Answer These 5 Questions to Help Steward the Resources God Has Given You

When it comes to church, revenue and redemption don’t feel very closely connected. Theologically speaking they aren’t, salvation is a free gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8) However, the contemporary church as we know it, doesn’t function without financial resources. Candidly, in every church I know, money is tight.

There never seems to be quite enough money and sometimes there is a significant shortfall. In fact, I’m not aware of one church that has so much money that they don’t know what to do with it all.

A real issue for the majority of churches where the money seems “too little,” is that they are not sure how to best use the money they have.

Budget season in any church can be an experience that is full of stress and tension. Part of that is natural because the discipline required to be a good steward requires critical thinking, tough conversations and strategic solutions.

It’s all about what you do with what you have.

Let’s start with an example. One church really wanted to hire a children’s pastor and an administrative pastor. The needs were great in both areas. However, they felt stuck because they only had room in the budget for one, but believed they had to have both. How do they decide?

Begin by acknowledging and focusing on what you can have.

There is a principle that can save you a lot of unnecessary stress, it goes like this.

You can have most anything you want, you just can’t have everything you want.

If you use that principle in light of Godly biblical standards, vision-driven values, and common sense, it will serve you very well. It frees you up to think with an abundance mindset rather than a scarcity mindset. That means that financially you focus on what you do have, rather than what you don’t have.

Let’s be honest about what we “want”.

So as a leader, what do you want? If the word “want” bothers you, try the word “need.”  What do you need? I personally think the word “need” can be even more loaded and subjective. The word “want” is honest and real.

If I trust my leaders, their character is a given. I already know they are not pushing their agenda. They want to reach more people for Jesus. They have the church’s best interest in mind. So we are back to discipline and stewardship and the question, “What do you want?

5 questions to help you move forward:

1) What problem do you want to solve?

All churches have problems and good leaders solve problems. That’s one of our most basic responsibilities. However, no leader can solve all the problems and some are not worth solving. Further, some of the situations are tensions to be managed rather than problems to be solved. So the first step is to list the problems you see, decide which ones are real problems, then prioritize the weight and value of each one. Start at the top of the list, and put your money there.

2) What ministry do you want to improve and advance?

We want all our ministries to thrive and be productive. But I’ve never found it possible to have them all be working at top performance at the same time. That is not the nature of any church or organization because when you are taking new territory and working with people, there is constant change and innovation. So, as you review your ministries, which ones do you prayerfully believe are the ones to focus on and therefore apply your financial resources to? It is not wise to apply “equal and fair” when it comes to the amount of money to your ministries. Be strategic!

3) What staff member do you want to hire?

What staff do you want to hire and why? This is not always the obvious call. For example, if your worship leader resigned, it may or may not be in the church’s best interest to hire another one. What if the need is greater for someone to join the team in children’s ministry and you had an amazing volunteer who could lead worship? Think through all the options for the best way to strategically determine how best to use your money.

4) What impact do you want to have in the community?

The greatest impact of any church is outside the walls of its building.

From having a true life change effect on those far from God resulting in a changed way of living, to a consistent engagement in the community partnering with compassion and justice endeavors, this is the mark of a great church. What is God saying to you for your church? What do you want to accomplish in your community? Be specific and focus.

5) What legacy do you want to leave?

This involves long term thinking. When you imagine the legacy of your church 20 years from now, what comes to mind? What is the vision? What do you want to see happen in the lives of people? The more specific you are, the more likely these things will come to pass. The more clarity you have in direction, the better you can allocate your financial resources.

> Back to our example, the church I mentioned hired the children’s pastor. They chose potential growth over solving the in-house administrative burdens. The strategy was to grow first, then hire the administrative help. They forced themselves to answer the key question: “What are you willing to give up (or delay) in order to get what you want?”

I pray these thoughts help you steward the resources God has given you.


Need help answering stewardship questions at your church? Connect with an Auxano Navigator today.


> Read more from Dan.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Three Battles Inside Every Leader

Leaders who are fully engaged in their mission fight battles.

There is no way to avoid battles if you want to make progress consistently.

New territory is never easy, and it always comes at a price.

Life never grants a free ride, and leaders don’t receive a “get out of jail free” card when it comes to solving serious problems.

The good news is that we don’t fight alone. God brings His presence, power, and favor to the mix, but He never removes the human element.

The realities of our humanity require us to face a variety of problems such as financial pressures, staff issues, misalignment of vision and values, and the list goes on. These are very real issues, but they all occur in the outward realm.

The most common battles we face are inner battles. Sometimes they are about everyday stuff and easily conquered. If left untended for long periods of time, however, they can take a leader out.

It’s best to identify it and devote intentional effort to defeat it through wise counsel, prayer and practical steps of action.

