More about Vision

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  • How to Separate Critical and Creative Thinking

    Does your team have agreement around vision, but lack ownership and alignment? Effective teams do not just agree on vision, they own it and align every ounce of energy and effort toward accomplishing the vision. As a leader, you can sense the difference between your team liking the vision and your team leading toward vision.

  • Vision Recovery Process, Step 5: INSPIRE Your Church

    The Vision Recovery Process is Auxano’s five-step framework for navigating and helping church leaders plan through all three phases.   Join David Putman and Mike Gammill on Thursday 4/30 for: Step 5: Inspire Your Church.

  • Vision Recovery Process, Steps 3 & 4: INVOLVE Your Teams, EXECUTE Your Plan

    The Vision Recovery Process is Auxano’s five-step framework for navigating and helping church leaders plan through all three phases. Join Greg Gibbs and Mike Gammill on Tuesday 4/28 for: Step 3: INVOLVE Your Teams.

  • Vision Recovery Process – Step 2: DEVELOP Your Strategy

    As a part of Auxano's Better Future Webinar Series, we will be posting videos and links here from this week's topics.   Listed below are the next 30-minute "Vision Recovery Process" webinar videos, introduced this week as a part of our Better Future Webinar Series.

  • Vision Recovery Process – Step 1

    As a part of Auxano's Better Future Webinar Series, we will be posting videos and links here from the preceding week's topics.   Listed below are the first two of our 30-minute "Vision Recovery Process" webinar videos, introduced last week as a part of our Better Future Webinar Series.

  • Your Opportunity for God Dreams Training – Virtually!

    Your church needs more than another strategic plan in this season. Don’t waste critical time this Summer, making wrong assumptions from limited-perspective planning.

  • Vision Recovery Process, Step 2: DEVELOP Your Strategy

    Things are shifting everyday. The question everyone is asking, including your church, is when will everything get back to normal? When will we get back to normal? No one knows.

  • 7 Reasons to NOT Cancel VBS This Summer

    Of all the years I spent going to VBS as a child, I only really have two memories of those flannel-graphed summer days. The first, and most vivid, is the year that I asked my group leader if I could use the restroom, and then left the church.

  • Addressing the Bigger Question on Your Mind

    When will things get back to normal? Do we really want to go back to NORMAL? In Tuesday's Better Future Web Series, Auxano Senior Lead Navigators David Putman and Bryan Rose introduced Part 1 of the Vision Recovery Process. There is a difference in “getting back to normal” and “getting back to normalcy” in your church.

  • Do You Want Normal or Normalcy?

    There is a difference in “getting back to normal” and “getting back to normalcy” in your church. The latter is a restoration of the rhythms and relationships found in gathering together as the Church once again.

  • Empathy During a Pandemic, Part 2: The Weirdness of Work for Now

    In Part 1, we explored how personality differences can cause us to act out during a time of uncertainty and stress. Let’s face it: It is just weird right now.

  • Empathy During a Pandemic, Part 1: Personality Differences Matter in a Virtual World

    In this unprecedented time, many people are “acting out” at an alarming pace! Many of us are finding ourselves a little more grumpy than normal. The articles and information in the first few weeks of the crisis have been about the tactical and technical; how to move things to virtual, increase your online presence or what to do if you are experiencing a financial dip.

  • Better Future Series: ADAPT Your Generosity

    In these no-cost, 30-minute daily leadership moments, our team of Navigators is delivering timely content designed to bring breakthrough clarity in a season of unprecedented uncertainty. When will we shift from the "safe at home" posture to the "back to church" new normal?   For these two sessions, Auxano Senior Lead Navigator and Director of Resourcing Greg Gibbs unpacks questions and concerns around church finances.

  • Better Future Web Series: ADAPT Your Communication

    In these no-cost, 30-minute daily leadership moments, our team of Navigators is delivering timely content designed to bring breakthrough clarity in a season of unprecedented uncertainty. People are listening and looking for stability, and there is nothing more stable than a clear vision.

  • Creating a New Scoreboard: Results, Engagement, and Strategy

    Auxano co-founder Will Mancini wrapped up his two-day introduction to the Better Future Web Series by talking about creating a new scoreboard. You can watch the video replay here.

  • Four Paths to A Better Future

    Auxano co-founder Will Mancini launched Auxano's "Better Future Web Series" today. Catch the video replay here.

  • Let’s Talk About the FUTURE: God’s Better Future!

    There are plenty of folks helping you deal with the present in this crisis; even my running shoe store has sent an URGENT email blast. It seems everyone wants you to know what they are doing RIGHT NOW to respond.

  • You Cannot Fight Uncertainty with Certainty, It Takes Clarity

    “To lead by rallying people around a better future, albeit unknown, requires clarity first. ”  - Will Mancini, Auxano co-founder, in Church Unique Welcome to a world devoid of best practices, proven strategies, and models to follow.

  • The Main Reason Your Strategic Plans Are Failing

    Stop me if you’ve heard this before… but it seems like the more plans church leadership teams create, the less church ministry actually happens. Is this because you shouldn’t plan and just follow the Holy Spirit’s leading? Is this because you have a bad team who cannot execute and everyone should be fired? Is this because you’re a poor leader and it’s time to find another church? No, no, and NO! Most strategic plans fail because church leadership teams are attempting to do too much and they set too many goals.

  • 100% of Pastors Will Stop Pastoring at Some Point

    On April 21-22, Auxano will be leading a Pastoral Succession Boot Camp in Phoenix, AZ.  Churches can bring up to five team members for this groundbreaking, full two-day learning experience that will be ministry shaping and a tool-rich environment.

  • 6 Ways to Rekindle Your Church’s Passion for Its Vision

    The vision is still in print, but it’s harder to keep people’s eyes on it. Vision lingo is still spoken, but it’s harder to get people excited about it.

  • How to Practice a Six-Step Design Thinking Process

    According to the authors of Solving Problems with Design Thinking, most leaders harbor a deep, dark secret: They believe in their hearts that they are not creative, and find themselves short on delivering innovation ideas to their organizations. In today’s seemingly rampant innovation mania, managers and leaders cannot appear unimaginative, let alone fail to come up with brilliant solutions to vexing problems on a whim.

  • How to See Beyond Today: Understand Uncharted Possibilities

    It has been said that all leaders live under the same sky, but not all view the same horizon. Some leaders see a wider horizon and keep their eye on the emerging skyline.

  • Auxano’s Capital Campaign: Design-Through-Discipleship

    Here's your chance to learn more about Auxano's Capital Campaign Boot Camp! Kent Vincent and Greg Gibbs will be team-coaching the sessions over the two days. We have been around the country collecting “best practices” and want to share them with you.

  • 10 Reasons You’ve Hit Your Ceiling

    Every church goes through plateaus—times when your church simply doesn’t grow. It’s natural and normal, and they’re part of our story at Saddleback.

  • How to Make 2020 Your Year for Crystal Clear Personal Calling

    For well over a decade I have been dreaming about a toolbox and training experience that would deliver something very special to any follower of Jesus. What is that something special? It’s the ability to really grasp the trajectory of one’s Ephesians 2:10 “good works”—what believers for centuries have called vocation or specific calling.

  • Generospitality Part Five – The Seven Checkpoints of an Engaging Guest Experience

    Your guests feel your hospitality, or the lack thereof, as they navigate a shared set of moments across your campus environments for the very first time. Called the Guest Experience Checkpoints, these moments are common to every new worshipper and will set the tone for how they feel about your worship service.

  • Generospitality Part Four – Three Terrible Messages Your Welcome Team Sends

    “‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in;”  – Matthew 25:35 CSB In your church, love begins every week with your welcome. From your church’s website to your worship bulletin, every step of your hospitality systems will either speak to the love found in your body, or it will reveal one of three conflicting shadow mindsets.

  • Generospitality Part Two – The Early Church Practiced This ONE Thing

    “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.

  • Your Best You: Uncover Calling

    Life Younique founder Will Mancini asks this question:  Do you see your mission in life as something created, designed, and given by God? We are called not just to follow Jesus (a common call to all people) but we are called to accomplish something specific as a one-of-a-kind saint (your special assignment from God). Is there a process of discovering and living out your unique life call? THE QUICK SUMMARY Askinosie Chocolate is a small-batch, award winning chocolate company widely considered to be a vanguard in the industry.

  • Your Best You: Find Purpose

    Life Younique founder Will Mancini asks this question:  Do you see your mission in life as something created, designed, and given by God? We are called not just to follow Jesus (a common call to all people) but we are called to accomplish something specific as a one-of-a-kind saint (your special assignment from God). Is there a process of discovering and living out your unique life call? THE QUICK SUMMARY - The Call by Oz Guinness The Call continues to stand as a classic, reflective work on life's purpose.

  • What if “Real Church Growth” Became the New Normal in the North American Church?

    If we’re honest, it’s pretty easy to see the functional Great Commission in North America: Go into all the world and make more worship attenders, baptizing them in the name of small groups, and teaching them to volunteer a few times a month. For all kinds of reasons, the words “church” and “growth” have become embarrassing when put side by side.

  • The Great Commission is NOT these 4 Things

    The closing of Matthew’s gospel is not just a tidy end to his book; these last few verses are the marching orders for the church: The eleven disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them.  When they saw him, they worshiped, but some doubted.

  • Update: When MultiSite Works Against the Mission

    There have been many queries as to how things have been going at Meck since we made the strategic decision to end our multi-site approach in order to pursue other methods for ongoing growth and the pursuit of our mission to the unchurched. You can read about that decision and our reasons for making it HERE.

  • 15 Looming Failures in a Vacuum of Vision Casting


  • Three Places to Uncover Values in Your Culture

    While serving alongside the Auxano team, I learned the important distinction between vision, mission, strategy, and values. Well-intentioned leaders can confuse those and mix and match them in a way that actually harms clarity.

  • Prayers of Active Listening

    I could take you to where God told me to marry my wife, Susan; where God told me to give up music and pursue a life of speaking and writing; where God told me to start a church. These were nothing less than shouts from God.

  • 5 Hopes for the Future Church

    There is a rising tide that the Church has lost its edge, and for some, even lost its way. In some cases, there is truth to that.

  • The Social Media Paradigm Shift

    There are few things more fascinating – and more pressing – to social scientists than to discover what our new digital world is doing to us, particularly the new online world. From an assortment of new surveys and studies, I’ve drawn together five key findings.

  • Bringing Boomers and Millennials Together

    Breakthrough Ideas with Dave Rhodes: The physical location of your church and the mission of your church should be inseparable. Moving to the fringe of the organization, instead of the center, empowers younger generations to step up and lead.

  • The Real Measures of Disciplemaking Success

    Every pastor worth their seminary degree will tell you when asked, that real success in their church cannot be found in more people, more money, or more buildings. But, nobody really ever asks that question.

  • What is the Church Really Here For?

    In a series of articles titled “The Elusive Presence,”Christianity Today editor in chief Mark Galli describes the heart of the crisis within evangelicalism today. Mark is a longtime participant in evangelical churches and a keen observer of evangelical trends.

  • Life Design Essential #2: Name Your Personal Life Calling

    We live in a world where every artificial thing is designed. Whether it is the car we ride in, the streets we drive on, the lights that illuminate the road, or the building that is our destination, some person or group of people had to decide on the layout, operation, and mechanisms of the journey described above.

  • If Your Culture is Stuck, HOW is It Stuck?

    You've taken a big step to read this article if you're reading it the week it was published. It's September, and that means you're slammed.

