Ten Ways Reading Will Benefit Your Life and Ministry in 2020

Recently I had the chance to sit down with Auxano’s Digital Engagement Leader (and Guest Experience Navigator), Bob Adams, and talk about reading. We captured the conversation on the My Ministry Breakthrough podcast as a way to encourage other leaders in their reading. Many of us will create goals around reading in light of a New Year and, to some, a new decade of church ministry. In this episode, Bob outlines 10 Benefits of Regular Reading.

Inspired by Bob’s list, I have added some thoughts of my own and set up a personal reading goal for 2020 for each point made. Here are ten ways reading will benefit your life and ministry in 2020:

Benefit #1 – Reading builds a connection between your brain synapses. Unlike visual video media consumption, the thought required by reading forms new connections in your brain by stimulating thinking. Video media already creates the scene, moment, or location on-screen, as opposed to your mind assembling words into a picture. Read to promote brain health and growth.

2020 Goal: Read for at least 20 minutes every day.

Benefit #2 – Reading reduces stress by being a mental pressure relief valve. Reading, particularly fiction reading, takes your mind to a different place through challenging ideas or changing landscape. Reading slows your body but not your mind, in the way that Netflix watching will. Just a few minutes of reading can change your perspective and affect your emotions. Read to be a better version of yourself.

2020 Goal: Read at least one fiction or pleasurable book every quarter.

Benefit #3 – Reading increases knowledge at all levels. Reading forces you to confront new ideas and process them in light of personal experience or other reading. Reading builds your knowledge base around a particular subject allowing multiple perspectives from different authors. Even if you are only reading at an elementary level (Bob unpacks Mortimer Adler’sAdler’s levels of reading in the episode), knowledge development still takes place. Read to develop proficiency in an area or subject.

2020 Goal: Read one book on a subject or topic almost entirely unknown. 

Benefit #4 – Reading expands your vocabulary. Many books are written for a narrow scope of readers, or from a particular point of view. These books often contain a specific vernacular. Confronting and defining words you have never engaged before adds new ammunition to your conversational arsenal. New words create new worlds in your mind and your life. Read to sound and be smarter.

2020 Goal: Learn and incorporate 20 new words into everyday conversation in 2020.

Benefit #5 – Reading makes you a better writer. Everyone who communicates is, in some way, a writer. Pastors write out sermons. Managers write staff evaluations. Teachers write lesson plans. Every conversation in some way takes writing even if you never actually put words into print. Reading reinforces acceptable grammar and proficient sentence structure. Read to write better.

2020 Goal: Work on one communication piece (ebook, blog, sermon, or consulting plan) for at least one hour every week.

Benefit #6 – Reading supports the skills to be an analytical thinker. This benefit can be a challenge. Moving beyond face value in an author’s words to confront their opinion or point of view requires effort beyond consumption. You do not have to agree with every author, or every author’s position, to appreciate their book. Read to strengthen or challenge your convictions.

2020 Goal: Read one book I would ordinarily avoid because I disagree with the author or am dispassionate about the topic.

Benefit #7 – Reading builds focus. Engaging with an author creating a case or setting up a scene forces a level of commitment and concentration very different from our quick-cut video-driven culture. Books take time to understand and to process. This practice creates an ability to stay in a moment longer. Read to remain focused on the task at hand.

2020 Goal: Finish every book before starting the next one, even if I skim/seminary read it.

Benefit #8 – Reading makes you a better speaker. You don’t have to speak to large crowds to realize a benefit in your speaking from reading. Hallway conversations are impacted by reading as much as platform sermons. Regularly engaging other voices helps to grow your distinct voice, as well as bring content and perspective to just about every communication situation. Read to communicate on a higher level.

2020 Goal: Read, or re-read, one book on public speaking before my first engagement of 2020.

Benefit #9 – Reading stimulates your mind. Some authors are more mind-stretching to read than others. Nothing impacts your dreams like reading Len Sweet right before bedtime. Creativity and critical thinking walk hand-in-hand across the landscape of the reader’s mind. Taking the time to journal and challenge the author’s assumptions strengthens your resolve, or where needed, shapes a reformed view. Read to grow in thought leadership.

2020 Goal: Chronicle the reading of ten books using a journaling system/technique.

Benefit #10 – Reading doesn’t have to cost you anything. As Bob reiterated, most public library systems are not only a numerical storehouse of reading possibility, but they also have the newest titles on hand. Leveraging your local library allows you to read a few chapters of the latest titles before purchasing a copy you can mark up and annotate. It costs nothing but time to check out some library books, provided you return them on time. Read library books to save money or preview before purchasing.

2020 Goal: Make a library trip at least once a month as a family.

Here is a recap of the ten reading goals for 2020 above:

  • Read for at least 20 minutes every day.
  • Read at least one fiction or pleasurable book every quarter.
  • Read one book on a subject or topic almost wholly unknown.
  • Learn and incorporate 20 new words into everyday conversation in 2020.
  • Work on one communication piece (ebook, blog, sermon, or consulting plan) for at least one hour every week.
  • Read one book I would ordinarily avoid because I disagree with the author or am dispassionate about the topic.
  • Finish every book before starting the next one, even if I skim/seminary read it.
  • Read, or re-read, one book on public speaking before my first engagement of 2020.
  • Chronicle the reading of ten books using a journaling system/technique.
  • Make a library trip at least once a month as a family.

