6 Places Where Vision Communication Must Be Clear

Clarity is the highest goal of all church communications. Our role is to cut through the clutter and deliver the message we are giving with as much precision as possible. In order to do that we employ a wide variety of tactics to persuade people towards the goals that we’ve set. In an effort to persuade our communications can slip to a place where they stop being clear and become just clever. We can become too self-impressed with how we’re communicating the message that the content of the message is lost.

Here are a handful of times that I’ve seen churches lose clarity when communicating with their community:

  • Family Ministry Environment Names // When a first time guest sees the names of your kid’s and student’s ministries do they make sense? If I have an infant do I take them to “WhizBangLand” or “GrowUpGang”? Too many churches employ clever ministry names that don’t make sense to people outside of the church. It’s the ultimate insider focused tactic to use names that are not self-evident to guests. Make sure people can clearly understand the signage and printed materials about your family ministry environments without having to interpret what they mean.
  • Campus Location Labeling // Too often churches attempt to be clever by naming campuses using relative locations to the original campus … Crossroads Church North, St. Paul’s East … the problem is that naming convention assumes that the new campus is a small satellite of something larger. Quickly after you launch people will attend the new location that have never been to the original campus … when you use a naming convention that points back to the first location it diminishes the work in the new campus. Pick an approach to labeling the new location that casts vision for the community for want to reach … Crossroad Church Essex County, St. Paul’s Uptown.
  • Graphic Design // Can I speak to the graphic designers for a minute? There is a difference between something looking amazing and it communicating clearly. Most of the great art I’ve ever seen is ambiguous and hard to understand what the artist is saying. The fact that I need to wrestle with the meaning of the piece is what makes it art. Your role as a graphic designer is to use elements of design to communicate a message. Communication leads … art follows. It would be prettier to have the super slender font on that flyer … but people wouldn’t understand that it’s talking about. This isn’t a tension to be managed … communication comes before beauty … function before form.
  • Next Steps // Once people start attending your church for a while they will be looking for their next steps to getting connected. Often I’ve seen churches call their first steps for new people some fancy name that just doesn’t make sense on the surface … Discovery Class, Engage, Connection. By definition, people who are new to your church don’t have any sense of your “integration process” and are just wondering what they should do first. At our church we call this environment First Step because we want it to be the first thing people who when they come to our church. This is also the case when you ask people to take any sort of “next step” in their spiritual journey. Make the right next step obvious and clear.
  • Financial Reporting // Report your finances in a way that can be easily understood by “non-financial” people. Use plain language, simple charts and clear commentary when talking about the financial state of the church. Financials are not self-evident to most people. We need to provide simple commentary that helps people benchmark what is happening in the life of the church. Bold clarity in this area will build trust with your donors and ultimately encourage them to give more to your ministry. If people don’t understand this part of what happens at your church they will be less likely to give. Active obfuscation of the truth is the shortest route to financial ruin of a church.
  • Online Calls to Action // Your church’s website probably has too many options on it. When people arrive at your site what do you want them to “do”? Are you focusing their attention on just a few next steps rather than a wide variety of options? Every ministry wants to be “featured” on your site … but if you “feature” them all you will just generate clutter and noise for your guests. Often we use our websites to move people to action in our church … asking them to donate, join a small group, volunteer for a team, connect with our team, etc … but when we pile on the “calls to action” each new ask erodes the impact of the last.

Read more from Rich.


Want help keeping your communication clear? Find out more about Auxano’s Communication service.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Clarity of Our Founding Fathers

How was it that within a short span of time on the east coast of the North American continent there should have sprung up such a rare array of genius – men who seemed in virtual command of historical experience and who combined moral imagination with a flair for leadership?

We know those men as the Founding Fathers.

Part of the answer is that these men knew how to invest their combined strength in a great idea:

  • A young man like James Madison had urgent thoughts about what people had to do to become free and remain free. Not content to just set these thoughts down in print, he joined those concerns to those of other men in a position to exert leadership.
  • The intellectual exchange – in person and in letters – between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams spanned over 50 years, beginning when independence was just a dream and continuing long after the United States of America had become an established government. This exchange knows few equals for depth, range of subject matter, literary style and general intellectual achievement in recorded correspondence.
  • George Washington and Benjamin Franklin registered their main impact on their contemporaries through the force of their personalities rather than through any detailed exposition of their political ideas and philosophy.

