5 Elements of an Essential Vision Cast

Getting an opportunity to cast a God-given vision is a weighty privilege. Having spent time with God, you’ve heard the heart of God and are called to lead toward a preferred future for your church, organization or community.  Before you even speak your first word your audience’s mind is like a canvas. The words you speak can paint a picture of a new reality, move people to action, enthuse commitment and even drive them to make personal sacrifice for the cause. 

Others belief in and willingness to contribute to the vision is essential for the dream to translate into reality. The moment you finished casting your vision every listener will make up their mind whether they’ll take a next step with you or walk away.  Whether they’ll be a contributor or a curious onlooker. This is why it’s critical for every vision caster to understand the essential ingredients of an effective vision cast.

  • It must include evidence of God’s leading
  • It must be big enough to inspire
  • It must be delivered with passion
  • It must solve a meaningful problem.
  • It must include a request to contribute.

Often times you get one chance to cast vision to a potential partner so pray hard and speak wisely.  What would you add to this “essentials” list?

Read more from Mac here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mac Lake

Mac Lake

I am the Chief Launch Officer of The Launch Network, a new church planting network based out of West Ridge Church in the greater Atlanta, Georgia area. My role is to get The Launch Network up and running, networking with churches and planters to establish healthy church starts across the U.S. and the world. Our goal is to plant 1000 churches in the next 10 years. My passion is growing leaders for the local church. Every time I hear Bill Hybels say “The local church is the hope of the world” my heart comes out of my chest and it increases my sense of urgency for developing leaders who produce leaders.

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Clarity Process

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Your Church is Struggling, But Do You Recognize It?

Often in church leadership we get so busy working “in the church” that it becomes harder to work “on the church”. We’re focused on making weekends happen and caring for people that we lose perspective on whether we’re seeing a difference in our community.

The reality is as church leaders we can be consumed with lots of activity but a lack of focus on pushing us forward.

Sometimes it’s hard to see if we’re making any difference and slipping into irrelevance. Here are a few early warning signs that your church might be struggling to fulfill it’s full redemptive potential.

  • More Memories than Vision // A sure sign that your ministry is slipping into atrophy is when you pine for the “good ole days” or you look back fondly on what happened did years ago. If what has happened seems better than what is going to happen … you may be slipping into irrelevance. Is the view in your rear view mirror bigger than the one in the front window?
  • No Sacrificial Giving to Next Generation // No one is going to pass on the message of Jesus to the next generation than you and your leadership. If you can’t identify the areas where you are preferring the next generation over your generation than you might be creeping towards your demise. Does your senior leadership team actively support and resource ministries with younger generations?
  • Never Say No // A sure sign that a church has lost its way is that it’s lost it’s ability to discern what activities push it towards it’s mission and which don’t. The end result is a church with a lot of activity but no progress. Busyness does not equal effectiveness. Churches with clear vision are defined more by what they avoid doing than what they choose to do. When was the last time your leadership decided against a good idea to pursue the great one?
  • Form Over Function // Organizations that have lost their grip on making a difference become more concerned with the “how” of ministry rather than “why”. Policies, procedures and past practice drive the activity of the church rather than the mission you are called to. This is a delicate balance because systems help churches grow … but if they become the obsession of leaders they will destroy your organization. Are you more concerned with the wineskin than the wine?
  • Lack Faith Based Risks // Churches that make an impact are taking risks … actual risks. They put stuff on the line to accomplish what they believe God is calling them to. They step out in trust asking God to give them clarity for the next steps. When was the last time your pulse quickened because of something you risked as a church?
  • You Don’t Eat Your Own Dog Food // If the staff of the church wouldn’t attend if they weren’t getting paid … it’s a sure sign something is seriously wrong. Why are you taking money from a church that you don’t love? What does that say about you?
  • Narrow Donor Base // On a practical note … if there is a very small donor pool funding the mission of the church it’s a sign of the church’s inability to engage a broader community. Why hasn’t your church been able to connect with more than a handful of donors?