Here are the Top 3 Inner Battles, not listed in any specific order:

1) Distraction

It’s not uncommon to become distracted in ministry. Leaders are often pulled in a number of directions at one time. If we are not centered, focused and intentional in our work it’s easy to get pulled away from the most productive priorities.

It’s best to first identify the source of distraction. It can come in a number of forms from things such as health issues, lack of intentional focus and discipline, family struggles, feeling overwhelmed and even sometimes boredom. Yes, leaders can be busy but be under-challenged and bored.

It may seem counter-intuitive to put more time into the issue of distraction, but as long as you are focused on a positive solution, that’s the best way to beat it.

2) Discouragement

I don’t think I’ve met a church leader who hasn’t experienced discouragement. Candidly the Enemy loves this one the most. If he can get leaders discouraged, and convince them that God isn’t with them, he can strike a huge blow to the church.

Discouragement often comes when you are overtired and overwhelmed. Discouragement often finds its mark when your perspective becomes skewed. When you think things like you are in it alone, no one cares, and nothing is working.

Take some time to rest, think and play. Get some time with a trusted friend to help you see more clearly. God is with you and you are doing something that matters!

3) Divided-Heart

This usage of the term “divided-heart” refers to when a leader is unclear about their calling, passion, and purpose.

When a leader is unsure of what their job or career should be, they can become dual-minded which results in being internally conflicted. The end result is the feeling of being pulled in two directions. No leader can sustain this for a long period of time.

This is very different than prayerfully dreaming about your future and what God has in store for you. A divided-heart is when you are truly not clear about what you are supposed to do in the present.

If this is the case, don’t panic, but don’t set it aside to deal with it “later.” You can blink and a year has gone by! Set aside some extended time to think, pray and seek wise counsel.

Ultimately this will come to a decision-making process. Please read this post for help in practical decision-making.

If you are distracted, discouraged, or have a divided-heart, take comfort in knowing you are walking in familiar territory for leaders. You can beat this. Don’t give up. Take a first step today.


> Read more from Dan.

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Slow Leak of Leadership Influence

If a leader loses influence, it rarely evaporates instantly.

It’s usually more like a pin-sized hole in a balloon. The leak is so slow it’s barely perceptible. The balloon flies high at first – seemingly tugging on its string. Then it slowly begins to drop. In few days, you wake up and see the balloon laying on the floor, and much smaller than it used to be.

There are rare circumstances, such as a moral failure, that result in the loss of influence overnight. In the vast majority of situations, it’s subtle and slow. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not noticed until it’s too late.

Whether it’s the pastor, someone on staff, or a volunteer leader, the issue is the same. The person is leading in such a way that he or she is losing influence and is often unaware. They may have been coached, but feel the issue is “not a big deal” and resist change. The result is decreasing influence.

The following examples are the most common “pin holes” for the loss of influence. Keep in mind these are not “problem leaders.” They are often good at what they do and in most cases people like them.

The issue may stem from a blind spot, lack of wisdom or maturity, or perhaps just lack of good and honest coaching. Whatever the case may be, each of these examples must be corrected as quickly as possible.

3 subtle ways a leader loses influence

1) Constant questioning, without offering solutions.

Asking questions is a good thing.

Asking the right questions at the right time is a practice of great leaders.

But something very different happens when a leader seems to question everything with more of a spirit of criticism rather than helpfulness. Let’s be honest; it doesn’t take much talent to spot problems. It doesn’t require a genius to point out what’s not working.

It takes a leader to come up with creative solutions. It also takes a capable leader, committed to the vision, to help make those solutions become a reality. That’s the best way to stop that influence leak.

Then an interesting thing happens. The more solutions a leader puts into play, the greater permission the people give that leader to ask more questions – even hard questions! It’s because that leader has earned it, and his or her influence is rising.

2) Stretching authority, without producing results.

Taking the initiative is a good thing.

Exercising leadership authority beyond the bounds of your formal responsibility is great when the church benefits.

However, when a leader shows up “large and in charge” but ends up more talk than results, a slow leak in influence is guaranteed.

It’s natural for strong leaders to push the envelope, and sometimes a few feathers get ruffled. That happens. But when a leader pushes the scope of his or her authority, and yet nothing of consequence happens to advance the mission, people quickly tire of that.

The better plan is to lead at the edge of your given authority, perhaps stretch it just a little, but only as you help make things happen. And as you do, it’s likely that more authority will be given to you, as you consistently produce results.

This will cause your influence to rise.

3) Making progress, without caring for people.

Moving the ball down the field is a good thing.

Taking new territory to advance the mission is the reason you have a position of leadership.

But few things in the local church will diminish your influence more than not tending to relationships. Everyone wants to win, and because of that, they will (temporarily) tolerate a less than caring leader if that leader can help achieve success. In this case, your influence is decreasing ever so slowly and subtly. Almost imperceptibly.

All leaders, however, hit a season where progress is not made. It’s in those times that the people will allow your influence to leak much more quickly. The hole in the balloon becomes large.

Progress is important, and a good leader wants to lead successfully, but that process must always include a genuine care and concern for people. As leaders, we must want more for the people than from them.

Loving the people gives you permission to lead them, and when cared for, they will help lead the way to the desired dreams and vision of the church.

I pray these thoughts are helpful to you and your leadership.


> Read more from Dan.

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Momentum Swing: 5 Steps to Take

Momentum is a leader’s best friend.

If you’ve led in a local church for any length of time, you’ve probably experienced seasons of high momentum and seasons when momentum has faded.

Good leaders possess the ability to navigate both in seasons of strong momentum and low momentum; each have their unique challenges.

In the previous post, I addressed “5 Ways Leaders Grasp Momentum.” It will provide helpful and needed context for this post.

Let’s continue the topic with a focus on regaining momentum.

5 Steps to help regain momentum:

1. Take responsibility for the lack of momentum.

If you are the pastor, on staff, or a board member, own the reality of your church’s situation. Tell the truth. If you are in a decline, you are in a decline. Everyone knows it, so just say it.

Don’t panic, focus on solutions.

The people will appreciate your honesty and courage. If you are plateaued, the same idea holds true.

Don’t get stuck on the things you can’t control, take action on what you can do.

2. Find the mo in you first.

Walt Emerson said:

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

It’s what’s inside you, what you believe, the size of your faith, and the hope in you that matters. Not the mistakes in the past or the mountains in front of you.

Only the dreams within you matter. If you lose hope, you can’t inspire a congregation. If you don’t believe, the people can’t believe.

Your faith that God is with you matters. Sometimes God asks us to wait upon His timing.

Cultivate that hope and faith within you.

If you are discouraged, find a strong leader who is a friend and get some time to talk. Gain wisdom, experience, and fresh perspective. Don’t give up.

3. Re-establish a clear vision and written strategy.

Listen for God’s voice on His direction for your church.

You may need a new vision. This could be the right time for a new start. Or your vision may be solid, and your need is to find fresh and new ways to communicate it.

Don’t rush the process, take the time you need. It may take a few weeks or a couple of months, maybe a little longer, that’s OK.

Talk and pray with your key leaders. Get buy-in with your staff.

Develop your strategy. Don’t over complicate the process. Your strategy is a simple and clear written plan.

Place action over analysis.

4. Make the courageous changes that are needed.

I wish I could tell you that re-gaining momentum is easy, but it requires that we step out of our comfort zone and embrace change.

The change may involve more boldness in your weekend communication, a difficult staffing move, a new approach to ministry, or a major overhaul in the style and execution of your worship service. There are so many possibilities.

Keep in mind, if you make a change and no one gets upset, you just changed something that doesn’t matter.

5. Aim for the small wins first.

Let me restate something from the previous post. Momentum is fueled by vision and activated by faith.

This is clear evidence of the partnership we all have with God for spiritual momentum in our churches.

Vision is the source and fuel of momentum, and faith activates God’s hand toward momentum.

While you exercise faith and wait upon God’s timing, keep steady at your vision and strategy.

Part of this process is the art of aiming for the small wins. Go for the “little mo” while waiting for the “big mo.” This is not busyness or lack of focus; it’s more like kindling upon the fire.

There are many ideas you can implement, from short-term community compassion and outreach projects, to a 30-day fund-raiser for a special purchase that would add wind to the sails of your congregation.

There is no guarantee for momentum, but there is the promise that God is with you, and it’s His church. He cares, and He wants it to flourish.


Talk with an Auxano Navigator about regaining momentum in your church.


> Read more from Dan.

Download PDF

Tags: , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Momentum Swing: 5 Things to Know

Next to God’s favor, there’s nothing a leader desires more than momentum.

Momentum is a force that is greater than the sum of all your leadership energy, effort and resources combined.

Momentum is not a mystery, it contains elements such as vision and competence, but it cannot be manufactured upon demand.

Momentum is the spiritual X-Factor that propels your church forward at a rate that is difficult to explain. You work hard, but God’s hand is evident in the momentum of any real substance.

The more we understand momentum, the better we can lead toward it.

5 thoughts to strengthen your leadership grasp of momentum:

1) Momentum is fueled by vision and activated by faith.

This is clear evidence of the partnership we all have with God for spiritual momentum in our churches.

Vision is the source and fuel of momentum, and faith activates God’s hand toward momentum.

