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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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.

Why Your Church Needs Clarity of Purpose

Organizations beloved by their customers, those that are true and authentic, work hard every day to resist the pull of “normal” business practices to create a powerful human connection with their customers.

They are able to do this because they have something that binds everyone together, moving them toward a common goal: clarity of purpose.

Beloved companies take the time to be clear about what their unique promise is for their customers’ lives. They use this clarity when they make decisions so they align to this purpose, to this promise.

Clarity of purpose guides choices and unites the organization. It elevates people’s work from executing tasks to delivering experiences customers will want to repeat and tell others about.

  • Apple’s clarity for creating its in-store experience has built a cult following. Apple stores wouldn’t have become the gathering place they are today without the time, angst, and thought that went into deciding what those stores would and would not be.
  • Trader Joe’s, a grocery store so clearly focused on personal interaction with customers, obsessed over the decision to buy scanning equipment. They worried that the scanning equipment’s “pinging” sound would get in the way of their employees’ chatty conversations with customers.
  • Newegg.com, banned pop-up ads after checkout. They won’t abdicate their well-orchestrated customer experience and final memory to a third-party partner’s pop-up ad, even though pop-up ads bring in extra revenue.
  • For Genentech (one of the world’s fastest-growing and admired bio-tech companies), clarity of purpose fuels their growth. The personal knowledge of patients, and the details of the lives they are saving, motivates employees to make the right decisions for the customers they serve. It elevates their decisions from science . . . to saving lives.

Each beloved company makes key decisions to mark its place in the universe with customers. Beloved companies begin with a notion, an idea fueled by passion about their greater purpose for improving customers’ lives. It doesn’t matter if they are selling electronics or food, or saving lives; conviction helps them stay the course. Even in the face of sacrifice and, yes, sometimes pain, beloved companies press on for customers. They persevere until they get it right.

Read more from Jeanne here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeanne Bliss

Jeanne Bliss

Jeanne Bliss is not an evangelist or observer of companies; she is a customer experience expert. As the Customer Leadership Executive for five large U.S. market leaders, Jeanne fought valiantly to get the customer on the strategic agenda, redirecting priorities and creating transformational changes to the brands’ customer loyalty. She has driven achievement of 95 percent loyalty rates, changing customer experiences across 50,000-person organizations. Jeanne developed her passion for customer loyalty at Lands’ End, Inc., where she reported to the company’s founder and executive committee as leader for the Lands’ End customer experience. She was Senior Vice President of Franchise Services for Coldwell Banker Corporation. Jeanne served Allstate Corporation as its chief officer for customer loyalty & retention. She was Microsoft Corporation’s General Manager of Worldwide Customer & Partner Loyalty. At Mazda Motor of America she initiated the brand’s retention effort. After 25 years as the Customer Experience Executive in five major US Corporations, Jeanne founded CustomerBliss in order to create clarity and an actionable path for driving the customer loyalty commitment into business operations.

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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.