Read more from Rich here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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Clarity Process

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Five Steps to Get Beyond the Sacred Cows in Your Church

Many years ago I was serving as pastor of a church where I was an avid supporter of door-to-door outreach. But I struggled with leading people to be involved in the ministry. We kept decent records, so I got the old “outreach cards” for the previous year. My brief research shocked me.

I estimated that we had invested nearly 1,500 hours of our members’ time in this ministry during the past year. The apparent result of our ministry had resulted in, at best, two Christian families joining our church. If you assume a workday of eight hours, our members had worked 187 full days with no evangelistic fruit.

The Encounter

When I presented my research to a leader in the church and suggested we look at other alternatives, he raised his voice almost to a scream: “But we have always done it that way. And ten years ago we saw dozens of people become Christians through this ministry every year. We’re not about to change!” When I asked what we should do about the 1,500 hours of apparently fruitless ministry, he said we should try to increase the number to 3,000 hours.

The Memory

Don’t get me wrong. Your church may have great success in door-to-door outreach. My purpose in writing this article is not to pass judgment on a methodology. My purpose is to ask the question: Are organizational memories, commonly known as sacred cows, hindering our effectiveness for the gospel?

In my church there were great memories of this method of outreach. The thought of looking to other more effective alternatives almost seemed to violate some sacred principle. Interestingly, some of the most vociferous opponents of change were those who no longer participated in the ministry.

The Honesty

Fortunately, we were able to get beyond the emotions to have an honest and frank discussion about the ministry. I brought together leaders from both sides of the issue. We discovered two main reasons our ministry was running into roadblocks that it did not have ten years earlier. First, many of the neighborhoods had transitioned from Deep South transplants to Northern transplants. The latter group was not culturally acclimated to people “just dropping by.” Second, about one-third of the residents were in gated communities, a significant increase from ten years earlier.

We came away from that meeting with a few changes that kept us outwardly focused without the frustration of the old methodology. The critics did not disappear immediately, but we were able to deal with them without major disruption.

The Principles

Organizational memory in our church had the potential of hindering our gospel effectiveness. The initial frustrated response to the problem was to double our ineffective efforts from 1,500 hours a year to 3,000 hours. But we did move beyond this issue. The changes were not without pain though. Here are the five steps we took to move beyond organizational memory.

  1. We involved key leaders on both sides of the issue. Several people had emotional ties to our ministry. It was good for those on each side of this issue to hear the other perspective.
  2. We asked if we could accomplish our goals with more effective means. Even some of the greatest detractors recognized that the means had become an end. We concluded that our true goal was not to maintain a program, but to share the gospel and our church with our neighbors.
  3. We paired leaders from opposite sides for an hour to present possible alternatives. This exercise was immensely valuable. It got all of us thinking about the true goal rather than the preservation of an ineffective program.
  4. We left with an intentional decision to move forward with two pilot ministries. We declared neither new ministry to be sacrosanct, but decided to test them for a predetermined period of six months. We also agreed to return as a group in six months to evaluate our progress or lack of progress.
  5. We recognized as a group that we would still have critics for eliminating the old ministry. Our goal was not to eliminate criticism, but to minimize it and to deal with the critics in a Christ-like manner.

On the one hand, I would evaluate our process as a success. We were able to deal effectively with the sacred cow that was hindering our progress. On the other hand, our replacement ministries were only slightly more effective than their predecessor ministry. At the end of six months, some were wondering if we made a mistake by doing away with the old ministry.

Leading a church to change is rarely a smooth road. It is often three steps forward and two steps backward. But the process we took became very helpful in my leadership in future churches and other organizations.

How do you deal with sacred cows in your church? What have been some of your victories? What have been some of your struggles?

Read more from Thom here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources.  Prior to LifeWay, he served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism.  He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to speaking in hundreds of venues over the past 20 years, Rainer led Rainer Group, a church and denominational consulting firm, from 1990 to 2005. The firm provided church health insights to over 500 churches and other organizations over that period. Rainer and his wife, Nellie Jo, have three grown sons: Sam, Art and Jess, who are married to Erin, Sarah and Rachel respectively.  The Rainers have six grandchildren: Canon, Maggie, Nathaniel, Will (with the Lord), Harper, and Bren. He is the author of twenty-four books, including Breakout Churches, Simple Life, Simple Church, Raising Dad, The Millennials, and Essential Church.  His latest book, Autopsy of a Deceased Church, was released in 2014 by B&H Publishing Group.