  • Why is Breakthrough So Elusive?

    In this inaugural episode, Will Mancini, founder of Auxano sits down with My Ministry Breakthrough host, and Auxano Lead Navigator, Bryan Rose, to unpack the concept behind “breakthrough clarity” in the mission statement of Auxano. > Listen to the podcast here.

  • Life Design Essential #1: Uncover the Only You

    We live in a world where every artificial thing is designed. Whether it is the car we ride in, the streets we drive on, the lights that illuminate the road, or the building that is our destination, some person or group of people had to decide on the layout, operation, and mechanisms of the journey described above.

  • Great Teams Need Great FollowUp Emails

    Conducting a successful vision planning retreat takes courage, investment, and trust. First, courage is required to make a conviction-driven ask of your leaders to collaborate and fully engage in a conversation about God’s better future for your church.

  • Bringing Out Their Best, Part Two

    We all have days during which we feel as though we are running at full speed from the moment the alarm goes off in the morning till the time we stumble into bed late that night. These are the days of deadlines to meet, tasks to accomplish, meetings to lead, and … the list goes on and on.

  • The Clarity of Our Founding Fathers

    How was it that within a short span of time on the east coast of the North American continent there should have sprung up such a rare array of genius – men who seemed in virtual command of historical experience and who combined moral imagination with a flair for leadership? We know those men as the Founding Fathers. Part of the answer is that these men knew how to invest their combined strength in a great idea: A young man like James Madison had urgent thoughts about what people had to do to become free and remain free.

  • When MultiSite Works against the Mission

    Mecklenburg Community Church is closing all of its satellite campuses and ending the multi-site approach to growth we have embraced for nearly a decade. The sites are not being spun off into independent churches, but simply being consolidated back into our original campus through the planned expansion of weekend services and future building efforts.

  • Is Your Mission Accomplishing Anything? 7 Ways to Know For Sure

    The Auxano team gathers each month by ZOOM videoconference to tell stories and celebrate how God is working through our Navigators and support staff members. One of our recent calls was particularly meaningful.

  • The Truly Digital Church

    Earlier this year, LifeWay made the announcement that it had decided to close all 170 of its physical stores. The Christian bookstore will instead move all of its efforts online.

  • Five Things That Kill Successful Recruiting

    Jesus knew how to recruit. When He said to Peter and Andrew; “Come, follow me,” He wanted, even anticipated a yes.

  • Two Critical Strategic Mistakes Most Churches Make

    One of the most important responsibilities of leadership is navigating the dynamics between strategy and tactics. Strategy, if illustrated militarily, is the science of directing large scale military operations, such as maneuvering forces into the most advantageous position prior to actual engagement with the enemy.

  • The ABCs of Avoiding Ineffective Meetings: Advance Output Using an Agenda

    Meetings are a powerful tool for organizations. Secretly, though, you enjoy those Dilbert comics that feature the pain and frustration of poorly run meetings.

  • How an Actionable, Gospel-Centered Plan Makes the Difference in Your Life

    The Exponential 2019 conference rebooted the age-old conversation in the church about personal call. Unlike Elvis, we at Younique don’t want “a little less conversation,” but we do want to see a lot more action.

  • How to Measure Real Church Growth Using Your Ministry Outputs

    These days I’m trumpeting a battle-cry to bring back church growth.  We shouldn’t blush at it; we should be bold for it.

  • Busting Myths of Church Vision

    Vision isn’t a moment on a Sunday – Vision is a movement happening everyday. Vision isn’t a one-time event – Vision is an ongoing eventuality.

  • 5 Ways to Grow Mission-Hearted Leaders

    Every leader needs a compass in their head.  The mission answers “Question Zero”: “What are we ultimately supposed to be doing?” It makes the overall direction of the church unquestionable and points everyone in that direction.

  • How to Close the Gap Between Consumption and Community

    Harvard professor Robert Putnam wrote Bowling Alone, which has been called a landmark book by many sociologists. Written nearly twenty years ago, it has proven to be prophetic.

  • The Complex Work of the Simple Church

    During a recent podcast conversation with Doug Paul, one of the Pastors at East End Fellowship in Richmond, VA, the idea of keeping programming simplified came up. In thisMy Ministry Breakthrough episode, Doug talks about the strategy of developing and discipling people at his church.

  • Whose Vision Is it Anyway?

    You hear ministry leaders talk all the time about what a church needs to grow. Some say it’s preaching.

  • Leaders Should Know – and Tell – Their Organization’s Creation Story

    Will Mancini, founder of Auxano and Younique, writes about the importance of leadership stories here. He believes that storytelling and understanding the nuances of story will help leaders in the daily ebb and flow of communication.

  • 3 Real-Life Examples of 10-10 Lists to Jumpstart Your Journey to Bigger Dreaming

    Cory Hartman has become a good friend this past year as he began to work with me as a collaborative writer. Our big project was to complete the forthcoming book, Younique: Designing the Life God Dreamed for You.

  • How to Take the Single Greatest Step Toward Accelerating Your 100 Dreams List

    If you are following along with the #LifeDesignWithMe adventure over a 90-day period, this is a BIG POST. I want to show you the single greatest step toward accelerating your 100 Dreams List.

  • How to Apply the Great Secret of Having FOCUS in Life

    My life's greatest secret: I don't work hard, I work focused. (But don't tell anyone.

  • How to Create Your Own 30-Minute 10-10 List

    Four days ago, I kicked off the #LifeDesignWithMe 90-day adventure. The goal is to lift your life aspirations to the point that you can name literally 100 Life Dreams.

  • How to Get Started on Your 100 Life Dreams List

    Recently I launched a 90-day journey to equip and encourage you to develop a 100 Life Dreams List. My inspiration is a special life design experiment that I am conducting by living in Aspen Colorado for 3 months this winter.

  • Communicate Your Vision: Use More Than Words

    The right vision for the future of an organization moves people to action, and because of their action, the organization evolves and makes process. Like a bicycle, an organization must continually move forward, or fall over.

  • Communicate Your Vision: Engage Everyone to Create Energy

    There is no more powerful engine driving an organization toward excellence and long-range success than an attractive, worthwhile, and achievable vision of the future, widely shared. - Burt Nanus The right vision for the future of an organization moves people to action, and because of their action, the organization evolves and makes process.

  • FREE Clarity Spiral ebook: An Overview of the 4 Break-Thru Practices to Find Your One Thing in Life

    As promised in my last post, I am interrupting the series on the 7 Essential Life Design Skills so you can now download my new eBook about finding your one thing in life. This book covers four practices I have used and taught to find and align your vocational vision.

  • How to Achieve Peak Performance at Life’s 3 Crossroads

    When does a human being peak? What is a person’s “succeed-by” date (as in, if you haven’t succeeded by now, forget it)? Some feel it when they’re 25 or so, when at a professional level athletes ascend, and dancers dazzle and beauty blooms. It’s where cool is concentrated in our youth-obsessed culture.

  • The Second Greatest Gift Ever Given is Your Personal Calling

    Happy New Year! I hope you've enjoyed time with family and friends this past Christmas season. I also hope that Immanuel—“God with us”—is with you and your ministry, drawing people to himself.

  • 10 Life Hacks for Using the Five Kinds of Goals in Life

    We’re just a few days into the New Year. With the odometer of life turning one more calendar-year digit, many people will think, hope, dream and plan about what's next in life.

  • Introducing the 7 Essential Skills of Gospel-Centered Life Design

    God wants you to design your life. That’s a bold statement.

  • Communicate Your Vision: Create Stories that Reflect Experience

    There is no more powerful engine driving an organization toward excellence and long-range success than an attractive, worthwhile, and achievable vision of the future, widely shared. - Burt Nanus The right vision for the future of an organization moves people to action, and because of their action, the organization evolves and makes process.

  • Christmas Greetings from Auxano!

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  • Measuring Up: Discern Your Gifts

    Your divine design, as expressed in Ephesians 2:10, is more knowable than you realize. You are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which He has prepared in advance, that you should walk in them.

  • 3 Signposts on the Road to Discovering God’s Vision

    I’m often asked, “Is there any single common denominator that you can find in every growing church?”  I have studied churches for many years, read about them, and visited them. I’ve discovered that God uses all kinds of churches, in all kinds of different ways, all different methods and styles.

  • Six Perspective Shifts of the Persevering Church

    God’s not done yet. That is the subtitle and theme of my new book, Scrappy Church.

  • The Unmistakable Value of Self-Awareness

    Dunkin’ Donuts has made a very astute move. They’ve dropped the “Donuts” from their name.

  • Where Does True Fulfillment Come from in Ministry Leadership?

    Breakthrough ideas with Barrett:  How can a church reach Christians who live in the city, from within the city, not just the suburbs? True fulfillment as a Christ-following leader comes from a deep sense of two key understandings. Why it is important to bring yourself back to your calling as a leader, not someone else’s.

  • Measuring Up: Design Your Life

    Your divine design, as expressed in Ephesians 2:10, is more knowable than you realize. You are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which He has prepared in advance, that you should walk in them.

  • One Word Makes Your Mission Missional

    One word. That’s it… one word could mean the difference between your congregation merely liking – or really living – the church’s mission.

  • 6 Times When It’s a Good Idea to Change Your Church’s Mission Statement

    Classic wisdom taught us that our mission or purpose statements are timeless. In many ways that’s true and its a helpful teaching concept.

  • Six Strategies to Communicate Vision to Your Church

    Your most important job as a church leader isn’t to hire and fire. It isn’t to manage a budget.

  • Ministry Breakthrough Stories are New Podcast’s Focus

    MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (BP) -- In Philippians 4:8, Paul tells the church to dwell on what's commendable and praiseworthy.

  • 8 Strategic Decisions that Serve Your Mission

    At the church I pastor, Mecklenburg Community Church (Meck), our mission is clear: to help spiritual explorers become fully devoted followers of Christ. In our culture, we've observed that the "nones" – those with no religious affiliation – are on the rise and, as a direct result of this, Generation Z is proving to be the first truly post-Christian generation.

  • A Purpose-Full People. Part 2: Where Purpose Leads

    God created you with one-of-a-kind potential and placed you on earth for a specific purpose.  Due to the busyness of life, you’ve likely never identified your unique calling in a way that brings life-changing clarity.

  • Fighting Complacency in Your Church

    Breakthrough Ideas with Brady Cooper: To fight complacency in the church, we must stay hungry evangelistically. Building a church culture that engages men, requires a shared value toward challenging men.

  • Meeting God at the Finish Line

    Before Saddleback moved to its present location, we bought a big chunk of land. While I thought at the time it was a dream come true, it turned out there were giants in the land.

  • The Astounding Difference of Extraordinary Clarity

    Dennis Richards is the executive pastor at Preston Trails Church in Texas. Listen in as he walks through how the church gained extraordinary clarity using Auxano's Vision Framing Process and the difference that made in the life of their church.

  • Seven Marks of a Healthy Church

    I am not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. Indeed, put me in a room with nine other people, and I am likely to be the tenth in intellect.

  • How 30 Seconds Can Change the World

    There are often crucial moments when we have an opportunity to be vision-casters with people, one-on-one. It may be a car ride making a visit, coffee with a fellow member, or a staff meeting with five extra minutes at the end.

  • A Purpose-Full People. Part 1: Where Purpose Starts

    God created you with one-of-a-kind potential and placed you on earth for a specific purpose.  Due to the busyness of life, you’ve likely never identified your unique calling in a way that brings life-changing clarity.