Without a clear and compelling vision, there is no direction to follow. Without faith, there is no invitation for God to provide a power larger than human leadership can muster.

It takes both large vision and great faith to see momentum catch traction.

Momentum is not magic; it’s available to all leaders and their churches.

2) Momentum is sustained by competence.

When vision and faith are part of your culture, the stage is set for momentum. God is not obligated, but He is now invited. Leadership competence is then required to build and sustain momentum for as long as God’s hand is upon it.

This leadership competence comes in the form of strategy. The strategy helps sustain the momentum that vision and faith support.

Don’t over-complicate the idea of strategy. Strategy is your simple and clear written plan. That’s it. Do you have a plan? Is it clear? Are you working it? Are you adapting as required?

Stay focused on:

  • Vision
  • Faith
  • Competence
  • Strategy

3) Momentum, or the lack of it, might skew your perspective.

When you don’t have momentum, and you’re struggling to grow, it’s never as bleak as it appears.

When there is no momentum, that doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. It does not mean God has abandoned you. Sometimes (to borrow a phrase I love), you are waiting for God’s next “fresh wind and fresh fire.”

Keep praying, working hard, and making the best leadership decisions that you can.

When you’re experiencing great momentum resulting in rapid growth, it’s never as good as it appears.

Momentum covers a multitude of flaws and problems!

When things are going great, and the “big mo” is with you, it’s tempting to think that you made it happen and “this is the way it always works.” It’s easy to forget that without God’s power the momentum is over, or you begin to think that you now have all the answers.

Remember where you came from and how you got momentum. Keep at it. Momentum doesn’t remove the hard work, it multiples it.

Thank God daily, because you didn’t do it all yourself, and keep working hard.

4) Momentum can take an unexpected twist toward entitlement.

Momentum and entitlement seem like unlikely partners. Here’s how it happens.

When your church is experiencing tough times, everyone is in the same boat. You are trying to survive. There is no surplus. There are no perks to compete for. There is no fame or notoriety. It’s all-hands-on-deck to keep the ship afloat and moving forward. Everyone hunkers down and works hard for solutions.

When a church finds success, it can take a very different turn. Favor brings rewards, and soon many want a piece of the proverbial pie. It might be desired recognition – a new title, a place on the org chart, more staff, a new building with nice offices. It doesn’t really matter what it is; the point is that it can cause leaders to lose focus on what got the momentum going.

Leaders can become distracted by potential rewards. This always kills momentum. (There is nothing wrong with rewards, it’s when those rewards become the focus.)

Gratitude and hard work are the only appropriate responses to momentum.

5) Momentum never lasts forever – keep your foot on the pedal.

The natural response to things going your way is to let off the gas and coast a little.

When you experience momentum, it’s not the time to coast. It’s time to push the pedal to the floor. Take full advantage of the favor God is granting. God delivers the favor, but you fan the flame!

When momentum fades, don’t panic. Focus on the small wins.

Momentum comes in different seasons and different ways. Don’t try to copy the momentum you once had. Let God grant His favor how He chooses.

Keep leading with fervor for the vision and faith that God is with you!


Learn more about developing – and maintaining – momentum at your church. Connect with an Auxano Navigator today.


> Read more from Dan.

Download PDF

Tags: , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How to Grow a Healthy Church

You know when a church is not healthy as an organization. You will identify things like:

  • Poor communication
  • Low morale
  • High conflict
  • Limited results
  • Foggy Vision

We know that healthy organizations reflect the opposite kind of list.

So far, this is not complicated.

But building a healthy organization is a challenging and complex task, that requires enormous effort and fierce focus.

The key to any healthy organization is based on the foundation of two things held in a cooperative tension.

  1. The senior leadership wakes up every day thinking about what’s best for the team.
  1. The team wakes up every day thinking about what’s best for the organization.

This is easy to comprehend and very difficult to achieve. There’s an obvious unspoken tension here. I’ll get to that in a minute.

But first, please absorb this same principle again, but this time in reverse. The tension becomes very clear.

  1. If the senior leadership wakes up every day, focusing only on the good of the organization, (hit the numbers, success at all costs, staff are expendable, etc.) the staff won’t want to stay there very long.
  1. If the team wakes up every day, focusing only on what’s good for them, (what do I get?, what will you do for me today?, make my load lighter, etc.) the senior leadership won’t want them to stay very long.

The tension is obvious.

And this is why healthy organizations, including churches, are rarer than we would expect.

The tension held in these two principles only works when based on trust, and fails when either one attempts to take more than it gives.

I’ve never seen an organization pull this off without tremendous effort and commitment.

Here’s what it looks like to accomplish healthy organizational results, acknowledging the need to tend to both sides of the equation.

