10 Leadership Skills Inherent in Missional Leadership

Leadership essentials…discipleship essentials. What’s the relationship?

You can lead and never actually make disciples.  But, you can never make disciples and not lead.

“Why didn’t we learn this stuff you are teaching us in our church when we were kids?”

Youth Week 2016-Camp Okoboji

The question was so honest, so raw. A teenager, learning to listen, to build conversations, to be curious…all in an effort to be an everyday missionary every day. His excitement over what he was learning quickly turned to a regret. Why didn’t someone teach him this earlier?

With all the focus on leadership in the church we have not been gaining Kingdom ground.  We don’t have a leadership void in the church today, we have a discipleship void.  The issues facing the church in America will not be settled by more advanced leadership training, or better run organizations, but by a dynamic movement of the Spirit as more and more people follow Jesus.  How will we get there?

By focusing on discipleship…leadership skills are “in there.”

As an emerging leader you can receive advanced leadership training in the church and not actually make disciples.  But, you can’t make disciples and not be growing in your advanced leadership skills.

You can lead and never actually make disciples.  But, you can never make disciples and not lead.

I think we may have missed the point.  Jesus never called us to leadership.  He called us to follow Him. The promise?  “I will make you fishers of men.”  Mark 1:17  And, as you fish for men, others will follow.  That’s leadership.

We don’t strive to learn leadership skills and build our leadership acumen so that we can run a “tighter ship” or more efficient organization.  We grow as leaders so that we can make disciples.  We invest time and energy into our craft as leaders so that we might join in the movement of God and see more and more people move from darkness to light to the glory of God and the benefit of the world.

When we focus on discipleship as first priority, leadership skills are caught.  Leadership essentials are discovered and lived out as we follow Jesus and join Him in making disciples. Leadership development and missional leadership are not at odds with each other.  Missional leadership demands the artful application of basic leadership skills.  Here’s a quick list of 10 basic leadership skills that have emerged in my own ministry over the years. And, by the way, am still learning them today as I follow Jesus:

10 Basic Leadership Skills Inherent in Missional Leadership

The Art of Following

How do you follow Jesus in this changing climate, and what are you learning from Him?

The Art of Obeying

Are you following through on what God is asking of you and allowing someone to hold you accountable?

The Art of Invitation

Who are you inviting to follow you as you follow Jesus?

The Art of Imitation

With whom are you “dwelling” so that they can see how you follow Jesus?

The Art of Fractal

Have you boiled down what you want replicated to the simplest, most basic form?

The Art of Replication

Do you have apprentices at every level of participation in your ministry?

The Art of Release

Are you controlling or freely sending others?

The Art of Focused-Support

Are you giving mandates and directive measures to those you lead, or are you helping them discover and own their own calling?

The Art of Vision Clarity

Can you answer with clarity the 5 core questions of visionary leadership for your missional context?

What are we doing?

 

Why are we doing it?

 

How are we doing it?

 

When are we successful?

 

Where is God leading us?

The Art of Execution

What are you doing every day to integrate those answers into the fabric of your ministry?

What missional leadership essentials would you add to the list?

> Read more from Jeff.


Learn more about cultivating a leader-soaked ministry.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Meyer

Jeff Meyer

I am Jeff Meyer, and I start fires. Ever since that basketball game in college when I came off the bench and lit a spark for my team, I have carried the nickname "Fire Meyer." (Until that point in my career my jersey #22 never saw the floor in an actual game. Perhaps the #22 was a symbol of my life calling: 2 Timothy 2:2?) I live to see sparks ignited and connections made. I long to see the church wake up and live. I long to see Jesus-followers display passionate commitment to Jesus. Jesus' invitation to follow Him was an adventure of epic proportions. Can we recapture that today? I long to see communities transformed into healthy places of wholeness. I believe that communities are transformed when Jesus-followers are stoked and respond. Perhaps you've heard it said that the church is the hope of the world. I believe that a responsive Jesus-follower is the hope of the world. "Igniting connections" is my way of setting off some inspirational sparks; sparks that ignite a passionate response to the call of Jesus.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Kim William Coutts — 11/15/16 10:12 am

Many thanks Jeff. The American church must rediscover her roots in relational discipleship driven by her leaders. I intend to use your set of questions with our supported missionaries challenging each of them to go deeper and wider as disciples who make disciples. I appreciate you stoking my fire.

Recent Comments
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 
Great work!!!!
 
— Kate Harel
 
After 47 years of ministry experience, I found this easy to agree with, and very hard to live by. All sorts of pressure applied. Eric Gieger's "Simple Church" was a big help!
 
— Jon Breshears
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Every Leader’s 3-Step Formula for Multiplication

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.  2 Timothy 2:2

What qualifies someone to teach others?

Advanced biblical training?   Theological degrees?  Titles?

Anyone can teach.

