8 Succession Success Markers

We are only ten months in to the transition at Mariners Church between Kenton Beshore (long-time senior pastor) and me (the new guy). But we are frequently receiving phone calls from churches that see succession from a long-time senior to a new leader in their not-so-distant future. The healthy relationship Kenton and I share is truly God’s grace to me, to our church, and I believe to Kenton as well. While ultimately the transition is the Lord’s work, there are practical lessons along the way. Here are eight things Kenton has done, and is doing, for me to make this transition as smooth as possible—eight ways to treat your successor:

1. With support

Countless times I have been in conversations with people in the church and heard, “I ran into Kenton and he was bragging on you.” Kenton’s humility to support me, both publicly and in conversations with others, has helped immensely.

2. With strategic hand-off moments

Kenton cares about moments, moments that mark the transition. For example, my first elder retreat was Kenton’s last as senior pastor. He led the first session and I led the last. It was a marked moment that Kenton designed.

3. With presence

When I teach, Kenton is often there on the front row taking notes. He has been in my corner, not just verbally but with his presence. Often in leadership presence speaks louder than words.

4. With absence

There are times when Kenton is not around, which has helped me express my leadership, without wondering if this is a moment where I should pause and honor him. For example, the first time I spoke to our “shepherding elders” and their wives, Kenton did not come. We did not highlight that fact, but it helped communicate that it is now my turn to provide direction. How do we decide when presence or absence is best? We talk about it.

5. With history

Kenton has served Mariners for nearly as long as I have been alive. So I am an idiot if I don’t listen to him, if I don’t ask questions about the history of our church. Leaders who don’t listen to those who went before them are foolish. Because church ministry offers its fair share of painful moments, not all the history is pleasant to recount. Thus sharing history and the lessons learned from it is a sacrifice.

6. With care for the family

Kenton and Laurie (his wife) have cared deeply for Kaye and our daughters. One of the best encouragements they gave early was to do everything we could to help our kids love being at the church – which included swimming in the lake at the church.

7. With encouragement to make changes

Several times I have called Kenton about a change I want to make, to get his perspective. They are not big changes, but changes nonetheless – things like a change in scheduling devotionals on a retreat. Kenton has said, “You should make that change” multiple times and has reminded me that if he were still leading “he would make changes too.” Many outgoing leaders like the idea of succession as long as everything stays the same, which is a clear indication the leader is not really ready for succession.

8. With private coaching

I have a TON of growing to do. Kenton has a ton of wisdom to offer. How can a predecessor provide wisdom without diminishing the successor’s credibility? This is likely one of the biggest challenges facing the predecessor. In regularly scheduled private meetings, Kenton uses that time well. He is there to give coaching, as I need it. And I do. He wants to help, sees ways he can help, but simultaneously wants to affirm. Conversations in private are the place for that.

For leaders considering a transition, a succession, I encourage you to evaluate if you are ready to offer these. My gut feeling is that some of the leaders who are telling Kenton they are ready to transition are not yet in the place where they can offer their successor what Kenton is offering me.

> Read more from Eric.


 

To learn more about a healthy succession and transition process, connect with an Auxano navigator.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 
comment_post_ID); ?> good article. Where I would take exception in the seeming negativity to plant a church more organically/biblically through missional communities due to the slowness of growth. I think that's the problem with church planting in the US today is that speed of numerical growth has taken priority over true and authentic spiritual growth
 
— evansavage1
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How to Check For Blind Spots

One of my mentors, Brad Waggoner, has regularly quipped, “Most people struggle with self-awareness, so why would I think I am somehow different from everyone else?” He is right. Everyone struggles with self-awareness to a degree, and we are foolish if we think we are immune. Our lack of self-awareness in life and leadership is often referred to as our blind spots. I have been leading other leaders for a long time, watching them interact with their teams and with the team they serve on, and I’ve seen three common blind spots in leaders:

1. Many leaders talk longer than they realize.

Many leaders talk longer than they think they do. They can easily dominate meetings because of their convictions, their ideas, and the sheer amount of work to report. But by over-talking in meetings, leaders can unintentionally stifle the team. One practical way to combat the temptation to talk too much is to set a time for yourself and hold yourself accountable not to cross it.

