise and Worship team money spent on voice training will go further than money spent on yet another instrument. And I dare say an investment of time in reading the present keyboard manual will increase music quality far better than another top of the range keyboard. In addition a lot of inefficiency in ministry is introduced because of the lack of systems – and throwing money at problems will never compensate for a lack of procedures and systems. This all sounds like common sense doesn’t it? However as pastors we are so rushed off our feet, and sometimes so eager to move things along that we forget to pause and assess the cost benefit aspects of our investment decisions. The new line in the diagram below represents the ‘out of the box’ thinking. The diagram shows innovation, the introduction of systems and out of the box thinking bending the curve upwards (dashed blue line) so that more is achieve with less resources. Links: The are my thoughts on the Universal Better Curve from a small to medium sized church perspective. The original article is by Bobby Gruenewald. Bobby writes from a megachurch perspective but his thoughts are universally applicable. His article can be found here: