3 Kinds of Results in Church Leadership

Instead of counting Christians, we need to weigh them. – Dallas Willard

Clear vision requires clarity about the results you are after. Any result you might desire for your ministry will fit into three broad categories – input results, output results and impact results.

INPUT RESULTS

Input results in the church world focus on the number of people and dollars that “come into” the church. Input results are important. You don’t have a church without them. It’s also important to measure input results. You can’t lead well without knowing them.

Common ways we talk about input results include the “ABC’s” (attendance, buildings and cash) or “nickels and noses” or “butts and bucks”  Every week, thousands of churches across the land will print their input results on a worship bulletin or review them in the next elders meeting. Input results inform the functional dashboard of the American church.

OUTPUT RESULTS

Output results refer to actual life-change outcomes that God intends for followers of Christ individually and together. Examples of output results include the quality of a believer’s prayer life, the skillfulness in sharing the gospel, or the development of patience as one of the fruits of the Spirit.

There are hundreds of biblical phrases and concepts to capture the wonder of gospel-centered output results. From terms like “spiritual formation” and “transformed living,” to “Christlikeness,” and “full devotion to Christ.” I have never met a church without some banner, slogan or mission that points to output results. Output language shapes the primary intent of all the pastors I have ever met. Yet while output results shape intent, most pastors rely on input results to validate the mission’s success. Output results, not input, are the only true measure of the mission.

IMPACT RESULTS

Impact results capture the broader effect of the church in the surrounding city or community. Think of it as the positive difference that is made from the sum of believers influencing a region or pursuing a specific kind of social impact together. An example of an impact result would be lowering the number of homeless people or reducing the percent of teen-age pregnancy or increasing the high-school graduation rate in an area.

A tree is a useful analogy to relate input, output, and impact results. Let’s imagine a Florida orange tree soaking in the sun and drinking in gallons of rainwater. We could actually measure exposure to light and absorption of water as input results. After all you can’t have healthy citrus without them. Output results reflect the total number of good oranges produced. Impact results are the happy faces and healthy bodies of little Joey and Suzi as they guzzle down fresh OJ with their scrambled eggs.

What is the significance of these three kinds of results for vision casting? That answer is for another post.

Meanwhile you might enjoy my new book from which this post was taken. It’s my first published work since Church Unique on innovation and vision. The title is FLUX: Four Paths to the Future, which is available to iPad and iPhone users through Leadership Network’s new app called Leadia.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Unsame Your Ministry Vision, Part 3

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Tags: , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Unsame Your Ministry Vision, Part 2

What they are really saying is…

“We want more of the same thing the same way.”

Or to spell it out a little more…

“We want more of the same thing (people in attendance) the same way (with our existing worship and program offerings).”

Let’s unpack what this means even further. When a leader tells me that they want more people, they are usually NOT saying two things.

First they are typically NOT asking for a different result. The result they were looking for yesterday was more attendance. The result they are looking for today is more attendance. And without intervention, the result they will be looking for tomorrow is more attendance. That’s the first way the hidden default switch works. We don’t naturally look for fundamentally new, different or better results, but more of the same of what we commonly measure.

Second the leader is typically NOT asking for a different strategy or revised ministry model. They already have worship offerings and some arrangement of additional classes, groups and events. The second way the hidden default switch works is by reinforcing the assumption that the same results will come in the same way. That is, the leader is not really exploring or imagining a fundamentally new or different or better model.

So the hidden vision switch reveals two default mindsets in most conversations about church vision:

Default Mindset #1: More attendance is our primary desired result.

Default Mindset #2: Our ministry model doesn’t need to change.

So what’s at stake for you?

KEEP READING (part 3 of 3)

GO BACK to part 1

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Unsame Your Ministry Vision, Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me explain.

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

What kind of answers do I get?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KEEP READING (part 2 of 3)

Download PDF

Tags: , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Steps for Courageously Tweaking Your Ministry

Step One: Ask “Who?”

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

Step Two: Ask “Why?”

Consider the motives and the intent of the person who designed the ministry you lead. Why did the originator of the ministry make the decisions they made? Why is your ministry designed the way it is? What problems were they trying to solve? What were their assumptions?

Step Three: Ask “What’s Changed?”

Somewhere between the original design or latest modification of the ministry you are leading, things have changed. Make a list of things that are different. Is your ministry reaching the same people? Who is coming now? Who has left? How has communication and technology changed? How have peoples’ values changed. What’s new in our community? Is your leadership style different now? Obviously these are a small sample of the countless questions you may ask.

Step Four: Ask “What Change Can We Make?”

After the list of what’s changed, consider how you can modify the pattern, design, for strategy of your ministry area or responsibility. What new problem needs to be solved today? What new challenge or new opportunity is most important to address? How do you need to add value? How can it be done less expensively? How can you reach more people? How can you reach different people?

In the end you want to be able to answer, “What is the most important tweak to our ministry that we can make today?”

Step Five: Engage Flux

Flux is the new reality. And flux is good. Fast Company magazine’s cover story this month is on Generation Flux. It’s not about an age segment demographic, but a way of thinking that successful people of any age must embrace.  Prepare yourself to change and to change things. Think not like a fast follower or best practicer, but like a future designer and better experimenter. This last September I released a little digital experience with Leadership Network called FLUX: Four Paths to the Future. If you want to keep thinking and pushing yourself as a courageous tweaker of ministry, I recommend that you check it out as part of the Leadia App, for iPhone and iPad.

Download PDF

Tags: , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.