Will I accomplish every single one of these goals? That’s not at all likely. However, if I were to achieve only half, the way I work, rest, parent, and impact others will be marked by these reading goals. Check out the podcast episode for a masterclass on reading in this new year. 

What is one goal you have for reading in 2020?

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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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3 Ways Comparing Kills Focus

“Keeping up with the Jones’s.”

Everyone knows the old saying – it’s about seeing your neighbor driving something new, or living somewhere new, or wearing something new, and then feeling a compulsion to match them at worst, or go one better at best. But now, the “Jones’s” are no longer just the people who live down the street or that you see occasionally at the meeting at school. The “Jones’s” are much more widely expanded.

Thanks to social media, our “Jones’s” are anyone, anywhere, at any time. We have at our fingertips the means of comparing our lifestyles, our children, or the lighting of our framed photos with millions, the vast majority of whom we’ve never met. So while we have always had the compulsion inside us to compare ourselves to others, the difference is that we now have the ability to compare ourselves to a far greater extent than we ever have before. Not only that, but comparison is something that just sort of creeps into our consciousness; we don’t necessarily intend to gauge our self-worth or identity based on how we measure up with others – but because we are constantly surrounded with the images of the best lives of others, it’s nearly inevitable that it happens.

But what’s the big deal? I mean, you don’t read any of the laundry lists of sins in the New Testament and find the word “comparison” in them. You might even argue that comparison is a good thing – that in a true capitalistic sense, comparing ourselves to others fosters a greater degree of competition and makes us demand the absolute best out of ourselves.

It is a big deal, though. And we can really only see the bigness of the deal it is when we look at it from the outside in – that is, when we examine some of the destructive effects of comparison to our lives. In order to do that, consider with me the brief account of Jesus’ disciples that is summarized in a single verse:

An argument started among them about who was the greatest of them (Luke 9:46).

This wasn’t the only time when arguments based on comparison were raised up among the disciples. Whether it’s James and John asking for esteemed positions in Jesus’ kingdom or all the disciples squabbling over their own greatness the night of Jesus’ arrest, it was evidently a relatively common topic of conversation. And those are only the comparative thoughts that saw the light of day. Surely there were more with them, just as there are with us, that we treasure and grow in the privacy of our own hearts and minds.

Here, then, are three destructive effects that come from thoughts of comparison, whether they are expressed or unexpressed:

1. Comparison makes us lose sight of the mission.

In the case of the disciples, Jesus was tooling them up to say and do the same things He was saying and doing once He ascended into heaven. They didn’t necessarily know it all the time, but Jesus was not just teaching the disciples – He was training the disciples to be sent out on mission for the sake of the kingdom. And though we might not recognize it either, we are being trained, even as we are to be going.

It’s God’s will for all of us that we are actively engaged in His mission in the world. Our day to day lives are filled with opportunities to extend the kingdom of God both in word and in deed. When we are engaged in the practice of comparison, though, we quickly lose sight of the greater goal that overshadows our personal privilege and placement, just as the disciples did.

2. Comparison makes us lose sight of grace.

It seems that, for most of us, the longer we walk with Jesus, the greater the tendency we have to forget the depth of our own sin. We can easily start to trick ourselves into thinking that sure, we were sinners and all, but let’s be honest – it wasn’t that bad. And that kind of thinking finds a helpful and able ally in comparison.

Our sin certainly doesn’t seem “that bad” if we can find someone who has done worse. So we find that person and compare ourselves to him or her, over and over again, as a means of boosting our own egos. Comparison pushes us further and further away from a conscious realization of how in need of God’s grace we are. And part and parcel with that is the development of a greater and greater self-reliance, which is the enemy of faith itself.

3. Comparison makes us lose sight of the worth of others.

When we live in a state of comparison, it’s impossible to truly love others – that’s because we are too busy using them to actually love them. Instead of selflessly loving our neighbors, they become rungs in our ladder of self, the means by which we climb higher and higher in our own minds. This can’t be so if we are to truly and freely treat others as image-bearers worthy of respect and dignity.

Or another example – when we are constantly comparing ourselves to others, we lose sight of a person’s contribution and necessity for the body of Christ. Instead of valuing what unique set of gifts a person can bring to the body, we are too busy comparing what the “foot” can do as opposed to the “eye.”

In all these cases, comparison just makes us lose sight. We lose sight of the mission; lose sight of grace; and, maybe most ironically, lose sight of other people. In order, then, to not lose sight, we must repurpose our sight – the solution here, as with most things, is not just resolving not to compare ourselves with other people, but instead to fix our eyes on the Author and Perfecter of our faith. And when our gaze is firmly fixed there, there’s not a lot of room for comparison at all.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Kelley

I’m a Christ-follower, husband, dad, author and speaker. Thanks for stopping here to dialogue with me about what it means to live deeply in all the arenas of life. I live in Nashville, Tennessee, with my wife Jana who is living proof of the theory that males are far more likely to marry over their heads than females are. We have three great kids, Joshua (5) and Andi (3), and Christian (less than 1). They remind me on a daily basis how much I have to grow in being both a father and a child. I work full time for Lifeway Christian Resources, where I’m a Bible study editor. I also get out on the road some to speak in different churches, conferences and retreats.