It was from men like these that the idea of a new nation was born. Their thoughts were expressed in The Declaration of Independence.

Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is at once the nation’s most cherished symbol of liberty and Jefferson’s most enduring monument. Here, in exalted and unforgettable phrases, Jefferson expressed the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people.

The political philosophy of the Declaration was not new. John Locke and the Continental philosophers had already expressed its ideals of individual liberty. What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy in “self-evident truths” and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country.

On July 1, 1776, Congress reconvened. The following day, the Lee Resolution for independence was adopted by 12 of the 13 colonies, New York not voting. Immediately afterward, the Congress began to consider the Declaration. Adams and Franklin had made only a few changes before the committee submitted the document. The discussion in Congress resulted in some alterations and deletions, but the basic document remained Jefferson’s. The process of revision continued through all of July 3 and into the late morning of July 4. Then, at last, church bells rang out over Philadelphia; the Declaration had been officially adopted.

A letter from John Hancock to General Washington in New York, as well as the complete text of the Declaration, followed two days later:

That our affairs might take a more favorable turn, the Congress have judged it necessary to dissolve the connection between great Britain and the American colonies, and to declare them free and independent states; as you will perceive by the enclosed Declaration, which I am directed to transmit to you, and to request you  will have it proclaimed at the head of the army in the way you shall think most proper.

Many saw at once that with the enemy massing for battle so close at hand and independence at last declared by Congress, the war had entered an entirely new stage. The lines were drawn now as never before, the stakes higher. “The eyes of all America are upon us,” John Knox wrote. “As we play our part posterity will bless or curse us.”

“We are in the midst of a revolution,” wrote John Adams, “the most complete, unexpected, and remarkable of any in the history of the nations.”

In a ringing preamble, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the document declared it “self-evident” that “all men are created equal,” and were endowed with the ‘unalienable” rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” And to this noble end the delegates had pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

From this point on, the citizen-soldiers of George Washington’s army were no longer fighting only for the defense of their country, or for their rightful liberties as free born Englishmen, as they had at Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill, and through the long siege at Boston. It was now a proudly proclaimed, all-out war for an independent America, a new America, and thus a new day of freedom and equality.

At a stroke the Continental Congress had made the Glorious Cause of America more glorious still, for all the world to know, and also to give every citizen soldier at this critical juncture something still larger and more compelling for which to fight.

Clarity isn’t everything, but it changes everything.

 

material adapted from 1776 by David McCullough

 
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company.

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Communicate Bible Truth with Life Changing Clarity

Christians are communicators. And while some Christians may be more or less gifted at the skill of communication, all Christians are “witnesses.” That is, we are, by the very fact that we have been born again into Christ and therefore witness personally the power of the gospel, to bear witness of what we have seen and heard:

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

It is inevitable. Jesus did not say “you might be” or “from time to time you could be,” but instead “you will.” We have been issued a divine summons, and our appearance to testify is not optional. So all of us, whether we be plumber or preacher, poet or pastor, are communicators of the gospel. We communicate about God, His Word, and the gospel in our homes, in our jobs, with our friends, and in our churches, so the question of how we communicate should be very important to us.

It hasn’t always been to me. Once upon a time, a lot of years ago, I was pretty impressed with my own rhetorical skill, and I put together a sermon I was super proud of. I started with a lengthy and elaborate illustration using Gilligan’s Island as the premise. I wrote out the sermon which detailed how all of us, from time to time, get stuck on a spiritual island. And we might use all kinds of things to get off that island – we might use our intelligence, our money, our talent, our charm. See what I did there with each of the characters on the TV show?

Yep. I did that. And then, after it was written out, I remember thinking to myself, I should find some Bible verses to stick into this talk.