2. Many leaders sound harsher than they mean.

Because leaders can underestimate the power of their position, they can sound harsher than they realize. Every word from the mouth of a leader is received with amplified impact, so leaders who bring sharp critiques to their teams must do so very carefully. If the leader thinks the rebuke is a “5,” the people likely hear it as an “8.” Wise leaders steward their words very carefully.

3. Many leaders change direction more than they know.

Leaders are often about new ideas, change, and vision. Because of that, leaders can err by constantly bringing new direction to the team. The team can sometimes feel as if they have yet to execute properly the last batch of ideas or see the fruit of the last direction before a leader brings a new direction. Effective leaders know that consistent direction over time is far better than constantly shifting the direction of the team.

Of course, there are other common blind spots, but these three can easily hamper a leader’s effectiveness. Blind spots can’t be corrected if the leader doesn’t know they exist. For blind spots to be corrected in a leader’s life, the leader must be in community and humbly listen to others whom the leader trusts.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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Thomas TC Gotcher — 07/24/19 5:21 pm

Excellent information, thank You

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 
comment_post_ID); ?> good article. Where I would take exception in the seeming negativity to plant a church more organically/biblically through missional communities due to the slowness of growth. I think that's the problem with church planting in the US today is that speed of numerical growth has taken priority over true and authentic spiritual growth
 
— evansavage1
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

3 Ways the iPhone Changed Leadership

Before we had kids, Kaye taught public school for eight years. When we found out we were having our first daughter, we decided she would take step away from teaching for several years. Her last day as a teacher (the first time around) was one day in June of 2007.

The first iPhone was released on June 29th that same year (more on that later).

After our daughters started going to school, Kaye decided to go back to teaching. She missed it and wanted to make an impact in that way again. She went back to the classroom in the fall of 2015.

While she was away from the classroom, the smartphone grew more and more ingrained into the culture and in the regular rhythms of how people live. I think if Kaye had been teaching through those years, she likely would not have noticed the changes in such a visible way, as she would have experienced them incrementally. But to go back to teaching after eight years off, the same eight years where the smartphone took deep root, was initially jarring.

Here are three changes Kaye noticed, as a teacher, after eight years off (the same eight years after the advent of the iPhone):

Speed of Communication

Before the smartphone, communication with parents and other teachers may take place over several days. An email would be sent and a day later the response would be sent back. The process was slower but also allowed people to spend more time formulating their responses and thinking about the implications of the decision. The smartphone has sped up decision-making. At times this is great and at times the result is decisions that are not been well-informed.

Expectations for Response

During the first eight years of Kaye’s teaching career parents emailed, and their expectation for response was within a day or so. When Kaye went back to teaching, and everyone had been using smartphones for several years, the expectation parents had on response time was exponentially higher. If some parents did not receive an answer back within a few hours, they assumed something was wrong – and not that Kaye was actually teaching a room full of kids. Our phones have trained us to expect faster responses. We both benefit from and can be enslaved by the heightened expectation for response time because of our phones.

Decreased Focus

While we love to believe we can multi-task, research continually proves we are not nearly as good at it as we think. Just google “multitasking makes you stupid” for a list of articles based on research, including one study that shows multitasking impacts your brain in a meeting more than smoking weed in a meeting would. Before the iPhone, the typical parent-teacher conference was different than it is now. You were able to get through 30 minutes of content and conversation in, well, in thirty minutes. Now those 30 minutes are often less focused. There is more “let me send this really quick to our babysitter,” or “my spouse is running late, let me check something really fast.” The smartphone on the table puts in everyone’s mind that this meeting can be interrupted at any moment, and thus lowers the effectiveness of it.

Are there benefits, though, Eric? Absolutely. When Kaye went back to teaching, she rarely had to run back to school to print something. It was on a doc on her phone. She could also easily check appointments, handle details in a quick text, and connect with other teachers in a group text.

But watching Kaye go back to teaching helped me realize that the phone has impacted us/ me more than we often realize.

