Purpose Without Priority is Pointless

How can you lead your team to believe “Less is more” in a “More is more” world?

Every day, ministry leaders spend too much time, managing too much church “stuff,” for too little life-change. It is safe to say that the church in North America is over-programming her calendar and under-discipling her people.

Behind this reality is a stark irony: The effectiveness of our gospel work is limited, not by a lack of ministry effort but by an excess of ministry action.

The gospel-centered, transformational impact of your church sits as a malnourished beggar beside an every-growing buffet of church ministry programs.

We get too little discipleship precisely because we have too much church stuff.

Church stuff is the whole of the ministry activities that make up your church calendar. Programming that ranges from weekly worship and groups, to monthly programming or quarterly training opportunities.

Church Stuff = Any event service, meeting, class, or group that your church offers this year.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – The One Thing, by Gary Keller

YOU WANT LESS. You want fewer distractions and less on your plate. The daily barrage of e-mails, texts, tweets, messages, and meetings distract you and stress you out. The simultaneous demands of work and family are taking a toll. And what’s the cost? Second-rate work, missed deadlines, smaller paychecks, fewer promotions—and lots of stress.

AND YOU WANT MORE. You want more productivity from your work. You want more satisfaction from life, and more time for yourself, your family, and your friends.

NOW YOU CAN HAVE BOTH—LESS AND MORE. In The ONE Thing, you’ll learn to

  • Cut through the clutter
  • Achieve better results in less time
  • Build momentum toward your goal
  • Dial down the stress
  • Overcome that overwhelmed feeling
  • Revive your energy
  • Stay on track
  • Master what matters to you

The ONE Thing delivers extraordinary results in every area of your life—work, personal, family, and spiritual. WHAT’S YOUR ONE THING?

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Complexity is the curse of organizations of almost any size. Many churches today are program profound and doctrinally dense – they are unnecessarily complex. The complexity is strangling their ability to grow and thrive. To the extent that today’s church has become political, institutional, or programmatic, we are making it more complicated than it needs to be.

We have bombarded our people with too many competing little ideas and the result is a church with more information and less clarity that perhaps ever before. The lack of clarity that churches give their people impedes the church’s ability to accomplish the mission of Jesus. “More” results in less clarity.

It’s time for the power of priority.

Purpose has the power to shape our lives only in direct proportion to the power of the priority we connect it to. Purpose without priority is powerless.

To be precise, the word is priority – not priorities – and it originated in the 14th century from the Latin “prior” meaning “first.” If something mattered the most it was a “priority.” Curiously, priority remained unpluralized until around the 20th century, when the world apparently emoted it to mean generally “something that matters” and the plural “priorities” appeared.

Watch your language. You may have many ways to talk about priority, but no matter the words you choose, to achieve extraordinary results your meaning must be the same – ONE Thing.

When each day begins, we each have a choice. We can ask, “What shall I do?” or “What should I do?” Without direction, without purpose, whatever you “shall do” will always get you somewhere. But when you’re going somewhere on purpose, there will always be something you “should do” that will get you where you must go. When your life is on purpose, living by priority takes precedence.

There can only be ONE. Your most important priority is the ONE Thing you can do right now that will help you achieve what matters most to you. You may have many “priorities,” but dig deep and you’ll discover there is always one that matters most, your top priority – Your ONE Thing.

Gary Keller with Jay Papasan, The ONE Thing 

A NEXT STEP

Again, select three potentially good ideas for ministry action, and write them on a chart tablet. These can be three new ideas or from Solution 1 above.

Plot each as a journey of activities, and highlight who is involved in each step such as volunteer leaders, staff members, congregation, guests, community members, etc.

Highlight those that are crucial to each step and discuss with your team if those stakeholders listed above remain motivated throughout the whole journey. What is their motivation?

How many steps does it take until the motivation becomes unclear? How many steps can it take for the motivation to be lost? Put a red dot by the steps that are unclear.

Repeat the steps above with the other two ideas and make the final count of red dots. The idea with the least red dots is the one that should be considered as the priority.


Taken from SUMS Remix 42-2, published June 2016


This is part of a weekly series posting content from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders. SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; and each solution is taken from a different book. As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

> Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

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

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Clarity Process

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4 Lessons of Financial Health for the Pastor

I’ve had the privilege of founding two non-profit organizations, one for-profit company, and spent time as an employee of several multi-million dollar organizations. I also run the finances for my family. As I ebbed and flowed through these different financial environments I began to recognize patterns about how money grows and is invested, or on the flip side, how it quickly becomes wasted via expenses. While each of these environments may have shared the common goal of year-end profitability, the mindset, perspective, and specific objectives varied greatly.

Here are four key gleanings about financial health that apply specifically to the local church and Senior Pastors in particular.

1. Senior Pastors need the PRIORITY that is often modeled by the President of a Non-Profit Organization

The NPO leader has two very clear objectives every day, keep the vision clear and develop resources. No one can develop large amounts of resources for an NPO like the senior leader. The truth is that most employees would never have it cross their minds to help with this effort. They are too busy executing their department tasks. Whenever I find a Senior Pastor that is both the lead giver and the lead developer of gifts I find a church that is experiencing financial break thru.

2. Senior Pastors Need the FOCUS of a For-Profit Company Founder

The founder and owner of a for-profit company wakes up each week with two objectives in mind, keep the vision laser focused and produce more revenue than expenses. As the owner of a company you measure success by happy clients and positive cash flow. Every single expense is seen as either an investment that the owner is willing to take, perhaps even in exchange for a temporary pay reduction, or it is seen as wasted money. I know the success of the church is not measured by dollars, but discipleship. However, I also know it is sin to mismanage God’s resources. Being a wise steward, which is the call of God, involves both discipling generosity and being tenaciously obedient with the resources. Senior leaders do you know the eternal value of each dollar your organization raises and expends? Whenever I see a church with this kind of laser focused perspective, I find a church that is experiencing financial break thru.

3. Senior Pastors need the PASSION that comes from being the provider in the home

This is where the message can get serious. Most men wake up driven to succeed financially, provide well for their families, and enjoy the fruit of their labors. Great men care greatly for the provision and protection of their families. As a matter of fact it is intuitively engrained in the DNA of men. Unfortunately, it is common for me to find Senior Pastors who feel this way about their church, but do not connect the dots with the personal involvement in the financial management and leadership of the church. Many pastors have a general knowledge of financial matters, but not a passion for the financial success of the organization they lead. We would never allow our families to live in financial weakness without working towards a concrete solution. Example, most families would not raise their annual family budget 5-10% and ask their family to have vision and pray for growth. Yet, the average church practices this kind of principle every year.

4. Senior Pastors need the generosity CONFIDENCE that comes from Scripture

God’s Word is very practical, specific, inspiring, and replete with financial wisdom. I find that break thru financial churches are led by a senior pastor that has a high view and breadth of knowledge regarding the Bible’s principles of stewardship and generosity. Even if they lack the highest level of accounting and financial business practices, knowing and trusting Scripture allows them to experience overflow. This is why I put together a simple guide to help pastors gain confidence, a practical tool to lead their staff, and pathway to develop the spiritual discipline of generosity in the disciples you lead. Leading a generous church is totally possible and it has nothing to do with church size, location, income earning, or style. It has everything to do with priority, focus, passion, and confidence.

For additional reading, here are a couple of real life case studies:

Harvest Church, Billings, Montana
Main Street Church, Toledo,Ohio

For more practical tips and inspiration, check out my book, Leading a Generous Church.

> Read more from Todd.


Would you like to learn more about Generosity and other issues related to financial health? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Todd McMichen

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

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VRcurator — 09/15/15 2:56 pm

David, thanks for the encouragement. I look forward to hearing more from you on your journey. - Todd

David — 09/15/15 2:20 pm

Todd, This is fantastic. I have sent it to our senior pastor, but as a younger executive pastor desiring to learn as much as I can about all areas of the church, I find your materials refreshing on the topic of generosity. I have just started reading Leading A Generous Church, but when I finish I let you know what I learned!