  • How to Achieve Break-Thru with Your Team

    What if two days with your team could change the trajectory of your church?  You are invited to an exclusive gathering limited to 25 church teams at three different cities around an important break-thru topic. Each topic is a critical factor in reaching and discipling people for real church growth.

  • Three Best Practices for Building People who Invite People

    At my church, communication and marketing is all about equipping people to represent the church in the community. This, and not advertising, is my best strategy to invite people and grow a church.

  • Maximize Team Effectiveness, Part One: Remote Work Starts With Your Culture

    How can you maximize team effectiveness, as well as better steward Church resources, by leveraging cultural shifts in the workplace? If you ask people where they go when they really need to get work done, very few will respond “the office. ” If they do say the office, they’ll include a qualifier such as “super early in the morning before anyone gets in” or “I stay late at night after everyone’s left” or “I sneak in on the weekend.

  • These 5 Ideas Help Build Owners of Church Vision Instead of Renters

    Every once in a while I get a fun, free rental-car upgrade in my travels serving churches. In case you didn’t know, an upgrade is the chance to drive an expensive luxury or sports car that was rented at a stewardship-sized, boring-car rate.

  • Napkin Sketch Strategy: If You Can’t Draw It, You Can’t Deliver It

    In the process of articulating disciple-making strategy with church teams, I have grown to appreciate the power of a napkin sketch. In fact, I emphasized in my latest book: The Dream Big Workbook released in collaboration with Exponential.

  • Cut the Complexity, Part Two: Creating Engagement

    In the life of church leaders, Sunday is always coming. There are sermons to prepare, volunteers to be trained, worship to plan, and dozens of other tasks repeated weekly.

  • Why Structure Matters to Mission

    Culture eats strategy for lunch. However, good culture, combined with good strategy, is powerful.

  • Timestamp. 5 Ways Your Church is Not Retro… Just Outdated

    You open the doors to your church every weekend hoping more people will come (or in some cases, hoping somebody comes) only to discover that, with few exceptions, more people rarely do. It can get discouraging, and many leaders wring their hands over what to do and how to respond.

  • 4 Keys to Listening and Leading with Vision

    How does a church discern its call to ministry–creating ministry space that lines up with its mission and vision? Often believers and churches seem to be waiting for God to strike them with a lightning bolt, to reveal what he wants them to do through some spectacular event. But God isn’t a genie who pops out of a bottle.

  • Cut the Complexity, Part One – Preparation Matters.

    How to be both resolved in planning, yet responsive to changes, as you lead toward vision. In the life of church leaders, Sunday is always coming.

  • 3 Lessons for the Church from the Collapse of Xerox

    "I need a Xerox of this. " "Xerox this for me, will you?" "We'll just Xerox off a copy.

  • The Missional Value of Being Constant

    It is one thing to have a mission and quite another to have a missional lens, where all activity is viewed through the lens of that mission, where all decision-making is filtered through the lens of the mission. It is one thing to have a mission hanging on the wall and another to work hard to align activity to that mission.

  • 7 Reasons to Incubate Your Next Campus Launch

    In elementary school, one of my daughter’s classrooms held an egg incubator. Over the course of a few weeks, the children learned about eggs and were able to watch their hatchlings emerge.

  • Ten Reasons You Need a Life Mission Statement

    For decades we have heard of the importance of the life mission statement sometimes referred to as a personal mantra or life purpose idea.   But do you really need one? Can a simple little phrase make that much of a difference in your life? The intentional living genre is literally the size of an ocean.

  • Six Responses to Mission Resistance

    Every great movement of God invites a challenge from sinful people. I wrote about this recently in a post entitled How to Stop a Church from Growing, and Pastor Titus S.

  • The One Most Critical Factor for a Truly Healthy Church Culture

    How can you protect and grow your church culture without having to be negative all the time? Either you will manage your culture, or it will manage you. Simply defined, culture is the way people think and act.

  • 5 Ways to Lead Your Church to Thrive

    Need some hope? It’s easy to get discouraged about the future of the church. While the world seems to be falling apart, so does the church.

  • 10 Ways to Use Your Mission Statement Today

    No, you don’t need a cooler mission statement so you can call it a mantra. No you don’t need a better sounding slogan.

  • 6 Essentials of Vision Casting as Modeled by Martin Luther King

    His Dream Became a Reality Over 50 years ago, Martin Luther King delivered his electrifying “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, which became a flash point for a movement. The legend endures beyond memory from a dwindling number of witnesses, but no one alive that day anticipated its sweetly patriotic glow.

  • The Cure for Unhealthy Culture at Your Church

    How can you protect and grow your church culture, without having to be negative all the time? Either you will manage your culture, or it will manage you. Simply defined, culture is the way people think and act.

  • Are You Leading Your Church or Just Managing It? Learn the Difference.

    It’s been said many times by many different people that everything rises or falls on leadership. I don’t think that’s ever truer than in ministry.

  • 20 Unavoidable Requirements for Vision Breakthrough

    As leaders, we are naturally praying for breakthrough in one or more areas… In our family In our health In our relationships In our congregation And especially in God’s vision for our church But vision breakthrough requires change. And in just a few short weeks, the warm, hopeful desire for vision breakthrough will stand toe-to-toe with the cold, hard reality of the sacrifice demanded to achieve change.

  • Ten Trends that Will Shape the Church in 2018

    Never in my lifetime have I seen local congregations at such a critical juncture. Cultural Christianity is all but dead.

  • Reaching the 20Somethings

    Quick: Who are you trying to reach? Please don't say "everyone. " If you are crafting a strategy to reach "everyone," you are virtually guaranteed to reach "no one.

  • Will Your Church’s Past Become a Slingshot or a Black Hole?

    Times were better. Our country was more united.

  • Healthy Pastoral Succession Establishes Vision Apart from Identity

    Every organization, like the people who comprise them, goes through changes and transitions. The organization called “the church” is no different; in fact, it probably goes through more seasons of change and more types of change than almost any other type of organization.

  • The Seven Struggles of a Growing Church

    Ever think that growth will solve all your problems? It’s tempting to believe that. I know, because I still fall into that line of thinking unless I stop myself.

  • How Technology Can Ease Your Small Group Ministry’s Growing Pains

    As a church grows bigger, it must also grow smaller. This is a common rule of thumb shared among church leaders.

  • 3 Reminders to Reach Travel-Ball Families

    Fall is the time of year when the days grow shorter and the fireflies glow softer. The season when the amber aura of Friday night stadium lights illuminate the welcome relief of cooling dusk hours.

  • How to Revive a Dead Vision Statement

    Most pastors will invest more time on preaching preparation for the next month than they will on vision communication for the next five years. How about you? That quick experiment is a great way to introduce a special two-part SUMS Remix devoted to the visionary planning problems you must solve.

  • 3 Movements Toward a More Outward Focus

    I’m so excited to have Omar Garcia with us today. Omar is the missions pastor at Kingsland Baptist Church in Katy, Texas.

  • Collaboration Starts with the Leader First

    How can I help my team of independent “doers” learn to work together and grow as visionary leaders? The beauty of clarity is how it is discovered together. The crucible of community isn’t easy, but with collaboration the yield of fruit is 10 times greater and 10 times sweeter.

  • 7 Signs of Lifeless Church Vision

    Every church has vision. But not every church vision has life.

  • Seven Reasons Churches Should Merge

    “I have been involved in 17 church closures where we sold the properties to a secular company. ” Those words grieved me in two ways.

  • Great Vision, Bad Execution: 6 Common Mistakes

    It’s a delight to watch teams get clear on the future. But it’s a fright to see that hard work of visioning go south when it comes to execution.

  • Auxano’s Boot Camps Coming in 2019!

    Coming August 7-8, 2019 - more opportunities for Auxano's groundbreaking Boot Camps designed to help you gain break-thru clarity in these critically important areas of your church: Pastoral Succession - Orlando, FL Capital Campaign - Detroit, MI Guest Experience - Cincinnati, OH The Boot Camps will be held simultaneously in different locations across the country on August 7-8. Registration of only $1,995 provides two full days of learning and collaboration for up to five members of your team.

  • Five Challenges to Healthy Church Growth

    Every year another two million American adults become less receptive to the gospel, and less receptive to churches. Every year.

  • Three Measurements that Right-Size Your Vision

    Over the years, I’ve learned that – contrary to popular opinion – the bigger the vision, the easier it is to reach that vision, and, ultimately, the size of your vision should be determined by the size of God. How big do you think God is? The issue is not who you think you are, but who you think God is.

  • Understanding the Four Horizons of Vision

    Do you really understand visionary planning? As a leader, can you clarify the difference between having a vision and having a plan? Vision is about the picture of your church’s future. A plan is about the steps to get there.

  • How Do You Know When Your Church is Winning?

    How do you measure your effectiveness in ministry? Is it possible to monitor both faithfulness and fruitfulness? I have committed my life to helping church leaders find clear, concise and compelling responses to these questions. Until leaders codify their answers to these questions through tools and equipping environments, the church will fall miserably short of its potential.

  • Build a Movement, Not a Monument

      Does your church dream more about where you have been than where God is leading you? 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.

  • 9 Forms of Generic Church Vision that Lead You to Do the Wrong Thing for the Right Reason

    Most pastors are visionaries. But to fully realize the vision of a church, a pastor needs more than a generic sense of the future.

  • How 12 Templates for Church Vision Will Transform Your Leadership

    The 12 Templates for Church Vision as a resource made the subtitle of God Dreams. God Dreams is toolbox for installing a visionary planning model in your church.

  • Leaders Love the Front Seat, Not the Back Window

    Nothing compares to the moment a hearty laugh with a church team immediately shifts into a deeply poignant moment of congregational insight. For one team, this happened in the midst of a common exercise on the front end of Auxano’s Vision Framing process.

  • 3 Pace-Setting Tools for Lead Pastors

    I’m often asked, “Is there any single common denominator that you can find in every growing church?” I have studied churches for many years, read about them, and visited them. I’ve discovered that God uses all kinds of churches, in all kinds of different ways, with all different methods and styles.

  • How to Grow a Healthy Church

    You know when a church is not healthy as an organization. You will identify things like: Poor communication Low morale High conflict Limited results Foggy Vision We know that healthy organizations reflect the opposite kind of list.

  • Do You Recognize Your Generic Vision?

    Are you a visionary but just not sure the vision is connecting? Imagine that the role of vision in your church is like an axe. When skillfully used, it makes a path clear.

  • How to Eat, Sleep, and Breathe Your Values

    I recently met with all the managers and directors of the Resources Division at LifeWay, the division I am responsible to lead. We have nearly 650 employees in the division, and they all report to the leaders who were in that room.

  • 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.

  • Keys to Compelling Vision Communication

    How compelling is the communication of your vision? If your vision moves the people to take action, you are on the right track. Having served alongside two incredible visionary leaders, first John Maxwell and now Kevin Myers, I’ve watched close up how they communicate vision so well.

  • The Time and Place for the Authentic Church

    I have spent my life looking for the biblical, authentic church. When I attended VBS at a small Lutheran church in 1st grade, I was thrilled to get the little silver Bible sticker in my pocket Bible.

  • Casting Vision: The Only Communication Principle You Need to Know

    Communicating in a way that captures attention and inspires action is an art. And there’s one communication principle that effective communicators understand when it comes to conveying their thoughts effectively.