  1. The senior leaders invest tremendous effort and energy into thinking about how to invest in, care for, and develop the staff. While at the same time, paying fierce attention to their fiduciary responsibilities to lead the organization well.
  1. The team invests tremendous effort and energy into producing mission-focused results for the organization. While at the same time, paying attention to their own needs, dreams, and desires.

You can see why I call this a “cooperative tension.” The minute cooperation and trust breakdown, this doesn’t work, and organizational health begins to erode.

It’s a lot like a marriage.

It’s easy to repeat the vows, and hard to live them out.

If a husband devotes himself to serve his wife, and his wife devotes herself to serve the husband – guaranteed marital bliss! Piece of cake, right?! Of course not, it’s extremely challenging and takes tons of work and commitment.

If you wake up asking “What’s in it for me?” and “What do I get?”, your marriage will be, at best, a disappointing relationship.

Leadership in your church, especially among the staff and key leaders, is much the same.

So, if you are the senior pastor or on the senior/executive staff, how hard do you work to make sure the team is taken care of, while you lead the organization well?

If you are on the team, how hard do you work to deliver results that help the organization (church) make progress, while you remain honest about your own dreams and desires?

The powerful truth is that you get to decide how healthy your organization becomes.

It’s up to you.


Want to know more about developing a healthy organization? Connect with an Auxano Navigator.


> Read more from Dan.

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Is Up and to the Right, Always Right? Understanding Church Giving Increases

I had a conversation with a pastor last week who told me that the giving in his church was on the rise and he asked how he should interpret that.

That’s a sharp pastor.

Normally, we only do an analysis to understand what’s going on when the giving decreases. That’s necessary and can be helpful, but it’s mostly playing defense.

It’s better to know how to interpret giving when it’s increasing, so you can understand it in the moment and lead accordingly.

You might consider this semantics, asking, don’t we use the same factors to understand giving regardless if it’s increasing or decreasing? Yes, to some degree that’s true. But deliberate cultivation of generosity when it’s increasing is the wiser stewardship because it’s proactive rather than reactive.

In other words, it’s like attendance. When a leader says to me, “My overall church attendance is increasing rapidly, but I have no idea why,” he or she can’t learn from or leverage the momentum. They are so excited and grateful, they receive the attendance as a gift and think, “I don’t know why I’ve received this gift, but I’m sure happy about it.” That’s a great attitude, but not the best leadership.

More importantly, if you don’t know why it’s increasing, you are less likely to understand why it’s declining, (if or when it does), and therefore, it takes you longer to change the course of giving.

If you only know why your attendance is decreasing, you are always reacting and playing catch up to a problem, rather than seizing the power of momentum. It’s the same with the giving in your church.

So, here are the factors the pastor and I discussed to help interpret an increase in giving.

1) A positive response to the vision.

If your giving is up, take a look at what you have been doing to communicate the vision and how the congregation is responding. Ask yourself why it’s working. Learn from it, ask questions of key leaders to discover how they are responding as well. Continue to refine and bring clarity to the vision and how you communicate it. A real test of vision is whether or not the congregation takes action.

2) Maturing of faith.

We know that giving follows in tandem with the increasing spiritual maturity.

As believers learn to trust God and obey His word, giving is part of a natural expression of faith. It’s rare that a nominal believer consistently practices percentage giving. When giving is increasing, be keenly aware of the spiritual dynamics in play from the prayer life of the congregation to their hunger for the Word.

What practices seem to be increasing and why? When can you learn and leverage to help people continue to mature in their faith?

3) Confidence and trust in the senior pastor.

In general, people will not give to the church where they don’t have confidence in the leadership of the pastor. And they certainly don’t give if the pastor is not trusted.

The more extreme examples need no explanation, but this is often difficult to discern in the more moderate illustrations. For example, if the pastor is liked, but doesn’t seem to have a clear direction of where the church is headed, the confidence of the people is likely low.

Strong giving is not only an indicator of mature and obedient believers but also that they have confidence in the leadership of the pastor. If you are not sure, one of the best ways to know is to ask several trusted leaders and confidants in the church, such as board members, prayer partners, and one or two key staff.

4) Relationally connected with others in the church.

People always feel more connected when they share meaningful relationships with each other as part of the congregation.

There are two primary long-term points of connection. They are small groups and serving.

Small groups carry a strong sense of community and belonging as people open up, get to know each other, pray and support each other in their everyday lives.

Serving teams often carry an even stronger sense of community because of the bonding that takes place when people serve together on a team focused on a particular goal or mission.


There are obviously other factors at play when it comes to increased giving such as the possibility that a single large gift caused the offering to increase substantially that month.