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.  Acts 4:13

One of the major reasons why we are not seeing multiplication in our churches is because we are teaching people to do what we think they need to do instead of what we ourselves are doing.

3-step Formula for Multiplication

> Figure Out What You Are Doing

Recently, in an effort to equip our preachers to write sermon series, I had to sit down and figure out the process I followed to write sermon series.  Something I had been doing for years needed to be translated so that someone else could do what I had been doing.  That is, if I wanted to share the wealth.

> Name It

Put down the process in terms that someone can understand.

> Share It

Give it away.  Paul tells young Timothy to “entrust it” to reliable people.  Let others try.  Show them what you wrote down.  Better yet, show them, let them watch you.  Then, let them try, and you watch.

Here’s the thing I’m learning about multiplication:  everything can be taught using this 3-step Formula.

Here’s a rapid-fire-off-the-top-of-my-head list:

  • Managing finances (at church and at home)
  • Praying out loud, having a “quiet time”
  • Engaging in conversations with strangers
  • Riding a bike
  • Choosing healthy foods at the grocery store
  • Exercising
  • Setting the table (at church and at home)
  • Cleaning up after dinner (at church and at home)
  • Reading the Bible
  • Preaching
  • Teaching
  • Running a backyard VBS
  • Video editing
  • Worship leading
  • Being able to recognize how God is working
  • Prayer walking
  • Serving in the community
  • Sales
  • Cooking…

Here’s an assignment:  Name one area in your leadership (at church or at home) today that you would like to give away/ share with someone else.

Once you’ve identified it, try out the three step formula.  

1) Figure out what you are doing.  

2) Name it.  

3) Share it.

> Read more from Jeff.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Meyer

Jeff Meyer

I am Jeff Meyer, and I start fires. Ever since that basketball game in college when I came off the bench and lit a spark for my team, I have carried the nickname "Fire Meyer." (Until that point in my career my jersey #22 never saw the floor in an actual game. Perhaps the #22 was a symbol of my life calling: 2 Timothy 2:2?) I live to see sparks ignited and connections made. I long to see the church wake up and live. I long to see Jesus-followers display passionate commitment to Jesus. Jesus' invitation to follow Him was an adventure of epic proportions. Can we recapture that today? I long to see communities transformed into healthy places of wholeness. I believe that communities are transformed when Jesus-followers are stoked and respond. Perhaps you've heard it said that the church is the hope of the world. I believe that a responsive Jesus-follower is the hope of the world. "Igniting connections" is my way of setting off some inspirational sparks; sparks that ignite a passionate response to the call of Jesus.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 
Great work!!!!
 
— Kate Harel
 
After 47 years of ministry experience, I found this easy to agree with, and very hard to live by. All sorts of pressure applied. Eric Gieger's "Simple Church" was a big help!
 
— Jon Breshears
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Momentum is the Key to Resurgence

Momentum. Every leader needs it. If you’ve been stationary for any period of time you know you need to generate some. Generating it takes incredible energy. Stepping out of a maligned past is a challenge. Overcoming the barriers and generating healthy momentum is not for the faint of heart. Momentum is the key to leading a resurgence.

Resurgence takes skilled and determined leadership. Are you up for the challenge?

  • Do you see a better future in the face of overwhelming obstacles?
  • Are you living among a group of people you are called to lead who see nothing but the current realities?
  • Is your leadership malaise stifling hope and burying opportunity?

Take courage from Cleveland’s Resurgence!

Last weekend I was in Cleveland for a family gathering. We spent time in the much misunderstood Rust Belt City. As we walked around the city once famous for its great river fire of 1969, I was struck by its radical turn around.

And while it is certain that this great city is not perfect, and that Cleveland still has economic and social issues to overcome, I was struck by the vision and relentless execution that has this beacon of hope on Lake Erie moving in the right direction.

Here are leadership lessons from Cleveland’s resurgence I took with me as I made my way back home to Madison.

Cleveland, Ohio in the United States. City skyline.

Visionary Leaders…

Choose Catalytic Language

Vision has two components: macro and micro, moutaintop and milestone, qualitative and quantitative.

Both components of vision must be compelling.

By compelling I mean that we want to repeat it. We want to share it.

Hope springs when we utter the phrase.

Language has the power to paint a picture. Words create worlds.

Consider this from Cleveland:

The macro Vision launched in 2009 was “Green City on a Blue Lake”

Consider the radical nature of this vision for a city that was nicknamed “Mistake on the Lake”!

“…Cleveland is well on its way to achieving its vision of a ‘green city on a blue lake.’” Read the Entire Article Here.

The micro Vision followed. The mountaintop “Green City on a Blue Lake” would become a reality only by hitting clearly articulated milestones along the 10 year journey.

“In 2009, the city created Sustainable Cleveland 2019, a 10-year action plan initiative devoted to addressing environmental issues and raising awareness.” Read the entire article here.

