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. One stark realization came up: strategy takes more than three words on your website.
Every week I meet another church or pastor for whom their idea of simplicity, often inspired by the book Simple Church, resulted in simply organizing their website menus around three keywords. “Simple Church” ministry demands more than picking three words to put on your marketing pieces. True simplicity requires a conviction in a calling, courage to assess, confidence in a team and competency to lead forward. In most cases, the mountain of simplicity feels too steep to climb, so we turn around.
Here is why: it is a simple thing to maintain complexity, but it is a complex thing to maintain simplicity.
You really have to do nothing to keep a complex ministry calendar and confusing process of assimilation and growth. But to really become simple, you have some complex work that must be done. Hard conversations with people who love Jesus must be had. Stringent assessments of what effectiveness in disciple-making really looks like must be completed. Challenging seasons of sunsetting ministries that were once vital to the life of your church must be navigated.
For many of us, it is easier to fight the fires of week-to-week ministry and hope that those three strategic words we crafted will eventually work their magic. As a result, you keep doing what you’ve always done and then expect different results.
Here are 23 things you are probably still doing even though you read Simple Church:
  1. Still doing too much yourself without developing anyone else
  2. Still missing a clear path for spiritual development that is easy enough to draw on a napkin
  3. Still running on the assimilation class hamster wheel never really getting anywhere
  4. Still propping the back door open and wondering why unconnected people are walking out
  5. Still elevating participation above transformation because you’re just counting heads
  6. Still sustaining ministries that no longer contribute to your mission
  7. Still tiptoeing around sensitive leaders who confuse passion for purpose
  8. Still running events out of nostalgia, not conviction
  9. Still pleading for volunteers instead of developing leaders
  10. Still closing classrooms and blaming youth sports
  11. Still circling the wagons of theology instead of living the gospel in your neighborhood
  12. Still thinking that lots of activity must mean you’re doing a good job
  13. Still asking for more money to do the same things and get the same results
  14. Still building ministry calendars as if there are families out there just hoping for more to do
  15. Still programming as if the church were the center of life and community
  16. Still consuming members’ schedules with on-campus activity instead of giving them time to know their neighbors
  17. Still chasing past programming success instead of charting future gospel influence
  18. Still starting new, exciting initiatives without stopping existing, obligatory activity
  19. Still putting words on a wall one day and thinking that people know or care what they mean the next
  20. Still approaching discipleship in terms of products, instead of process
  21. Still trying to get somewhere with your mission without giving anyone a map of where they’re going
  22. Still running ministry that feels random instead of growing people in rhythm
  23. Still announcing every possibility of church connection instead of one next step into community
Developing a clear, and simple, ministry strategy may be vital, but strategy represents only 20% of vision clarity. If you have not also developed a shared understanding of the marks of a disciple in your context, the next steps will never be enough.
Find out more about what a fully-formed framework of real church growth looks like through Auxano’s Vision Framing process.
> Read more from Bryan here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Discerning the Difference Between Urgent and Important

On a recent episode of My Ministry Breakthrough, Eastern Hills Community Church Pastor Phil EuBank spoke of the maturing of his leadership as learning to discern the important from the urgent. (You can listen to the whole podcast episode here.)

Understanding this difference, between what is urgent and what is important, is a crucial facet of successful pastoral leadership. Here is the simple principle:

Not everything urgent is important. Not everything important is urgent.

In the day-to-day work of pastoral leadership, most of the urgent requests, tasks or conversations are not organizationally important. And similarly, most of the important requests, tasks or conversations are not immediately urgent. Those things that are both urgent and important do exist, but they are rare and easily recognizable. They are moments of shepherding through sudden tragedy or celebrating in a surprising victory.

When everything is both important and urgent, ministry is hard. In fact, it is nearly impossible to sustain. This is true for you, and for your team.

It remains then that knowing the difference between what is urgent and what is important creates margin and produces perspective for every leader in the organization.