By God’s grace, I’ve gotten older. And as I continue to get older, there are some things, I think, that are becoming more important to me about communicating God’s Word. Hopefully these will be helpful to you, too:

1. Clarity over cleverness.

It’s so easy to get enamored with our own cleverness. And in so doing, we can come up with all kinds of clever ways to try and explain things in the Bible through use of illustration. But the danger of doing so is that we might end up obscuring what the Bible says with our own cleverness. In the end, as we think through illustrations, it’s a wise thing to ask whether we are trusting, through the use of our clever rhetoric, if we are trusting in our own ability to communicate more than the power of God’s Word.

2. Faithful over funny.

Humor is a powerful thing. I think Jesus used humor from time to time in His own teaching. I mean, it’s funny to think about a person walking around with a plank sticking out of his head all the while he’s looking for splinters in someone else’s. So humor is a gift, and a tool that we can use to help communicate. But we should also be careful here, because we can easily keep a bag of our “go to” stories that we know will solicit a laugh, and then look for a way to bend the true content of the message in order to work them in.

3. Adoration over admiration.

Everyone likes to be liked. I certainly do. But the danger when we communicate and communicate effectively is that people might leave a conversation or a class or a church service with us dazzled at our rhetoric and yet never brought humbly to the God we represent. If that happens, then we have garnered admiration from another, but we haven’t led that other to adoration of Jesus Christ.

Christian, you are a witness. I am too. The call for us in that witness is faithfulness and clarity that points people to Jesus. Let’s make sure together that in our cleverness and humor we aren’t leading others to admire us but miss the Son of God.


Connect with an Auxano Navigator to learn more about communicating with clarity.


> Read more from Michael.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Kelley

I’m a Christ-follower, husband, dad, author and speaker. Thanks for stopping here to dialogue with me about what it means to live deeply in all the arenas of life. I live in Nashville, Tennessee, with my wife Jana who is living proof of the theory that males are far more likely to marry over their heads than females are. We have three great kids, Joshua (5) and Andi (3), and Christian (less than 1). They remind me on a daily basis how much I have to grow in being both a father and a child. I work full time for Lifeway Christian Resources, where I’m a Bible study editor. I also get out on the road some to speak in different churches, conferences and retreats.

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How Vision, Alignment, and Generosity Became One Church’s Future

About two years ago we received contact from Church at The Mall in Lakeland, FL. They had just launched an initiative with seven missional components. These action items were big, really big. The intent was to propel an already active church with a miraculous story into a bold new future. Of course, these seven missional objectives needed to be funded. Naturally, a three-year capital campaign would be the solution. HOLD ON! What if vision, alignment, and generosity could be the solution for their new future?

Here are the seven missional objectives, our approach, and some of the results we’ve seen less than two years into the work.

Missional Objectives:

  1. Raise $1million each year for missional causes while reducing church debt
  2. Maximize their outreach and efforts
  3. Advance and expand their media ministry
  4. Needs assessment for staff, space, finances, and times
  5. Launch a multi-site campus approach
  6. Develop a Center for Discipleship and Education
  7. Develop methodical and comprehensive life stage discipleship from cradle to college

Approach:

  1. Create two one-day offerings immediately to take a huge leap forward with debt reduction and missions giving. Palm Sunday was utilized to catalyze those who were passionate about debt reduction. The entire offering that Sunday was deposited toward their debt. Then on Easter Sunday, Church at the Mall built bridge relationships with multiple non-profits in the community that aligned with the church vision. The entire offering was given away to impact the city. It was a bold step on many fronts. The staff and church leaders needed to decide how committed they were to the missional objectives. What would happen if they gave two complete offerings away at the beginning of the year? How would that impact ministry, even their jobs? Their unified faith would be more than rewarded.
  1. Clarify their Vision, create culture, and discipleship Measures. TheVision Framing process of Auxano was utilized to create the organizational engine and culture needed to accomplish the seven missional objectives. A repeated priority on prayer, fasting, and the anointed life would provide the fuel. This focus led to a clear articulation of a three-pronged Strategy. The Strategy would align ministries to work best together delivering the results of their Vision. This would require big conversations related to aligning programming, staff, calendar, facility, and resources. Good activity would not compete with visionary accomplishment.
  1. Develop a Generous Culture. When Vision is clear, resources are aligned, and results are measurable, it releases people. They knew where the church was headed, how they could grow, where they could live a big life, and confidence that their generosity was making a difference beyond themselves. We identified the different types of givers in their church from those who gave nothing to those living generously beyond a tithe. Each person was able to identify with a giving hero in the Bible that was relatable to their stage of life and financial situation. Curriculum was developed. A year-long growth path was revealed. Every person and family could find their way to grow a generous life for the sake of long term kingdom investment.