> Read more from Eric.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 
comment_post_ID); ?> good article. Where I would take exception in the seeming negativity to plant a church more organically/biblically through missional communities due to the slowness of growth. I think that's the problem with church planting in the US today is that speed of numerical growth has taken priority over true and authentic spiritual growth
 
— evansavage1
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Keys to Leading an Omnichannel Church

Recently Dave Adamson wrote a compelling article on the future of the church based on the digital tools that church leaders now have at their disposal. He applied the term “omnichannel” to church practice, and his article was the first time I have seen someone do so. Dave does this type of work with churches, so he was not just winging it and throwing out an idea. If you have background in ecommerce or marketing, you are familiar with the term “omnichannel.” It represents the thinking that a company should align all of its channels so that a customer has a seamless experience across all. In other words, the customer could easily flow back and forth between a physical store and an online store and other touch points.

If you apply “omnichannel” to a local church, as Dave has done, you essentially decide it does not matter which channel the person you are serving utilizes to interact with your church or consume content from your church, and you want all the channels (such as your podcast, your live-stream, and your physical location) to offer a similar experience.

Here are five things I like about applying “omnichannel” to a local church.

  1. It is the reality of what is already happening. People are interacting (or desiring to interact) with your church in multiple ways. People may attend one week and watch online while traveling the next. Desiring that person to receive consistent teaching from his/her church in a unified manner is a good thing.
  2. It forces leaders to think about people not just content. We don’t just teach the Word; we teach the Word to real people and we must understand the people we are teaching.
  3. It can help break down ministry silos. Because people move across live streaming, podcast, and the worship gathering, staff in those areas must be coordinated.
  4. It helps churches use tools to reach people. Just as the Lord used the advent of the printing press to spread the Bible and the advent of radio to broadcast C.S. Lewis and Billy Graham messages, every new technology is an opportunity to distribute the good news.
  5. It helps churches think about the other 167 hours. Perhaps the most challenging thought that Dave offered is the challenge to think about all the hours in the lives of the people we serve, and not just the weekly gathering.

And here are two cautions I have about applying the “omnichannel” term to a local church. Though I appreciate the desire to connect people where they are and connect them more than one hour in a weekly gathering, ministry leaders must do so while also thinking about these two realities:

  1. A church is not a base of customers. The article was not advocating that, but the term “omnichannel” was developed to help companies think about their customers and their channels, and we must be cautious of any term (or thinking) that causes us to think of our church as a base of customers. A church is much more than a customer base. She is the bride of Christ and the family of God. She is a gathering of God’s people who are in community together and have joined Christ on His mission.
  2. Consumption must not be the ultimate goal. We must not desire the people in our churches to merely consume religious goods and services, but to grow in community and to live on mission. If we settle for consumption, we are settling for a vision of local church that is too small. Yes, let’s use the tools at our disposal and let’s sync them together to communicate the message of Jesus. But let’s be sure that we don’t equate consumption with discipleship.

> Read more from Eric.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 
comment_post_ID); ?> good article. Where I would take exception in the seeming negativity to plant a church more organically/biblically through missional communities due to the slowness of growth. I think that's the problem with church planting in the US today is that speed of numerical growth has taken priority over true and authentic spiritual growth
 
— evansavage1
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Shape of Your Influence – Part 2

The great (and true) quote that “we shape our buildings and our buildings shape us” is credited to Winston Churchill. Other less insightful quotes are credited to him on the Internet as well, but this quote is really good because it is so true. As I shared in this post, leaders form their organizations by forming the values, mission, strategy, measures and leadership development approaches of those organizations. Today I want to offer five more things leaders can shape that in turn shape the organizations they lead. Here is part two of ten things leaders shape that in turn shape the organizations they lead.

  1. Values
  2. Mission
  3. Strategy
  4. Measures
  5. Leadership development

6. Buildings

Kenton Beshore, my predecessor and genius friend, walked me to the center of Mariners church campus one day, a spot right outside our worship center. He said, “Tell me what you see and don’t see.” After I stood there unsure of what to say for a few seconds, he said, “you can see every entrance to every building but you cannot see a car in the parking lot. The facility was designed to keep you here. When you leave a worship service you do not see your car or a parking lot. We wanted that so that it would help you stay and connect with others.” The facility choices at Mariners have formed the culture I enjoy, as people really do stay and connect with one another.

