Seeking Solutions Through Celebrating Success

Does your church dream more about where it has been than where God is leading it?

Have you ever looked around to realize that your church might be living today by focusing on yesterday?

Many churches long for the past, dreaming about the “good old days.” When faced with questions that are not easily answered, or walking through times of trial and doubt, churches, like people, often want things to be the way they used to be.

The problem is, the past has gone. While we may look back and respect it, and maybe even at times revere it, we cannot live in the past, especially when circumstances demand answers for the future.

Solution – Seek solutions through celebrating success.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Missional Renaissance, by Reggie McNeal

In Missional Renaissance, Reggie McNeal shows three significant shifts in thinking and behavior that churches need to make in order to allow leaders to chart a missional course forward. These shifts are:

  • from an internal to an external focus, ending the church as exclusive social club model;
  • from running programs and ministries to developing people as its core activity; and
  • from professional leadership to leadership that is shared by everyone in the community.

With in-depth discussions of the “what” and the “how” of transitioning to being a missional church, readers will be equipped to move into what McNeal sees as the most viable future for Christianity.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

As a leader, do you find more passion in learning about the past – events, activities, and people? Or, do you find passion in looking forward into the future, and wondering what events and activities of tomorrow and beyond are going to be brought about by what kind of people?

As in many leadership questions, there is no right or wrong answer, and elements of both passions described above are helpful to any leader. However, in terms of the life of the church, there is a subtle danger in a focus on past heroes and the times when they lived, the actions they led, and the events they are fondly remembered for.

While keeping a firm grip on the importance and foundations of the past, leaders must reach forward and lead their churches to what the people of God must do.

Typical church leadership spends a lot of time keeping the past alive. Missional movement leaders appreciate the past, but mine the past for lessons on how to forge ahead.

When we come together for our gatherings, if all our heroes are the ones who have gone before us and all our God stories are about yesteryear, we’re in trouble.

The traditional church celebrates the history of the saints, but missional movements yearn for journalists who can tell us what God is up to today.

The model for this kind of leadership is found in the role of apostles and prophets in the New Testament. They witnessed and passed along God news that was good news. The journalists tied their stories to the work of God before, but they allowed the new developments to shape their understanding of God’s work in the world.

Journalists take us to places they’ve already visited. They uncover stories beneath the stories and inform us of what’s going on. They shape our perceptions by what they have seen, experienced, and uncovered. They move us from where we are into a new reality.

Our discovery of what He is up to becomes the faith story that is prologue to our future.

– Reggie McNeal, Missional Renaissance

A NEXT STEP

At your next leadership team meeting, spend 10 minutes of discussion, asking your team members to call to mind current individuals and events that your church holds in high regard. Write the names and events on a chart tablet. Beside each, write a phrase or sentence describing the importance of the individual or event.

Now, spend 45 minutes asking your team in broad and generic terms to list the qualities revealed through the character of these individuals or results of these events that will propel your church into the greatest ministry period of its existence. Along with each item, list one to two immediate actions that it will take to make the list become a reality.

As a team, choose the most pressing individual description or event listed, designate a team leader, and prayerfully commission that leader to create the future.

In another leadership team meeting, review the following questions to help equip your team members as “journalists” who will uncover the real talk of conversations going on in the hallways and parking lots of your church.

  1. What do you enjoy doing? Helps people see how God might use them in their everyday lives.
  2. Where do you see God at work right now? Helps people see God in their family, their community, the office – wherever.
  3. What would you like to see God doing in your life over the next six to 12 months? How can we help? Helps communicate the importance of the individual now, not in the past.
  4. How would you like to serve other people? How can we help? Helps focus on serving others, emphasizing outside the church.
  5. How can we pray for you? Helps demonstrate personal care and concern.

Ask your team members to use the five questions above in conversations with at least seven key volunteer leaders they work with in the next month. After a month of conversations, dedicate one hour of a team meeting to share the highlights of the conversations.

Consider asking key volunteer leaders to duplicate the conversations with at least five team members they work with. After they have had a chance to have these conversations, debrief the leaders and note key phrases that are repeated. Bring these to the next team meeting to add to the conversations already started.

Designate an individual to maintain this five-question process in a digital document that can be continually updated and accessed by team leaders. From time to time, reference this document in team discussions to ensure that the voices of the present are being heard – and acted on.

 


Not all history is bad, and not all future opportunities will be good. It takes discerning leaders to impartially and prayerfully evaluate “the way things used to be” in order to lead toward the future that God is calling you to create.