Failing to steward the urgent and the important can also disguise, or even mute, the work of God in a particular moment or situation. There is something to be said about not being immediately responsive to every urgent request presented to the pastor.

The best example of this comes from Jesus in John 11. Upon hearing that Lazarus was sick, Jesus’ immediate response was nothing. He stuck around for two more days. Luke even tells us that: “Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus. So… he stayed two more days in the place where he was.”

Brian Dembowczyk of The Gospel Project captures Jesus’ discernment between the urgent and the important in this way:

“Had we written the script, we would have settled for so much less, wouldn’t we have? Our version would have had Jesus rushing to Lazarus’ side to heal him followed by a festive party of some sort. And we would have missed so much more that Jesus actually gave to His beloved friends. Jesus gave His friends a great gift when He allowed Lazarus to die. He gave them the gift of advancing their faith and drawing them that much closer to eternal life in Him, the Son of God.”

Even if it didn’t make sense in human terms, Jesus knew the powerful difference in responding to what is urgent and what is important.

In most cases:

…urgent requests reflect personal preference.

…important needs protect organizational clarity.

…urgent challenges request responsive appeasement.

…important issues require collaborative agreement.

…urgent tasks captivate within ministry silos.

…important initiatives motivate across ministry goals.

…urgent needs come with a moving story.

…important moments bring Christ-honoring glory.

The mature pastor sees the urgent request that is not organizationally important as an opportunity to develop other leaders through empowering delegation.

The mature pastor sees the important need that is not immediately urgent as an opportunity to take the time to seek God and wise counsel through collaborative determination.

As you face another week of to-do lists, programmatic activity, and pastoral needs, what is seemingly urgent that you should hand-off, and what is truly important that you should fix your mind-on?

> Read more from Bryan.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Significance Behind Recruiting One More Volunteer

On a recent episode of the My Ministry Breakthrough podcast, Danny Franks tells the incredible story of a parking lot volunteer that eventually became a church planter in China. It all started with a conversation with some visiting exchange students and a leader taking the time to do more than only help someone park their car. This ordained moment fuels Danny’s calling as Pastor of Guest Services at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. And it also challenges him to ensure that, each weekend, there is always at least one more volunteer than he actually needs. You can listen to the whole conversation here.

Without that backup volunteer in place, conversations that change everything are hard to have. To stop and talk means that a welcoming task will likely not be done. Gospel opportunities exist on your church campus every weekend, but your hospitality team may not be ready to recognize and respond to them. As the leader, it is up to you to recruit that “one more” volunteer to help provide the warmest welcome possible. Here are five holes in your hospitality to fill asap.

This weekend, put someone else…

…on the sidewalk.  The gap between your front doors and your guest parking spaces can feel like a long walk to the first time guest. Playing zone in your hospitality means that someone minds that gap, ready to receive a warm handoff from your parking lot team and walk alongside your guests into the front doors. Do you have anyone smiling on the sidewalk?

…in the parking lot.   The parking lot typically contains the most transactional hospitality moments every weekend. Everyone wearing a vest will necessarily be correctly positioned and focused, to keep every car moving and every pedestrian safe. Do you have anyone else out there who can engage in a relational moment if needed?

…at the back doors.  The invitation to return next Sunday may be more critical than the welcome this Sunday. It is easy to think of hospitality as merely a “before the service” need. However, the questions a first-time guest might have after worship could be much more important than those they have prior. Do you have people at the doors as everyone exits the service?

…in front of a counter.   The worst place for a hospitality leader is behind a desk. It is too easy to hide behind a table, to carry on a conversation with another volunteer behind a counter, and to forget that their first priority is to serve the guest. Do you have anyone positioned out in front of the counter, focused and poised to help?

…in the church office.  The office phone rings all week, and there is typically an operator or receptionist ready to give a warm welcome and connect callers to the appropriate extension. But on Sunday mornings, callers are likely looking for information or maybe even just reaching out for help. Do you have someone answering the phones on Sundays or will callers get an impersonal recording?