  • Vision Should Be Consistently Clear and Clearly Consistent

    Do you have problems seeing yourself as a visionary communicator and instead prioritize the maintenance of week-to-week ministry? Are you finding yourself on a ministry treadmill, where the busyness of ministry creates a progressively irreversible hurriedness in your life? Today’s demands can choke out needed dialogue for tomorrow. When this occurs, your multiplied activity prevents you from living with a clearer vision of what should be.

  • 5 Reasons Why Scheduling a Leadership Retreat This Year Will Increase Attendance This Year

    When was the last time you experienced a dynamic 2-day offsite retreat that refreshed and refocused your team? This week is a great time to calendar, block, and schedule a retreat with your key leaders. But some leaders might wonder, "Things are going so well, do we really need to go through the trouble of extra vision and planning days?" It's a great question.

  • Crafting Your Cast: From Mission to Vision

    POP QUIZ: In a sentence or two, can you say what God is calling you to do – or at least the direction He has for you? If you answered ‘YES!,’ then congratulations! You have your vision. And you can skip ahead to the neat little listicle below about how to effectively cast your vision.

  • Four Keys to Clear Visionary Communication

    Below is 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.

  • Are Your Values Adding Value?

    A wise leader of any organization will spend significant time thinking through and carefully crafting organizational values. He understands as the team lives out these prescribed behaviors the organization is more likely to accomplish its mission.

  • From Good to Great: What Great Leaders Know About Casting Vision

    We all know good leaders. In fact, some of us may even be counted among those ‘good leaders’ — one that can cast vision that motivates and inspires people; one that influences people to reach worthy and valuable goals toward achieving their vision.

  • When Your Tank Runs Dry… Sustaining Healthy Ministry by Making a Pit Stop

    Below is 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.

  • How to Effectively Tell Your Church’s Story

    Below is 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.

  • How to Exegete Your Community

    Often when I ask another pastor who his church is trying to reach, he gives me a very spiritual answer—lost people. It sounds good, but it usually means the pastor has a very fuzzy view of his own community.

  • Two Dangers of Copying Ministry Practices from Others

    Here is a typical scenario in local church ministry… In the spring, while at a conference, Danny attends a breakout session on small groups. Though the breakout session leader spoke passionately about the “why” of small groups and the importance of a solid ministry philosophy beneath the surface, the vast majority of the questions from those in attendance were about small group practice: How many people in each group? How often do you launch new groups? How often does leader training occur and in what format? What are the leaders called? How does…? Danny feverishly takes some notes on small group practice, notes he plans to implement when he returns to his church.

  • 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.

  • How Does Church Planting Relate to God’s Mission?

    Every church involved in a new church, and every church planter starting one, needs to answer the question: what is church planting? For some, the word planting comes across as insider language. In the sub-culture of the church planting world there is an entire language mostly unknown to the outside.

  • How Your Church Can Leverage Five Trends in Retail

    I am currently helping a large, non-profit Christian retailer go through a visioning process. Last week a retail consultant led two hours of dialogue in a meeting I attended.

  • 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.

  • A Game-Changing Perspective: Knowing the Difference Between a Decentralized and Fragmented Ministry

    Good church leaders know the importance of releasing and sending people to do ministry. Jesus himself moved quickly from modeling ministry for twelve leaders, to sending out those same twelve to do ministry on their own (Luke 9:1).

  • 6 World-Changing Convictions of the Church

    You tend to base your decisions on one of four motivations in life: circumstances, conveniences, criticisms, or convictions. Yet only decisions that are based on your convictions will last and leave a lasting legacy.

  • Would You Recognize Inward Drift in Your Church?

    All organizations tend to lose their focus and forget their original purposes over time. I call this almost imperceptible movement “inward drift.

  • Commanding Clarity

    I was honored to attend my friend's change of command ceremony near Seattle. I marveled at the connection between the highly disciplined environment of the military and the practice of clarity.

  • 6 Ways to Responsibly Steward the Power of Vision

    Recently a friend called looking for some advice. She and her husband were at a crossroads.

  • Vision + Values = Organizational Strength

    Vision without a clearly established set of values will hinder an organization from achieving it’s maximum impact.   One of the key competencies we teach church planters at LAUNCH is “Evaluate your core values and integrate them into the DNA of your church”.

  • Who is My Neighbor? Analysis is Better Assumption.

    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.

  • Five Questions that Change Everything

    Mention the name Peter Drucker in management circles, and a hushed silence will fall as your peers wait to see if you might have even a nugget of his wisdom that has not already been disseminated for consumption. The famed Austrian died in 2005, but not before turning his vast experience and intellect toward the non-profit sector, benefiting churches around the world.

  • 3 Warnings Signs of Vision Dissonance

    Harvard business professor John Kotter has stated, “Behavior from important people that is inconsistent with the vision overwhelms other forms of communication. ” If Kotter is right, and I believe he is, then a leader whose life does not match the vision being articulated nullifies the vision message, the website, the brochures, and the catchy slogans.

  • 4 Strategies for Building and Releasing Ministry Teams

    Joshua Mauney, founding pastor of Turning Point Church in Lexington, Kentucky, has some simple but effective ideas about ministry teams. Turning Point Church is a fantastic church whose mission is to be known for the restoration of the family.

  • Momentum is the Key to Resurgence

    Momentum. Every leader needs it.

  • When Words Get in the Way

    John F. Kennedy from Rice University at the dawn of the Space Age.

  • 4 Pastors in Which Vision Thrives

    I was having a conversation with Bryan Rose on the Auxano team recently.  We broached the topic of "pastors who get it.

  • It’s Time to Shift Your Planning Horizon

    Life is too busy. I continue to hear this from many people and it is especially true for the ones leading organizations.

  • 3 Reasons People Opt-Out of Powerful Vision

    Frustrated that you feel like you’re casting an incredible vision…but nobody seems to be following? It’s happened to all of us. Usually, when a leader casts vision and it doesn’t ignite people’s imagination, there’s a good reason.

  • 2 Ways to Make Your Vision Stick

    There’s a crucial question every ministry leader must answer when it comes to their vision.  When do you know the vision has become ingrained in the culture of your church and not just in your own dreams? It’s not enough to have a vision, even a compelling one.

  • The 2 Missing Elements of Most Vision Casting Sermons

    I've enjoyed a few interactions with Jon Tyson over the years, who I met for the first time at Discovery Church in Orlando. Ten years ago he planted Trinity Grace Church in New York City.

  • 6 Signs That You Are Coasting on Original Vision

    I was recently dialoguing with a very successful pastor about the ten-year vision horizon of the large church he pastors. He made a striking comment.

  • Vision Casting for Children’s Ministry – 7 Golden Principles

    Before my transition to coach-consulting in 2001, I led several different ministry areas at Clear Creek Community Church. An unexpected season of leading the children’s area engaged my love for vision around the importance of serving children.

  • Permission to Dream Again: Granted

    Have we reached the end of pastoral visioning by dreaming of what should be? Does a church leader in 2016, surrounded by marketplace professionals seeking a strategic plan, even have permission to dream anymore? Is a less-than-precise path to a God-honoring future unacceptable to staff members looking for immediate action initiatives? Is it safe for pastors to dream about a future day, or should we continue to just keep the focus on the Sunday to Sunday mechanics of ministry and making budget? Unless you were on a mission trip or under a rock last week, it was hard to miss the incessant media buzz about the 1. 5 BILLION dollar lottery.

  • St. Andrews Presbyterian is Restoring the Whole Family of God

    Restarting the Conversation for Long-range Vision When it comes to vision statements, many church leaders have lost interest. And for good reason–most vision statements are generic and useless.

  • Kingsland Baptist is Transforming Ten Thousand Homes

    Restarting the Conversation for Long-range Vision When it comes to vision statements, many church leaders have lost interest. And for good reason–most vision statements are generic and useless.

  • The Church Values of Mark Driscoll’s New Church Plant, The Trinity Church

    It has been said that your greatest strengths reflect your greatest weaknesses. Mark Driscoll grew a wildly successful church in Seattle–Mars Hill–with a strong following locally and nationally through his speaking, books and the Acts 29 church planting network.

  • Asbury UMC Moves from Coasting to Making a Difference

    Restarting the Conversation for Long-range Vision When it comes to vision statements, many church leaders have lost interest. And for good reason–most vision statements are generic and useless.

  • Do More of What You Do Best with 6 Powerful Secrets

    Okay, I couldn’t resist calling these “secrets. ” Why? Well, they are such as missing practice in ministry today, they functionally behave like secrets.

  • Cuyahoga Valley Church Restores Hope to Slavic Village Community

    Restarting the Conversation for Long-range Vision When it comes to vision statements, many church leaders have lost interest. And for good reason–most vision statements are generic and useless.

  • Brushy Creek Baptist in Easley, SC has a Vision for Christ-Centered Parenting

    Restarting the Conversation for Long-range Vision When it comes to vision statements, many church leaders have lost interest. And for good reason–most vision statements are generic and useless.

  • Clear Creek Community Church in Houston has an Invitation for Everyone in the 4B Area

    Restarting the Conversation for Long-range Vision When it comes to vision statements, many church leaders have lost interest. And for good reason–most vision statements are generic and useless.

  • Harvest Church’s Vision to Bring Rural Relevance to the Mountain West

    Restarting the Conversation for Long-range Vision When it comes to vision statements, many church leaders have lost interest. And for good reason–most vision statements are generic and useless.

  • Church Vision Statement Case Study: New Break Church

    Restarting the Conversation for Long-range Vision When it comes to vision statements, many church leaders have lost interest. And for good reason–most vision statements are generic and useless.

  • Is Your Church Strategy Really Yours or Just an Illusion?

    The illusion of a strategy is worse than not having a strategy. For the person who wants to lose weight, the illusion of a diet/exercise plan is worse than not having one.

  • The Official 2016 Church Vision Generator

    It’s that time of year again. Time to resolve and time to budget.

  • God Dreams Book Releases in 2 Days; Free Chapter Now Available

    For Vision Room readers I wanted to make sure you got your hands on the free stuff as it roll out with God Dreams. Download the FREE Chapter 1 from God Dreams.

  • Merry Christmas, and Have a Visionary New Year!

    . .

  • Vision Must Be Birthed in the Heart Before It Is Grasped in the Hand

    Antione de Saint-Exupery, the French aristocrat, writer, poet, and pioneering aviator, once said, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. ” So true.

  • Navigating Your Vision – Lessons from a Balloon Pilot

    In addition to my role on the leadership team at Church Community Builder, I have a somewhat unique set of skills. For most of my life, from childhood till today, I have been involved in ballooning.

  • 12 Fun Facts About the Vision Frame for Church Leaders

    What is the Vision Frame? I’m glad you asked. It is a simple napkin sketch or whiteboard drawing that is used to represent the five irreducible questions of any ministry.

  • 10 Ways Mission Statements Backfire

    The idea of mission is simple: Do you and those who you lead know what you are ultimately supposed to be doing? While most pastors think they are clear on mission, most church attenders are not. And in some ways, how we use the default language of “making disciples” is to blame, even though these words represent a very important biblical passage.

  • Does Your Church Have an Intentional Plan of Discipleship for Each Generation of Disciples?

    I recently had a chance to talk to Rick Howerton, our Small Group Specialist at LifeWay, about a serious struggle he is seeing in discipleship ministries all around the country and how LifeWay is trying to help. Here’s a look at our conversation: Eric: You talk to hundreds of pastors and group leaders all over the country.