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4 Characteristics of a Relational Leader

Very few leaders possess what I refer to as “Stadium Filling Charisma.”

You know what I mean, a personality that is larger than life and people flock to be around that person.

When they are in the lobby of the church there is always a crowd of maybe 20 — 25 – 30 people gathered around them!

I don’t have that kind of charisma, do you?

The good news is, that kind of charisma is not a qualifier for you to become a great leader.

In fact, in some cases, it can be a detriment. Organizations tied to a leader with a big personality can become dependent on that person.

That can happen even at a church campus, a ministry team, or in a small group. That isn’t always the case, of course, but the point is, don’t assume that’s the ideal.

And most importantly, don’t think you are handicapped as a leader if you don’t have a big outgoing persona.

That said, some degree of an appealing personality is necessary to lead effectively, and to that end, everyone can have what I refer to as “Relational Charisma.”

However, relational charisma is not defined by the size of your personality, but the generosity of your spirit.

Many great leaders with a high quotient of relational charisma are more subdued, thoughtful, and some have a slight bent toward introversion.

So when it comes to charisma, don’t think personality, think intentionality.

Relational charisma is a kind of personal magnetism that everyone can have. If you want it, and if you are willing to work on it intentionally, it’s yours to develop.

Relational charisma carries an authentic personal appeal that endears people to you and allows you to lead more effectively.

This is the foundational practice to develop relational charisma:

When you walk into a room,
focus on helping the people in the room to feel better about who they are,
rather than causing the people to feel better about who you are.

In other words, make it about them, not you.

In concept, it’s simple, but in practice, it can be challenging to remain consistent with this idea. We all get what it feels like to be moving fast, and under pressure with lots to do!  That truth about leadership makes it more challenging than it appears.

It’s really more of a way of life; that is often life-changing for both you and those you are around.

A quick list of 4 things that will shut down your relational charisma:

  • Insecurity – You are focused on or worried about what others think of you.
  • Lack of social-awareness – You fail to notice or be aware of what is happening in the room.
  • Pre-occupied or distracted – Your body may be in the room, but your mind and heart are elsewhere.
  • Image focused – You walk into a room, and it’s all about you. How the people see you, the impression you make, connecting only with people who can help you, and your agenda.

4 characteristics that enable you to live out a genuine sense of relational charisma consistently:

1) You genuinely love and care about people.

You know if you sincerely care about others and when you don’t. My assumption is that you do!

However, it is possible to want to care, but without gaining some ground in self-confidence and self-awareness, it is difficult to genuinely care because you are consumed with your own concerns.

This is not an indictment; it’s an encouragement to give yourself grace and work on self-confidence and self-awareness. The idea is this, when you set your needs and wants aside, and focus on others, you become a “larger” and more effective leader.

2) You have a sense that something is happening that is bigger than you are.

Have you ever walked into a room and wondered what God thinks about what’s happening in the room?

It’s a great way to approach your spiritual leadership and embrace relational charisma.

Who would Jesus want to talk with? What would he say? What would He want to see happen in the room?

When you practice that kind of thinking, you gain a sense of something larger, a glimpse of eternity. You connect with the Kingdom of God and the body of Christ in a deeper way.

3) You possess a healthy sense of self-confidence.

A healthy self-confidence means you think about yourself the way that God does, nothing more and nothing less. With that as a foundation, when you believe in yourself, you know who you are, and you like who you are, your confidence as a leader increases tremendously.

You possess a sense of personal security that allows you to make your presence in the room about others and not about yourself.

In general, you think to yourself, “I can do this.” Not out of personal bravado, but from an inner sense that God is with you.

4) You possess a strong degree of self-awareness.

If a leader walks into a room and is mostly unaware about what is going on with others, and or has little idea how he or she is perceived as a person and a leader, their social awareness is low.

Gaining a stronger sense of social-awareness begins with a healthy sense of self-awareness and personal security.

Knowing who you are, your strengths and weaknesses, abilities and capacity, etc., help you become more secure in yourself. That security creates mental and emotional margin that allows you to be more aware of others, and available to them at a heart level.

In a practical summary, relational charisma looks like this when you “walk into the room.”:

You embody a positive spirit and sense of hope about the future.
This point is about your personality. You can be an easy-going person and still be positive, hopeful, and bring some energy to the conversation.

You ask questions and listen well.
Make it about their agenda, not yours. Smile, and if you don’t know them, learn their name quickly. Approach them, don’t wait for people to find you, take the initiative.

You look for the best and believe in each person you connect with.
It’s easy to find good stuff about people when you look for it.

You encourage sincerely.
You just can’t encourage people too much. The most important element in your encouragement of others is sincerity. People see and smell surface level hot air really fast.

