In the Face of Uncertainty, Pursue Clarity

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

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

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

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

>> In the face of uncertainty, pursue clarity.

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

 

Read the full article on pursuing clarity by Todd here.

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

SUMS_TheAccidentalCreative

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

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

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
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)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Actions to Help You Overcome Struggles in Ministry Leadership

Struggle is a part of any human endeavor and leadership is no different. The problem is we view struggle as a negative. But struggle is how we grow. Without them we can’t reach our full potential as leaders.

We like to think of our leaders as flawless. We like to be perceived as flawless—or at least we like people to think we have everything under control. But as Joe Badaracco has pointed out, “leadership is a struggle by flawed human beings to make some important human values real and effective in the world as it is.”

It may sound counterintuitive, but considering the benefits illuminated by Stephen Snyder in Leadership and the Art of Struggle, we should welcome it as an important element of the leadership process and our own personal development. Snyder writes that we should face struggle “head on—not hiding from it or feeling shame—because struggle is the gateway to learning and growth.” It can also help us to discover our purpose and meaning and develop the adaptive energy necessary to sustain our leadership for a lifetime.

Struggles have three defining characteristics:

Change: Every struggle is triggered by some type of change.

Tensions: Change creates a natural set of tensions.

Being out of Balance: Change and its ensuing tensions throw a leader off balance. This may happen without us even being aware of it, but acknowledgement of it is central to regaining control.

In the world we live in today, this is a common occurrence often leading to burnout unless we learn to see struggle through a different lens. Snyder recommends the following 5 actions to overcome those struggles:

  1. Adopt a growth mindset. The first step in accomplishing this is through reflection—being aware of what is going on around you. Snyder’s former colleague at Microsoft, Frank Gaudette, used to say: “I reserve the right to wake up smarter every day.” A good mantra to make our own.
  2. Center your mind, body and spirit. We all need some way to anchor ourselves and gain perspective that we practice daily like exercise and diet, prayer, connecting with nature, meditation, and/or journaling.
  3. Build your support community. “Create a community of people whom you can connect and bond with and from whom you can seek advice and feedback.”
  4. Overcome your blind spots. Blind spots by their very nature are hard to recognize. And they are frustrating because they blind us from seeing why people may be responding to us in counterproductive ways—leading us to finger pointing rather than personal responsibility. “Blind spots,” writes Snyder, “are the product of an overactive automatic mind and an underactive reflective mind.” A fairly common blind spot Snyder calls the Conflict Blind Spot. This blind spot can cause someone to interpret every interaction through a distorted lens. It reinforces the perception that the other person is wrong and we are right.
  5. Recommit, pivot, or leap. When we struggle we have essentially three options. The first is to recommit and stay the course. The second is to pivot and make a course correction. And third is to leap into uncharted territory far beyond our comfort zone. Choosing the right option requires that we examine ourselves and determine which choice is most consistent with our personal values or mission statement.

Every struggle is a chance to learn and to confront who we are and what we are becoming. Seen in that light, they are a gift. And our ability to deal with our own struggles effectively has an impact on those around us. Not only does it create a more positive environment to function in, but it provides a constructive example for others to follow.

Snyder has written an outstanding and practical book to help us to rethink the challenges and problems we face along the way. One of the best you’ll ever read on the topic.

Read more from Michael here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael McKinney

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
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)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

A Ministry Momentum Killer

I have a crucial piece of advice for any ministry leader who is seeing God bless them with a current wave of momentum:

Make sure your private devotion keeps pace with your ministry momentum.

As your ministry gains speed, the demands on you are just going to become greater. You might think that once you gain the momentum you’ve been working towards, it will finally free up space in your life. But it won’t. In fact, your time will be even more constrained.

The temptation you’ll face will be to ride your own spiritual coattails.

The great prayer time you had. Last week.
The eye-opening moment you had in your private Bible study. Two months ago.
The game-changing time of fasting you engaged in. Last year.

But it doesn’t work like that. Your relationship with God is only as strong as your most recent encounter with Him.

You must never get to the point where you’re too busy ministering for God that you’re too busy to meet with God. Or you can consider yourself on the clock. For burnout. For a lack of fresh vision. For a moral failure.

And then because of those things, for losing your momentum.

No matter how great your ministry is going…
You’re never going to outgrow your need for prayer.
You’re never going to outgrow your need for study of God’s Word.
You are never going to outgrow your need for God.

He’s what gave you your momentum. He’s what’s going to maintain it. And He’s what’s going to sustain you through it as the demands on your life become greater.

Even Jesus felt the need to go off by himself and spend time in prayer as people began flocking to Him. Personally I’m not going to be the one who says I need less private time with God than Jesus.

Make the decision now. Wake up earlier. Stay up later. Clear out your schedule during the day. Whatever you do, do whatever you have to do to prioritize the presence of God in your life.

And then keep riding the momentum.

Read more from Steven here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steven Furtick

Steven Furtick

Pastor Steven Furtick is the lead pastor of Elevation Church. He and his wife, Holly, founded Elevation in 2006 with seven other families. Pastor Steven holds a Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the New York Times Best Selling author of Crash the Chatterbox, Greater, and Sun Stand Still. Pastor Steven and Holly live in the Charlotte area with their two sons, Elijah and Graham, and daughter, Abbey.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
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)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Personal Vision Questions for Your Vacation, Sabbatical, or Downtime

This year, the stakes feel higher with personal clarity for a variety of reasons. My ministry is growing, my family is growing. Growth always means more complexity; more options, more distractions, more opportunities, etc.

In order to maximize the time, I created a list of question to think through. What’s most interesting to me is how some of my questions have changed. The questions with the astericks are ones I have never considered before. The main point of this post then, is not to give you my questions but to challenge you to write your own.

Here’s what it looks like for me:  A month before my downtime I carved out a 3-hour time of focus. For me its a plane ride. I spent time in the Word and prayer.  I journaled a bit. Then I wrote questions. I didn’t worry if they are good questions or not. I didn’t worry about answering them.

Why not give it a try?

Here is what I will be thinking about over the next 30 days.

  • What is God teaching me right now?
  • How do I want to spend my time every day?
  • What is the single greatest way I want to change how I spend my time everyday?
  • What is the single greatest thing I don’t want to do everyday that I currently do?
  • What are my greatest strengths as I understand them now?
  • What are my greatest limitations as I understand them now?
  • *How have my accomplishments enabled me to better leverage my strengths?
  • *How have my accomplishments magnified my weaknesses?
  • *How is money influencing my strategy and direction inappropriately?
  • What are time-limited opportunities that I now have?
  • *How am I misdirecting my best time and energy?
  • *Where do deepest my frustrations come from? Why?
  • What ideas am I most excited about?
  • What is the single most important thing to do or decide to do right now to achieve my life vision?
  • *How am I failing to give my best time and energy to my family. Why?
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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

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

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
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)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Steve Jobs Delivers 3 Life Lessons on Personal Clarity

Steve Jobs, one of the world’s most influential inventors, died in October 2011, but his impact lives on in many ways.  If you have the slightest interest in pursuing a personal vision, this 15 minute video is a must watch. And if Steve Job’s innovation has impacted your life, you will like these three life lessons even more.

 

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

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

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
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)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.