One Secret Shared by Every Exceptional Team

Does your team have a vague or undefined strategy, and therefore your leaders are inventing their own?

Auxano Founder Will Mancini believes that over 90% of churches in North America are not functioning with strategic clarity. Many churches have some kind of expression for mission and values, but not for strategy. The absence of strategy, as Mancini defines it, is the number one cause of ineffectiveness in a healthy church.

This map, or strategy picture, is like a container that holds all church activities in one meaningful whole. Without this orientation, individuals within the organization will forget how each major component or ministry activity fits to advance the mission.

When you don’t have a strategy, or your strategy isn’t clear, a threefold problem can occur:

  • too many ministry or program options and no prioritization;
  • ministry options that have no relationship with one another;
  • ministries themselves have no connection to the mission.

Having a clear map – one that shows how you will get things done – is a strong indicator that the effectiveness of your mission will go through the roof. Strategic clarity can birth a quantum leap in your ministry.

Solution – Share a singular focus instead of focusing on general success 

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Teams That Thrive by Ryan Hartwig and Warren Bird

It’s increasingly clear that leadership should be shared―for the good of any organization and for the good of the leader. Many churches have begun to share key leadership duties, but don’t know how to take their leadership team to the point where it thrives. Others seriously need a new approach to leadership: pastors are tired, congregations are stuck, and meanwhile the work never lets up.

But what does it actually mean to do leadership well as a team? How can it be done in a way that avoids frustration and burnout? How does team leadership best equip the staff and bless a congregation? What do the top church teams do to actually thrive together?

Researchers and practitioners Ryan Hartwig and Warren Bird have discovered churches of various sizes and traditions throughout the United States who have learned to thrive under healthy team leadership. Using actual church examples, they present their discoveries here, culminating in five disciplines that, if implemented, can enable your team to thrive. The result? A coaching tool for senior leadership teams that enables struggling teams to thrive, and resources teams doing well to do their work even better.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

The reason why your organization exists must be absolutely clear, as everything else hinges on this purpose. Auxano Founder and Team Leader Will Mancini, writing in Church Unique, identifies “5Cs” as the measure of success. Your church’s purpose must be clear, concise, compelling, catalytic, and contextual.

  • Clear is measured by the Junior High Rule: Is our language clear enough that a 12-year old boy who has not been to church would understand it.
  • Concise is measured by the One Breath Rule: Can any part of the purpose be stated in one breath?
  • Compelling is measured by the Resonance Rule: When the purpose is sated, does this make people want to say it again?
  • Catalytic is measured by the Actionability Rule: Does your language inherently remind the listener to act rather than define success as what the ministerial staff does?
  • Contextual is measured by the Bouquet Rule: Do the words communicate biblical truth for the listener’s time and place?

Without a 5C purpose, a team will never reach its potential or be able to set meaningful performance goals, which transform the broad purpose into specific and measurable performance challenges, focus the team on pursuing results, facilitate decision making and constructive conflict, and drive the development of an approach to get the work done.

A 5C purpose offers extensive benefits for your team, as the following points illustrate. A 5C purpose:

  1. Narrows your team’s scope. A 5C purpose allows teams to accomplish key elements of their work outside of team meetings, such as meeting with staff or volunteers, building teams, executing strategies, and the like.

  2. Creates space for staff or volunteers to contribute at a higher level. A 5C purpose allows team members to make an important contribution to the church’s mission.

  3. Compels people to contribute their best to the team. In teams marked with a strong 5C purpose, meetings are crucial because they provide a venue for argument, conflict, and meaningful discussion.

  4. Inspires and energizes the team. When a team is committed to a 5C purpose, the purpose itself provides motivation and energy to the team.

  5. Distinguishes the leadership team’s unique contribution at the church. A 5C purpose, when shared with others, articulates the value to the church of the leadership team, establishing the team as an important part of the church’s governance and leadership structure.

  6. Cultivates trust and relationships among team members. A team gels as it gets to work in pursuing a 5C purpose.

Ryan Hartwig and Warren Bird, Teams That Thrive

A NEXT STEP

As an organization’s purpose is understood and communicated through the 5Cs, amazing energy is released. People understand the purpose because it is broken down into meaningful bite-sized chunks. Credibility is enhanced by virtue of the fact that it is comprehensive without being overwhelming. Ownership is increased because it is portable; people can remember it, use it, and share it.

Reflect on your church’s current mission statement in terms of the 5Cs listed above by completing the following exercise.

Distribute the current mission statement of your church. List the 5Cs (clear, concise, compelling, catalytic, contextual) on a flip chart table so they will be visible to the entire team. Assess our current language against each of the 5Cs on a scale of 1-5 where 1 is weak, 3 is moderate, and 5 is strong.

Run down the list and discuss as a team, recording the votes by each of the 5Cs. Build consensus in the room for one of two options:

  • Tweak existing language
  • Create a fresh statement

If the team senses a need to create a new statement of Mission, take a look at Chapter 12 of Church Unique by Will Mancini, describing the missional Mandate. If a strategic outsider is needed to advance this next step, start a conversation with an Auxano Navigator to learn more.

 


 

Taken from SUMS Remix 38-3, published April, 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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Lean Staffing – How to Handle Your Church Staff with <35% of Your Budget

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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.

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Fast Forwarding Your Church’s Engagement in the Community

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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.