Sustainable Cleveland 2019 helped the city…

Condense Their Focus

Pursuing vision can be daunting. We have daily reminders of our current position. There are voices all around us that remind us of all the reasons we can’t and won’t. Few people can see beyond the horizon.

So, an effective visionary leader knows that he/she must condense their focus.

One step at a time. The next hill to take. Steady, methodical, patient…all the while holding onto the dream.

Holding onto the inspiring “Green City on a Blue Lake” (like a post card of the dream) Cleveland took the next step pursuing the next initiative.

“Cleveland is building a new reputation of a sustainable ‘green city on a blue lake’ by promoting nine sustainability initiatives. Each initiative serves as the year’s theme for addressing environmental issues in the city. The nine themes are:

2011: The Year of Energy Efficiency
2012: The Year of Local Foods
2013: The Year of Advanced and Renewable Energy
2014: The Year of Zero Waste
2015: The Year of Clean Water
2016: The Year of Sustainability Mobility
2017: The Year of Vibrant Green Space
2018: The Year of Vital Neighborhoods
2019: The Year of People”  Read the entire article here.

It’s 2016. You can see the progress as you walk the streets of Cleveland. Not finished, 10 years is a long time. The vision is a long pursuit in the same direction.

So along the way, the visionary leader realizes that he/she must…

Celebrate Their Progress

“Cleveland has come a long way in the 50 years since the infamous Cuyahoga River fire, even hosting a sustainable celebratory Burning River Fest every year in the summer to help Clevelanders celebrate just how far the city has come….Cleveland is well on its way to achieving its vision of a ‘green city on a blue lake.’” Read the entire article here.

A visionary leader like you can bring others with YOU as YOU…

  • Choose Catalytic Language
  • Condense Your Focus
  • Celebrate Your Progress

Back in 1969, who would have thought that Cleveland would be described like this?

“Hipsters battling to rent warehouse lofts. Trendy bars, espresso shops and music venues. A funky, celebrity-chef-owned restaurant serving bone marrow and crispy pig ears.”

Someone in 2009 who loved Cleveland enough to pursue a “Green City on a Blue Lake”!

  • What vision is stirring in your heart right now?
  • What’s your catalytic language?
  • What’s your condensed focus?
  • What opportunities can you create to celebrate your progress?

If you would like to learn more about vision and momentum, start a conversation with our team. We’re glad to offer our input. Your vision is at stake, so let’s talk.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Meyer

Jeff Meyer

I am Jeff Meyer, and I start fires. Ever since that basketball game in college when I came off the bench and lit a spark for my team, I have carried the nickname "Fire Meyer." (Until that point in my career my jersey #22 never saw the floor in an actual game. Perhaps the #22 was a symbol of my life calling: 2 Timothy 2:2?) I live to see sparks ignited and connections made. I long to see the church wake up and live. I long to see Jesus-followers display passionate commitment to Jesus. Jesus' invitation to follow Him was an adventure of epic proportions. Can we recapture that today? I long to see communities transformed into healthy places of wholeness. I believe that communities are transformed when Jesus-followers are stoked and respond. Perhaps you've heard it said that the church is the hope of the world. I believe that a responsive Jesus-follower is the hope of the world. "Igniting connections" is my way of setting off some inspirational sparks; sparks that ignite a passionate response to the call of Jesus.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 
Great work!!!!
 
— Kate Harel
 
After 47 years of ministry experience, I found this easy to agree with, and very hard to live by. All sorts of pressure applied. Eric Gieger's "Simple Church" was a big help!
 
— Jon Breshears
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Distill It Down to the Smallest Pattern

My friend is excellent at taking the complex and making it simple.  I love having her on the team because she really makes it possible to replicate.

The simpler anything is, the easier it is to repeat.  The more complex, the more difficult to pass it on.

In Chapter 11 of their book, “Missional Moves:  15 Tectonic Shifts that Transform Churches, Communities, and the World”  Rob Wegner and Jack Magruder put it this way:

“The simpler and more easily repeatable a fractal is, the harder the system is to break or destroy.”

“The more sophisticated and complex a fractal is, the harder it is to replicate, the easier it is to mutate, and the easier it is to destroy.”

What’s a fractal?  Wegner and Magruder define it this way:  “A fractal is the smallest repeatable pattern of any given system.”

It’s hard for me to think of anything that I do now naturally that didn’t begin with some simple, repeatable actions that were within my grasp to do.  Even overwhelming, “stretch me” kind of challenges began with a simple, repeatable step.

There is no movement without reproduction.  And there is no reproduction without small repeatable patterns.

In the Chapter on Adaptive Methods in Steve Addison’s book, “Movements that Change the World” Steve writes, “As the Word became flesh, Jesus fully entered into our world.  He chose to communicate and minister in ways that matched his context and were easily picked up by his disciples.  His message was profound but simple.  It was easily transmitted, shaped, and passed on by his disciples.”

He states that Adpative Methods are:

  • Sustainable-Able to reproduce without external funding
  • Flexible-Can be modified as the context changes
  • Transferable-Easily passed on to new disciples
  • Simple-Only the essentials are included
  • Functional-Effective for the purpose they were intended
  • Scaleable-Capable of multiplying without distortion
  • Reproducing-Spreads rapidly from person to person, network to network

Consider these:

Begin with prayer

Listen

Eat

Serve

Story

  • Don Everts and Doug Schaupp in their book “I Once Was Lost” articulate 5 things you should invite your friends to repeat over and over again in your discipling relationships:

Get them praying.

Get them reading Scripture.

Get them serving.

Get them to share their story.

Get them to live in community.

  • Greg Finke, the founder of Dwelling 114, encourages 5 questions as sort of a weekly check-in with those we are living in community with:

Where have you seen God this week?

What has God been teaching you in His Word?

What discussions are you having with those who are far from God?

What good can we do around here?

How can we lift each other up in prayer?

  • In our missional communities (lifeGroups) at the Church we use 4 W’s to help us:

Welcome-we share our lives with each other around food and fellowship.

Worship-we experience the presence of God and experiment with different ways of responding.

Word-the Scripture holds a sacred, central place in our gatherings.

Witness-we consider how we might bless our community and engage our friends who are far from God (impact lists).

Notice any similarities?

One of the main reasons why we are not seeing the multiplication of new believers and discipling relationships in the church in America is because we have allowed our ministries to become so complex that only a few can truly participate.  We have not done the hard work of distilling down our systems to the smallest repeatable pattern.

In my work with Auxano we call this effort of intentional integration a “Duplicatable Process”.  Anything in ministry you hope to reproduce must be broken down into simple repeatable patterns (fractals).  Only then, will there be any movement.

So, spend time considering such things.  Watch Jesus.  Discuss and discern with your leaders. Engage and employ a strategic outsider like Auxano.  Ask God for clarity.  Decide and synthesize your language.  Live it with joy to the glory of God.  And, as you do, invite others to join you and imitate you.

Read more from Jeff here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Meyer

Jeff Meyer

I am Jeff Meyer, and I start fires. Ever since that basketball game in college when I came off the bench and lit a spark for my team, I have carried the nickname "Fire Meyer." (Until that point in my career my jersey #22 never saw the floor in an actual game. Perhaps the #22 was a symbol of my life calling: 2 Timothy 2:2?) I live to see sparks ignited and connections made. I long to see the church wake up and live. I long to see Jesus-followers display passionate commitment to Jesus. Jesus' invitation to follow Him was an adventure of epic proportions. Can we recapture that today? I long to see communities transformed into healthy places of wholeness. I believe that communities are transformed when Jesus-followers are stoked and respond. Perhaps you've heard it said that the church is the hope of the world. I believe that a responsive Jesus-follower is the hope of the world. "Igniting connections" is my way of setting off some inspirational sparks; sparks that ignite a passionate response to the call of Jesus.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 
Great work!!!!
 
— Kate Harel
 
After 47 years of ministry experience, I found this easy to agree with, and very hard to live by. All sorts of pressure applied. Eric Gieger's "Simple Church" was a big help!
 
— Jon Breshears
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How Words Can Help Change Your Church Culture

Words create worlds.  Language shapes us and forms us.

For example:  When I say, “Let’s go to church,” what does that statement reveal about my understanding of the nature of the church?

Sometimes as leaders we are called to help people move from one deeply held perspective to another.  Words help make that shift possible.  Words build a staircase that allow people to move from where they are to where God wants to lead them.

In leading that kind of “perspective shift” at the Church, I recognized that a portion of our staircase was a little shaky.  It needed to be rebuilt.

Let me explain:  in pursuing a God-inspired vision which we call “One Church, Regional Impact” many have asked, and to some degree are still asking, “Why?”  I began to recognize that some did not understand the “Why” behind the “What”.  I realized, because of my work with Auxano, that this was a Values issue.  Words create worlds.  In this case, words articulate the answer to “Why?”

Here’s how we define Values as Missional Motives at the Church:

“In any given day there are a thousand things clamoring for our attention, a multiplicity of motivations that move us.  What we value will either direct us back toward center or divert us from what is truly worthwhile.  Values are the motivational flame of the church.  They are the shared convictions that guide actions and reveal our unique strengths.  These motives answer “Why do we do what we do at our church?”  They are springboards for daily action and filters for decision-making.  They distinguish our philosophy of ministry and shape our culture and ethos.”

the Church Leadership Guide

[Old]  Values

[New] Missional Motives – where everyday life becomes so much more

Growth – We value a lifelong journey with Jesus that results in individual growth and kingdom expansion.

Ordinary+ because ordinary people connected to Jesus share in Christ’s extraordinary mission.

Relational Service – We value people and the opportunities to meet their individual needs as an expression of the Gospel.

Step+ because simple steps guided by Jesus accelerate the impact of new life.