You add value to others.
Ultimately your role as a leader is to add value to a person’s walk with God that results in their spiritual growth as a disciple of Christ.

Adding value, however, is not limited in its scope. It includes a vast range of practical value, such as helping people to be better leaders, parents, friends, and spouses, etc. I hope you lean into relational charisma as a natural part of your life. It truly makes a life-changing difference for you and for those you lead.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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The 5 Non-negotiables of Leadership

What does a leader do? The answers (and books) are endless. But there are five things every leader must do for the organization they lead, not least of which when it comes to the church.

1. Uphold Core Values

Every organization has a set of core values (At least, I hope they do). It is the leader’s job to uphold those values. To make sure they are followed, honored and embraced. If a core value is “excellence,” then that value is only as real and formative as a leader makes it by upholding it throughout the organization.

At Meck we have 10:

  • The Bible is true and the catalyst for life change.
  • Lost people matter to God and, therefore, they should matter to us.
  • We aim to be culturally relevant while remaining doctrinally pure.
  • It is normal to manifest authenticity and to grow spiritually.
  • We want to be a unified community of servants stewarding their spiritual gifts.
  • Loving relationships should permeate the life of the church.
  • Life change happens best through relationships.
  • Excellence honors God and inspires people.
  • We are to be led by leaders and structured biblically.
  • Full devotion to Christ is normal.

My job is to uphold all 10; celebrating when one is fleshed out, admonishing when one is not.

2. Cast Missional Vision

If there was one task almost universally affirmed for a leader, it is casting vision. But not just any vision – it must be the casting of missional vision. If we’re taking a hill, you need to define where the hill is and why it is worth taking.

Meaning: “Here’s the target on the wall. Here’s what we’re trying to do.”

On a more personal level, casting missional vision is helping individuals see how they are contributing to the vision in ways that expand their own vision about their investment.

It’s walking up to a person serving in the nursery and saying: “I’m so glad you’re serving. Thank you. Because of you, there’s a young couple in the service able to explore what Christ can mean for their lives. That’s what you’re doing.”

3. Create Unity

The Bible teaches that the number one requirement for becoming a pastor is leading your own personal family well. Why? Because the church is a family. Almost every organization would be served by being led as if it were a family. The question is whether it is a functional family or a dysfunctional family. The answer lies in whether the “parent” does the hard work of keeping everyone unified relationally.

A good leader works to bring parties together, work through conflict, and create open lines of communication. I’ll never forget a time when my two daughters were at a relational impasse at the tender ages of 8 and 6. Susan sat them down, brought them together and helped them talk it through. It ended, if I recall, in a time of prayer.

My wife is a good leader. My daughters are close friends to this day.

That is the goal organizationally.

4. Give Permission

Only a leader can give permission. This isn’t about control, but the privilege of turning people loose. A leader enables people to develop their gifts, chase ministry dreams, take risks and explore new ventures. In fact, the Apostle Paul wrote in the New Testament letter of Ephesians that the job of a church leader is to equip people for ministry. A leader clears the way for people to follow paths of God’s design and leading.

Going further, a good leader sees things in people and encourages them to explore things they never dreamed of for themselves. So it’s not simply permission, but provocation. It’s putting your arm around someone’s shoulders and saying, “I see you doing this,” or “I think you could make a difference here.”

5. Develop Other Leaders

I don’t know if I have ever read this statement (I can’t believe it would be original to me), but I believe it to the core of my being: “Only a leader can develop another leader.”

Which means that developing other leaders is one of the indispensable things a leader must do. At Meck, we’ve developed an entire Leadership Development Program through which we take 100 burgeoning leaders annually. It’s a one-year program that requires reading six books, attending three seminars (on leadership, mission and values, and the personal life of the leader), attending a three-day retreat (covering a course on systematic theology), cohort gatherings, engaging the annual Church & Culture Conference, and more.

Sound robust? It is.

It’s also one of the most important things I do.

So there are five things a leader must do. There are many more, of course, but these five?

All are musts.


Talk with an Auxano Navigator about leadership in your church.


> Read more from James Emery White.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James Emery White

James Emery White

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. He is the founder of Serious Times and this blog was originally posted at his website www.churchandculture.org.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
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comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
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Why Seeking Jesus Makes You a Better Leader

Years ago, a sweet lady in our church handed me a little slip of paper to encourage me on my journey. I unfolded it and it read:

God doesn’t call the qualified; he qualifies the called.

I’m not sure who said it originally, but I’ve heard and repeated it many times since.

And then, as I was re-reading J. Oswald Sanders’ classic work on Spiritual Leadership, I stumbled across this paragraph…

Often truly authoritative leadership falls on someone who years earlier dedicated themselves to practice the discipline of seeking first the kingdom of God. Then, as that person matures, God confers a leadership role, and the Spirit of God goes to work through him. When God’s searching eye finds a person qualified to lead, God anoints that person with the Holy Spirit and calls him or her to a special ministry.

I think the distinction we sometimes miss is that God welcomes everyone into his family, entirely by grace and on the basis of the blood of his Son, Jesus, without respect to any qualification in us. We’re all welcome – every last broken one of us.