Auxano’s Guest Experience Navigator, Bob Adams, and I are hosting another great year of two-day Boot Camp workshops designed to help you improve your welcome each weekend. Most important, it’s not just about more information, you will leave with training and a plan! Find out more about bringing your team of five to this immersive experience here.
> Read more from Bryan.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

You’re Not A Church Plant Anymore… Here’s Why

On the last this My Ministry Breakthrough Podcast, Northwoods Community Church Senior Pastor, Cal Rychener, and I talked about leading a church plant 30 years later. Off mic, he and I shared a laugh about at what point a church planter can, and maybe should, stop calling themselves a church planter. This, of course, led me to think: “When is it time to stop using a term like church planter?” After all, I made the mistake of once calling someone a “former Marine.” I was quickly informed that there exists no such thing. Once a Marine, always a Marine. So maybe it’s the same with church planters.

However, I do believe that there are some indicators that a shift in the language you use for your church might be required. Here are ten signs it’s time to stop calling yourself a church plant:

  1. You just launched the fourth campus.
  2. Your middle school girl’s associate pastor is asking for a cost of living raise.
  3. You are considering running two Christmas services in the local NBA arena this year instead of one.
  4. Your time speaking at conferences on church planting is really cutting into your time running a coaching network of young church planters.
  5. Your publisher is really turning the screws on getting this latest manuscript wrapped up.
  6. Your school principal wants part of the south parking lot repaved and striped before summer band practice.
  7. You find it harder and harder to raise enough financial support to replace the blades on your helicopter. (this is a real thing)
  8. You aren’t holding your breath anymore when you turn around after worship to start the sermon and see how many showed up.
  9. You are giving serious thought to upgrading your LED wall for Easter.
  10. You look forward to a good old-fashioned Saturday night snowstorm that shuts down the city without worrying about missing a week of offerings.

> Read more from Bryan.

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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COMMENTS

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RussellC — 01/30/19 12:31 pm

This is hilarious. Well done!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Breakthrough Guest Experience Ideas with Danny Franks

On a recent episode of the My Ministry Breakthrough podcast, Danny Franks tells the incredible story of a parking lot volunteer that eventually became a church planter in China. It all started with a conversation with some visiting exchange students and a leader taking the time to do more than only help someone park their car. This ordained moment fuels Danny’s calling as Pastor of Guest Services at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. And it also challenges him to ensure that, each weekend, there is always at least one more volunteer than he actually needs. You can listen to the whole conversation here.

Here are some key breakthrough ideas with Danny:

  • When God says “I am doing something…” words begin to create worlds.
  • Learn why nobody wants to give their life away to show up and help somebody find a parking space.
  • Why serving on a hospitality team is a lot of fun for about three weeks but becomes a lousy hobby if there is no substance.
  • If all we are calling people to do is show up to check off a box, they will only be excited for a short time. Train for this instead.
  • How vital is a welcoming ministry in a church where there is so much emphasis on the gospel and missions?
  • Is a First Impressions ministry essential? Answering this question with the Gospel is critical, here’s why.
  • Could it be that there roles in the church that we are presenting as family chores? Serving should never feel like taking out the garbage.
  • There are plenty of opportunities to offend people and make them uncomfortable when you see with first-time guest eyes.
  • We can do everything possible to make 60-75 minutes inside the worship service flawless, but if we are not thinking through what somebody sees first, it may not matter.
  • Do we need to ask – what do they see first?
  • Make sure that the messages from the stage hold up to the messages on the sidewalk.
  • The gospel is offensive but nothing else should be, especially your welcome.
  • Guests far from God may disagree with points of your sermon, but they cannot argue with the love of your people.
  • There are all kinds of offenses on a Sunday that we can fix… the gospel is one offense we shouldn’t try to fix.
  • If we make it feel like we love people, we planned for them, and we cannot wait for them to come back, people hostile to the gospel will eventually take hold.
  • Helping people understand the purpose behind needed changes is critical to keeping volunteer hearts engaged.
  • The why behind The Summit’s hospitality begins and ends with the gospel.
  • The big win of the weekend is that everyone hears the gospel communicated.
  • The Summit First Impressions Plumbline: The gospel is offensive, nothing else should be
  • The Summit First Impressions Plumbline: The why is more important than the what.
  • The Summit First Impressions Plumbline: Everything speaks.
  • The Summit First Impressions Plumbline: The first visit should set up the second visit
  • The Summit First Impressions Plumbline: Make it personal – every weekend is someone’s first weekend, meet people where they are
  • The why has to be more caught than taught. People should understand what matters most beyond just hearing words at a training meeting.
  • Leaders must be present and in conversation to ensure that culture is stewarded well from campus to campus.
  • Stories are the most significant indicator of cultural health.
  • Asking guests about their experience is a way to hear from guests and listen for systemic issues in your hospitality experience.
  • The first time guest experience is a health indicator for the entire church.
  • Stats don’t grab people’s hearts the way stories do… tell stories to motivate and to cultivate the results you want to see.
  • Gospel discipleship in every ministry means that people can move from parking cars to planting churches.
  • The majority of guest services conversations are transactional, but are your people available to connect beyond the welcome and into the relational?
  • The bare minimum number of volunteers result in the bare minimum number of gospel experiences.
  • You always need more volunteers – more people engaged in the mission creates more opportunities to engage people.
  • There has to be a passion for the guest experience… your volunteers need to see welcoming people as more than just family chores.
  • Nobody dreams of being a guest services pastor, but the reality is that Biblical hospitality is a critical component of following Jesus.
  • Guest Services are a biblical virtue expressed on an organizational level.
  • Essential Qualities of a Great Hospitality Leader: People person, Attention to detail, Dreamer not afraid to take measured risks
  • We don’t always need to learn something new; we need to revisit the truth over and over again.
  • Leaders sharpen their tools by reading – and not just leadership books.
  • You can engineer EPIC moments to engage First Time Guests.
  • Relax… let go of the perfect plan and the ideal event. Outside of salvation, there are very few things in ministry that are as life and death as we think they are.
  • We can sacrifice people on the altar of our idol the plan.
  • We are not here for the plans we are here for the people.

Listen to the whole podcast here.

If you want to learn how to create an exceptional Guest Experience at your church, check out Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp coming up January 29-30 in Newport Beach, CA

Click here for more information and registration.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

10 Mistakes New Pastors Make in Their First Year

Recently, I had the chance to sit down with new Mariners Church Senior Pastor, Eric Geiger and capture his story of transition for the My Ministry Breakthrough podcast. Springing off of our conversation, here are ten mistakes that too many pastors make during their first year in a new role:

  1. Attempting too much. There will likely be a long list of needed changes to culture and process waiting as you step into this new role. It is equally as likely that much of that list can be done over time and not all at once. Do not mistake activity for ministry. Plans are important, but your greatest influence will come not from the doing as a pastor, but from the being.
  2. Attempting too little. In this season, building relationships become a critical part of establishing your leadership. Meetings are important but so is making some needed and incremental changes. You will set the tone for the whole staff in your first year of work. It could be easy to mistake your desire to spend too much time getting to know them as instruction away from effective progress. Remember, it only takes 21 days to form a habit and your team will follow your lead quickly. Year two should not be spent breaking bad habits over fueling new initiatives.
  3. Forgetting the power of questions. The wisest leaders enter most of their meetings in year-one prepared with a set of thought-out and instructive questions. There is wisdom in placing a priority in asking, then listening for something to learn – instead of – telling, then expecting for something to happen. Also, remember it is often in the follow-up questions in which the most discovery usually occurs.
  4. Never leaving your last church. It is natural, and often necessary, to remain connected with good friends and leaders of the church you just left. You will miss some of the processes you helped to develop and some of your favorite places to eat or unwind. However, an unhealthy longing for “what was” will likely keep you and your current church from “what will be.” Using the phrase “at (fill in the church name) we…” too often is a good indicator it’s time to leave mentally as much as you already have physically.
  5. Trying to prove your organizational worth to the formal and informal leaders of the church. PowerPoint presentations and Gantt charts are useful and certainly make a new leader look smart. But, what needs to be proven – what is of most Kingdom value to those leaders – is your dependence on the Lord. It will be your commitment to His Word, to walking in the Spirit and to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ that brings the longest lasting impact to the organization.
  6. Equating time in the pulpit as equal to time with the people. Balance the time spent preaching and preparing to preach with time spent listening and getting to know your congregation, and especially its leaders. Learning who they are and what they struggle with will help to move your preaching past assumptions and simple anecdotes to applying the truth of scripture to the real challenges your people are facing.
  7. Forgetting to help your family grieve the loss of friends and ministry they’ve just left.Holding the two tensions Eric talked about is as critical for your family as it is for you as a leader. The best thing you can help them to do is celebrate the impact of the last season. Like stopping to watch a mid-summer sunset, gather your family to tell the stories of what God has done. Stop and frame a picture from this last season, then reframe from what is lost to what is learned. Think as much as about what we have learned as what we have loved. Help yourself and your family to look back, intentionally and briefly, like a slingshot to looking forward hopefully and expectantly.
  8. Spending extra time in the office instead of at home. In a new pastorate, there will be much to do at work. However, there will always be a lot to do. Ministry activity expands directly with the amount of time available. Be stingy with your time at home. Disappoint your congregation with how much you are not disappointing your family. It is more valuable to your ministry to care for your family and lead them to Christ in this season of transition than to be at every meeting or event someone else has deemed to be critically important.
  9. Believing everything the search consultant or committee told you. It is not that they lied or deliberately misled you – for the most part. Keep in mind that their perception of reality around your new position and their assessment of the condition of the congregation was directly connected to who did the reporting and to their hopes of the outcomes. In some cases, it was their job to present a prettier picture than reality. Therefore do not be discouraged, and remember that there will always be more problems than were first reported and that there are equally as many victories than were ever celebrated. In this new season, walk wisely, with great anticipation, and without assumption.
  10. Forgetting to take care of yourself. Establish a rhythm of health that is sustainable. Work out. Eat healthy, because you will be eating out a lot. Guard your off days as if your life depended on it. Understand the meaning of Sabbath and protect time away from study, meetings and to-do lists. Double down on a hobby or activity that creates room for your mind to breathe and focus on the Lordship of Christ in your life. Your inability to rest or set aside work for a Sabbath is a better statement of your theology than a sermon ever will be.

What mistakes have you made or seen made in the first year of a new ministry role?

Hear Eric Geiger’s leadership transition story here. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

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.
  • It is hard to truly rest if people are constantly in contact, and what to do about it.
  • Every leader needs to know their symptoms of exhaustion and unkempt health.
  • The importance of every small group having direct contact with this person.
  • Marry Biblical Gospel rooted purpose with a vocational dream and people are not just looking for a job after school, they are being sent into a calling.
  • The big problem of never really casting vision beyond week-to-week ministry engagement.
  • How does the horizon storyline work and why is it important?
  • Learn the art of “purposed nothingness” and how this makes room for the Holy Spirit.
  • The one big idea to having a church of deep maturing disciples who are loving caring people reaching the lost.
  • Three things that, together, are the source of life and effectiveness in ministry.

Breakthrough resources from this episode:

Island Community Church

Zeal Without Burnout by Christopher Ash

M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan

God Dreams by Will Mancini

Dangerous Calling by Paul David Tripp

New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp

Barrett Bowden is the pastor of Island Community Church, a young and thriving congregation in downtown Memphis. Barrett has a heart for leading the church to invest in its unique, urban context and to cultivate missional leaders with a heart for the nations. Barrett is married to Michelle, an adolescent pediatrician in the Memphis area, and they have one adorable daughter, Caroline Jane.