We learn different things if there are a few additional significant contributions or if there many smaller ones. It’s important to understand why a large contribution is given, but it’s more important to understand trends.

I’m more like the pastors who are just grateful when God blesses. I have caught myself saying, ‘You know, I’m not sure why the giving is so strong, but I’m very grateful.” That’s obviously not a bad thing, but the leader in me needs to be grateful and have a good understanding of God’s blessing. That enables me to lead farther and extend God’s Kingdom to the greatest potential. That will help you too.


Learn more about generosity and giving patterns – talk with an Auxano Navigator.


> Read more from Dan.

Download PDF

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Resourcing >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Keys to Compelling Vision Communication

How compelling is the communication of your vision?

If your vision moves the people to take action, you are on the right track.

Having served alongside two incredible visionary leaders, first John Maxwell and now Kevin Myers, I’ve watched close up how they communicate vision so well.

We often think that vision-casting is largely a public endeavor and usually done on the primary stage. But the truth is, most vision-casting is done behind the scenes, over and over again, one to one and in small groups. Communicating vision is the never-ending responsibility of the primary leader.

Before you can cast your vision, you have to create it. It needs to be crystal clear and deep in your heart. That is something between you and God and also affirmed by your church board and/or key leaders. It takes time and prayer, and requires you hearing from God. Let God breathe the vision in you.

It is surprisingly often that senior pastors, and executive staff, tell me they are not clear on their vision. If you are one of those, don’t panic. While you are waiting on clarity from God and confidence in your own mind, stay focused on Matthew 28:19-20. That universal mission for the church is your vision until you have clarity. Vision is “simply” your personal and unique version of the Great Commission. It’s the expression that God gives you for your church that brings fire, flavor and fuel to the mission. Vision keeps the mission fresh.

Seven guidelines to help you communicate your vision better:

1) Commit to the vision yourself.

If you are the leader, settle the level of your conviction first.

  • No one cares more than you.
  • No one carries a great burden.
  • No one prays more deeply.
  • No one thinks and plans more.
  • No one lies awake at night more than you.

Sometimes God doesn’t make the vision clear because the leader isn’t ready personally. Settle the issue in your own heart. It’s not as if you have to pass a test before God or measure up in order to deserve a vision. It’s more about your passion and commitment to be ready to lead the vision.

2) Clearly identify the current situation.

When casting vision, we as leaders need to start by making the present reality clear. This doesn’t mean to paint an unfairly negative scenario in order to “sell” the vision. But comparison is needed so the congregation understands the why behind the vision.

Sometimes it’s more obvious and therefore easier; such as you are out of room so you cast vision to start a second or third service. Other times, it may seem more subjective like changing the name of your church. You have to make it clear why the current name is no longer meeting the need.

3) Paint a picture of a preferred future.

A great vision always describes a better future. Keeping the core mission in mind (changed lives), the vision must always include at the core, reaching people and changing lives. Again, the vision is your unique expression of that mission.

So, how will your church be better? How will your church improve (or change) in a way so that it serves people better and others want to attend? How will the Kingdom of God be advanced?

4) Capture the hearts of the people.

If the vision comes from your heart, it will reach the hearts of the people you share it with. Some vision statements are mechanical efforts that come as a result of an academic endeavor and end up on your website. They rarely move anyone because they don’t move you.  Vision statements that sound great, perhaps even alliterate, are good as long as they are real, true and personal to you.

When you share vision, tell stories. Make it personal. Remain brief. Make it memorable. Tell it often, and again tell stories. Remind people why it’s so important, and why it matters.

5) Deliver clear direction with a realistic plan.

This is where the rubber meets the road, and where some leaders lose traction with their vision. They hear from God, the vision is clear, and the people have bought in, but there is no realistic road map of how to get there.

You don’t have to provide all the answers, but a clear and simple plan that provides direction is necessary. You will need to make course corrections, solve problems and deal with the unexpected, but as long as the people know the next step you are good!

6) Tell the people they are needed and how they can participate.

All good vision casting includes letting the people know how they can get involved.

When you get your congregation all fired up but don’t give them an outlet to take action, it’s a mistake. Think through the options, such as prayer, serving, inviting, giving, etc. Whatever it may be, let them know how they can be part. When an individual takes action on the vision, the vision becomes part of them and they share it with others.

7) Keep your communication current.

Communicating vision is not a “once and done” proposition. In fact, it’s the opposite, the communication must continue. You can’t over communicate vision. You can make it too long, or boring because it’s always said the same way, or unprepared so it lacks connection. But when it’s brief, sincere, creative and well prepared, it’s difficult to do it too often. One of the best ways is to include a thirty to sixty second vision moment in a sermon, tell a story and keep going. And in one to one meetings, make it part of regular conversations.