7. Moments

There are moments in a ministry or organization that form the culture. Moments where there is clarity of belief or direction. Moments where memories are made. Moments where people are invited to internalize and commit to what is most important. Moments of honest dialogue with leaders. Wise leaders steward these moments well and don’t rush through them.

8. Structures

How an organization or ministry is structured is no small matter. The structure declares who will collaborate together and who will just politely nod at one another in the hallway. The structure impacts who is ultimately accountable, how communication occurs, and what priorities receive the most attention. Leaders shape the organizational structure and the organizational structure shapes them.

9. Systems

Andy Stanley once said, “Systems create culture.” A system has a powerful impact on shaping the culture because it operationalizes an important value. For example, if there is an effective system for recruiting and training leaders, the system helps create a culture of leadership development. We cultivate the cultures of our organization by the systems we create and communicate.

10. Policies

Because policies impact behavior, they impact how people in an organization relate to one another. By policies I do not mean the “rules’ in writing that no one takes seriously or have not been updated in years, but the standards that really matter (by the way, these should be the actual policies too). Leaders have the ability to set and shape these standards as they definitely shape the culture. Sometimes the policies conflict with the vision of the team, and when this occurs the policy must be changed as quickly as possible. A common example I noticed when I consulted churches was a church leader who would articulate a desire to develop future staff and hire from within the church, yet a policy that stated all staff must have a specific degree. The vision and the policy were at odds and the policy actually impacted the behavior, in most cases, more than the vision did.

We shape our buildings, moments, structures, systems, and policies, and they in turn shape us. So shape wisely, leaders, shape wisely.

> Read more from Eric.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 
comment_post_ID); ?> good article. Where I would take exception in the seeming negativity to plant a church more organically/biblically through missional communities due to the slowness of growth. I think that's the problem with church planting in the US today is that speed of numerical growth has taken priority over true and authentic spiritual growth
 
— evansavage1
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Shape of Your Influence – Part 1

Winston Churchill is credited with the insightful quote, “we shape our buildings and our buildings shape us.” He was correct; the buildings we gather in shape the culture of those in the buildings. The statement can be applied to other influences as our ministries and organizations are shaped by more than the buildings we utilize. Here are ten things that leaders shape that in turn shape the organizations those leaders lead.

1. Values

Values that are celebrated, championed, and reinforced shape the culture of a ministry or organization, and leaders set the tone and pace for how those values are emphasized. Unwise leaders arrive and declare a new set of values, as if they can speak a set of values into existence and immediately declare a culture out of nothing. Only the Lord can declare something out of nothing, but leaders can shape the values and shape how the values are operationalized.

2. Mission

Values are about identity and “how we live around here,” and the mission is about what the ministry or organization does. Whenever a leader clarifies mission, the clarity shapes the activity of the ministry or organization. An unclear mission shapes the culture too, but in adverse ways. When the mission is not clear and not consistently heralded, confusion and conflicting goals abound.

3. Strategy

The strategy is how a ministry or organization works to accomplish the mission. Leaders shape the strategy; they lead the team to decide where time and resources are allocated. That strategy shapes how the ministry or organization serves people. It shapes how people’s time is utilized and where energy is invested. Leaders shape strategy and strategy shapes organizations.

4. Measures

Leaders are partly responsible to decide what is measured, and what is measured as most important. What is evaluated and measured shapes the priorities and activity of a team in a ministry or organization. A scorecard impacts how people behave. If the wrong things are measured, the wrong behaviors are rewarded. If nothing is measured, then people invent their own priorities. If what is measured is closely connected to the mission, then the scorecard helps focus people on what is most important.

5. Leadership development

Leaders are responsible to develop future leaders. How leaders form future leaders greatly impacts the future of the ministry or organization. The values, skills, and beliefs that are poured into future leaders today will be poured out in the organization tomorrow.