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

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. This idea surfaced last week on the latest My Ministry Breakthrough podcast.

Barrett Bowden, lead pastor of Island Community Church in downtown Memphis, and I discussed one word in their mission. Using “our” instead of “the” when talking about a calling to the world immediately made ICC’s missional mandate intensively relevant to each person.

One word may seem minor, but imagine the difference between “being transformed by Jesus to impact the world” versus “being transformed by Jesus to impact our world.” One names an ethereal, general notion of outreach. The other forces people to consider how the Gospel will impact their neighbors, co-workers, and classmates – as well as distant people groups in other countries. As Barrett stated it:

“We should have that shared ownership of our local context, our neighborhood, but also distant peoples. God gives us, the local church, that burden… and opportunity. It is ours to own, and to joyfully see it, and then go after it.”

One word will make the difference between people smiling and nodding when you cast vision from the mission – or being moved to imagine and envision themselves on-mission in everyday life.

One word engages people beyond fellowship around a phrase into ownership of a purpose. Here are a few other church mission statements in which one simple word moves people from appreciation to invitation:

Visalia Christian Reformed Church in Visalia, California: Grafting each person into Gospel shaped community. Using the word each, instead of all or every, brings the object of the calling to know the unique individual, not merely a nameless group.

Calvary Christian Church in Burke, Virginia: Guiding people to forge a life-long reliance on God.Now renamed as Foundry Church, using the word guiding instead of helping leads every member of Foundry to both be forged and lead others to do the same. Guides cannot lead from the seats in worship, they have to be on the trails of life.

Northwoods Community Church in Peoria, Illinois: Inviting broken-world people to experience complete freedom in Christ Jesus. For Northwoods, it took courage to use broken-world instead of a safer, user-friendlier word like “all people” or “every person.” Naming this broken world draws every member into the understanding that “the world” is broken, “our world” is broken, and “my world” is broken, and therefore we must be actively inviting people to experience freedom in this brokenness.

St John Lutheran Church in Cypress, Texas: Connecting our neighbors to true riches in Jesus.Similar to Island Community Church, the word “our” in front of neighbors make it every person’s responsibility to connect in an upwardly mobile suburb of Houston, not just the staff’s.

Highland Park Baptist Church, Muscle Shoals, Alabama: Mobilizing all people to live as Jesus-followers. For HP, it was adding one word, the word “all” to an already well-established mission that shifted their focus from organizational purpose to an individual and missional mandate.

If one word could make a difference in your mission, it could just be an eternal one.

Auxano provides church leaders with a free 30-minute vision assessment call with one of our team of vision-crafting practitioners. To evaluate the words of your mission, schedule an assessment call here, or shoot me an email with a specific question (contact details here).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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Placing Volunteers Never Works, So Try This

Last week on the My Ministry Breakthrough Podcast, Todd Adkins and I discussed a bit of the difference between just placing volunteers in ministry positions and truly developing leaders for ministry roles. It got me to thinking… how would a church staff person know the difference?

Here are 12 signs you’re just placing volunteers… not developing leaders:

  1. The excuses of why they will miss this Sunday keep getting lamer and lamer.
  2. Lots of people fill out a card, next to nobody shows up for your training.
  3. Training keeps getting put off until  “things slow down”  and never happens.
  4. No new ministry has been added, yet the same number of vacancies exist each year.
  5. Your team comes to you for answers to every problem, even the most minute.
  6. Not much gets done if you’re not around.
  7. You’re banking on the worship service announcements to get you some more names.
  8. You’re proud of how much busywork you’ve delegated.
  9. Everyone on your team has a different definition of success.
  10. You have a ministry org chart but no process for existing leaders to take on a new responsibility.
  11. It’s easier to be jealous or critical of success in other ministries instead of celebrating it.
  12. You find yourself dreaming of ministry somewhere else and struggle to see a better future where you are.
It’s not just wordplay, there is a difference between developing leaders for the long haul and placing volunteers to meet a ministry need.
Which are you REALLY doing?
To learn more, check out these great Leadership Development Resources:
My Ministry Breakthrough Podcast Episode 4 with Todd Adkins of LifeWay Leadership 
Leadership Development Video Resources from Mac Lake
Leadership Pipeline Coaching for Churches 
Pipeline Conference in Nashville
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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— RussellC
 
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— Ann Stokman
 

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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. With a new podcast, Christians can now apply Paul’s advice during their daily commute.