Results:

  • Total church indebtedness was reduced by 26% or $1,056,799.
  • Total church missions giving increased by 35% or $216,953.
  • Yearly undesignated giving increased 6% and this is not counting the special offerings taken on two consecutive Sundays.
  • General offerings increased by 12% prior to summer months, and this is not including the special offerings received.
  • Average gift per family increased 21% year to date. (Measured the first several months of three consecutive years)
  • Families or individuals giving digitally increased 19%.
  • The church was given a church facility in a neighboring town worth $1,700,000. A new campus was launched with hundreds in attendance.
  • Media is being maximized via new brand development, website, and app.
  • Discipleship Measures were created for all ages along with custom written curriculum.
  • Outreach is on a path to being maximized via new outreach Bible studies, online services, and a new television program.

Not too bad for less than two years of focused activity. Dream big, get focused, pray boldly, and enjoy the clarity.


To learn how this process could help your church, connect with an Auxano Navigator today.


> Read more from Todd.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Todd McMichen

Todd McMichen has served for over 30 years in a variety of roles in the local church, doing everything from planting churches to lead pastor. While on staff he conducted two major capital campaigns helping to guide his local churches through sizable relocation projects. Those two churches alone raised over $35,000,000. Since 2000, Todd has been a well-established stewardship and generosity campaign coach, as well as a conference leader and speaker. Todd is a graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic College in West Palm Beach, FL and Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth, TX. He lives in Birmingham, AL with his wife Theresa, and their two kids, Riley and Breanna. You can contact Todd at todd@auxano.com or 205-223-7803.

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Commanding Clarity

I was honored to attend my friend’s change of command ceremony near Seattle. I marveled at the connection between the highly disciplined environment of the military and the practice of clarity. Think about it for a moment-in the military clarity is everywhere:

  • The mission is always crystal clear
  • There is a ton of communication before and after any initiative (after action review)
  • Lines of authority are unmistakable
  • A person’s accomplishments, time and experience are worn on their sleeve, literally
  • Lots of attention goes into training and technology for communication
  • Maintaining clarity requires a whole new world of vocabulary
  • Expectations and role descriptions for each individual are always reviewed
  • There is never a moment without total accountability to what is made clear

At one point I almost began weeping. As I immersed myself in a day of military culture, I couldn’t believe the sheer discipline of clarity that we exercise on behalf of our great country, in contrast to how little we achieve as leaders within God’s eternal kingdom.

Here is the mission of the squadron I was with: To provide combatant commanders with a fully combat ready strike group, capable of prompt and sustained operations across the full spectrum of naval operations anywhere in the world.

During the ceremony the three core values of the Navy were not only passionately conveyed by the four leading officers, they were demonstrated throughout the ceremony. For example, one aspect of the core value of “honor” is articulated as “We also honor the sacrifices our families and loved ones make to support us in our call of duty.” During the ceremony, Hunter’s wife, mother and two daughters were lavishly honored with generous bouquets from the Navy. The moment reflected the value wonderfully. The other two values are courage and commitment.

Read more from Will here.


Would you like to learn more about the vision clarity process? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
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What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Do More of What You Do Best with 6 Powerful Secrets

Okay, I couldn’t resist calling these “secrets.” Why? Well, they are such as missing practice in ministry today, they functionally behave like secrets. You be the judge:

Secret #1: Ask God for supernatural insight into your “ministry best.”