Leaders must care about the values, mission, strategy, measures, and approach to leadership development in the organizations they lead because the organization today and the organization tomorrow are formed by those things. As you read the list, are there 1-2 items that require more of your thinking and focus? Shape them well as they shape the team you are leading.

> Read more from Eric.


 

Next week: Part 2

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 
comment_post_ID); ?> good article. Where I would take exception in the seeming negativity to plant a church more organically/biblically through missional communities due to the slowness of growth. I think that's the problem with church planting in the US today is that speed of numerical growth has taken priority over true and authentic spiritual growth
 
— evansavage1
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

6 Yellow Flags of Using Too Much Data

Data can be a leader’s friend as it is wise for leaders to leverage data in their decision-making. While it is foolish for leaders to ignore data, it is equally unhealthy for leaders to obsess over it. Here are six problems with obsessing over data:

1. You can find your worth in the numbers.

There are some leaders who find their worth in their weekly or daily dashboards. Ministry leaders are not immune to the temptation. In our sinfulness, a desire to reach people can become about the number and what that number says about our effectiveness. Having served in a rapidly growing environment, I learned the sinfulness in my own heart and needed God’s grace constantly to rescue me from finding my worth in a spreadsheet.

2. You can allow one metric to drive you.

Leaders who wisely use data look at more than one metric, as it is possible to allow one metric to drive you and lead in ways that are not healthy for the whole. For example, in church ministry, if a leader is consumed only with the weekend attendance metric, investments will be heavily weighted toward the weekend and away from focus on leadership development, discipleship, and sending others.

3. You can miss the bigger picture.

Some leaders analyze and analyze and miss the proverbial forest for the trees of data that consume them. By living in the data, they can fail to deliver overarching direction.

4. You can miss small data.

With all the emphasis on big data (learning through looking at data in multiple ways), Martin Lindstrom released his book Small Data to emphasize the importance of observing real people and not simply looking at numbers. If you obsess over data, you can miss the stories of the real people that are more than just data. If you obsess over data, you can lose your heart for the people the data represents.

5. You live reactively instead of proactively.

Those who obsess over data are likely to react continually to it instead of proactively charting a course and letting the data speak into the execution of that course. Those who obsess over data don’t lead with conviction but can allow the data to lead them in a myriad of different directions.

6. You can re-create what has already been created.

In software development it has become common to release iterations, gather customer feedback, and adjust to that feedback. Some have pointed out that while the approach is valid, it results in creating what has already been created. If you are going to lead a team that meets a different need, data is important, but you have to look at data in light of your overarching mission.

Look at data. Learn from data. But don’t find your worth in it, and don’t obsess over it.

> Read more from Eric.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 
comment_post_ID); ?> good article. Where I would take exception in the seeming negativity to plant a church more organically/biblically through missional communities due to the slowness of growth. I think that's the problem with church planting in the US today is that speed of numerical growth has taken priority over true and authentic spiritual growth
 
— evansavage1
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

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. The mission is a golden thread that weaves through every activity of the church. It brings greater meaning to the most menial functions of ministry.

It’s true that every church has a General Calling to glorify God and make disciples. Every church that has ever been, or will ever be, has that same universal calling. But each church also has a Specific Calling. God has called your church to do things that no church before you or after you can do. There are good works prepared in advance just for you, and your mission should reflect that! (For example, take a look at the different mission statements of these 10 churches in Dallas, Texas, all within 30 minutes of each other. Each has a General Calling, but it’s fascinating to see how their uniqueness is stamped into their mission.)

As you can imagine, the leadership team of a church is critical to the activation of the unique mission of the church. But as Dallas Willard says, “Familiarity can breed unfamiliarity.” Things that once stoked the fires of our heart can grow colder as we spend more and more time around it. In short…we just get used to it and the thing that made it once seem extraordinary, now seem ordinary.

Even if your church has a profound missional mandate and a mission statement that’s more sticky and viral than any Nike campaign, the sharpness of it can dull over time for your church leadership team. It is essential that we are constantly letting the calling of our church reach deep into our heart and shape what we do. (If this idea of a mission and vision shaped church really piques your imagination, check out this free download from my friend Will Mancini, who’s done a Visual Summary of his book Church Unique.)