Hosted by Bryan Rose, “My Ministry Breakthrough” is dedicated to telling the stories of churches experiencing key moments of vision clarity and alignment.

“Many of our guests may not make conference stages with their stories or be featured in big magazines, but that’s the beauty of the podcasting medium,” said Rose, lead navigator for Auxano, the on-site consulting arm of LifeWay Christian Resources. “You can tell stories with ordinary leaders in a way that’s encouraging and challenging.”

The inspiration for Rose’s podcast comes from National Public Radio’s “How I Built This,” a broadcast featuring entrepreneurs behind some of the world’s best-known companies. But instead of speaking to website designers and real estate moguls, Rose calls upon pastors and high-capacity volunteers to tell their stories of how “God build this.”

“It’s easy for churches to copy-and-paste vision from other churches,” Rose said. “But every church is called to be unique and to tap into its own DNA. God has a plan for every church that’s rooted in its context.”

Rose believes ministry breakthrough happens when churches embrace their cultural and geographic context and align people and resources to a vision that helps them make disciples.

“Pastors are visionaries,” he said. “The problem is many tend to rely on a general sense of where they’re going. This always leads to misalignment and competing pictures of what the future looks like.”

In the inaugural episode of “My Ministry Breakthrough,” Rose interviewed Will Mancini, founder of Auxano, about what breakthrough looks like for churches. Mancini said such a definition is hard to put into words but described the following traits of churches that go through such an experience:

— Church members and leaders begin to see ministry routines in a new, exciting way.

— An idea brings a quantum jump of energy to a church.

— A deep sense of satisfaction forms in knowing, “This is exactly what we’re called to do.”

— New confidence is created as the future of the ministry becomes clearer.

— Persistent tension in a church suddenly becomes resolved.

“For me, the most important part of breakthrough is there’s a trajectory change for the rest of your life,” Mancini said. “You know it when you see it.”

By telling breakthrough stories, Rose is committed to helping others learns what a breakthrough might look like for their own ministries.

“There are lot of pastors out there who feel isolated, who feel like they’re going through things no one else is,” Rose said. “The goal of this podcast is to provide an instructive listen for anyone who’s involved in leadership in the church, whether it be in a lay role or a staff role.”

Future episodes of “My Ministry Breakthrough” will include:

— Barrett Bowden, senior pastor at Island Community Church in Memphis, Tenn., which began in a living room but has blossomed into a large ministry heavily populated by Millennials and medical students living in urban areas of Memphis.

— Chris Freeland and Justin Atkins, senior pastor and executive pastor of McKinney Church in Fort Worth, Texas. Freeland and Adkins will discuss what it looks like to lead an established church through a name change.

— Chris Driver, pastor of Fifth Street Baptist Church in Levelland, Texas, a church with a membership of less than 100 that plans to launch house churches in small farming towns nearby.

“You don’t have to be a big church with big resources to have a big vision of what God is calling you to,” Rose said.

New episodes of “My Ministry Breakthrough” are made available every other week and can be downloaded at MyMinistryBreakthrough.com or wherever podcasts are available.

Auxano is the on-site ministry consulting arm of LifeWay that fuses vision clarity with five critical needs in churches: resourcing, leadership, execution, communication and discipleship.


The original story can be found at: http://www.baptistpress.com/51801/ministry-breakthrough-stories-are-new-podcasts-focus

Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.

by Aaron Wilson

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

See more articles by >

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.