But when it comes to leadership, God bestows influence and authority on those who have proven to be faithful stewards of smaller responsibilities.

In other words, leaders must be prepared.

But what does that mean? What kind of preparation is pre-requisite to being used mightily by God?

  • It’s not simply a matter of education – plenty of men and women with no formal education have changed the world.
  • It’s not simply a matter of time – the Apostle Paul preached days after his conversion (though he did then go to Arabia for three years of study under Jesus).
  • It’s not simply a matter of position – leadership is influence, with or without a title.

It’s a matter of having a heart fully surrendered to God.

Notice what Sanders points to as the sign of a person ready for God’s full anointing as a leader – “someone who years earlier dedicated themselves to practice the discipline of seeking first the kingdom of God.”

God raises up and blesses and anoints those for great impact on the world those who have sought the Kingdom of God first and foremost in their lives.

I’ve been guilty, at times, of building my own little kingdom. Without realizing it, a few steps in the wrong direction spiritually places us at the center of our own universe. There, our objective becomes building a life all about our comfort and accomplishments.

But when we realize and acknowledge that King Jesus alone belongs on the throne and as loyal subjects, our prime objective must become the ushering in of the Kingdom of Jesus all around us.

If you want to lead, seek more of Jesus. And seek more for Jesus – more souls in need of him and more glory for him.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brandon Cox

Brandon Cox has been a Pastor for fifteen years and is currently planting a church in northwest Arkansas, a Saddleback-sponsored church. He also serves as Editor of Pastors.com and Rick Warren's Pastors' Toolbox, and authors a top 100 blog for church leaders (brandonacox.com). He's also the author of Rewired: Using Technology to Share God's Love.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
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Be a Better Leader By Being Story Driven

Storytelling embodies an approach that is well adapted to meet the deep challenges of leadership. Situations in which story impacts people across an organization include:

  • Persuading them to adopt an unfamiliar new idea
  • Charting a future course
  • Attracting the best talent
  • Instilling passion and discipline
  • Aligning individuals to work together
  • Calling everyone to continue believing in leadership through the unpredictable ups and downs

The underlying reason for the affinity between leadership and storytelling is simple: narrative, unlike abstraction and analysis, is inherently collaborative.

Storytelling helps leaders work with other individuals as co-participants, not merely as objects or underlings. Storytelling helps strengthen leaders’ connections with the world.

After all, isn’t this what all leaders need – a connection with people they are seeking to lead?

“The mistake people make is thinking the story is just about marketing. No, the story is the strategy. If you make your story better you make the strategy better.”

– Ben Horowitz

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Story Driven by Bernadette Jiwa

Every one of us—regardless of where we were born, how we were brought up, how many setbacks we’ve endured or privileges we’ve been afforded—has been conditioned to compete to win. Ironically, the people who create fulfilling lives and careers—the ones we respect, admire and try to emulate—choose an alternative path to success. They have a powerful sense of identity. They don’t worry about differentiating themselves from the competition or obsess about telling the right story. They tell the real story instead. Successful organizations and the people who create, build and lead them don’t feel the need to compete, because they know who they are and they’re not afraid to show us.

How about you?

What do you stand for?

Where are you headed and why?

What’s been the making of you?

What will make your career or company great?

You must be able to answer these questions if you want to build a great company, thriving entrepreneurial venture or fulfilling career. Whether you’re an individual or you’re representing an organization or a movement, a city or a country, Story Driven gives you a framework to help you consistently articulate, live and lead with your story. This book is about how to stop competing and start succeeding by being who you are, so you can do work you’re proud of and create the future you want to see.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Story is the emotion that makes your organization come to life in the eyes of your audience.

For most of human history, we communicated through the oral tradition. A person shared something with another person, and if it was interesting enough, they passed it on to a third person. And if it wasn’t, the message died then and there. It was survival of the fittest for messages.

In this environment, there’s one type of information that passed along most effectively: stories. Stories are memorable because they are emotionally resonant, and easy to take ownership of. The storyteller adopts the story in their own image, modifying it slightly, and passing it on. Storytelling arose not as a form of entertainment, but rather as a mechanism for communicating deeply held truths across societies. We don’t tell stories because we want to — we tell stories because they are essential.

The reason online social sharing, linking, and direct messaging so quickly became a core part of society is because it taps into an ancient need for humans to tell stories to each other, without an intermediary. People are once again passing on the information they see as most valuable, and discarding that which is not.

Organizations who are looking to reach their target audiences and connect with them need only look to the ancient form of the story to understand how best to engage people today. 

By failing to also see our narrative as part of our strategy, we’re missing the opportunity to get clear on our purpose, differentiate ourselves from the competition and create affinity with the right audience.

Before you write a line of code or a word of copy, before you apply for that promotion or plan your growth strategy, and before you create your next marketing campaign or send that email, you need to understand what’s driving your story. Where are the roots that will enable you to grow healthy branches that bear fruit? How will you show, not just tell? What promises are you intending to keep?