He already knows what you can do best because he created you to do it. Every other step in this process fails without a spirit of great dependence on God and the full realization that ministry is a stewardship, not derived from you. Peer into your history. Reflect on your identity. Gaze at your strengths. Pray for vision.

Secret #2: Define your “ministry best” with great clarity.

Have you found that amazing place where the right words symbolically yet powerfully capture your “ministry best?” Great leaders usually do and they know it’s worth sacrificing the time for internal wrestling and outside coaching. Clarity isn’t everything but it changes everything. Name your “ministry best.”

Secret #3 Refine your leaders’ understanding of your “ministry best” with great patience.

Be confident in this: Leaders always overestimate how much their team “get’s it.” Check out Jesus’ ministry to strengthen this point. Your tools to create understanding are time and dialogue. Make the time. Tee up the dialogue. Start with your inner circle. When they are clear get every leader in your ministry together and do it again. You are not done this process until everyone responsible for money or people in your ministry is clear.

Secret #4: Communicate your “ministry best” to everyone with  great passion.

Now it’s time to open the flood gates. Weave it into every sermon. Bring it up at each meal. Tell the story at today’s meeting. But remember to increase your passion. How do you do that? Consider what problem your “ministry best” solves. Stir your heart with that problem. Communicate the answer in a way that other’s will really feel it, not just hear it.

Secret #5: Consistently change, modify, or tweak the least effective one-third of what you are doing in light of your “ministry best.”

Does this sound hard? It’s really not when you do the first four practices well. In fact this can be a lot fun, once the leadership team is aligned. To help you identify the “bottom” one-third of your ministry activity, work as a team to place all of your ministries in three buckets, ranked A, B and C. Be courageous.

Secret #6: Reinforce the awareness and appreciation of your “ministry best.”

Pray about it daily. Remind people about it weekly, Celebrate it monthly. If you start doubting it, go back to secret #1. Don’t let the idea of “being best” put pressure on yourself. Remember that the foundation of a “ministry best” is God’s work. He is the power source. He brings the fruit. Stay completely connected to and dependent on Him. If you take these secrets seriously, it will be very important to stay connected to Jesus to keep your success from going to your head.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
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What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Your Best Brand Asset is Understanding Yourself

The world isn’t looking for a copy of an existing writer, musician, politician, CEO, or leader; they’re looking for someone new, innovative, and original.

Your job is to discover how your unique gifts and talents can differentiate you from everyone else.

You have no idea the number of people who call our offices each week asking us to “do the same thing for us that you did for your national clients.” They want to copy someone they admire, and they’re asking us to help get that story out there and get noticed by the national media. But they’ve got it backwards. There’s already one of those famous leaders. A new person needs to emphasize his or her unique differences.

Besides, each of our clients were unique and brilliant long before I ever met them. Probably the most powerful gift these leaders had was an understanding of who they were and what their talent and calling were about.

That’s something worth repeating: Probably the most powerful gift these leaders had was an understanding of who they were and what their talent and calling were about.

Having an accurate understanding of what makes you unique and different is absolutely critical. For many, an accurate understanding is obscured or undermined by a lack of professionalism, bad ideas, poor taste, inept leadership, insecurity, lack of people skills, bad assumptions, and more. These sorts of things plague many leaders today and hamper their effectiveness.

What makes you different from all the others competing for your position?

There’s even more competition out there within the greater culture. In today’s world, everybody competes. For media creators, product producers, sales professionals, and more–how can you compete with all the entertainment choices, lifestyle options, or new digital technologies that struggle for the limited time of the average person today? You may not have the resources, finances, or assets the competition has, but you can tell a better story, and the key to finding that story is discovering what makes you unique and different.

What could it be that makes you different? Perhaps it’s your unique communications style, your writing ability, your personality, or an expertise in an unusual area. Being different can mean many things, including perspective, content, skill, and delivery.

If competition from others is making it more difficult to get noticed, then perhaps you should consider a different niche. Some organizations have decided that because of duplication of services by other companies in the area, they should find a different way of doing their work or do it in a different place.

