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.

Yet in the midst of it all, life sometimes throws us a curve, and we are faced with a crisis of minor or major proportions. Or, maybe the opposite is true: an unbelievable opportunity for ministry presents itself out of the blue.

What do you do?

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Agile Engagement, by Santiago Jaramillo and Todd Richardson

Many organizations fail to realize and harness the power of their most valuable asset—their employees. Though they can be developed into a true competitive advantage, engagement isn’t attainable if the employee isn’t invested in the company’s overall success.

Agile Engagement offers leaders a concrete strategy for building, maintaining, and utilizing team engagement to achieve the highest level of success. The key? Team members must feel like they are a part of their organization’s culture instead of having it handed down to them.

Stories of failed engagement initiatives abound, and they all have one thing in common: they begin from the premise of “initiative” rather than the person. True engagement occurs when a team member’s heart and mind are activated in a way that leads to their motivation and commitment to positively impact the organization’s goals and vision.

Agile Engagement provides a deeper look into real engagement, helping you foster an environment that’s rewarded with unsurpassed productivity, innovation, and competitive advantage, as well as team members who feel valued, respected, and heard.


In the rapidly changing environment of ministry, it would be easy for team members to have the feeling of being left behind, or becoming less and less engaged with their work.

All people – and therefore the people who make up your team – are extremely complex. Additionally, people can change over time and with circumstances. How can leaders expect to keep their teams engaged in the constant of change?

It takes a focus on people over process, real engagement over cookie-cutter programs, consistent intentionality over passive manipulation, and healthy change over rigid planning.

In other words, your team engagement has to be agile.

We define employee engagement as an employees emotional and intellectual connections with an employer, as demonstrated by his or her motivation and commitment to positively impact the companys vision and goals.

Defining Employment Engagement

Strategic Alignment – Employees can both verbalize and actualize the core business strategies.

Understanding of Success – Employees understand their organizational, departmental, and personal success metrics and tangibly grasp their contribution to the company’s overall success.

Clear Communication – Employees trust the company because of coherent and frequent contact, timely feedback, and clear expectations.

Workplace Vibe – The overall environment fosters effective work in everything from the physical workspace to interactions between employees.

Growth Path – Employees have the opportunity to grow their skills through new work challenges and positions over time, in both managerial and independent contractor roles.

Santiago Jaramillo and Todd Richardson, Agile Engagement


Take an assessment of your organization’s current state of team engagement using the five measures outlined above.

Write each measure above on a separate chart tablet, and draw a horizontal line underneath, with a 1 on the left side and a 5 on the right. Using a scale of 1 (what’s team engagement?) to 5 (our team is fully engaged in our culture), come to a group consensus on a rating for each of the measures.

Under the left side of each chart tablet, list actions or events that define your engagement as poor or low.

Under the right side of each chart tablet, list actions or events that define your engagement as good or great.

Brainstorm a path needed to move those actions and events on the left side of each page to the right side of each page. Assign responsibilities and dates, and evaluate the progress of each on a regular basis.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix Issue 62-2, March 2017


This is part of a weekly series posting content from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders.

SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; each solution is taken from a different book. Additionally, a practical action step is included with each solution.

As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS Remix provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

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Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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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

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