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Value of Vision, Part 1: Is Vision Relevant Today?

Mike Myatt, widely regarded as America’s Top CEO coach thinks so – with an empathic YES!

Leadership without vision is like trying to drive blind – it won’t end well.

Here are some excerpts from an article on vision he recently wrote:

The best evidence of the importance of vision is what occurs in its absence– mediocrity, irrelevance, and ultimately, obsolescence. Why do so many organizations struggle with creating a cohesive, aligned vision? The answer is regrettably obvious – many leaders are simply failing to lead.

Organizations don’t have leadership issues – they have vision issues. Leadership decoupled from vision is nothing short of a farce. Vision isn’t just ethereal hocus-pocus; it’s the core manifestation of an organization’s values. Vision is what gives a company its forward leaning bias and constantly propels the enterprise beyond the status quo.

Vision statements, as implied in the construction of the phraseology itself, put forth a statement of envisioned future. This vision, if successful, must be underpinned by core ideology (values) and then expressed with clarity and conviction.

Life is just plain easier when you can see what’s ahead of you. Great leaders understand the value of simplicity in all things, and nowhere does simplicity add more value than as it relates to vision. A vision not understood will be misunderstood, misdirected, or ignored. A vision that is values based and simple is easy to evangelize and operationalize. All a leader must do is focus on the right things.

Don’t be in the business of business – be in the business of leadership. At its essence, leadership is the business of defining and articulating vision (why), and then aligning people (who) with said vision – these are the two key strategic elements of leadership (leadership + purpose + people = culture).

Leadership isn’t easy, but it also need not be overly complex. Great leaders are gifted at simplifying everything around them – they are focused on the right things, which allows their processes to fuel creativity and innovation not stifle them.

Lastly, don’t get caught up in attempting to develop something catchy to be encapsulated within a piece of framed artwork that hangs on the wall yet is never put into practice. It is much more important that your vision be understood by company employees, and translated into the resultant authenticity of their actions.

Read the full article here.

Read more from Mike here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Myatt

Mike Myatt

Mike Myatt, is a Top CEO Coach, author of “Leadership Matters…The CEO Survival Manual“, and Managing Director of N2Growth.

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
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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.

The Starting Point for Discovering Vision and Values

Personal convictions are the seedbed for forging a compelling vision and shaping core values. These convictions must never be generated out of thin air or influenced simply by the latest leadership fad or trend. Somewhere deep down in the gut you will discover some things you believe in – some things that are non-negotiable about life, work, love, faith, relationships, leadership and the world. That is where you will find your Vision & Values.

So here are a series of questions first for Vision discovery and clarification.

1)     What does the future look like when things are working extremely well? Not perfectly…that’s idealism. You need a vision that can be rooted in reality. So describe the future when the vision is now a fact. What has changed? What problem have you solved?

2)     What does it feel like to be there? You probably have some sense of what it feels like as you imagine your dream coming true. Yes, what are your emotions? What wells up inside you as you see the vision becoming reality – joy, satisfaction, relief, hope, exhilaration, power, or freedom?

3)     Who benefits most from the vision becoming reality? Imagine the people your team is serving or helping or providing a quality service to. Will it be children in poverty, adults without meaningful work, people with disabilities, a company without quality management, a non-profit that lacks solid leadership? What is happening in these people and among them? What new world opens up for them because of the vision becoming reality?

4)     What change is taking place inside you? How are YOU different because the vision is a reality? What character changes are happening? How are you approaching your work? Have your priorities changed?

KEY VISION RESOURCE: Chapters 5 & 6 of The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes & Posner are worth the price of the book – and more – on the process of creating a shared vision.