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Senior Pastors Roles Change as Churches Grow

Twenty-two years ago, when Tim Harlow became the senior pastor of Tinley Park Church of Christ, the following newspaper ad was considered the cutting edge of church marketing.

Senior pastors who have been at the same church for any length of time can most likely complete this exercise: Think back through some of the stages of your congregation’s development, and take note of how your role as a senior leader had to shift during those various stages.

For Parkview Christian ChurchOrland Park, IL, and Senior Pastor Tim Harlow, this time travel challenge takes him back through 22 years with the congregation—a time span in which he:

– Broke through growth barriers as an aggressive young pastor in an established and plateaued church—“I made a lot of people mad,” he says.

– Created a new vision and developed structure to make it happen—“It was about rallying the troops around the idea of what God could do instead of what God had done.”

– Pushed through a downturn and a period of burnout—“Much of my leadership through these times comes from a God-given stubborn, sometimes clueless, leadership gift.”

– Started to think about the next generation and who would take the leadership baton—“Where do I go next? My wife and I have recently become empty nesters,” Tim says.

Do any of those phases sound familiar? You might have different labels for the development stages of your church; but there’s a strong chance your role has also shifted along the way to adapt to your congregation’s leadership needs—and it’s probably still changing.

Tim’s certainly did.

Breaking Through Barriers

For Tim, it’s always been about removing barriers for lost people to have a chance to find their way home—even after nearly three decades in the same place with barriers that cropped up during his watch. “Do we really think that there is anything difficult about connecting people with their loving heavenly Father? It’s the easiest job in the world,” Tim says. “It becomes difficult only when those on the inside forget about what it’s like on the outside.”

In the early days of taking over a congregation founded 40 years prior to his arrival, that commitment to connect with outsiders meant “being stubborn and continually fighting against the ‘we’ve-always-done-it-that-way’ mindset and the fence that has been keeping people out,” Tim says.

The good thing for Tim at this stage was he “didn’t have a problem being aggressive,” as he voices it, when it came to setting direction for the church. That was also his downfall at times. “The unfortunate part was the lack of wisdom and the inability to choose the right battles,” he says.

But there were—and still are—battles worth waging. “Every existing church comes with deeply entrenched barriers that current members don’t even realize exist,” Tim says. “Once we become a part of the inner workings of any organization we stop seeing what it looks like from the outside, and we have to keep breaking through those barriers.

 

Creating New Vision—and Building For It

Once he laid a foundation, Tim felt it necessary to sound a new rallying cry that included relocation, staff changes and fundraising.

“I grew through this stage by engulfing myself with the people, education, and inspiration that would help me cast an accurate and articulate vision,” Tim says. “If I hadn’t known what I was talking about by this stage and didn’t have some level of credibility, no one would have listened.”

This stage was at least five years in the making, and moved Tim to figure out what he was best at, and what he needed to pass on to others because they were better at it. “I had no aptitude for organization; I’m the leader not the manager,” says Tim, who guided the church to change its name, among other changes. “My growth in this stage was about recognizing my limitations and surrounding myself with people who could help me.”

Downturn and Burnout

Parkview was seven years into its turnaround when a tipping point came. Relocation was on the table, but the church’s bylaws required a congregation-wide vote to move forward. The congregation voted 56-44 in favor of the move.

“It’s all we needed to get it done,” says Tim, who in more recent years has seen Parkview become one of the fastest-growing churches in the nation. “But it was taking a big chance to move forward with only half the congregation’s support.”

Then came the inevitable. As Parkview moved into its new facility with four weekend services, Tim was completing doctoral studies and his three daughters needed more time from him. Trying to juggle all these concerns, he hit the wall. “It was a very perfect storm,” Tim says. “And it was a great thing, because it forced the church and mostly forced me to realize that I had to concentrate on the things that only I could do.”

Next Up, Next On Deck

Which brings Tim—and maybe you, too—to the point of considering who will take the church on the next leg of its development after his ministry race is finished?

The church isn’t pursuing a formal succession plan yet. “I think it’s too early, and I’m planning on being here 15 more years or maybe more. I’ve seen too much frustration with long-term succession plans,” he says. But the next generation of leaders, and what Tim will leave them with, is very much on his mind.

“I believe that a large part of my ministry now at this stage of my life is about training the next generation of leaders—whether that’s here or elsewhere,” says Tim, who turned 50 in 2011. “I have to be about 2 Timothy 2:2.”

That emphasis on training others also includes plans to expand Parkview’s auditorium. “I don’t wonder what I’ll do as my next step at Parkview. But in light of the economy and current trends in Christendom, I wonder about raising $14 million in the next few years,” Tim says. “Does my kids’ generation need a larger auditorium? It’s an anxiety of not knowing what’s going to happen next in our culture.”

The Constants

Even through all the stages of personal and corporate growth and change, Tim recognizes some mainstays: a heart for “lost sheep” and solid preaching.

But he would change one thing: using that platform to grind an axe at times. “I sometimes ran people off through my preaching—on purpose,” Tim says. “They needed to leave, but I could have been more graceful. Using the pulpit to say things is the same as sending an email. It’s better to have a discussion with someone individually and in person. There is a difference between casting vision and playing politics.”

“The most important thing I’ve done well is preach,” Tim says. “People will put up with a lot of things if they are getting fed. You can be the greatest church leader in the world, but if the preaching is not a priority, it’s not going to work. I am far from original, but I always spend plenty of time preparing and preaching the Word.”

Read more from Warren here.

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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.

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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.