Finally, celebrate the victories! The people are working hard, praying and full of hope. Celebrate the success God gives you along the way!


Want to learn more about compelling vision communication? Connect with an Auxano Navigator.


> Read more from Dan.

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Seven Cures for a Toxic Culture

The culture of your church is essentially comprised of who you are, what you value, and how you get things done.

All churches begin with an enthusiastic vision of a culture that is so inviting people can’t resist. But leading a church is complicated. Vision for the culture will not naturally stay aligned without diligence and intentionality.

Candidly, it’s easy for a church to lose its way.

Even in the healthiest of churches, culture can drift. New people come, new staff gets hired, culture drifts. It needs constant attention.

Perhaps your church, however, has passed common drift. It’s possible that your culture has become unhealthy.

Here are some symptoms of a toxic culture:

  • Consistent and unresolved conflict among the leaders.
  • The morale of the staff is low.
  • There is a sense of “politics” in the church.
  • Critical decisions are delayed or unwisely made.
  • There is more conversation about problems than stories of life change.
  • There is high defensiveness.
  • Trust is low.
  • There are very few visitors.
  • There is a lack of vision.
  • There is little joy.

Please don’t read this list and panic. Even the best churches can experience one or two of these symptoms for a short season. That’s normal.

In a healthy culture you name the problem, talk about it openly, make the needed corrections and go on.

No church is perfect. The idea here is to help churches where it’s evident that the culture needs improvement.

Let me be candid and name the number one problem of a toxic culture:

No one is taking ownership and responsibility for the condition of the culture.

Until a leader, the leader, steps up and says, ‘The culture of our church is not healthy, and I own that problem. I take responsibility for the solution.’, the church will remain in trouble. This doesn’t necessarily mean the leader is the cause of the problematic culture. He or she may have inherited it, but ultimately it doesn’t matter. The leader must step up and take ownership.

I don’t know your story or what you are going through, but I’ve worked with hundreds of churches, and I’m confident that while this plan may not be custom for you, it will serve you well as a general guideline.

1) Own it.

Again, the current condition of your church’s culture may not be your fault, but as the leader, it is your responsibility. However, if you have been there for a while, whatever culture, behavior and results you have, you have either created or allowed.

I love the book Boundaries for Leaders, by Henry Cloud. Chapter two is worth the book. “You are Ridiculously in Charge.” He tackles this topic in more depth; I highly recommend it.

2) Tend to your soul.

It’s easy for you as the leader, whether as the senior pastor of a small or large church, executive pastor, campus pastor or department leader in a mega-church, to carry the weight of an unhealthy culture almost as if you did something wrong.

There are no perfect churches. It’s your job to help your church become healthy, not perfect. Give yourself grace as you get ready to lead this change. Take plenty of time for reflection and prayer.

3) Identify the gap.

Write down how you describe the current culture. Write it from three perspectives:

  1. How visitors experience it.
  2. How long term attendees experience it.
  3. How staff and key leaders experience it.

Be as objective as possible.

Gather a small, but trusted group to help you.

1) Choose five words that describe the problem/culture.

  • You might write keywords like defensive, distrust, political, silos…etc.
  • Then, write one sentence for each word to describe what that means in your context.

2) Write five words of how you want the culture to experienced.

  • Such as loving, bold, trusting, empowering, fun, honest…etc.
  • Write one sentence describing specifically what that means.

Don’t make the lists long or complicated. The difference between the two lists is the gap.

Note: It is possible that you will write a different experience for visitors than for long term attendees, leaders, and staff. If that is true, describe why.

4) Lead toward solutions.

The solutions are the specific plans that you design to close the gap between what your current culture is to what you want it to become.

These conversations can get tense. It’s easy to be tempted to ascribe blame; resist that temptation, that never helps. It is, however, essential that you are honest about your current reality and speak very candidly about what is necessary to bring change. (Close the gap.) Remember, you will get what you allow.

5) Consider getting outside help.

It is possible that you may hit an impasse and need an independent outside voice to help you walk through at least the initial stages of change.

You are not looking for a consultant to assist you with ministries and mechanical programming and processes. (What you do and how you do it.) You need a reliable and trusted leader who can guide you through the nuances of the experience of your environment. More of what it “feels” like to be part of your church. This is not as “fuzzy” as that might sound. Remember how particular your sets of five words are. Stay focused.

6) Make tough decisions.

This is the part where you first go back and re-read the chapter on “You are Ridiculously in Charge.”

The absence of these means you choose to allow things to remain as they are. This is a costly process. You may lose some people. No one ever wants that to happen, but it’s often necessary to realize change.

7) Plan for the long term.