Now for questions to help shape your core Values

1)     What is true for you? This means, deep down inside you, there are things that do not waver – core beliefs that define how you see the world. These may be the result of experiences, values handed down by parents or mentors, religious convictions, or simply things you just know to be true (treating others with respect is the right thing to do.)

2)     What makes you sad? This is a way of discovering values by looking through a different lens. When you view the world or work or you organization, what makes you sad? What do you wish would change? This is probably related to a value or belief you hold dear. For example, in a team meeting you see a weaker person get belittled by another member of the team. The strong personality of the culprit crushes the weak spirit of the team member, who does not respond in the moment but feels shame or intimidation. The anger you feel is tied to something you believe about justice, fairness, or perhaps kindness.

3)    What brings you joy? Now we flip the coin and look at those events or activities that make you smile. You see a need met, a new product developed, a person helped, an obstacle overcome, a friendship grow or a goal achieved. You smile because something feels good at your core.

4)    What gives you energy? Though similar to “what brings you joy?” above, this is a bit different. Yes, energy can be derived from people or events that bring me joy. But energy comes from other sources – adverse circumstances, a challenge, a loss, a unique opportunity, a new friendship, a family event, a kind of work, a new mission. What gives you a “rush” and makes you productive, excited about your work in the world, and givers purpose to your life?

KEY VALUES RESOURCE: Here is a short Forbes article on values-focused leadership by Jansen Kraemer that highlights four core principles leaders can use to lead from a values standpoint.

 

Answer these questions and record them in your journal. It will help you identify what’s in your gut, what makes you tick. Your personal Vision & Values will get clearer which will also allow you to sharpen the focus of your work and leadership.

Read more from Bill here.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bill Donahue

Bill’s vision is: “Resourcing life-changing leaders for world-changing influence.” Leaders and their teams need a clear personal vision and a transformational team strategy. This requires work in 3 key areas: Maximize Leadership Capacity, Sharpen Mission Clarity & Build Transformational Community. Bill has leadership experience in both the for-profit and non-profit arena. After working for P&G in New York and PNC Corp. in Philadelphia, Bill was Director of Leader Development & Group Life for the Willow Creek Church & Association where he created leadership strategies and events for over 10,000 leaders on 6 continents in over 30 countries.

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
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— 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.

5 Stages of Capturing a Vision

As far as I’m concerned, leadership cannot be separated from vision.  All leaders take their teams to a better place; they don’t merely manage their current territory. Sadly, many leaders assume positions, but only maintain the status quo. There is no original idea, no fresh motivation and no new vision that captures the imagination and energy of their team. When this happens, the person in charge is merely managing, not leading. Managing is necessary, but leaders possess a vision for their team.

The Birth of a Vision

Let’s examine how vision works and how it can work for you, as a leader. It might surprise you to know that the birth of a vision works much like the birth of a baby. Just as parents experience various stages during the ninth months of preparation before their baby enters the world, so teams and leaders experience these same stages as they give birth to a vision.

1. STAGE ONE: SOLITUDE

As a rule, leaders must not only stay busy with the functions of their organization, they must get away in quietness to gain perspective on what must happen to take it forward. In the same way that a husband and wife experience solitude before conception, so leaders must invest time—away from the noise—to think, listen, create, ponder options and dream. For leaders, this time of solitude must follow a season of observing and identifying problems. Their vision must be a picture of a better future that answers a specific problem.

2. STAGE TWO: CONCEPTION

In this stage, a leader conceives an idea. A vision begins inside. The leader may even have an epiphany or a “eureka” moment. Their dreaming pays off in the form of an internal picture that, if executed, could take their team forward. It may not be fully formed at first, just as an embryo isn’t mature in the beginning. But, it is inside and begins to grow. The leader believes this vision not only should be done, but could be done. At this stage, leaders are “pregnant” with a vision.

3. STAGE THREE: GESTATION

This is the longest stage of the process. For a human, it lasts nine months. For a vision to be born in an organization, it may take years, depending on its size and scope. During this time, some team members may walk away. It isn’t glamorous or fun. Sometimes, it’s painful as the team “stretches” as they work to embrace the vision. Leaders must communicate it clearly and tweak it as it forms.