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

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

4 Actions Pastors Need in Leading Their Church to Financial Breakthrough

 I’ve had the privilege of founding two non-profit organizations, one for-profit company, and spent time as an employee of several multi-million dollar organizations. I also run the finances for my family. As I ebbed and flowed through these different financial environments I began to recognize patterns about how money grows and is invested, or on the flip side, how it quickly becomes wasted via expenses. While each of these environments may have shared the common goal of year-end profitability, the mindset, perspective, and specific objectives varied greatly.

Here are four key gleanings about financial health that apply specifically to the local church and Senior Pastors in particular.

1. Senior Pastors need the PRIORITY that is often modeled by the President of a Non-Profit Organization

The NPO leader has two very clear objectives every day, keep the vision clear and develop resources. No one can develop large amounts of resources for an NPO like the senior leader. The truth is that most employees would never have it cross their minds to help with this effort. They are too busy executing their department tasks. Whenever I find a Senior Pastor that is both the lead giver and the lead developer of gifts I find a church that is experiencing financial break thru.

2. Senior Pastors Need the FOCUS of a For-Profit Company Founder

The founder and owner of a for-profit company wakes up each week with two objectives in mind, keep the vision laser focused and produce more revenue than expenses. As the owner of a company you measure success by happy clients and positive cash flow. Every single expense is seen as either an investment that the owner is willing to take, perhaps even in exchange for a temporary pay reduction, or it is seen as wasted money. I know the success of the church is not measured by dollars, but discipleship. However, I also know it is sin to mismanage God’s resources. Being a wise steward, which is the call of God, involves both discipling generosity and being tenaciously obedient with the resources. Senior leaders do you know the eternal value of each dollar your organization raises and expends? Whenever I see a church with this kind of laser focused perspective, I find a church that is experiencing financial break thru.

3. Senior Pastors need the PASSION that comes from being the provider in the home.

This is where the message can get serious. Most men wake up driven to succeed financially, provide well for their families, and enjoy the fruit of their labors. Great men care greatly for the provision and protection of their families. As a matter of fact it is intuitively engrained in the DNA of men. Unfortunately, it is common for me to find Senior Pastors who feel this way about their church, but do not connect the dots with the personal involvement in the financial management and leadership of the church. Many pastors have a general knowledge of financial matters, but not a passion for the financial success of the organization they lead. We would never allow our families to live in financial weakness without working towards a concrete solution. Example, most families would not raise their annual family budget 5-10% and ask their family to have vision and pray for growth. Yet, the average church practices this kind of principle every year.

4. Senior Pastors need the generosity CONFIDENCE that comes from Scripture.

God’s Word is very practical, specific, inspiring, and replete with financial wisdom. I find that break thru financial churches are led by a senior pastor that has a high view and breadth of knowledge regarding the Bible’s principles of stewardship and generosity. Even if they lack the highest level of accounting and financial business practices, knowing and trusting Scripture allows them to experience overflow. This is why I put together a simple guide to help pastors gain confidence, a practical tool to lead their staff, and pathway to develop the spiritual discipline of generosity in the disciples you lead. Leading a generous church is totally possible and it has nothing to do with church size, location, income earning, or style. It has everything to do with priority, focus, passion, and confidence.

For additional reading, here are a couple of real life case studies:

For more practical tips and inspiration, check out my book, Leading a Generous Church.

> Read more from Todd.

Download PDF

Tags: , , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Resourcing >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Todd McMichen

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

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

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Why You Should Listen to Your Congregation When They Vote with Their Feet

It’s an old phrase, but one that I find extremely helpful as a leader.

It’s “voting with their feet.”

So many times we wonder about the validity or value of something when the answer is patently clear: people have voted with their feet. Meaning they aren’t coming, supporting, inviting…you fill in the quantitative blank.