Authenticity – We value genuine relationships and a sincere Christian lifestyle/behavior.

Friendship+ because friendships infused with Jesus expand the reach of true community.

Creativity – We value innovation in ministry.

Generosity+ because generosity empowered by Jesus fuels a contagious, others-centered culture.

Every Person a Missionary – We value the personal privilege given to every Jesus-follower to help others live life with Jesus every day.

Home+ because a home centered on Jesus becomes the epicenter of an active life of faith.

 

Here are 3 reasons why we are rearticulating our values.

The Motives behind our Motivational shift:

1)  Our values could be any church’s values.

They did not clearly express OUR unique motivation.

>> Ask:  What uniquely motivates your church?

 

2)  They didn’t help us answer the “Why”.

We were never using our value statements as an answer for people when they asked “Why?”

>> Ask:  As a leader in your local context, what “Why” questions are you answering?

 

3)  The words that we chose were not catalytic or compelling.

People did not want to speak them out loud.  They did not inspire anyone to participate in creating the culture that those words were trying to shape.

>> Ask:  Are your values serving as a motivational flame for your people?

 

Read more from Jeff here.

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Meyer

Jeff Meyer

I am Jeff Meyer, and I start fires. Ever since that basketball game in college when I came off the bench and lit a spark for my team, I have carried the nickname "Fire Meyer." (Until that point in my career my jersey #22 never saw the floor in an actual game. Perhaps the #22 was a symbol of my life calling: 2 Timothy 2:2?) I live to see sparks ignited and connections made. I long to see the church wake up and live. I long to see Jesus-followers display passionate commitment to Jesus. Jesus' invitation to follow Him was an adventure of epic proportions. Can we recapture that today? I long to see communities transformed into healthy places of wholeness. I believe that communities are transformed when Jesus-followers are stoked and respond. Perhaps you've heard it said that the church is the hope of the world. I believe that a responsive Jesus-follower is the hope of the world. "Igniting connections" is my way of setting off some inspirational sparks; sparks that ignite a passionate response to the call of Jesus.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 
Great work!!!!
 
— Kate Harel
 
After 47 years of ministry experience, I found this easy to agree with, and very hard to live by. All sorts of pressure applied. Eric Gieger's "Simple Church" was a big help!
 
— Jon Breshears
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The 3-Step Formula for Multiplication

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”  2 Timothy 2:2

What qualifies someone to teach others? Advanced biblical training?  Theological degrees? Titles?

Anyone can teach.

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”  Acts 4:13

One of the major reasons why we are not seeing multiplication in our churches is because we are teaching people to do what we think they need to do instead of what we ourselves are doing.

STEP 1: Figure Out What You Are Doing

Recently, in an effort to equip our preachers to write sermon series, I had to sit down and figure out the process I followed to write sermon series.  Something I had been doing for years needed to be translated so that someone else could do what I had been doing.  That is, if I wanted to share the wealth.

STEP 2: Name It

Put down the process in terms that someone can understand.

STEP 3: Share It

Give it away.  Paul tells young Timothy to “entrust it” to reliable people.  Let others try.  Show them what you wrote down.  Better yet, show them, let them watch you.  Then, let them try, and you watch.

Here’s the thing I’m learning about multiplication:  everything can be taught using this 3-step Formula.

Here’s a rapid-fire-off-the-top-of-my-head list:  Managing finances (at church and at home), praying out loud, having a “quiet time”, engaging in conversations with strangers, riding a bike, choosing healthy foods at the grocery store, exercising, setting the table (at church and at home), cleaning up after dinner (at church and at home), reading the Bible, preaching, teaching, running a backyard VBS, video editing, worship leading, being able to recognize how God is working, prayer walking, serving in the community, sales, cooking…

Now, an assignment:  Name one area in your leadership (at church or at home) today that you would like to give away/ share with someone else.  Once you’ve identified it, try out the three step formula.

1) Figure out what you are doing.

2) Name it.

3) Share it.

Download PDF

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Process >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Meyer

Jeff Meyer

I am Jeff Meyer, and I start fires. Ever since that basketball game in college when I came off the bench and lit a spark for my team, I have carried the nickname "Fire Meyer." (Until that point in my career my jersey #22 never saw the floor in an actual game. Perhaps the #22 was a symbol of my life calling: 2 Timothy 2:2?) I live to see sparks ignited and connections made. I long to see the church wake up and live. I long to see Jesus-followers display passionate commitment to Jesus. Jesus' invitation to follow Him was an adventure of epic proportions. Can we recapture that today? I long to see communities transformed into healthy places of wholeness. I believe that communities are transformed when Jesus-followers are stoked and respond. Perhaps you've heard it said that the church is the hope of the world. I believe that a responsive Jesus-follower is the hope of the world. "Igniting connections" is my way of setting off some inspirational sparks; sparks that ignite a passionate response to the call of Jesus.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 
Great work!!!!
 