4. STAGE FOUR: LABOR

Just as a mother endures an increased frequency and intensity of pain as she nears the birth of her child, so leaders and teams usually experience an increased volume and intensity of “labor pains” just before they realize their vision. Sometimes team members wonder if all the trouble is worth it. But this labor pain is a sign that the birth of their great goal is near and they must persist.

5. STAGE FIVE: BIRTH

Finally, the vision is born. All the struggle becomes worth it as leaders and teams get to see the results of their hard work. Interestingly, at this point others flock to celebrate the birth of the vision, like they do in a maternity ward. Leaders may wonder where they were during all the hard work. However, good leaders understand it’s time to celebrate and prepare to parent the new vision.

Think it Over…

1. Have you been on a team when you experienced these stages? What happened?

2. What have you learned about the power of a vision inside of people?

What Voice Inspires Your Vision?

1.  The Inner Voice:  Does your vision come from life goals, mission statements or from your personal passion? The best ones do originate from within, or if not, at some point touch the heart of a leader. You will not accomplish something that you do not believe in.

2.The Unhappy Voice:  Does your vision come from spotting a certain injustice or problem? Do you get irritated at present inefficiencies or wrongs? Do you notice problems and find yourself ting to solve them? Challenge yourself to light a candle rather than curse the darkness.

3.The Successful Voice: Do you find your vision from people who have already gone through the same situation?  Many visions are adopted or adapted by new leaders. Find someone who can be a mentor figure in your life. Explore the ideas of others and learn from them. Some idea may just match your situation.

4.The Higher Voice:  A truly valuable vision is about something larger than merely increasing the profits of a company. It is noble and benefits others. It feels divine, like a gift from God.  Look at the past to guide your present and future. Are you a big picture person or do you live life looking through a knothole?

Questions for Reflection

1. What are your current compelling ideas that could become a vision for the team?

2. Do your core team members agree on what top problems need to be solved?

3. What are some common dreams you and your core team members possess?

4. What are the next steps you should take?

Read more from Tim here.
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Tim Elmore

Tim Elmore

Tim Elmore is the founder and president of Growing Leaders. His latest book Habitudes for the Journey is designed to master the art of navigating life’s critical transitions.

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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.

3 Kinds of Weak Vision That Entice Church Leaders

Warning: This post will challenge some of your assumptions about vision in the church.

Across the North American church landscape this year, many pastors will articulate a vision and compel people toward a preferred future that is weak. It’s very nature will be lacking in biblically rugged, God-saturated, deeply compelling content. Note that I said the vision will be weak; not bad and not wrong. What do I mean by this comment? The three kinds of weak vision I want to clarify are lacking potency because they are more of a means to an end that we often realize. Therefore they are missing the end-game, the bigger deal, the ultimate move. “Means” is not the meat of vision casting. For example, if General Electric wants to “Bring Good Things to Life,” they don’t show you the blueprint of the dishwasher.

Now a pastor may quickly assent to the fact that that the three kinds of vision are indeed means to a greater end. But afterwards he will practically and experientially guide his people with a lower aim. I have seen it hundreds of times. So what are the three kinds of weak vision?

  • A building is a weak vision. We intuitively get this. We know the building is a “tool” to accomplish the “bigger mission.” Yet, in the daily grind of raising money in our capital campaigns, its easy to appeal only to the consumeristic impulse of the congregation. A building is a means to something.
  • Going multisite is a weak vision. The move to multisite is the most relevant kind of weak vision today. The number of multisite churches is accelerating, and the average size of a multisite church is decreasing. It is safe to say that multisite is the new normal. And for good reasons. But ask a pastor about the vision driving the multisite, and you might be surprised how little they have to say. Multisite is a means to something.
  • More people in worship is a weak vision. The third one is connected to the first two. Indeed you may think it is the substance of the first two. We are building a building to what end? More people of course! We are going multi-site to what end? More people of course. Now don’t get me wrong. I think every church should be reaching more people and multiplying disciples. And more people, more building and more campuses are all important features of the vision. But by themselves they are weak. More people is a means to something.