Don’t bail at the first sign of rough water. It may get rocky; keep in mind this will take time. The larger the church and more problematic the culture, the longer it takes. I can promise you this, if you continue to pour your energy into practical ministry without tending to your unhealthy culture, all you will get in return is exhaustion.


Think long term. Get some help. Lean into God (wisdom and favor) and don’t give up. It’s worth it. Changing your culture is possible.

Another great resource is the book Cracking Your Churches’ Culture Code, by Sam Chand.


Talk with an Auxano Navigator to learn more about dealing with a toxic culture.


> Read more from Dan.

Download PDF

Tags: , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

7 Practices of Compelling Vision Communication

How compelling is the communication of your vision?

If your vision moves the people to take action, you are on the right track.

Having served alongside two incredible visionary leaders, first John Maxwell and now Kevin Myers, I’ve watched close up how they communicate vision so well.

We often think that vision-casting is largely a public endeavor and usually done on the primary stage. But the truth is, most vision-casting is done behind the scenes, over and over again, one to one and in small groups.

Before you can cast your vision, you have to create it. It needs to be crystal clear and deep in your heart. That is something between you and God and also affirmed by your church board and/or key leaders. It takes time and prayer, and requires you hearing from God. Let God breathe the vision in you.

It is surprisingly often that senior pastors, and executive staff, tell me they are not clear on their vision. If you are one of those, don’t panic. While you are waiting on clarity from God and confidence in your own mind, stay focused on Matthew 28:19-20. That universal mission for the church is your vision until you have clarity. Vision is “simply” your personal and unique version of the Great Commission. It’s the expression that God gives you for your church that brings fire, flavor and fuel to the mission. Vision keeps the mission fresh.

Seven guidelines to help you communicate your vision better:

1) Commit to the vision yourself.

If you are the leader, settle the level of your conviction first.

  • No one cares more than you.
  • No one carries a great burden.
  • No one prays more deeply.
  • No one thinks and plans more.
  • No one lies awake at night more than you.

Sometimes God doesn’t make the vision clear because the leader isn’t ready personally. Settle the issue in your own heart. It’s not as if you have to pass a test before God or measure up in order to deserve a vision. It’s more about your passion and commitment to be ready to lead the vision.

2) Clearly identify the current situation.

When casting vision, we as leaders need to start by making the present reality clear. This doesn’t mean to paint an unfairly negative scenario in order to “sell” the vision. But comparison is needed so the congregation understands the why behind the vision.

Sometimes it’s more obvious and therefore easier; such as you are out of room so you cast vision to start a second or third service. Other times, it may seem more subjective like changing the name of your church. You have to make it clear why the current name is no longer meeting the need.

3) Paint a picture of a preferred future.

A great vision always describes a better future. Keeping the core mission in mind (changed lives), the vision must always include at the core, reaching people and changing lives. Again, the vision is your unique expression of that mission.

So, how will your church be better? How will your church improve (or change) in a way so that it serves people better and others want to attend? How will the Kingdom of God be advanced?

4) Capture the hearts of the people.

If the vision comes from your heart, it will reach the hearts of the people you share it with. Some vision statements are mechanical efforts that come as a result of an academic endeavor and end up on your website. They rarely move anyone because they don’t move you.  Vision statements that sound great, perhaps even alliterate, are good as long as they are real, true and personal to you.

When you share vision, tell stories. Make it personal. Remain brief. Make it memorable. Tell it often, and again tell stories. Remind people why it’s so important, and why it matters.

5) Deliver clear direction with a realistic plan.

This is where the rubber meets the road, and where some leaders lose traction with their vision. They hear from God, the vision is clear, and the people have bought in, but there is no realistic road map of how to get there.

You don’t have to provide all the answers, but a clear and simple plan that provides direction is necessary. You will need to make course corrections, solve problems and deal with the unexpected, but as long as the people know the next step you are good!

6) Tell the people they are needed and how they can participate.

When you get your congregation all fired up but don’t give them an outlet to take action, it’s a mistake. Think through the options, such as prayer, serving, inviting, giving, etc. Whatever it may be, let them know how they can be part. When an individual takes action on the vision, the vision becomes part of them and they share it with others.

7) Keep your communication current.

Communicating vision is not a “once and done” proposition. In fact, it’s the opposite, the communication must continue. You can’t over communicate vision. You can make it too long, or boring because it’s always said the same way, or unprepared so it lacks connection. But when it’s brief, sincere, creative and well prepared, it’s difficult to do it too often. One of the best ways is to include a thirty to sixty second vision moment in a sermon, tell a story and keep going. And in one to one meetings, make it part of regular conversations.


Finally, celebrate the victories! The people are working hard, praying and full of hope. Celebrate the success God gives you along the way!


We can help you communicate your vision – connect with an Auxano Navigator.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

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