Here are five ways you can grow your team’s heart for your mission, using five different kinds of spiritual practices:

1. Pray together.

We all know that the mission of the church is inherently spiritual, but it’s easy to let the spiritual fire die down. If there’s anything that can engage us with this spiritual task, it’s connecting our heart to the heart of the Father for the mission. In the same way that Paul says that sometimes we don’t fully know how to pray but the “Spirit helps us in our weakness,” so too will praying as a team into the mission ignite the flame again.

2. Read stories from the Word of God.

Find fresh stories in the Bible that connect to the specific calling of your church. Who are the main characters? Why do they connect on an emotional and visceral level? How do these stories connect to the essence of who God has shaped your church to be?

3. Guard the deposit.

Paul instructs Timothy to “guard the deposit entrusted to you.” In your church and in your leadership team, God has placed a very particular deposit through your spiritual gifts, redemption stories, “hand of God” experiences and leadership. Does your team know what those things are? Can they name them? Can they see how God has sovereignly brought those things together?

4. Identify five new stories.

As leaders, we often times we use the same stories to point to what the mission looks like when it’s realized (we see this happen often in the Bible). Maybe it’s a miracle that happened or transformation in someone’s life early on in the life of the church and it because a kind of story passed down from person to person. But what about the here and now? Have each staff person identify five stories in the life of the church in the last 12 months that signify what the mission of the church is about.

5. Fast together.

There are all sorts of reasons to fast, but growing the heart for mission in the spirit of your team is a great one. Whether it’s giving up food for 24 hours or social media for a week, set aside a dedicated amount of time for fasting (which includes you!) and each time they feel the desire for food or to check social media, pray that God’s mission would be accomplished in and through your church family.

As leaders, it’s easy to assume that what’s clear to us and what lights the fire for the Gospel in our heart burns the exact same way. Whether you use these five ideas or have others of your own, I greatly encourage you to continue to recast the mission of your church into the hearts of your best leaders.

If you would like some help with developing or clarifying your church’s mission, I highly recommend the team at Auxano. Over a period of a few months, a navigator can meet with your team to see great clarity in your mission.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 
comment_post_ID); ?> good article. Where I would take exception in the seeming negativity to plant a church more organically/biblically through missional communities due to the slowness of growth. I think that's the problem with church planting in the US today is that speed of numerical growth has taken priority over true and authentic spiritual growth
 
— evansavage1
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

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. Putnam’s book was based on research about the deterioration of community in American culture. He researched lots of community organizations and networks but the title comes from what he saw with bowling leagues. While more people were bowling over the previous fifteen years, participation in bowling leagues was greatly decreasing over the same period of time. There were more bowlers but fewer people bowling together. Instead of bowling in community, people were bowling alone. Putnam warned that the move toward isolation would ultimately hurt people and communities. Putnam issued his warning before restaurant booths would be filled with people staring at their iPhones instead of enjoying conversations with each other and before binge-watching Netflix would become common in our culture. The move to isolation has gotten easier for us since Putnam first lamented the decline of community. Netflix makes it hard to stop watching. You are already opted-in to keep watching. You have five very fast seconds to opt-out. Social media engineers work on algorithms to keep us staring at our phones.

Community is becoming more and more counter-cultural. What should a church do? If people can bowl alone, can they “church” alone? Do we embrace the cultural reality or do we push against it? We absolutely must push against the cultural reality of increasing isolationism and encourage believers to be in community.

While ministry leaders are wise to use the tools of the day (technology) to spread the message of Christ, ministry leaders must hold tightly to the communal nature of the Church. The word for Church in the Scripture is from the Greek word Ekklesia, which literally means “the called out ones” and was defined in the cultural context as “a gathering.” Church is plural. It is not alone. Church is a gathering of the “called out ones.” Because of this a church must not make consumption the goal, but believers in community and on mission the goal.

In the Old Testament, God’s people were commanded to worship in community. Notice the plural nature of the call to worship in Psalm 95:

  • Come, let us shout joyfully to the Lord (v1).
  • Let us enter his presence with thanksgiving (v2).
  • Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lordour Maker (v6).