— Kate Harel
 
After 47 years of ministry experience, I found this easy to agree with, and very hard to live by. All sorts of pressure applied. Eric Gieger's "Simple Church" was a big help!
 
— Jon Breshears
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

4 Indispensable Leadership Investments

This is the golden age of “The Conference.”

It seems like there is a new conference every week.  I’m finding it hard to keep up with all of the options…huge gatherings with dynamic speakers, experts in the field sharing meaningful insights, live streaming if I can’t attend.  Digital media to download, tweets to read and write, blogs to scour, books, free and otherwise, to pour over…all of it for some golden insight that will propel me forward…

What are your favorites?

Who are your favorite speakers?

I’m pretty sure it is possible for today’s ministry leader to completely fill his/her schedule by attending the conference circuit.  It is also probable that your favorite speakers can spend their year, full-time, on the conference circuit.

With all of the conferences, video streaming, digital media, and books there is really no need to DO anything. I suppose their are ministry leaders today who actually think they are making a difference by attending conferences.  (Side comment:  perhaps that is one of the reasons why Christians today in America actually think they are making a difference by attending church.  They follow our lead.)

Don’t get me wrong, I have been a recipient of the gift of wisdom/insight by attending conferences.  Yet, there came a time in my ministry leadership that I needed the wisdom and transformation that came by executing what I already knew.  The conferences kept adding to my pool of knowledge, but assisted my internal resistance to act. Real learning for me has been caught more than taught.  I caught it by integrating the ideas into my living…struggling, succeeding, reevaluating, and trying again.

Check out Jesus’ pattern of multiplication in Luke 9 & 10.  Gathering and sending and checking-in…

So, in place of conferences, I have been learning to adopt that “gathering/sending/checking-in” pattern into my life.

Here are the 4 indispensable leadership investments that have helped me do that. Spending money and time here has brought about a great return on investment.

Collegial Friendships

The networking and immersion in thoughts and ideas largely delivered TO ME at conferences was beneficial at some level.  However, it was the mutual consideration of those ideas in my local mission context WITH the support of brothers and sisters that actually inspired me to try and encouraged me to keep going.

Focused-support (coaching)

To have someone who is devoted to my goals, to my ideas, to my effectiveness as a leader has been invaluable.  To have someone who has no agenda for me, but my agenda for me, has been empowering.  To have someone willing to hold my feet to the fire and challenge my assumptions and push me to DO what I said I would DO has been crucial.

Applying new ways of being does not happen simply through exposure to content in a classroom setting.  The learning process is accelerated when people can test new ideas in their own lives, share their successes and challenges in a circle of supportive colleagues, support and learn from others, and recommit to their goals with renewed enthusiasm and new strategies.

Coaching provides an environment in which people can reflect openly about how their thoughts and emotions keep them stuck in old patterns.  When people are clear about what they want, and what’s in the way, only then can they focus their energy on removing or reducing these obstacles.  Coaching provides more clarity, more accountability, more community.  The outcome is the reaching of goals more efficiently, with less floundering and more focus.

Clarity

While Conferences and books have given me some great ideas and stimulated my thinking and dreaming, there comes a time for execution.  And in order to execute, I needed to do the hard work of figuring out how all of the disconnected ideas fit together in my local context where my leadership was needed.

Getting clear about me; about the personal “what”, “why”, “how”, “when”, and “where” has freed me.

And, getting clear about us; about the corporate “what”, “why”, “how”, “when”, and “where” has ignited us.

Strategic Outsiders who Became Friends

I have never been afraid to ask for help.  I have never been unwilling to make an investment to surround myself with those who could bring to me/us what we needed.  And, God is timely.  Whether it was Norb Oesch or Steve Wagner from PLI, Lynn Schoener, or my teammates at Auxano, Jim Galvin, or Les Stroh, God has always placed interested participants to guide me and encourage me.  These friends have meant everything.

 

As you think about your journey as a ministry leader, are you open to asking for help from a strategic outsider?  Are you prepared to do the hard work of clarity?  Are you vulnerable enough to allow someone to provide focused-support?  Are you ready for deeper friendship and collegiality?

What are your indispensable leadership investments?

Read more from Jeff here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Meyer

Jeff Meyer

I am Jeff Meyer, and I start fires. Ever since that basketball game in college when I came off the bench and lit a spark for my team, I have carried the nickname "Fire Meyer." (Until that point in my career my jersey #22 never saw the floor in an actual game. Perhaps the #22 was a symbol of my life calling: 2 Timothy 2:2?) I live to see sparks ignited and connections made. I long to see the church wake up and live. I long to see Jesus-followers display passionate commitment to Jesus. Jesus' invitation to follow Him was an adventure of epic proportions. Can we recapture that today? I long to see communities transformed into healthy places of wholeness. I believe that communities are transformed when Jesus-followers are stoked and respond. Perhaps you've heard it said that the church is the hope of the world. I believe that a responsive Jesus-follower is the hope of the world. "Igniting connections" is my way of setting off some inspirational sparks; sparks that ignite a passionate response to the call of Jesus.

