Unsame Your Ministry Vision, Part 1

Are you going to be satisfied with a future for ministry that is more of the same?

Very few pastors break from norm of mediocre church ministry. But I am convinced it doesn’t have to be that way.

Last fall I was honored to participate in Leadership Network’s roll-out of their Leadia Experience. My conribution was FLUX: Four Paths to the Future. FLUX provides a guide for thinking, adapting, and innovating in order to discover new possibilities for your church. It starts with one whiteboard drawing and gives you a matrix for assessing and planning your future.

I encourage you to engage with the full experience. But for now, I challenge you to rethink and reimagine your ministry with this post mini-series  from FLUX.

Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination, do not become the slave of your model – Vincent Van Gogh

Every once in while, I find a new feature on my Mac or iPhone, because I discover a default switch or button that I didn’t know existed. In fact there is a specific definition for this:

Default: a selection automatically used by a computer program in the absence of a choice made by the user

Many times it’s no big deal, but sometimes I want to kick myself for missing out on some cool functionality. I didn’t know the default switch even existed!

After a decade of daily conversations about vision with ministry teams, I have discovered a hidden vision switch with a default position in the minds of church leaders. But this default setting is not just about missing out on a nifty feature. It’s about a fundamental mode of thinking that’s limiting us.

Let me explain.

One question I always enjoy asking church leaders is “How do you want your church to be different two years from now?”

What kind of answers do I get?

The most common two-word response is “more people.” Of course that expresses itself in many forms:

  • Increased worship
  • More growth
  • Higher attendance
  • Additional services
  • Reaching more people
  • Reversing decline

Think about that for a minute. “How do you want your church to be different in two years?” Imagine the infinite number of answers possible to this question. For example, pastors could have responded with answers like:

  • More desperate for Jesus
  • More intimacy between husbands and wives
  • More engaged in social justice and civic responsibilities
  • More families having devotionals together
  • More friendships with people far from God
  • More students serving other students

But for the most part, they don’t give answers like this. Despite the rainbow variety of gospel-centered, life-transforming possibilities the most common answer is always, in one form or another, “More people.”

Keep in mind that the one-dimensional answer of “more people” transcends an incredibly wide variety of church settings and leaders, from uptown to small town, mainline or online – from the newest staff newbie to the post-retired, hard-to-expire. Everyone wants “more people.”

And “more people” is good. Jesus wants more people too. And yes, churches “should count people because people count.”

But there’s something important behind the answer of “more people.” And that something reveals this default setting in the life of the everyday pastor. Church leaders are not just saying that want “more people.” What they are really saying is…

KEEP READING (part 2 of 3)

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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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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
— Jonathan Schultheis
 

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