Hollywood is particularly good at this; studios track what other studios are developing so they don’t release a similar film. Corporations spend enormous amounts of money following their competition’s product development.

Even smart employees watch for potential changes in company staffing or structure to ensure they don’t get pushed out of a job because of duplication or competition. It’s not about conniving or cheating behind the scenes–it’s about being aware and sensitive to the future.

Ultimately, it’s all about authenticity. Being unique and different shouldn’t mean fake. In our efforts to relate to the culture or a potential customer or audience, we sometimes go over the top and end up conveying a message that’s obviously dishonest and far from authentic.

I’m told I was born with the gift of saying what everyone else in the room is thinking. Whether it gets me in trouble or not, I often feel compelled to talk about the elephant in the room that everyone else sees but ignores. That’s why this issue of authenticity is so important for me. I was born with a very sensitive BS button, and anytime a client presents an advertisement, website, TV program, or other presentation that smacks of insincerity, I light up.

I regularly meet people who live out others’ dreams and refuse to act on who they were created to be. What about you? Have you watched your boss so closely that you’ve started becoming more like him or her than you? Have you followed a celebrity to the point where his or her style is obscuring your own? Have you followed trends to the point it’s difficult to discover what’s really inside you?

Don’t become something you aren’t; developing a personal brand is about becoming who you truly are. It happens even in the best of ways. One friend got involved in raising money to build medical facilities in Third World countries. It was a great cause and she certainly could have spent her life doing worse. Ultimately, it wasn’t really her passion. But she put off confronting that fact for years because it was such a great cause.

The problem was–it just wasn’t her cause. When she finally had the courage to step out into something she was personally passionate about, she had already wasted years of productivity.

I know others who are trapped working in a company, church, or humanitarian organization who–although they do great work– are settling for second best in their lives. I can see they have so much more potential, but when I bring it up, they rationalize it with the importance of the cause, the need, or the great work they’re doing.

They’ve been sucked into a regular paycheck, or refuse to change because they’re not willing to risk taking a hard look at their lives, their gifts, and their future.

I understand, because I’ve been there.

Finding your honest voice in the middle of the madness is absolutely critical. But being absolutely truthful about what distinguishes you from the pack is a critical step to finding your identity.

Excerpted from One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do by Phil Cooke. 

Read more from Phil here.

Phil Cooke, Ph.D. – filmmaker, media consultant, and author of One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do; Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Media; and Jolt! Get the Jump on a World That is Constantly Changing.


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Phil Cooke

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Deal with Problems in Your Church by Speaking of Current Reality and Future Possibility

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post called“Assessing the State of Your Church and How it Got There.” I looked at a few business and leadership books and then considered some ways their advice might apply to a local church. I concluded with this word of warning:

Don’t miss the importance of learning “what time it is” for a church and how it has progressed to this point.

If the church culture has stifled honest conversations about the current realities and challenges, people will begin to shield the leader from “grim facts” for fear of being criticized or penalized for telling the truth. Then, once the “brutal facts” are ignored, the organization suffers and, sometimes, dies.

Of course, the next question is: Okay, now what? If I’ve prayerfully and honestly assessed the state of my church and how it got here, how do I move forward with my congregation?

I would sum up the next steps in two phrases: tell the truth and face the future.

Tell the Truth

Helping others see the urgency of the situation is important in communicating what must change.

In the business world, John Kotter says the biggest mistake leaders make as they seek to implement changes in an organization is to move forward without establishing a sense of urgency. In How the Mighty Fall, Jim Collins warns that simply communicating facts is not enough to stimulate change. In declining organizations, he writes,

“there is a tendency to discount or explain away negative data rather than presume something is wrong with the company; leaders highlight and amplify external praise and publicity.”

A Burning Platform

How should communication of the state of the organization take place?

Kotter recommends a “burning platform.” This refers to the ability of a leader to communicate the truth that complacency in the organization is the real danger, not change. People in the organization will not sense this to be true until they realize they are on a “burning platform” in which fire starts on the floor beneath their feet, spreads around them, and eventually forces them away from the status quo.