But it is not just “an Old Testament thing.” The writer of Hebrews captures the plural nature of our worship in Hebrews 10:

  • Let us draw near with a true heart (v22)
  • Let us hold to the confession (v23)
  • Let us watch out for one another and provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together (v24-25)

Is Eric about to bash “church online?” Is that what this is about? No, I am all for using the tools of the day to place the message of Christ in the context of the culture and people are increasingly online so we must place the message there. Just as believers used the printing press, television, and radio, we should use the tools of the day to place the message where people are. The New Testament was written in Koine Greek, not classical Greek. It was placed “on the street” level of language and not above where people lived. But as we share the message, we must hold tightly to the communal nature of our faith, challenge people to be in community, and provide opportunities for them to do so. We must not equate isolated consumption with church.

Read more from Eric.


 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 
comment_post_ID); ?> good article. Where I would take exception in the seeming negativity to plant a church more organically/biblically through missional communities due to the slowness of growth. I think that's the problem with church planting in the US today is that speed of numerical growth has taken priority over true and authentic spiritual growth
 
— evansavage1
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Are You Developing Leaders in These Key Places?

Where does leadership development happen? What environments are beneficial to leaders in their development? From a Christian perspective, leadership development is not constrained to one environment. Because the whole world is His, leadership development can happen in a plethora of places. Because He continually matures His people, God will use anything to conform us more to the image of His Son.

Here are six places leaders are developed:

  1. The Athletic Field

Several leaders I know enjoy hiring former athletes because they are used to corrective feedback, the discipline of practice, and playing on a team. For many years, high school athletes were encouraged to focus on one sport, but coaches like Urban Meyer, head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes, prefer to recruit athletes who play multiple sports. They like how the additional sports develop the athlete. Not only are multiple skills developed, but players also learn how to take on new challenges, to work with new teammates, and to fight through the difficulties that come from playing more than one sport.

  1. The Library

John Maxwell coined the phrase “leaders are readers,” and he is right. Reading widely can help leaders grow mentally through exposure to new disciplines and new ideas. Mentally stretching to understand a new discipline can help a leader find new solutions to existing problems. If the last book you read was one on a syllabus, you are not taking your development seriously.

  1. The Classroom

The relationship with professors, the community with other students, and the focused time committed to learn are the reason many leaders go back to school for advanced degrees and executive education. Much more important than the certificate or diploma is the learning that comes from a disciplined and systematic approach to development.

  1. The Job

Experience develops you more than any classroom or book can. The job is where you test the learning from the books and classrooms. The job is where you learn what needs to improve.

  1. The Home

Marriage is sanctifying. Parenting is sanctifying. Siblings are sanctifying. Roommates are sanctifying. The home can help develop leaders relationally. The home can help leaders grow in love, forgiveness, service, and placing the needs of others ahead of their own.

  1. The Church

Long before Robert Greenleaf’s seminal work Servant Leadership, which challenged leaders to view themselves as servants, the Church taught believers to serve others because our Savior-King has served us. Long before Jim Collins, in Good to Great, identified “level five leaders” as leaders who are filled with humility, the Church challenged believers to humbly view others as better than themselves. Long before Daniel Goleman, in Primal Leadership, identified emotionally intelligent leaders as ones filled with joy, peace, patience, and compassion, the apostle Paul challenged the Church to walk in the Spirit and display the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

The Church excels at developing leaders because the Church lifts up Jesus—the One who gave Himself for our sin, the One who transforms our character, the One who empowers us to serve others. Much of what is called “leadership” eventually won’t matter. In the end, everything done apart from Him will be worth absolutely nothing. The Church helps leaders remain in Him, keep an eternal vantage point, and offer themselves to what really matters. 

> Read more from Eric.


 

Connect with an Auxano Navigator to learn more about developing leaders.

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 
comment_post_ID); ?> good article. Where I would take exception in the seeming negativity to plant a church more organically/biblically through missional communities due to the slowness of growth. I think that's the problem with church planting in the US today is that speed of numerical growth has taken priority over true and authentic spiritual growth
 
— evansavage1
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.