“Story” is frequently used as a tactic to attract the attention of our audience. We agonize for weeks over perfect taglines, choosing logo designs and articulating features and benefits, often without fully understanding how or even if those tactics (the things we spend most of our time doing) are helping us to get where we want to go.

The hardest part is not only working out the mission, vision, and values that are the foundation of your business, but also intentionally living them so you can achieve your goals. You have to begin by getting clear about why your business exists. The very act of questioning your purpose forces you to dig deeper. It invites you to clarity why you wanted to make that particular promise to those particular people in the first place and to create an action plan to deliver on it.

Clarity of intention is where your story starts. Whether it’s obvious to us or not, the businesses we are loyal to understand what they’re here to do.

When your business or organization is story driven, its aspirations and strategy are underpinned by a clear philosophy that deepens employee engagement and commitment, creates momentum, and drives innovation and customer loyalty, thus leading to to a solid plan for achieving success.

Having a story-driven strategy enables you to adapt in times of change because that your story is bigger than the scene that’s playing out in the moment.

Bernadette Jiwa, Story Driven

A NEXT STEP

As Auxano Navigators spend hundreds of hours each week serving churches across the country, they spend a lot of time helping churches find vision clarity. Much of that time, as you can imagine, is spent at the big picture level, not in the week-to-week details. It’s in the midst of slogging through the details of what announcements to make and what goes in the weekly bulletin and how all our activities get communicated that clarity is most needed.

In other words, once you have clarity in your understanding of God’s preferred future for your church, how do you make sure that clarity at the big picture level filter down to the details each week?

Auxano Founder Will Mancini thinks there are four things that you must know whenever you’re communicating in order to maintain clarity and craft effective communication.

Know your audience.

Any good communicator will tell you that you have to know your audience in order to communicate well. And while that’s certainly true, in the church, this carries another level of complexity. Each specific event or program that you want to communicate about may not apply to the entire church. Your first question should always be, “How can I get as close as possible to the primary audience?” Here’s what I mean: Let’s say your church is offering a series of classes for parents on raising kids with a strong faith foundation. Should you simply put something in the weekly bulletin and make an announcement? That’s not getting very close to your target audience, and you’re going to be communicating to people (singles, grandparents, etc.) to whom the communication does not apply. Instead, hand out a flyer regarding the classes to every parent as they pick up their kids from the children’s ministry on a Sunday morning. It would be best to schedule some extra workers that morning so they could have a short conversation with each parent about the class and its importance to parenting well. Now you’re communicating well. This kind of targeted, more personal interaction is much more effective than a scatter-shot announcement or bulletin blurb.

Know your message. 

You must, of course, be crystal clear about what you want to communicate. Apart from communicating the details clearly (what, when, where), you must always communicate the why. Why does this matter? And the answer to that question should always lead you right back to your vision. With clarity on your mission, values, strategy, and measures, you should leverage that clarity in all your week-to-week communication efforts. How does this specific event or program move us toward accomplishing our mission? Where does it fit within our strategy? If you don’t connect everything back to your vision, you will end up just communicating a disjointed calendar of events that have seemingly no connection to each other.

Know your context. 

Some people may call this politics or organizational history. You may want to argue and say, “That shouldn’t enter into how and what we communicate. If we’re doing what God has called us to do, then politics shouldn’t matter.” Maybe it would be easier to think of this not in terms of politics, but in terms of relationships. Who has a vested interest in what we’re communicating? Have we brought them into the loop? Have we gotten their input? If you proceed without asking these kinds of questions, it’s like obliviously strolling through a field of land mines. You want to communicate effectively, right? You want people to hear the true message, right? Why not remove any potential misunderstandings or hurt feelings before things get started? You actually have an opportunity to get buy-in from these key players before communicating more widely. So don’t think of it as bowing to organizational politics, think of it as intentional vision-casting and inviting people to be a part of moving the church forward. Trust me, you’ll be glad you took the time to do it right.

Know your place. 

This is a special note for those of you that help to craft church communication from a seat other than the lead pastor’s chair. You need to understand that although you may be responsible for putting together the communication plan for different church initiatives, you are not the lead pastor. So don’t try to be something you’re not. If you’ve put together a strategically beautiful plan (in your humble opinion) that your lead pastor doesn’t agree with, be willing to change it. Of course, make your case as to why the plan is solid, but in the end, always defer. This is the only way for the organization to work well in the long run. I’ve seen too many communications people that try to bring about organizational change through their role in ways that only end up hurting the church.

If you keep these four things in mind, you’ll craft communication that’s much more effective in generating movement toward accomplishing your church’s mission. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

Stop and identify one leadership moment in the next five days in which you can live story-driven. Using Mancini’s four clarity pillars, answer these four questions as you prepare to lead with story:

  • Who is my primary audience?
  • What is my central message?
  • Where are the landmines of context?
  • How does my role impact this moment?

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 94-1, issued June 2018.


 

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

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

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

> > Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

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

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Three Leadership Lessons from Timothy & Paul

As leaders we cannot successfully walk through ministry alone. We must be connected to people who are ahead of us in the journey, people who are right behind us, and people who are walking alongside us.