  • Rookie Pastors: Know What You Don’t Know, and Grow From There

    In the first few years of leading in a new Senior Pastor role, it’s not the answers you don’t have that will set you back. What promises to halt progress, and likely even cause you to second-guess your calling, are the questions that stem from the signals you missed during the courtship and hiring process.

  • The Truth of God Must be Applied to the Heart

    Charles Spurgeon said, “Every Christian is either a missionary or an impostor. ” As disciples of Jesus, we are simultaneously sent to live on mission.

  • 2 Things to Remember When Leading Creative People

    What do these 4 films have in common? Up, Inside Out, Toy Story 3, Monsters Inc. They Are All Hit Movies from Pixar They Have Highly Compelling Stories They Are Kids Movies that Make Grown Men Cry All of the Above Pixar Studios tells a story like no other team of creatives, anywhere.

  • 5 Ways to Identify a White-Hot Passion in Leaders

    If there’s one characteristic I see in successful leaders, it’s passion. The more church leaders I connect with, the more I see this trend: leaders of growing churches (and growing organizations) have a white hot passion for their mission.

  • Clarity of Vision: The Difference Between Status Quo and Achieving Your Vision

    Successful leaders have one trait in common: clarity about what they want out of their organization, what kind of team they want to work with and what they want to accomplish. It’s that laser focus that helps them determine what actions to take and where to spend their energy on a daily basis.

  • 3 Reasons Why “No” Is Important to Your Vision

    Steve Jobs famously said, “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do. ” He was ruthlessly focused as a leader.

  • It’s Really Much Easier to Not Lead with Clarity at All

    Let’s face it, there are much easier things to do than be a leader in the local church. Especially easier than being a pastor leading toward a clear vision.

  • A Vision is a Dream That Can Be Implemented

    It’s been said many times by many different people that everything rises or falls on leadership. I don’t think that’s ever truer than in ministry.

  • Is Your Mission Well-Lived and Well-Seen?

    Nike just released yet another great video reminding everyone of why they are one of the top apparel companies globally. In it, Nike gives a clear example of why their mission is so effective, better than most churches’ missions.

  • Avoiding the Danger of Mission Drift

    There is a tendency in any organization, in any ministry, toward wandering. For a season, people might be focused and motivated to move in a single direction, but then something happens.

  • From A to Z: How Vision Clarity Can Focus Architectural Initiatives at Your Church

    Your church will never spend more money, invest more time or ask for a higher degree of involvement from its leadership that it will during a season of relocation or expansion. My personal experiences in both the profession of architecture and positions of ministry have, through time, revealed that success in undertaking a major construction project ultimately comes down to a clear understanding of identity and calling.

  • 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.

  • 5 Actions Visionary Leaders Need to Take to Engage High Capacity Leaders

    I was on a call a few months ago with a friend I track with regularly. Darryn leads a growing church that has some pretty high capacity leaders around the table.

  • 3 Destructive Assumptions Made by Pastor Search Teams

    Recently, I heard of yet another downtown “First” church repeating the painful cycle of pastoral transition just a few years after replacing their long-tenured senior leader. It seems to be the same story with a different church name: church reels over their perfect replacement candidate, for a beloved pastor of 15+ years, who turns out to not be so perfect after all, and then leaves for another church, or gets asked to leave after a few years of dysfunction and/or less-than-desired results.

  • 5 Ways Future-Fueled Leaders Curate Contagious Church Vision

    Are you hiding behind excuses or leading out front with vision? Often as leaders, we are quick with the reasons we “can’t do something” and slow to develop the resonate calling as to why we “couldn’t do anything else. ” It becomes all too easy to succumb to what would not work rather than submit to what would, by God’s direction and provision.

  • 7 Ways to Help Others Understand the Vision

    A lot of people have great vision. But you’ll never see your vision become a reality unless you communicate it well to others.

  • Your Strategic Challenge is Really a Lack of Clarity

    For many managers, the word strategy conjures up thoughts of gigantic PowerPoint decks, binders collecting dust and general confusion. A survey by Roger Martin of the Rotman School of Management found that 67 percent of managers believe their organization is bad at developing strategy.

  • Uncertainty is No Excuse for Lack of Strategy in Your Church

    When Roger Martin, of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto,  asks business executives about their company's strategy — or about an apparent lack thereof — they often respond that they can't or won't do strategy because their operating environment is changing so much. There isn't enough certainty, they argue, to be able to do strategy effectively.

  • How to Eliminate Busyness? Go on a Church Diet

    Most churches—more than eight out of ten—are busy. Too busy.

  • Church Unique’s Vision Pathway and Tom Paterson’s StratOps

    Over the last few years, I have enjoyed learning more and more from the contribution of Tom Paterson. Tom is a brilliant consultant and friend of Peter Drucker who innovated a very specific, high-impact model of strategic planning in the business space.

  • Stop Asking Millennials for Money

    Drawing on the findings from research into giving by millennials here and here, I've compiled six traits of young givers that charities and non-profits would be wise to keep in mind as they look to engage with the $200b spending power of the Millennial generation: 1. We like to invest in ideas that actually make a difference Photos of starving children don’t stir us to donate, rather they stir us to care about fixing the root of the problem.

  • Deal with Problems in Your Church by Speaking of Current Reality and Future Possibility

    A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post called“Assessing the State of Your Church and How it Got There. ” I looked at a few business and leadership books and then considered some ways their advice might apply to a local church.

  • Missing the Mission: Looking for the Right Results While Loving the Wrong Things

    All churches love certain things. Some love fellowship, some worship, some prayer.

  • What Does “One Church, Multiple Locations” Really Mean? Multisite Church: How Shared DNA is Part of the Identity

    One Church, Multiple Locations… what does that really mean? The practice of MultiSite within today’s church culture is growing and many churches are quickly realizing that actually being a MultiSite church goes beyond just launching another campus.  MultiSite campuses are a combination of a shared Church DNA and localized Contextual Personality.

  • Three Sources of Original Ministry Vision in a Cut-n-Paste Church World

    Recently I spent some time with my wife, Romina on Canyon Road in Santa Fe. It is one of the most concentrated art gallery areas in the world with over one hundred and fifty galleries in a mile stretch.

  • 4 Steps in the Hard Work of Creating Strategy

    98 percent of churches in North America are not functioning with strategic clarity on how they get things done. Every week Auxano Navigators work with leadership teams from churches across the country to help correct this glaring deficiency.

  • Is the Church Dying in the U.S.? Redefining Christians as Cultural, Congregational, & Convictional

    The church is not dying. Yes, the church in the West—the United States included—is in transition right now.

  • Six Reasons Why Most Church Strategic Planning is a Waste of Time

     Have you ever personally experienced a time-waster planning retreat? The planning may be called lots of things like: long range planning vision planning visioning weekend goal-setting strategic operations In addition to the variety of names, the planning may be spawned for numerous reasons like facility planning, attendance decline, website design, or capital campaign initiatives to name a few. But whatever you call it and and whatever got the process started, Many pastors confess that the outcome of strategic planning  is left wanting.

  • Church Renaming: A New Coat of Paint or a Re-Envisioning?

    What’s in a name? It’s an old adage. It flows from Shakespeare’s famed play, “Romeo and Juliet.

  • 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.

  • The Top Ten Reasons to Advance Church Goals One Big Goal at a Time

    Most church leaders never experience what it feels like to have one big goal for their entire church. (Unless of course they are raising funds in a traditional capital campaign.

  • How to Move Your Organization Through 3 Phases of Cultural Refinement

    Is your organization frustrating and lifeless or is it engaging and inspiring? For many people, descriptors such as “dreary,” “discouraging,” “fear-based,” or “missed promises” describe their organization’s culture. Leaders don’t want a dreary or frustrating organizational culture but most don’t know what to do about it.

  • Fleshing Out the Journey from Stranger to Missionary, Part 3

    Christianity Today calls it “the craziest statistic you’ll read about North America missions. ” What is it? One in five (20%) non-Christians say they do not know a single Christian.

  • The Journey from Being a Stranger to a Missionary in Your Neighborhood

    The day before I left for Haiti, I hastily posted my “from strangers to missionaries” article. Had I known it would be read so much, I would have taken longer than 30 minutes to write it! Oh well.

  • 5 Ways to Measure Missional Advance and Impact in Your Neighborhood

    Over the past month, many people have heard about my “Jericho Road Moment. ” That story is part of a bigger story this year where I’m praying and pursuing God’s kingdom work in my neighborhood and city with renewed initiative and intentionality.

  • Why You Should Listen to Your Congregation When They Vote with Their Feet

    It’s an old phrase, but one that I find extremely helpful as a leader. It’s “voting with their feet.

  • 5 Words Toward a Stronger Esprit de Corps

    The hallways often reveal more than the boardroom. What you hear in the hallways is often a better indicator of the spirit of your team than what is said in the boardroom.

  • 9 Numbers That Indicate Healthy Church Growth

    You are a lead pastor. You primarily occupy your time with casting vision, teaching Scripture, and leading your staff.

  • A Vague Vision Means 100 Things to 100 People

    So you have a vision for the future. Virtually every leader does.

  • A Vague Vision Means 100 Things to 100 People

    So you have a vision for the future. Virtually every leader does.

  • What Makes Your Church Different from 10,000 Other Churches?

    God has given your church a specific place and people to minister to. There is no other church in the world exactly like yours, equipped to serve God and your community exactly the way He intends for you to do it.

  • A Strategy that Directly Fuels Your Mission and Vision Produces Passionate People

    One of the dreams of almost every leader is to see every person within an organization motivated by the same mission and vision. The reality is very few organizations—and very few churches—function that way.

  • 6 Gut-Check Questions to Ask When Your Ministry Seems Stuck

    We’ve all had ministries or programs in our church that aren’t going well. They lack critical mass to make the sort of impact we are looking for.

  • 2 Simple Questions that Will Align Your Teams for Missional Ministry

    A helpful way to shepherd your people with relationship to the mission of Jesus is to ask two simple questions: 1) Is the person clear about the vision of your church? 2) Is the person wanting to make a contribution?  Imagine that you could answer these questions with a yes or no. If so, you can locate everyone on the “key” below.

  • A Church Plant Moves Out of Storage

    (Mike Gammill is one of our Lead Navigators at Auxano. He recently completed a campaign with San Marcos Community Church in San Marcos, TX.

  • Do Your Homework: 9 Questions to Ask BEFORE Leading a Church Revitalization Effort

    I am excited about the increased interest in church revitalization. I am heartened to hear from a number of Millennials who are sensing God’s call in this direction.

  • Why Your Church is Probably Operating at Less Than 50% Effectiveness

    Most of you will disagree with what I am about to suggest. Nevertheless, I will try my best to share with you what I’ve learned over the last 13 years.

  • Why Technology is a Senior Leadership Decision

    Technology is a part of life. It can work for you, or you can work for it.

  • The Power of Your One Thing

    Over forty-five years ago, László Polgár was a published author and believer in the theory that genius is made, not born. He was convinced that early and intense specialization in a particular subject produces incredible results.

  • What is Break-thru Clarity in Ministry?

    Break-thru clarity is a simple thing that makes a huge impact in your life.  It’s a powerful thing that will dramatically change your ministry.

  • The Art of Vision Casting: 7 Critical Keys

    A lot of people have great vision. But you’ll never see your vision become a reality unless you communicate it well to others.

  • The Vision Statements of 13 Great Leaders in the Bible

    In a previous post, I introduced the powerful concept call the Future Perfect Paradigm.  I am continuing this series by looking at the vision statements or the future perfect paradigms of 13 biblical leaders.