If your church is going to remain a vital outpost of Great Commission Transformation in your community, seek solutions by celebrating success.

Taken from SUMS Remix 22-2, published September 2015


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 <<

Download PDF

Tags: , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

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.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

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.

Lead Your Church to Community Activity Not Congregational Attendance

Below is a new 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). 


Solution #3: Call the church to partner in missional, community activity not simply congregational, service attendance.

THE QUICK SUMMARY- Kingdom Come, by Reggie McNeal

There’s a reason Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come . . .” and not “Thy church come.”

The church clearly plays an important role in God’s plans. It was established by Christ, and He is its Head. But have we put too much emphasis on the church? Have we confused a means of participating in God’s Kingdom with the Kingdom itself?

In Kingdom Come, church ministry consultant Reggie McNeal reveals why it’s crucial to realign the church’s mission with God’s ultimate Kingdom agenda. You’ll discover how you can get in on―and help lead―the Kingdom movement currently underway.

Join the mission to help the Kingdom break into our hearts…and break out into the world.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

While God’s mission in the world has not changed, in many churches today the idea of serving God has morphed into “becoming a good church member.” People are considered disciples based on their faithful support and participation in church activities, not necessarily on whether they are growing toward or reflecting the heart of Jesus for others and the world.

How do you remind people in your particular church culture that they are sent from God as missionaries everywhere, and every day? What words do you use to enlarge their imagination and ignite their heart for a redemptive mission focus?

Jesus did not establish the church to start a new religion called Christianity. He established the church as an expression of the Kingdom for the people of God as they partner with Him in His redemptive mission in the world.

Three critical shifts are necessary in order to synchronize the church’s story with the Kingdom.

We must recognize that God established the church to point to the Kingdom, not the other way around. We shouldn’t be trying to promote the church; we should be trying to raise awareness of the Kingdom. A Kingdom-focused approach would involve lots of listening and local input and would be conducted from a posture of quiet service rather than trying to send a “we’re here to bless you” message, which can seem self-serving.

A Kingdom-focused church operates from a conviction that God is already at work in the city. It would raise awareness that God wants the city to prosper and that, as God’s people, we want to help. God would be the star of the show, and His will that the Kingdom come on earth would be the main message.

We must acknowledge that the Kingdom, not the church, is the destination. The church is not the destination, and it’s not the point of the journey. It’s the life of the Kingdom that we’re trying to get to. That’s what people are after.

We need churches that are dedicated to the objective of helping people grow up in the faith, so they can live on mission in the world, to see their lives as a mission trip. If we rightly understand that the Kingdom is the destination, we will figure out ways to celebrate spiritual progress on the journey that leads people to full deployment as Kingdom agents.

We must realize that the Kingdom saga focuses primarily on the welfare of the community, not on the church. A Kingdom perspective means that the cues for authentic church celebration comes from the quality of life that people experience in the world, beyond the church.

Much of the time and energy and money we have put into developing our incredible church campuses and program offerings should have gone into improving our communities. I’m suggesting that we recalibrate our efforts and resources to reinvest in the welfare of our towns, cities, and neighborhoods.

– Reggie McNeal, Kingdom Come

A NEXT STEP

Schedule time with your team to prayerfully consider the degree of church-focus and Kingdom-focus each ministry or program of your church might have. It is recommended that you break this important discussion down into a series of three 75-minute action-oriented discussion sessions over three weeks.

Session 1 – Actions to help recognize that God established the church to point to the Kingdom, not the other way around

Church leaders whose priority is to build the church are not functioning in proper alignment with the mission of God. At the first of this series of team meetings, list your church’s major activities on the left side of a chart tablet. At the top of the chart, create two columns, entitling them “Church-Focused” and “Kingdom-Focused.” As a team, read down the list and agree on which column the activity falls under, placing an X in that column.

After completing the entire list, spend time brainstorming specific actions that would help move the activity from the church-focused column to the Kingdom-focused column. If an activity cannot be moved into the Kingdom-focused column, discuss the future of that activity.

Following this session, assign an individual to lead a team to further develop the concepts and actions needed to move the activity into the Kingdom-focused column. Make sure each team reports regularly to the senior leadership team.

Session 2 – Actions to help acknowledge that the Kingdom, not the church, is the destination

Is it time for you to get outside more?

At your second team meeting in this series, brainstorm as a team ways each member can get beyond the four walls of your church. By connecting with and becoming involved with community events such as participating in a health club or coaching a sports team, you will be amazed at your discoveries.