Paul described this kind of multigenerational mentoring relationship in 2 Timothy 2:2: “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others” (NLT).

Paul and Timothy modeled three kinds of relationships all Christian leaders need in order to grow and serve effectively. Their relationship showed us that:

1. We need a spiritual father.

Paul calls Timothy “my true son in the faith” in 1 Timothy 1:2 (NLT). We first meet Timothy in Acts 16 when Paul is heading out on his second missionary journey. He stops in Lystra to pick up the young disciple who accompanies him, assists him, and serves as a sort of apprentice under him. Paul becomes a spiritual father to Timothy.

My heart hurts as I see the number of young pastors and leaders who are enthusiastically serving with big dreams but lack spiritual fathers. I’ve been fortunate: I’ve had many spiritual fathers in my life—from my biological father to other Christian leaders who have taken me under their wings. I wouldn’t be where I am without them.

I believe we can learn and be mentored from people who died long ago. For example, I recommend that at least 25% of a church leader’s reading be spent in pre-Reformation era writings and another 25% from the Reformation to the modern missionary age. Another 25% of our reading should be drawn from the generation just previous to ours, and only the remaining 25% should come from contemporary authors. We need to hear from voices that have gone on before us. Those voices connect us to centuries of church history. We must always be learning from our past.

2. We need to be a model for others.

We need to be an example of what mature ministry looks like. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he points out that, “You, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance” (2 Timothy 3:10-11 NLT). Paul provides Timothy with a powerful example for the younger leader to emulate. Timothy knows Paul. He’s watched him. He’s seen how Paul handles the challenges of ministry. We don’t just need a “Paul” in our lives, we need to be a “Paul” to others.

3. We need a partner.

In Romans 16:21, you’ll find that Paul’s relationship with Timothy has changed. Paul writes, “Timothy, my fellow worker, sends you his greetings” (NLT). Timothy has gone from being a son to a student and now to being a colleague and a co-laborer.

We spend plenty of time desiring and praying for more laborers, but perhaps not enough time investing in those with the potential to become our partners in the mission.

Do you have partners in the mission who cheer you on? Do you have other Christian leaders that you can lean on during tough times? Timothy became that for Paul because, for years, Paul had served as a spiritual father and a model for Timothy. Maybe one of the reasons so many pastors feel so alone in ministry today is that they haven’t spent enough time investing in younger leaders.

We need to follow the examples of Timothy and Paul. We need a spiritual father, and we need to be one for the next generation. We also need to partner with others so that we can serve more effectively and finish the race.

> Read more from Rick.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rick Warren

Rick Warren

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

7 Leadership Actions When Things Go Wrong

We love to lead when the sun is shining and the wind is at our back, but life and leadership doesn’t always go that way.

In fact, most experienced leaders will say that’s never reality. Things may be going well, you may even have good momentum, but there will always be obstacles to face. That’s part of leadership.

However, there are times when what you’re facing is more than everyday obstacles to overcome and problems to solve. It seems more like a storm at high seas.

There are times when your difficult circumstances create personal doubt and discouragement, but there is a way to lead through the storm.

This may seem like an unusual thing to say, but you can find some solace in knowing you’re not alone. These conditions have been navigated by many before you.

Here are just a few things I’ve heard recently from different church leaders.

  • Our church just got sued.
  • Our board chairman just became seriously – possibly terminally ill.
  • Our offerings have been under budget now for six months in a row.
  • Our student ministry just experienced a 13-year-old break his arm at the youth meeting.
  • Our worship pastor just announced his resignation without any warning.
  • Our new property planned for relocation has an easement that kills the deal.
  • Our young church plant just lost the school we were meeting in.
  • Our church has lost 20% of its attendance in one year.

Any one of these can drain you of enthusiasm and energy, but two or three at one time and it’s all you can do to hold on.

Leading in tough times when things are going wrong is difficult to say the least.

But it’s in the tough times that you grow more and see the hand of God at work.

7 proven basics to help you lead well when things go wrong:

1) Don’t panic.

Sometimes the situation is a surprise and you find yourself blindsided, and other times you could see it coming. But in either way, panic is not the solution. Granted it is easy to panic.

Panic comes from being overwhelmed and not knowing the way out. Panic is a result feeling trapped with no solutions, like being caught in a building that’s on fire. But if you panic, you perish. That’s true for you as a leader too.

Step back, get quiet, think and pray. Whether you have only a couple hours or a couple days, take some time. Insist on it no matter how big the pressure or how loud the demands.

Collect your thoughts, regain your peace, and write a few sentences that summarize the problem(s) clearly and succinctly. The outcome will be far better.

2) Own what’s yours to own.

The natural instinct is to source the problem, find blame, or place the responsibility somewhere else. The reason that’s natural is because the human system seeks ways to lower pressure.

There are good ways to lower pressure, like in the previous point I mentioned think and pray. And there are poor ways, like try to pass the hot potato to someone else, make excuses or fix blame.

Own what is yours personally to own and take responsibility for the whole situation. This will not only help you grow as a leader but will increase the people’s trust in you and respect for you.

3) Get in front of it.