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Recent Comments
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 
Great work!!!!
 
— Kate Harel
 
After 47 years of ministry experience, I found this easy to agree with, and very hard to live by. All sorts of pressure applied. Eric Gieger's "Simple Church" was a big help!
 
— Jon Breshears
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Leader’s Dilemma: Are You an Answer Guy or a Discovery Guide?

Recently I was asked a question in an email about an apparent discrepancy in the Bible.

I answered it.

And then I got to thinking:  Instead of answering it, what might have happened if I would have led my friend to some resources and supported him as he searched for the answer himself?

Now, I’m not suggesting that every time someone asks me a question, I should avoid answering it, and put the onus back on them.  However, often as ministry leaders,  we play the role of “answer guy” or “answer girl” and in the process keep people from owning their own journey to discovery.

If our goal is to encourage, empower, and equip missionaries, we need to grow in our ability to discern when to simply answer people, and when to lead them to discover for themselves.

Here are four thoughts to consider as you decide whether you will answer or not:

1)  Adults learn when they have to.

Let our first inclination be that of providing support for people where they show a passion to learn.  Let’s not take the growth that comes in the journey away from them.

Ask:  Is this question I’m being asked a Divine moment full of growth potential, or is it a simple question with little real upside for growth?

2)  People grow as teachers when they put effort into their own learning.

Retention is more probable if I go through the journey myself.

Ask:  Is the person asking me the question likely to share the answer I am about to give with someone else?

3)  To give a simple answer is often easier.

I’m busy.  Sometimes it’s just simpler to give the answer and move on.

Ask:  Am I tempted to give the answer because I need to move on with my day?

4)  If I work harder to find the answer for someone than the one asking the question does, something is wrong.

The way we handle these situations can either reproduce consumeristic dependency or personal ownership.  I realize many leaders in the church today like to be needed.  But, God calls us to make disciples.  This is our missional calling.

Ask:  Is there value for the person who is asking the question to engage in their own learning and discovery?

Read more from Jeff here.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Meyer

Jeff Meyer

I am Jeff Meyer, and I start fires. Ever since that basketball game in college when I came off the bench and lit a spark for my team, I have carried the nickname "Fire Meyer." (Until that point in my career my jersey #22 never saw the floor in an actual game. Perhaps the #22 was a symbol of my life calling: 2 Timothy 2:2?) I live to see sparks ignited and connections made. I long to see the church wake up and live. I long to see Jesus-followers display passionate commitment to Jesus. Jesus' invitation to follow Him was an adventure of epic proportions. Can we recapture that today? I long to see communities transformed into healthy places of wholeness. I believe that communities are transformed when Jesus-followers are stoked and respond. Perhaps you've heard it said that the church is the hope of the world. I believe that a responsive Jesus-follower is the hope of the world. "Igniting connections" is my way of setting off some inspirational sparks; sparks that ignite a passionate response to the call of Jesus.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

VRcurator — 04/12/13 6:37 am

Thanks Daniel! I've always liked the "leadership math" of multiplication more than just addition!

Daniel Im — 04/11/13 10:09 pm

Great thoughts!! Could I add one? By encouraging leaders to discover for themselves you are actually helping them grow in the skills of multiplication. You are helping them learn how to do the same thing to others.

Jeff Meyer — 04/11/13 2:19 pm

Have to often leads to want to. It seems that few are proactive. Espcially when it comes to the Kimgdom of God...we are often motivated out of desperate need. Thanks for the post!

J.R.Briggs — 04/08/13 6:37 pm

Jeff. Good, thought-provoking post. One thought though for number 1: would it best be worded "Adults learn when they want to"? Have to and want to are different (although in situations they can be similar, the implications are quite different). I'd love to hear your thoughts as we explore - and hopefully discover - more together. Thanks in advance. J.R.

Recent Comments
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 
Great work!!!!
 
— Kate Harel
 
After 47 years of ministry experience, I found this easy to agree with, and very hard to live by. All sorts of pressure applied. Eric Gieger's "Simple Church" was a big help!
 
— Jon Breshears
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Cs That Help Shape a Missional Culture in Your Ministry

Changing the culture in any ministry is difficult work.

How do you help shape a missional culture in your ministry?  How are you creating an environment in which mature Jesus-followers “live in the world without being of the world, for the sake of their neighborhood?”

Here are 5 C’s to help put it a little more within reach.

Change Your Language

If you want to shape a missional culture, the words you choose should inspire people to act and live as missionaries right where they live.   Your language should be catalytic.  If it’s not, change it.  Be relentless in finding the right words that catalyze missional living in your people.  For example:

We are taking a fresh look at our Value Statements at the Church because we want our values as missional motives to propel every Jesus-follower to take action as missionaries right where they live.  We want them to be more than cool phrases that we teach people in our new members class.  For example:

We refer to our hub administrative staff as our “Mission Support Team” because we want every Jesus-follower at the Church to have the support they need “out in the mission field.”