  • Understanding the Text and the Times Helps Your Church Develop an Assessment Culture

    This is part four in a series on the importance and process of creating an assessment culture in your church. Reading parts one, two, and three of this series may help provide some context for this post.

  • Is Your Church Concerned About and Measuring the Right Things?

    Last year, Caroline Inglis was on the verge of an historic feat. No high school golfer, male or female, had ever captured the Oregon state title four consecutive years.

  • Inspecting What You Expect for Greater Church Health

    It's common knowledge that men are far less likely to go to the doctor than women. While that may not be very shocking, one of the justifications for their reluctance to schedule a check-up is intriguing.

  • Start with 3 Prerequisites to Make Change in Your Church Not Just Possible, but Transformational

    One of the most common questions I hear from church leaders is “How long will it take my church to change?” It’s such a great question because change sometimes feels, well, impossible. You hear a constant stream of complaints You’ve run into too many people who like things the way they are now (or the way they were a long time ago) You’ve got too many friends who got hurt badly trying to lead change The committees keep meeting and they keep stalling You’re starting to feel like Moses in the desert with no Promised Land in sight I get that, I’ve been there.

  • What’s Your Future Perfect Paradigm? Exploring a Powerful Ministry Tool

    What if there was a simple way of thinking about your day today, that could radically transform it? The term “future perfect paradigm” originates from the work of Stanley Davis in the eighties. He used the term as a framework in strategic planning.

  • Wal-Mart vs. Mom & Pop Stores: The Power of Branding and How It Can Help Your Church

    I’m not ashamed to admit that one of my favorite movies is You’ve Got Mail with lead actors Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Ryan’s character runs a small independent bookshop in Manhattan, while Hanks’s character is opening a large retail bookstore with low prices (if only he’d known how technology would change the way we read) just down the block.

  • A 5-Part, Vision Centered Systems Model for Your Church

    Over the past few years I have consulted with a number of fast growing churches to help them get unstuck.   Here’s what I’ve learned: The church is a living organism designed to grow.

  • 7 Killer Lessons from Derwin Gray’s School of Ministry Vision Casting

    I have the privilege of spending lots of time thinking about, reading about and listening to others talk about vision. Rarely do I find so much packed into one learning experience as I did with Derwin Gray who recently spoke at a Velocity.

  • 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.

  • Making Sense of the Census: Do You Really Know Your Neighbor?

    And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Acts 17:26-27 Last week, I talked to you my efforts this year to build a neighborhood in my city through Next Door.

  • What’s More Important: A Culture of Mission, A Culture of Discipleship, or a Culture of Leadership?

    It’s amazing how “a culture of” lingo has been trending over the last couple of years. And for good reasons.

  • What Happens When Your Elegant Strategy Meets the Minefield of Execution

    Setting strategy is elegant. It’s a clean and sophisticated process of collecting and analyzing data, generating insights, and identifying smart paths forward.

  • 3 Church Trends That Aren’t New But are Changing Rapidly

    I am a trend watcher, particularly among churches in America. I am not particularly insightful or smart; I simply listen and speak to many churches.

  • 5 Ministry Trends to Watch in 2014

    Sometimes you can dismiss a trend as a fad. Like Crocs, the Harlem Shake, or flash mobs.

  • Official 2014 Church Vision Statement Generator

    Note from the Vision Room Curator: This post originally ran on New Years's Eve, but it was so well-received our team decided to roll it out again today. We hope you will take a little time to enjoy this tongue-in-cheek look at church vision statements.

  • How Strategy Will Drive Pivotal Decisions for Your Church

    There is nothing more critical to leadership than strategic decision-making.  And nothing is more strategic in decision-making than, well, strategy.

  • 6 Keys to Understanding and Reaching the Post-Everything Generation

    How do we do renewal and outreach in the emerging “post-everything” United States culture?  Post-everything people are those who are now in their teens and twenties, and they are our future. These persons are increasingly post-secular.

  • Quotes and Questions from Leadership Network’s “Succession” Online Conference

    In a very real sense, all pastors are INTERIM pastors. At some point you will not hold the current position you find yourself in at your church.

  • In the Face of Uncertainty, Pursue Clarity

    One force that’s ever-present in any form of creative work - like ministry - is uncertainty. The reality is that you will never know – really know – what’s right.

  • How to Avoid The Conference Craze

    Catalyst East 2013 is over - long live Catalyst! Over 13,000 leaders have returned to their churches, organizations, and homes filled to the brim with pages of notes, hours of conversations, and ideas aplenty. Now What? Having participated in several live Catalyst events over the years, and listened to several more of them via CDs, downloads, and DVDs, I always come away inspired… …and a little spiritually shell-shocked.

  • Why Didn’t Jesus Do More?

    I am amazed at all Jesus didn’t do while he was on earth. His public ministry only lasted three years, and in those years his scope of ministry was incredibly narrow.

  • 8 Ways to Give Definition to Your Ministry

    Ministry is too important to be done haphazardly. How we’re leading in the core of our churches has to do with life-changing, eternity-consequential decisions.

  • Tim Keller Answers the Question “Why Plant Churches”?

    The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for (1) the numerical growth of the body of Christ in a city and (2) the continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city. Nothing else—not crusades, outreach programs, parachurch ministries, growing mega- churches, congregational consulting, nor church renewal processes—will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting.

  • How Words Can Help Change Your Church Culture

    Words create worlds.   Language shapes us and forms us.

  • 4 Steps to Community Engagement

    I've said many times before that if the 1950s were to make a comeback, there would be all too many churches who could go on without missing a beat. The good news is that they found a ministry strategy that works.

  • The Value of Vision, Part 3: The Importance of a Compelling Vision

    Ken Blanchard thinks there is a major missing ingredient in Washington that is present in great organizations: a compelling vision. Few people have impacted the day-to-day management of people and companies more than Ken Blanchard.

  • The Missional Church

    The rapid decline of Christendom since the end of WWII has instituted an even greater need for “missional” churches to engage the surrounding community and retell the culture’s stories through the context of the gospel. Most traditional evangelical churches can win to Christ only people who are temperamentally traditional and conservative.

  • The Value of Vision, Part 2: Focusing on the Future Sets Leaders Apart

    The capacity to imagine and articulate exciting future possibilities is the defining competence of leaders.   For over thirty years authors Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner (The Leadership Challenge) been asking people what they most look for and admire in a leader, someone they would willingly follow.

  • 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.

  • Larry Osborne’s 3 Mission Essentials

    My friend, Larry Osborne, leads North Coast Community Church with a group of gifted leaders. I enjoy his writing as much as any pastor who writes on leadership.

  • Think Inside the Box

    When it comes to our limitations, most people operate out of an if, then mindset. If I had __________, then I would ___________.

  • A Vision for Our Cities

    As the main purveyor of influence to surrounding communities, the city is where culture is formed. The Christian desire to shape culture with the gospel therefore requires Christians to live and be active in the city.

  • The Lab or the Factory

    Seth Godin uses a business example to point out that some organizations are content with doing what they've always done while others are always in search of the next great idea. This has HUGE implications for ministry work, but first, listen to what Godin says: At the lab, the pressure is to keep searching for a breakthrough, a new way to do things.

  • 5 Ways That Plug-n-Playing Another Church’s Ministry Model Will Cost You Ministry Progress

    At Auxano, we believe that local churches are unmistakably unique and incomparably different. God doesn't mass-produce His church.

  • Church Unique Snapshot: The Inside Reveal on Willow Creek Community Church’s Return to the 5 G’s

    During the booming days of Willow Creek’s influence, the church hosted conferences for thousands of church leaders across the country, teaching and spreading their model of ministry. The hallmark of these events was an inspiring and contagious use of crystal clear language and rich imagery that planted the Willow’s Vision Frame in the hearts and minds of church leaders.

  • 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.

  • Do You Have a Church of Abercrombie People?

    I’ve been watching the controversy surrounding Abercrombie and Fitch the last couple of weeks. First, CEO Mike Jeffries made some comments which confirmed what everyone knows: that they don’t actually want most of us wearing their clothes.

  • The Critical Importance of Vision Alignment in Your Church

    Does culture trump strategy? Annette Franz, a Customer Experience executive, recently weighed in on the discussion with an interesting answer. Read on.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Moving Toward a Counter-Cultural Community, Part 1: Societal Segregation

    For the past several weeks, my disciple-making team and I have been working through what a counter-cultural, gospel-centered community of servants looks like. I think this is an important subject matter, one to which I hope to devote several blogposts.

  • Don’t Let Your Ministries Get Lost in Meaningless Noise: Play from the Same Page

    I recently took my youngest son Graham to a music store to let him bang on the instruments. I decided that even though I love music, I would hate to work in there because all you hear all day is noise.

  • Are You a Smart or Healthy Church Leader?

    Being smart is only half the equation in a successful organization. Yet it somehow occupies almost all the time, energy, and attention of most leaders.

  • Practicing Ministry Alignment in Your Church

    Alignment is the arrangement of all ministries and staff around the same simple process. Alignment to the process means that all ministry departments submit and attach themselves to the same overarching process.

  • Five Primary Sources of Distraction in Ministry

    Yesterday’s post on “opportunity creep” introduced a common problem for pastors. It’s easy for opportunity after opportunity to press in and vie for the precious little time God has given you.

  • 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.

  • 4 Disciplines for Leading with Clarity

    An organization doesn’t become healthy in a linear, tidy fashion. - Patrick Lencioni, The Advantage Patrick Lencioni’s latest book The Advantage is a comprehensive, practical guide, covering many of the topics introduced in one of his eight business fable books.

  • How Motivation and Implementation Strategies Define the Multisite Church: 3 Concerns

    McChurch. Franchised Jesus.

  • 4 Mega Lessons on Keeping Vision Clear with Dramatic Ministry Success

    A few weeks ago I enjoyed a back-to-back connections with three very different and very fruitful ministries. On Monday, I was in Chicago with Dave and John Ferguson on the Community Christian Church team.

  • Developing a “Missional Moleskine” to Understand the Community Around Your Church

    INCORPORATING “PLACES” In my first place (my home), I have started a neighborhood through Next Door. Since doing this six weeks ago, I already know about a dozen of my neighbors’ names that I didn’t know the four years prior to living here.

  • 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.

  • Five Reminders for Making Ministry Videos Viral

    An interesting insight into what makes social content effective has emerged, or at least made itself more visible, in the past year or so. Content is king, but editing may be the queen who’s actually running the castle.

  • Are You Helping or Hurting Your Mission?

    One of the keys to a church’s missional success is how its members are deployed. There are two approaches—one facilitates the church’s mission; the other often frustrates it.

  • 10 Rules of Thumb for Healthy Churches in America

    Using rules of thumb to gauge church health is problematic because they are, well, rules of thumb. There will always be exceptions, extenuating circumstances, and even disagreements on the right metrics.

  • Understanding Megachurches Part 3: Myths

    So this week inadvertently turned into Megachurch Week on the blog. In the event you missed it, everything started  with some data on the continued growth of megachurches.

  • Understanding Megachurches Part 2: Finances

    Recently, Leadership Network released a new study entitled The Economic Outlook of Very Large Churches: Trends Driving the Budgets and Staffing Activities of North America's Biggest Congregations. The infographic below was part of that release.

  • Understanding Megachurches, Part 1: Growth

    One of the more popular series last year on the blog dealt with the question "Can Megachurches be Missional?" It was part of a continuing-- and important-- dialogue within the Christian world. Several people have written and researched at length the trends found in megachurches.