Set aside culturally driven leadership impulses for a quick-fix solution, and take the long view of health. After a six-month season of team involvement in these types of activities, have each member bring their observations back to the team for discussion and action. The focus is on how you can rethink and redesign your current church ministry programs to reflect a Kingdom bias.

As you begin to develop ideas for potential implementation, assign a team member to lead each activity and report back to the team on its progress.

Session 3 – Actions to help realize that the Kingdom saga focuses primarily on the welfare of the community, not on the church

A Kingdom-centered narrative focuses on how to be the church in the world. Issues for Kingdom-leaders are fundamentally different from those leading the institutional church.

In order to help your team change the focus to the community, you will need collaborators to provide support, generate new ideas, and serve as a catalyst to help your church move forward.

At your final team meeting in this series, discuss ways to discover and invite other people who “get” the Kingdom focus. Begin the discussion by brainstorming what types of Kingdom agenda items resonate with community groups.

Start new conversations with community leaders who are connected with these types of activities. Invite them to speak to your team about the possibilities of working together.

As a team, agree on specific courses of action that will help your focus shift to the community and not your church. Be sure that every action has an identified leader and timeframe for moving forward.

Vibrant churches look after the interests of others – starting with their neighbors across the street and around the block. They are involved in community concerns by supporting, if not actually leading, initiatives.

Thriving churches have open doors – open to each and every segment of their community.

To learn more about being involved in your community, start a conversation with the Auxano team today.

Taken from SUMS Remix 21-3, published August 2015


>> Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<

Download PDF

Tags: , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

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.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

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.

The Success Factor – Leverage Today’s Wins to Solve Tomorrow’s Problems

Below is a new 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 editions per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

You can purchase a subscription to SUMS Remix here >>>

Our church dreams more about where we have been than where God is leading us.

Have you ever looked around to realize that your church might be living today by focusing on yesterday?

Many churches long for the past, dreaming about the “good old days.” When faced with questions that are not easily answered, or walking through times of trial and doubt, churches, like people, often want things to be the way they used to be.

The problem is, the past has gone. While we may look back and respect it, and maybe even at times revere it, we cannot live in the past, especially when circumstances demand answers for the future.

If you are interested in learning how to lead your church away from the past in order to focus on what God has ahead, consider this solution:

Solution #2: Cultivate solutions by celebrating current successes.

THE QUICK SUMMARY

In Missional Renaissance, Reggie McNeal shows three significant shifts in thinking and behavior that churches need to make in order to allow leaders to chart a missional course forward. These shifts are:

  • from an internal to an external focus, ending the church as exclusive social club model;
  • from running programs and ministries to developing people as its core activity; and
  • from professional leadership to leadership that is shared by everyone in the community.

With in-depth discussions of the “what” and the “how” of transitioning to being a missional church, readers will be equipped to move into what McNeal sees as the most viable future for Christianity. 

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

As a leader, do you find more passion in learning about the past – events, activities, and people? Or, do you find passion in looking forward into the future, and wondering what events and activities of tomorrow and beyond are going to be brought about by what kind of people?

As in many leadership questions, there is no right or wrong answer, and elements of both passions described above are helpful to any leader. However, in terms of the life of the church, there is a subtle danger in a focus on past heroes and the times when they lived, the actions they led, and the events they are fondly remembered for.

While keeping a firm grip on the importance and foundations of the past, leaders must reach forward and lead their churches to what the people of God must do.

Typical church leadership spends a lot of time keeping the past alive. Missional movement leaders appreciate the past, but mine the past for lessons on how to forge ahead.

When we come together for our gatherings, if all our heroes are the ones who have gone before us and all our God stories are about yesteryear, we’re in trouble.

The traditional church celebrates the history of the saints, but missional movements yearn for journalists who can tell us what God is up to today.

The model for this kind of leadership is found in the role of apostles and prophets in the New Testament. They witnessed and passed along God news that was good news. The journalists tied their stories to the work of God before, but they allowed the new developments to shape their understanding of God’s work in the world.

Journalists take us to places they’ve already visited. They uncover stories beneath the stories and inform us of what’s going on. They shape our perceptions by what they have seen, experienced, and uncovered. They move us from where we are into a new reality.

Our discovery of what He is up to becomes the faith story that is prologue to our future.

– Reggie McNeal, Missional Renaissance

A NEXT STEP

At your next leadership team meeting, spend 10 minutes of discussion, asking your team members to call to mind current individuals and events that your church holds in high regard. Write the names and events on a chart tablet. Beside each, write a phrase or sentence describing the importance of the individual or event.