What language do you sense you need to change?

Celebrate Stories of People on Mission

If you want to shape a missional culture where you lead, then celebrate missional activity.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?  Pay attention to what gets the attention in your local ministry.  Catch people living out their missional calling, then broadcast it in every way possible.  For example:

We created a web-site where we gather missional stories. I periodically interview people on mission in the message on Sunday mornings.

What are some ways you can celebrate the missional activity of your people?

Conduct a Campaign

There are times in ministry when we rally the troops and focus our energies for a season to accomplish a congregational sized goal.  We do it for capital needs all the time.  Is there anything more crucial to a ministry than helping people come to grips with their baptismal identity as missionaries?  Then why not launch a campaign?

Figure out the BIG ISSUES or KEY HIGHLIGHTS that are needing attention in this season of your ministry, rally the troops, and focus your energies there for a season.  For example:

We are on year three of our 3-year Vision Campaign called “1impact”.  This was an intentional season of focus as we pursued our vision “One Church, Regional Impact.”

Even as we close this season, we are beginning to rally the troops again as we consider the BIG ISSUES/ KEY HIGHLIGHTS we will be facing in the next 12-36 months at the Church.  Here’s my Top 10 at the Church:

  • Realizing Growth while embracing a “Low Cost-Low Risk Model” (Low Cost Building and Staffing Solutions)
  • Funding the Vision (Growing Generosity)
  • Multiplying Missionaries
  • Multiplying Discipling Relationships
  • Raising the Bar on Service (Inside and Out)  lifeServe is our weakest strategy component
  • Getting Fitchburg Fired Up to live as a Site
  • Releasing Dependency on Staff/Pastors
  • Multiplying lifeGroups as vibrantly functioning “missional communities”
  • Fully integrating a communication’s strategy that effectively engages everyone
  • Finding our niche and celebrating our approach to Children’s Ministry that is home-centered, community supported, and non-programmatic

What do you need to focus on over these next 12-36 months?  Could a strategic partner like Auxano Campaigns help you focus?

Create Opportunities and Tools for People

People need their local church to support them as they live out their missional calling in the world.  For example:

We created a simple, yet helpful piece called “Cultivating Spiritual Friendship Guide.”  It has surprised me how a simple tool like this can actually help someone be more confident in living the missional life.

Our Sunday morning “Bible Class” at our Fitchburg Site is called faithBuilders.  We use it as a time to equip and challenge Jesus-followers to live missionally.  We’ve used tools like “I Once Was Lost“, to help people in their relationships with those who are far from God.  We have found that our members don’t really need more information about the Bible as much as they need support to live out in obedience what they have already been given.

What tools would really help your people live on mission?

Capture Your Church’s Uniqueness

You need to stop trying to copy other ministries.  Are you conferenced out, growing weary of attempting to plug-in other leaders’ approaches?  Are you ready to do the exhilarating work of figuring out your mission in your community?   Ready to be set free to live out all that God has designed you to be?

We captured our uniqueness by answering five questions.  You can too!

  • What‘s our unique calling in this community? What are we doing?  What have we been uniquely designed to do?
  • Why are we doing this?  What’s our motivation?  What unique core practices demonstrate those motivations?
  • How are we going to fulfill our unique calling?  What’s our methodology for carrying out our unique calling?
  • When are we successful?  How do we know we have accomplished our unique calling?
  • Where is God leading us?  What is the vivid and compelling picture of our future, and what milestones must we pursue to get there?

How would you answer these 5 questions?  

Read more from Jeff here.


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Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Culture >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Meyer

Jeff Meyer

I am Jeff Meyer, and I start fires. Ever since that basketball game in college when I came off the bench and lit a spark for my team, I have carried the nickname "Fire Meyer." (Until that point in my career my jersey #22 never saw the floor in an actual game. Perhaps the #22 was a symbol of my life calling: 2 Timothy 2:2?) I live to see sparks ignited and connections made. I long to see the church wake up and live. I long to see Jesus-followers display passionate commitment to Jesus. Jesus' invitation to follow Him was an adventure of epic proportions. Can we recapture that today? I long to see communities transformed into healthy places of wholeness. I believe that communities are transformed when Jesus-followers are stoked and respond. Perhaps you've heard it said that the church is the hope of the world. I believe that a responsive Jesus-follower is the hope of the world. "Igniting connections" is my way of setting off some inspirational sparks; sparks that ignite a passionate response to the call of Jesus.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 
Great work!!!!
 
— Kate Harel
 
After 47 years of ministry experience, I found this easy to agree with, and very hard to live by. All sorts of pressure applied. Eric Gieger's "Simple Church" was a big help!
 
— Jon Breshears
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.