  • Why Vision Casting Should be a Lifestyle for All Leaders in Your Church

    The airline safety briefing card… Doesn’t mean much to a frequent flier. But to a first time flier…it’s gold.

  • Why Doesn’t Your Church “Get with the Program”?

    It’s time for the Church to move into the 21st century. Here’s an opportunity for the Church to revise its teaching and increase its reach among young people.

  • 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.

  • Study Your City: Key Questions Missional Christians Should Be Asking About Their City

    Over the last few years, the word “missional” has gained particular amounts of attention. However, defining missional can be a complicated process.

  • Think of Strategy as Daily Small Steps

    One thing that frustrates me about the word "strategy" is that it implies something big. Sure, strategy is both important and broad reaching, but it is really nothing more than a series of steps.

  • Everything is an Experiment

    One of our core values at National Community Church is everything is an experiment. Let me try to unpack it.

  • Please Stop Herding Me

    As I said in my previous post, I think the primary business of the church is the Moving Business. We are called to help people move from where they are to where God is calling them.

  • Eleven Things Your Church Can Learn from the Airport

    [Of course, this post isn’t actually about airports]. I realized that I don’t dislike flying--I dislike airports.

  • Why Your Church Needs Clarity of Purpose

    Organizations beloved by their customers, those that are true and authentic, work hard every day to resist the pull of “normal” business practices to create a powerful human connection with their customers. They are able to do this because they have something that binds everyone together, moving them toward a common goal: clarity of purpose.

  • Telltale Signs of Being Out of Alignment

    You've probably had the experience of driving a car that is out-of-alignment. At slow speeds, the wobble may be just bothersome.

  • Is Your Church in the Wrong Business?

    What is the core mission of the local church? I think we can learn something by looking at Peter Drucker’s two pivotal questions for business leaders: What is your business? How’s business? These have always been difficult questions for the church to answer. In the middle ages through the Renaissance the church was in the Architecture Business.

  • The Missing Element in Your Organizational Strategy

    In a cover story for a recent issue of Harvard Business Review, Professor John Kotter described a new type of organization that combines speed of execution with agility to seize new opportunities quickly. “Speed plus agility” is the holy grail that leaders of organizations seek to achieve.

  • The Danger in a “Mostly Aligned” Team

    My two worlds collided one recent weekend. I introduced my young daughters to the classic film, The Princess Bride.

  • 10 Major Trends Coming Your Way in 2013

    Here are a few trends that seem to be capturing major attention as we start 2013. I am not proposing that all of these are positive trends, but simply stating them as a picture of reality as move into 2013 and beyond.

  • How (Not) to Inspire a Shared Vision

    Like millions of other Americans, I tuned in to hear President Obama’s second inaugural address.   The President is rightly admired for his strong oratory skills and ability to use communication as an effective leadership skill.

  • Ministry to Millennials: An Example of Why Churches are Stuck

    Saw this report earlier this week from The Millennial Impact project. It identifies several trends with Millennials that should raise concerns and more conversation among church leaders.

  • Enron and Your Church

    The Enron scandal is perhaps the most documented case of corporate greed, cover-up, and dishonesty. The lack of integrity displayed by Enron executives robbed people of millions of dollars and led, at that time, the largest corporate bankruptcy in U.

  • The Art of Vision

    VISION = a preferred future – everybody has vision = HOPE What vision can do for you it gives you a clear picture of what you want and what not. the clearer the vision, the easier to say yes or no.

  • Building Your Company’s Vision

    A leadership classic - the following is the 1996 Harvard Business Review article that was the seed for Jim Collins' Good to Great, arguably one of the most influential business books in leadership circles of the church. Companies that enjoy enduring success have core values and a core purpose that remain fixed while their business strategies and practices endlessly adapt to a changing world.

  • What is Your Vision Worth to You?

    The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it. ” Nehemiah 2:4-5 Nehemiah left a comfortable job with the Persian government and risked his life in the presence of the king for the opportunity to rebuild the walls.

  • Church Unique Snapshot for NorthPoint Community Church

    NORTH POINT COMMUNITY CHURCH VISION FRAME Our Mission … to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Our Strategy … to create environments where people are encouraged and equipped to pursue intimacy with God, community with insiders, and influence with outsiders.

  • Your Church and the Art of Neighboring

    I met Jay Pathak in some consultation work I've done with the Vineyard. I was immediately struck by his passion for the community and the mission.

  • How to Win Your Team Again

    Let’s assume for a minute that you’ve been putting some of the foundational, building-block things in place to foster and support healthy culture (things like clarifying the values, making sure teammates understand them, aligning recruiting and hiring strategies with them, etc). You could almost kind of think of these things as a framework.

  • Neighborhood Transitions and the Local Church, Part 4

    So far we've looked at two options churches typically consider when the neighborhood in which they are located goes through change. The first was to to create a true multicultural church.

  • A Picture of Vision

    The other day, as I was boarding an early morning flight out of Hobby Airport in Houston, I looked out the window and had a great view of the early morning sun shimmering on the downtown skyline. It was beautiful.

  • Dealing with Neighborhood Transitions in Your Church, Part 3

    Over the past few weeks, I've been discussing neighborhood transitions and what to do when a church and its community no longer share a socio-economic or ethnic makeup. Last week we looked at relocation as an option.

  • Dealing with Neighborhood Transitions in Your Church, Part 2

    We began a series last week dealing with the transitions churches go through in their life cycle as the community around them begins to change. As I stated last week, I see three primary options: congregational relocation to a context more in line with their congregation, intentional multicultural integration in one congregation, or multi-congregational partnership in one building.

  • The Burden of Church

    After hearing the pastor at the conference admit that he didn't love pastoring and dreamed about doing something else, I decided to investigate. Just about every time I got to spend one-on-one time with a pastor I really respect I asked them, "Do you enjoy what you do? Is this like .

  • Why Jesus Would Go to Vegas if He Came to America

    Vince Antonucci says Vegas is the place Jesus would go if he came to America. If you’re looking for a great example of how to love people outside the church and what it means to be mission oriented, you need to meet Vince Antonucci, pastor of Verve in Las Vegas.

  • 4 Systems Every Church Needs

    You may or may not be a systems person. You may lead a large or very small church.

  • A Vision Resource for German-speaking Church Leaders

    ND Strupler, Leadership Development Director with the ICF Movement in Zurich, Switzerland, just delivered an early Christmas present to Auxano. The Church Unique Visual Summary – translated into German.

  • What I Wish Someone Had Told Me: Leading Pastors Share Thoughts on Vision and Alignment

    Every year, Outreach Magazine provides a profile of the 100 Fastest-growing churches in the country. This year, they had a few interview spots entitled, “What I wish someone told me.

  • My Love-Hate Relationship with Church Vision

    For over 20 years, I have been a big advocate of the need for churches and ministries to get clear about the vision that God is leading them to. I still think that a clear, shared, compelling vision is important and powerful, and yet … I have seen many churches with wonderful vision statements and no forward momentum.

  • The Culture Around Your Church Determines How Best to Reach It

    Emotional Relevance A second principle behind contagious Christianity is emotional relevance.    The European Enlightenment taught that we human beings are unique creatures because we are rational creatures: while we still experience the emotions that we have inherited from our primitive forbears; education has come to lift us into the life of the mind.

  • The Culture Around Your Church Determines How Best to Reach It

    Radical Outreach The contagion of culturally relevant Christianity and emotionally relevant Christianity are experienced fairly directly.   Take the case of a young man who is now one of our seminary students.

  • The Culture Around Your Church Determines How Best to Reach It

    What makes Christianity contagious?  We are sufficiently familiar with some of the answers: Contagious Christianity is imaginative, engaging, enthusiastic, and growing. Those four ways we know; but three others warrant some explanation.

  • Budgeting for the Preferred Future

    I've written about arriving at the preferred future a number of times.  My most requested talk features this concept.

  • Do You Have a Strategic Operating Plan?

    About a year ago, I wrote about one of the key reasons churches are stuck — they aren’t minding the gap. The gap is the space between a church’s vision and all of the ministry activity that’s taking place.

  • The Vision Vacuum

    In my nine years of parenting, I've attended some really bad kid's birthday parties. In my years in ministry, I've also participated (and lead) awkward small groups.

  • Are You Trying to Build a LEGO Church?

    I loved building with Legos when I was a kid. (If I could make a living at it I’d probably still spend most of my time playing with Legos) My experience, however, was different from most.

  • Personal Vision Questions for Your Vacation, Sabbatical, or Downtime

    This year, the stakes feel higher with personal clarity for a variety of reasons. My ministry is growing, my family is growing.

  • The Importance of Values in Shaping the Culture of Your Church

    Four Values and Four Principles 1) God values people. He values them so much He would leave the 99 who are safe and healthy to go after a single one who is lost.

  • The Importance of Values in Shaping the Culture of Your Church

    The Power of a Discipleship Culture Our visitors commonly ask, “How much staff does it take to run a church of this size?” They’re often surprised to learn it’s less than 400—less than half a percent of the number of people who attend our services. It’s a telling illustration of the power of discipleship.

  • The Importance of Values in Shaping the Culture of Your Church

    Our church, Victory Church in Manila, was planted 28 years ago. Steve Murrell, the founder, is an American missionary who wisely built by creating a culture of discipleship, which for the last 12 years has caused the church to grow at an annual average rate of between 22 percent and 26 percent.

  • The Importance of Values in Shaping the Culture of Your Church

    What are the Great Commission building blocks and transferrable principles for seeing your church lead a movement of Christ followers? In March of this year, two pastors from Michigan and Florida made the trek to Manila to check out our church. Soon into their visit, they expressed their amazement at the way we did church, particularly intrigued by this idea of being one church with multiple services in multiple sites and with multiple preachers.

  • Reiterate Your Vision with Faith and Force, by John Piper

    John Piper has a lot to say to church leaders. But he often doesn’t address vision casting directly.

  • Steve Jobs Delivers 3 Life Lessons on Personal Clarity

    Steve Jobs, one of the world’s most influential inventors, died in October 2011, but his impact lives on in many ways.  If you have the slightest interest in pursuing a personal vision, this 15 minute video is a must watch.

  • The Guide to Ministry Model Making

    In the introduction to Church Unique, I shared my passion that  instead of  leading a great model, “I would rather work behind the scenes as a model maker. My greatest joy is seeing a leader for the first time articulate a stunningly unique model of ministry for his or her church.

  • 2012 Barna Report: Pastors Are Most Interested in Clarity of Church’s Vision & Mission

    As I’ve watched conversations over the past decade, I have observed a growing interest from church leaders in getting mission and vision right.  The latest Barna Group report that studied how pastors plan to improve their churches in the coming year affirms this.

  • A Vision Analysis of the Kony 2012 Video

    If you have not seen the 30-minute Kony 2012 video yet from Invisible Children, I encourage you to do so.  It’s one of the best vision videos you will ever see.

  • Unsame Your Ministry Vision, Part 3

    Now let’s examine a second definition for the word default: Default: A selection made usually automatically or without active consideration due to lack of a viable alternative This definition exposes the liability of that darned hidden vision switch. What’s at stake? Pastors make “automatic” decisions without “active consideration” of “viable alternatives.

  • Unsame Your Ministry Vision, Part 2

    What they are really saying is… “We want more of the same thing the same way. ” Or to spell it out a little more… “We want more of the same thing (people in attendance) the same way (with our existing worship and program offerings).

  • 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.