In other words, the leader must communicate the true state of the organization and help others view the reality of the present situation and the dangers on the horizon if the organization fails to make the proper changes. The pastor has more of a “burning platform” than any mere business or secular organization. We believe in the reality of hell, the urgency of evangelism, and the success of God’s mission through His Spirit.

Some business books go so far as to recommend a new leader “create” a crisis, if necessary, in order to implement changes quickly. For example, Kotter believes since crises are always rising, a real leader should “create artificial crises” and make use of them rather than waiting for a true crisis to come along. Such a strategy is unacceptable for the Christian leader. The Christian who understands the reality of the current situation must communicate the truth; manufacturing crises for the sake of implementing change is unethical and manipulative.

Face the Future

A leader who knows “what time it is” organizationally will not only diagnose the current situation and communicate the “brutal facts,” but the leader will also envision the future of the organization and take measures to pursue the path forward.

A Plan of Action

Prescription is vital, which is why a plan of action must be set forth. If the leader focuses only on the urgency of the situation, people are likely to fall into despair rather than move forward with an optimistic outlook. Description of the bad and prescription of the solution are both necessary.

The timing of implementing changes is important. Reggie McNeal warns: “The right issue tackled at the wrong time faces certain defeat.” However, most of the time, the right issue is determined by the trail the leader is blazing toward the future.

Be Clear

The vision of the future must be clear, which is why leaders who know “what time it is” organizationally will be relentless in the pursuit of clarity, both for themselves and the people they lead. Without clarity regarding changes, people will disagree on the direction, perhaps due to confusion or questions about the necessity of the decisions.

Church consultant Will Mancini synthesizes several definitions of clarity:

It means being free from anything that obscures, blocks, pollutes, or darkens. Being clear as a leader means being simple, understandable, and exact. The leader helps others see and understand reality better. Leaders constantly bring the most important things to light: current reality and future possibility, what God says about it and what we need to do about it.

Clarity must include not only the win, but also the path to the envisioned future. The Christian leader must know “what time it is” organizationally and be able to communicate the present reality and the path toward to the desired future.

> Read more from Trevin.

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Trevin Wax

Trevin Wax

My name is Trevin Wax. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. My wife is Corina, and we have two children: Timothy (7) and Julia (3). Currently, I serve the church by working at LifeWay Christian Resources as managing editor of The Gospel Project, a gospel-centered small group curriculum for all ages that focuses on the grand narrative of Scripture. I have been blogging regularly at Kingdom People since October 2006. I frequently contribute articles to other publications, such as Christianity Today. I also enjoy traveling and speaking at different churches and conferences. My first book, Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals, was published by Crossway Books in January 2010. (Click here for excerpts and more information.) My second book, Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope(Moody Publishers) was released in April 2011.

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
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What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

In the Face of Uncertainty, Pursue Clarity

One force that’s ever-present in any form of creative work – like ministry – is uncertainty. The reality is that you will never know – really know – what’s right.

  • Is this good enough?
  • Is it finished?
  • Is it the right strategy?
  • How should I spend my time/focus/energy today?
  • Which idea should I run with?
  • How can I sell this to my team?

Uncertainty is an uncooperative dance partner. You have to move with it – in concert, drawing from it, following its lead at times, but always with an eye on your next move – in order to do your best work. The worst thing you can do is allow uncertainty to paralyze you into inaction.

Todd Henry, founder of the Accidental Creative consultancy and author of The Accidental Creative and Die Empty, has a challenging statement for leaders who are facing uncertainty:

>> In the face of uncertainty, pursue clarity.

You will never rid yourself of uncertainty. It’s a part of the game. When the sand is shifting beneath your feet, try to find some solid ground. Seek clarity. You’ll often find that simply getting clear relieves some of the pressure and illuminates your next steps.

 

Read the full article on pursuing clarity by Todd here.

To download a summary of Todd’s book The Accidental Creative, go here.

SUMS_TheAccidentalCreative

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VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company.

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Are You a Smart or Healthy Church Leader?

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Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.