Allow me to illustrate  a strong vision with my home church, Clear Creek Community Church in Houston. Our vision is what I call a “gospel saturation” vision. We have adopted a 500,000 population area that we refer to as the “4B” area. (From the beltway to the beach; from Brazoria county to the bay.) One of two people in this area are “nones;” that is they have no faith affiliation whatsoever. In the next 15 years, our vision is for each of the these 500,000 people to be one degree away, relationally speaking, from an invitation into a gospel-centered, missional community. With this summarized substance of the vision, we can now see how buildings, multisite campuses and more people are means to a full picture, high-definition vision.  We see the need for ten campuses and know that three campuses will anchor the ten with more significant buildings. But those pieces aren’t the purpose themselves. Why is it critical important to show buildings, multi-site and more people as means and not ends?

  • First, focusing on means unintentionally amplifies the self-promoting motives of church leadership. An ends-based vision, in contrast, connects the idea of “bigger” to the broader redemptive motives of God.
  • Second, highlighting the means only incurs emotional connection indirectly through the personal contact to and relationship with a church leader. In other words, I don’t get excited about a mean-based vision unless I am friends with he pastor who is casting it. Ends-based vision, on the other hand, accelerates emotional connection directly with the picture of the future, not the person talking about it.
  • Third, means-based vision is ultimately a church-centric idea. Therefore people let the “pastor and staff” be the owners of it. Ends-based vision, however, distributes the accomplishment of the vision to each one, every day in the congregation. The real vision must be a life-centric idea, not a church-centric one.

I know all this talk of “means” and “ends” sounds a little nerdy. (The engineer in me!) But I hope it connects you back to the simple leadership model of Jesus.

Want to read more about strong vision: Check out “The Church List for the Rest of Us.” It’s called the Unique 19 and it is 19 amazing stories of vision that are not based on church size.

Read more from Will here.

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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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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
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— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Opportunity Creep: It May be Your Biggest Ministry Challenge

The term “scope creep” is a term consultants use when their clients expect more than what the project originally outlined. The idea is that the scope of the project is slowing getting bigger, usually in imperceptible increments. Of course, no consultant wants scope creep to happen, but in an effort to please the client, its hard to prevent sometimes.

The same dynamic is ever present in ministry. It’s called “opportunity creep.”

What is “opportunity creep?” Its roughly the same idea, just applied to all of the positive ministry opportunities a pastor may face in the days and weeks of church life. By calling it “creep” we are acknowledging that it’s all too easy to say yes too much. By positioning this as a problem, we are highlighting that a lack of “opportunity management” can distract and dilute our ministry efforts.

Think about how many kinds of opportunities cross a pastor’s path:

  • We serve a congregation that’s a bottomless well of  members’ needs.
  • We are captured by the buzz of new ideas, new people, and new initiatives happening in church space.
  • We live in  communities riddled with issues that we would love to “missionally” engage.
  • We are digitally connect to an ocean of information and “friends.”

The bottom line: church leadership is rich soil for opportunity creep.

I will address opportunity creep with two follow-up posts:

1) The Five Primary Sources of Distraction in Ministry- this is about spotting the creep.

2) Applying Five Filters to Ministry Decision Making– this is about beating the creep.

Read more from Will here.

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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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Clarity Process

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The Power of Clarity in Your Church’s Vision

Tears were streaming down his face as he silently wept:

“I can see it so clearly… I just haven’t had the ability to put it into words… which makes people think I don’t know where we are going.”

Clarity is powerful.

One of my most favorite things to do through my work with Church Simple is to help church leaders clearly communicate what it is that they are called to… and then helping them do it.  In this case, the process was incredibly moving.

I am becoming convinced that the church in this country is not lacking of vision… it is the rare church leader that does not have a vision for where God is taking them.  What I think is missing in many churches is a sense of clarity when it comes to that vision: a way to express it clearly, concisely, and with authority.