  • Facebook’s Five Core Values and What It Means for Your Ministry

    When Mark Zuckerberg wrote a letter to potential investors, he unpacked the five values that guide everything at Facebook. HERE THEY ARE Focus on Impact: Solve the most important problems that make the biggest difference.

  • You Can’t Love a City if You Don’t Know a City, Part 1

    "The city" is an emerging phrase that seems to be embraced by a growing number of Christians. I intentionally say they are embracing the phrase, because I do not think that all are actually embracing the city, but rather they are embracing the idea of embracing the city.

  • Strategy in the Zone of Mediocrity

    Kevin Hendry talks about "the zone of mediocrity" in the language of business, but many churches also find themselves in the same place. Do you recognize some of the symptoms he lists below? Several years ago I had a discussion with an MBA class on how to recognise good or bad strategy.

  • You Can’t Love a City if You Don’t Know a City, Part 5

    I've been slowly working through this series about how to understand our cities so we can better reach them with the gospel. In today's post, which I co-wrote with Philip Nation, we want to focus in on how to get a study started and what might be the result from one in your own city.

  • You Can’t Love a City if You Don’t Know a City, Part 6

    Today on the blog I have Glenn Barth dropping by as we continue looking at city reaching from a research perspective. Glenn is well-known in the city reaching community (and yes, there is a community working on these ideas).

  • You Can’t Love a City if You Don’t Know a City, Part 4

    I've been working through some idea about researching a city in order to reach a city. In part 2, I introduced a case study of church planting in Baltimore / Washington.

  • You Can’t Love a City if You Don’t Know a City, Part 3

    This is part 3 of a series on city research entitled, "You Can't Love a City if You Don't Know a City. " When working in city research, you have to consider what to include.

  • You Can’t Love a City if You Don’t Know a City, Part 2

    Last week, I started a new series on city research and analysis. I will be taking several approaches, with examples and case studies along the way.

  • What’s the Deal with the Church Growth Movement, Part 3

    In my last post I highlighted three negative unintentional outcomes of the Church Growth Movement. I champion missiologists like Donald McGavran, Win Arn, and others who wanted a missiological focus.

  • What’s the Deal with the Church Growth Movement, Part 2

    As I continue my series about the Church Growth Movement I want to look at three ways the Church Growth Movement evolved. As I said previously, it is easy to take issue with something that was birthed in the 60's (Volkswagen vans and the Beatles were not all bad).

  • What’s the Deal with the Church Growth Movement, Part 1

    Today, I begin a blog series that takes a closer look at the Church Growth Movement. Our approach to church today has been shaped by this movement whether we are conscious of it or not.

  • Is Your Church’s Vision Clear? How Clarity Changes Everything

    Clarity Evangelist Will Mancini talks about Vision Clarity: "We're addicted to product, but it's process that makes the difference. " Click the video above to hear a short interview by Jeff Moors and Think International.

  • When Tragedy Strikes Your Community, Will Vision Direct Response?

    The church of Vision Room contributor, Rich Birch is starting a rally due to Hurricane Sandy. We wanted Vision Room readers to know about this initiative.

  • The Future of Christianity in the USA

    Last week, I gave some reflections here on the recent Pew Forum data, most specifically about the rise of the "Nones. " I was glad to write more about the issue for USA Today.

  • 4 Keys to Creating Momentum in Your Church

    At times momentum can be an illusive goal. It seems to come when least expected, and dissipates when we feel it should be present.

  • The Vision Veil

    When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the tablets (the 2nd time around), his face was lit up with the glory of God. His countenance was so radiant that he had to cover his face with a veil.

  • A Vision Backer’s Audition

    The other week I saw an interesting facet about the production of plays that I think applies beautifully to the all-important practice of casting vision. Sometimes a new play or film needs outside investment to get off the ground.

  • The Rise of the Nones

    Recently, the Pew Forum released, and USAToday's ever-vigilant Cathy Grossman reported on, another study that I think is helpful for us to understand the context in which we live. In the study, they indicate that the number of Americans with no religious affiliation (identified as the "Nones," as in "none of the above") is climbing.

  • Denying Facts You Don’t Like

    Transformational leaders don't start by denying the world around them. Instead, they describe a future they'd like to create instead.

  • 5 Areas Every Church Should Know How to Measure

    I want to revisit the five primary spheres of church ministry that leaders should be tracking, quantifying, and measuring. All five areas can and should be covered on a regular basis and in a systematic way.

  • Turning Problems into Solutions

    Turning problems into solutions is really a part of our DNA - it's how we make the impossible, possible. .

  • Creativity, Imagination, and Innovation

    Whether it's education, business or a nation, significant accomplishments require us to look beyond our initial perceptions. They take vision, clear goals and unwavering commitment.

  • How to Have a Stunningly Clear Vision for Your Church

    I believe that every gospel-centered church should have a stunningly unique vision. Now it’s possible for church teams everywhere to have access to a guided process to discover, develop and deliver a clear vision.

  • 5 Steps for Courageously Tweaking Your Ministry

    Step One: Ask “Who?” Consider who created the pattern, the model, “the how” of your particular ministry area or ministry responsibility. Did it come from a book, another church (conference), the previous pastor? Someone was the designer.

  • 4 Popular Perspectives on Church in the Last 50 Years (and How the Term “Missional” Fits In)

    A pastor friend sent me an e-mail yesterday asking for some guidance with a missional book  reading list by Sentralized.  As I typed a response, I sent him a chapter that puts “missional” in perspective of how we think about church.

  • 3 Leadership Biases Holding Your Church Back

    The single greatest advantage any company can achieve is organizational health. Yet it is ignored by most leaders even though it is simple, free, and available to anyone who wants it.

  • Christ Fellowship Miami Strategy Book

    Christ Fellowship Miami has done an excellent job defining strategy as their missional map. This map is the process or picture that demonstrates how the church will accomplish its mandate on the broadest level.

  • Church Unique Visual Summary

    The most recent tool in the Church Unique toolbox is the Visual Summary highlighting the key concepts in an entirely enjoyable format. The Church Unique Visual Summary is highly graphic and visually stimulating.

  • Have You Defined What Matters Most for Your Church?

    In this chapter of Church Unique we explore what happens with a stale approach to articulating values and how to do it well from a missional reorientation. .

  • Mission as Mandate

    This chapter discusses the problems of the mission statement, and provides tools and illustrations to articulation your own mission statement as a missional mandate. .

  • The Ultimate Guide to Articulating Vision

    The opening parable of three brick makers that sets the stage for how to articulate vision. .

  • See With New Eyes

    This chapter provides an overview of the Vision Frame. .

  • Field Notes on the Kingdom Concept

    This chapter shares some field notes on Kingdom Concept discovery in order to help others catch what this process really looks like, including common troubleshooting issues. .

  • Church Leader: Do You Know Your Kingdom Concept?

    In Chapter 9 of Church Unique, I introduce a radical idea called the Kingdom Concept that calls leaders to an unprecedented level of clarity. .

  • Learning from Vision Legacies

    In Chapter 8 of Church Unique, I cover the importance of learning from vision legacies. Many pastors today never take the time to look back at the visionaries that have come before them.

  • Ultimate Clarity is Anchored in Jesus

    In Chapter 7 of Church Unique, I share how ultimate clarity is anchored in Jesus Christ. Any idea you ever had about the future was in the mind of God first.

  • 4 Ways to Prepare Yourself for a Vision Process

    In Chapter 6 of Church Unique I talk about four imperatives that a leader must embrace to get through the tunnel of chaos to find stunning clarity on the other side. .

  • 9 Reasons Why Clarity Catalyzes Movement

    In Chapter 5 of Church Unique, I discuss nine reasons why clarity is important because of the way it catalyzes movement. .

  • How to Get Started on Clarity

    An overview of Part 2 of Church Unique: Clarifying Vision. .

  • Lost Congregations: 4 Things That Replace Vision

    In Chapter 4 of Church Unique, I discuss how individuals maintain a "malnourished identity" as a result of the anorexic vision in the church. .

  • Clarity Transcends Methodology

    In Chapter 3 of Church Unique, I share an overview of the last 50 years of church methodology, reveal the real culprit with church growth, and explain how clarity transcends methodology. .

  • What’s Wrong with Strategic Planning?

    In Chapter 2 of Church Unique, I discuss three fallacies with the use of classic strategic planning in the church. .

  • Unoriginal Sin

    In Chapter 1 of Church Unique, I share the foundation of why each church has a unique vision, and explain how church leaders have lost their imaginative thinking today. This chapter is where Will first wrote on "Thinkholes" a topic of much interest from readers and audiences.

  • Church Unique Video Blog

    This is the first video of many short soundbites that will overview the contents of Church Unique, How Missional Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture and Create Movement. Clarity Evangelist Will Mancini starts with "Why I wrote Church Unique" and will continue the series with 60-second overviews of each chapter.

  • A Big Question for Max Lucado

    This is the story of why Max Lucado wrote the foreword to Church Unique, How Missional Leaders Cast Vision Capture Culture and Create Movement, by Will Mancini. .

  • Church Unique Introduction

    A brief overview of the Introduction to Church Unique. .

  • It’s Time to Recast Vision

    Part One of Church Unique is unpacked: Recasting Your Vision. .

  • Are You Ready for the Future?

    What can you do to prepare yourself for the VUCA world of the future? VUCA stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. Bob Johansen, a long-time futurist, former president of the Institute for the Future (IFTF) and author, insists that forecasts and predictions are not immutable outcomes.

  • How to Innovate Like a Shark

    In 1975 a young director with no big films credits under his belt, set out to make a horror film. Steven Spielberg wanted his film filled with violent and gory shark attacks.

  • The Cost of Church Revitalization

    I'm amazed by these words by researcher Ed Stetzer in his book Planting Missional Churches: "Church revitalization does not happen much, but it does happen sometimes. I have been struck by how infrequently it actually occurs.

  • The Value of a Long-Term Plan

    I read a blog post recently that indicated the death of long-term planning was imminent. Their point was that we need to be so flexible in a fast changing world that we should no longer make 5, 10, or 20 year plans.

  • Dealing with Neighborhood Transitions in Your Church, Part 1

    Donald McGavran was a third generation missionary child in India and later a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary. His unique background provided first-hand observations of both the Indian caste system and mid-twentieth century America, including the rise of suburbia and the perceived superiority of certain classes.

  • What’s Your Mission?

    What’s the big deal about a mission statement? You see them on walls in company lobby areas and inside promotional brochures. But do they really mean anything? Do people actually careabout mission statements? Well…yeah.

  • The Next Logical Step…is Often the Wrong One

    When are you willing to pull the plug on a strategy?  How many times does a strategy need to have the exact same results before you conclude that it is the wrong strategy? When are you willing to rethink an assumption?  How many times are you willing to profess confusion when the outcome is not what you anticipated? How often have you begun thinking about the next ministry season and set in motion an almost exact replica of last year’s approach because you always have a small group fair right after Labor Day (complete with a catalog of semester options) or for that matter, you always do a church-wide campaign in the fall (and your existing groups love including new people for those 6 weeks). I can’t speak for you, but I can say that it’s normal to do again with only slight variation what you’ve done previously.

  • Culture in Your Church

    A church’s philosophy of mission is greatly influenced by how she views the culture around her. How a church views the culture around her will deeply impact how she responds to the community in which she is placed.

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
— Dave
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
— Argaw Alemu
comment_post_ID); ?> Amen!!
— Scott Michael Whitley

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.