Now, spend 45 minutes asking your team in broad and generic terms to list the qualities revealed through the character of these individuals or results of these events that will propel your church into the greatest ministry period of its existence. Along with each item, list one to two immediate actions that it will take to make the list become a reality.

As a team, choose the most pressing individual description or event listed, designate a team leader, and prayerfully commission that leader to create the future.

In another leadership team meeting, review the following questions to help equip your team members as “journalists” who will uncover the real talk of conversations going on in the hallways and parking lots of your church.

  1. What do you enjoy doing? Helps people see how God might use them in their everyday lives.
  2. Where do you see God at work right now? Helps people see God in their family, their community, the office – wherever.
  3. What would you like to see God doing in your life over the next six to 12 months? How can we help? Helps communicate the importance of the individual now, not in the past.
  4. How would you like to serve other people? How can we help? Helps focus on serving others, emphasizing outside the church.
  5. How can we pray for you? Helps demonstrate personal care and concern.

Ask your team members to use the five questions above in conversations with at least seven key volunteer leaders they work with in the next month. After a month of conversations, dedicate one hour of a team meeting to share the highlights of the conversations.

Consider asking key volunteer leaders to duplicate the conversations with at least five team members they work with. After they have had a chance to have these conversations, debrief the leaders and note key phrases that are repeated. Bring these to the next team meeting to add to the conversations already started.

Designate an individual to maintain this five question process in a digital document that can be continually updated and accessed by team leaders. From time to time, reference this document in team discussions to ensure that the voices of the present are being heard – and acted on.

 


Taken from SUMS Remix 22-2, published September 2015.

>>> You can purchase a subscription to SUMS Remix here >>>

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

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.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

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.

10 Ways We Get in the Way of God Building His Church

Scriptures clearly remind us that God is building his church. But the reality of church can seem so contradictory to this truth. Reggie McNeal once wrote, “We have the best churches men can build, but we are still waiting for the church that only God can get the credit for.”  When things don’t go well at church, is it possible that we are getting in God’s way?

The quote from Reggie  has been retweeted quite often. It got me thinking about theses question:

  • How am I unintentionally trying to build a church without God?
  • How I do become an obstacle to the Spirit’s work, without realizing it?
  • I am making ministry harder than it should be?

As I reflected on the possible answers I become all too aware of my own failures and mistakes along the way. While tempted to do a short paragraph on each point,  I believe the single statements alone say enough!

10 Ways We Get in Way of God Building His Church:

  • Way #1: We rely on human wisdom, not God’s, by copying what we see in other churches. 
  • Way #2: We misdirect our energies by confusing the ends and means of ministry.
  • Way #3: We use our ministry platform to display our gifts more than to develop the gifts of others.
  • Way #4: We avoid transparency thus making ourselves more than we really are. 
  • Way #5: We decide to stop growing thereby limiting  the growth of others around us. 
  • Way #6: We settle for ministry assignments that are disconnected from the entire rescue mission of redemptive history. 
  • Way #7: We choose denial instead of facing the answers to difficult questions.
  • Way #8: We use our influence to stay in a ministry position longer than we should.
  • Way #9:  We loose our love for people but pretend we don’t.
  • Way #10: We take ourselves too seriously by not resting in weekly sabbath. 

Dear Father,
Please rescue us from ourselves. Forgive us when we unintentionally get in the way. We acknowledge that we can operate out of pride and self-strength as easily as we can be tempted by comfort and inaction. Thank your for the privilege of participation in your church-building, kingdom-expanding work on earth. We want to see you get all of the credit and work more than we could possibly dream!

> Read more from Will.

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
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.

How’s Your Church’s New Scorecard Working Out?

You must be an active subscriber to view this premium content. Subscribe or Login.

Download PDF

Tags: , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lois Swaggerty

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

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.

Fast Forwarding Your Church’s Engagement in the Community

You must be an active subscriber to view this premium content. Subscribe or Login.

Download PDF

Tags: , , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Environments >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Warren Bird

Warren Bird

Warren Bird, Ph.D., research director at Leadership Network, is a former pastor and seminary professor, and is author or co-author of 24 books for ministry leaders, the most recent one with Jim Tomberlin: Better Together: Making Church Mergers Work. Some of Warren’s recent online reports include “The Heartbeat of Rising Influence Churches,” “Pastors Who Are Shaping the Future” and “A New Decade of Megachurches.” Follow him on Twitter @warrenbird.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

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.