The point is that they have given you the feedback you need.

I’ve had numerous conversations with leaders over the years about the value of this or that, and in the end, it comes back to a simple assessment: people have voted with their feet. They don’t want it, need it, or care about it. It doesn’t matter how good the idea was on paper, how passionate a particular individual might have been for the enterprise, or even the handful of “fruit” stories that might have emerged from its efforts.

Now, let me qualify this in two important ways.

First, this does not mean you only give people what they want. That is a consumer-driven church, and that leads to heresy. Or at least a superficial faith.

So I’m not talking about doctrine, disciplines or anything else that would be put on a “doesn’t matter whether it’s popular it’s essential” list.

But I am talking about programs and ministries that are in the “good” but “non-essential” camp that people “vote” on in a way that good leaders should pay very close attention to.

Here’s why:

You have a limited amount of energy, resources, finances, volunteers, square footage and time. You are called to fulfill the Great Commission with both tenacity and wisdom. As a result, it would be foolish to allocate anything to a non-strategic path.

Now the second qualifier applies to the above-mentioned “handful of fruit stories” comment. Jesus was very clear in the parable of the talents that we are to be shrewd investors of time, talent, treasure…anything that is ours to be managed. Of course I can mobilize 100 people to fan out across a city for door-to-door visitation and witnessing and get one or two stories of receptivity.

But what if I took that same mobilizing energy and used it in a way that resulted in over 1,000 lives changed for Christ? Isn’t that what we should be wrestling with? The Holy Spirit will honor Himself as the Word is proclaimed in whatever fashion (at least, I believe He will), but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t honor even more those efforts that seek to maximize His witness to the world in ways that are most effective.

So here’s the leadership question:

Where aren’t you paying attention to the vote?

Read more from James here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James Emery White

James Emery White

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. He is the founder of Serious Times and this blog was originally posted at his website www.churchandculture.org.

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

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Making It Happen: Shifting Your Focus from Something Else to It

See if this sounds familiar. You’re trying to focus on a task at work, but It just won’t leave you alone.

It seizes some significant mental real estate and prevents you from being fully present in the moment. You attempt to suppress your thoughts about It with countless less important activities, but It simply won’t leave. You hope to escape being a mental hostage to It when you are spending time with your family or friends, but still It hangs around, diminishing your ability to enjoy these moments, as well.

Its presence, however, can most strongly be felt when you are trying to rest. You want to physically, emotionally, and mentally relax from the break-neck pace of the day, but thoughts of It keep robbing you of these much needed moments of sacred idleness.

“What is this all powerful It,” you ask?

Simply put, It is your most “Important Thing.”

Those tasks, activities, goals, dreams, and plans that are neglected almost daily in the overwhelming world of working on “something else.” You don’t consciously try to avoid It. You really want to work on It, whether it will take five minutes, five months, or five years, but you aren’t for many reasons.

Because a funnel narrows at the bottom, all of these possibilities vie to become It. In other words, you only have so many hours in the day. So, without a structure or process to manage all those possibilities, you struggle to determine what is important, urgent, or unnecessary. “That’s my world,” you might say. “Every day is full of a million things I could do.” And how you determine what actually comes out of that funnel and gets DONE may be one cause of your dilemma.

It’s time to make It happen!

If you are serious about making It happen more often in your work and life, you need to start doing 6 things every day.

>> Download Jones Loflin’s solutions for getting to It here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jones Loflin

Jones Loflin is an internationally-recognized speaker, author, and trainer, and the coauthor of the award-winning book Juggling Elephants. For over nineteen years he has developed and delivered solutions for many Fortune 500 companies in the areas of time management, focus, motivation, change, and work-life balance. Todd Musig is a senior training industry executive, consultant, and author with extensive experience in marketing and business operations. He has worked with such authors as Hyrum Smith, Stephen Covey, and Dr. Spencer Johnson, and he is the coauthor of the award-winning book Juggling Elephants.

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What say you? Leave a comment!

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

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.