Vision statements can be incredibly powerful tools to rally your congregation around your calling… or they can be incredibly obtuse statements that make people yawn in powerful new ways.  The difference is how you approach crafting your vision statement, and whether you are making a statement, or calling to action.  I fully believe that we have been called to action by the great commission and great commandment… and should be calling our people to action as well.  With this in mind, here are four qualities of a great vision statement:

  • Vivid.  Paint a picture.  Be clear about where you are going and what it will look like.  If your people do not fully understand what your vision statement is calling them to, you will never achieve it.
  • Inspiring.  I am sick of boring vision statements.  If you want me to fully invest myself in the vision and mission of your church you need to call me to something bigger than myself, something worthy of the time, talents, and treasure that I will be sacrificing in order to make it happen.  Don’t tell me what we are, tell me where we are going… and make it a big deal.
  • Memorable.  The school that I worked with in Baltimore had a vision statement that took up a full sheet of paper (actually they had two, posted on opposite walls… but that is a bigger problem for another time).  If you were to ask teachers, administrators, or anyone involved in the school to recite, or paraphrase, either of those statements you would have gotten a blank stare.  Your vision statement needs to be clear and concise in order for it to be memorable.  Vision statements that aren’t memorable are worse than having no vision statement at all.
  • Preachable.  If you can not point back to your church’s vision statement during your sermon on a regular basis it is useless.  The power of a vision statement is its ability to clearly define who you are as a church and where you are going.  If you are not referring back to it regularly, it may be time to ask yourself whether you, and your vision, are headed in the same direction.

What makes YOUR church’s vision statement great?

If you are looking for more thoughts on church vision, you need to check out what Will Mancini is up to, or buy his book.  Either way, this is too important to not do well.

Read more from Matt here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Steen

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
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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

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The Pope Resigns and Strategic Quitting

For the first time in 600 years, a Pope resigned.

On February 11, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI issued a letter of resignation stating, “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.” Click here for the full transcript of his resignation letter.

If the Pope can quit so can you. I am probably not talking about your job; I am definitely talking about ministry programs that aren’t bearing fruit.

Maybe they were fruitful once. Maybe they were fruitful for the guy down the street but never took off in your context. Or, maybe the fruit is dwarfed by the cost. Whatever your reasons for not quitting, let the Pope’s decision inspire you to consider the hidden upside of quitting.

Let’e be honest, nobody likes a quitter and pastors are loath to stop anything that was once done in the name of God. But let’s also keep it real: Jesus gave us a commission to go into all the nations and make disciples. If one of our ministries are using the time, talents, and treasures entrusted to us by God, but not bearing fruit, how will we explain ourselves when we stand before God?

To be clear, I am not advocating reckless abandonment: I am talking about strategic quitting. I propose you consider two economic principals involved in strategic quitting.

1. Sunk costs are the costs that you’ve already put into a project that make it hard to quit. These costs can be complex and dynamic in a ministry setting, but the reality behind sunk costs is that they are, well, sunk–the’re already spent. If the fruit isn’t there, we should consider moving on rather than repeating fruitless activity that continues to burn up more resources that could otherwise be redirected.

2. Opportunity cost counts the cost of an opportunity taken in terms of the value the related opportunity missed. In other words, for every dollar or moment you spend doing one thing, that dollar and moment could have been spent on something else. The value of that something else is the opportunity cost.

Strategic quitting is a part of visionary leadership. The Pope’s decision to resign leads the church forward. He had the maturity to trust his successors and freely yield the reigns of his power. Ultimately, he had the vision to see that a younger and more vital Bishop could be a better fit for the office and that by resigning he could break the calcification of tradition for the sake of his  church and all the Bishops of Rome who will follow him.

Jesus commissions us to makes disciples. Measuring only the success of our strategies (in numbers and dollars) or the busyness of our activities isn’t sufficient. We need to measure the fruitfulness of our ministry and be willing to strategically quit.

What and how can you strategically quit to lead upward? 

FYI…for a five minute podcast on sunk costs and opportunity costs from Marketplace click here.

Read more from Mike here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Gammill

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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.