In many cases you may already feel behind the curve. I understand that. But whatever your circumstance, now is the best time to get out in font and lead.

It starts with what I talked about in the previous point. Own it. Take responsibility. And you need to go public. (Important note: Not necessarily to the whole congregation, but to the appropriate group, and that may be the whole congregation.)

The only thing worse than a leader facing serious troubles is if it seems like either the leader doesn’t know they’re facing big problems or if they are sticking their head in the sand and doing nothing about it.

People are resilient, they can handle more than you think. Don’t keep them in the dark. When trust is established, your people can be surprisingly supportive. Not everyone will be, obviously, but enough. That leads to the next point.

4) Establish who’s with you.

Establishing who’s with you when things aren’t going well is not about allies, politics or forming a coalition. It’s not about finding the people who are on your side. That never solves anything, well, not in the long run. There are no sides, its one church. (Or you may lead one campus or one department within your church.)

I’m referring to your inner support team of trusted advisors and your key leadership base.

Let’s be candid, among your key leaders there may be some who think you made a mistake. Or, you didn’t handle it right. But they love and support you and the church. These leaders are invaluable because they tell you the truth and stick with you.

Talk with them, receive their counsel, pray together and make a plan. That’s the next step.

5) Stick to a simple plan.

The kind of plan you need when things aren’t going well is simple, concise and action-oriented.

Deep thinking is necessary, but don’t over-think. Deep thinking involves deeper layers of new solutions, over-thinking is circling the same thoughts over and over again with no new results.

There is no perfect solution. Land one that is sound and the team can agree on. Then stick to it.

At risk of seeming contradiction, you must remain adaptable. The title of this point is “stick to a simple plan,” and that remains true, but some steps in your plan may need to be adapted to meet new turns in your circumstance.

6) Focus on doing the right things not on being successful.

A successful outcome is the obvious desire, but if you make that the focus of your process you make be tempted to take short-cuts in order to get an early success.

You can’t cut corners and get the result you really want.

It’s like a church that does things to draw a crowd on Sunday morning rather than the things that will build disciples of Jesus. (Please forgive the over-generalization, but I’m confident you know what I mean.) Both ways can fill the room, but one can do it in seven days and the other takes a long time.

There simply is no instant success, especially when things aren’t going well. Focus on the right things and don’t give up. That takes us to the last point.

7) Face reality, but don’t quit.

Remember, leaders face problems and solve them. That’s what we do. That’s reality. Your situation may be more difficult than what “normal” problems present, but this truth still applies.

When John Maxwell and I were at Skyline Church in San Diego we faced open opposition to relocation for ten years. Yes, a full decade! That was the reality, but we (the whole staff and congregation) didn’t quit.

It turned out that our job was to find the land, pay for the land and get it re-zoned. Then Dr. Jim Garlow was the leader to build the building and relocate. That process was also filled with great opposition, but they did it! The Skyline congregation is truly amazing!

That wouldn’t have happened if the leaders or congregation quit.

Keep going, it’s worth it!

> Read more from Dan.


Leading in tough times when things are going wrong is difficult to say the least. There are times when your difficult circumstances create personal doubt and discouragement, but there is a way to lead through the storm.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 
comment_post_ID); ?> It is a good idea to to know how christians should be good leaders. Thanks
 
— Okello.moses
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
— Russell C
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Assigning Seats on the Leadership Bus

Thanks to business guru Jim Collins, the idea has become part of every leadership culture: get the right people on the bus and then get them in the right seats on the bus.

It’s a good idea.

Few things matter more than hiring the right people and recruiting the right volunteers. But getting a quality person is only half the battle—you then have to make sure they are situated where they need to be organizationally.

Meaning, you have to place them in a “seat” on the bus that fits their natural abilities and spiritual gifts, allows their natural passions to flow and is in accord with their personality type. Collins is right: getting the right people on the bus, and then getting them in the right seat, is critical.

Let’s set aside getting the right people on the bus… how do you know when someone is in the right seat?

I was asked this recently and gave an off-the-cuff answer that intuitively reflected my years of experience, but I had never stated it before. Upon reflection, I became even more convinced of its truth.

Here’s what I said:

“If they intuitively make the right decision 60% of the time, they are in the right seat. You can coach them up to 80-90% in terms of good decision making, but if they don’t bring that foundational 60% to the seat, it’s not a good fit.”

I’ve written about the five “Cs” of effective hiring: character, catalytic, chemistry, calling and competence. The 60% has to do with competence.

Competence has to do with the raw capability, the essential skills, needed to do a job. I’ve often commented that this is the least of the five, as it is the one thing that can, indeed, be taught.

I have hired countless numbers of people who had no background in ministry. In many ways, I like this. They bring their personal, educational and corporate skills to the table without preconceived notions regarding the practice of ministry. The basic competencies needed vary from role to role, but generally I look for the ability to get along with others, enthusiasm, a positive attitude and raw leadership gifts.

But there is one aspect of competence you can’t teach: the basic 60% of intuitively correct decision making. This cannot be taught, coached or mentored. When this isn’t present, no matter how much I’ve poured into them, they consistently make poor decisions in light of mission, vision, values and target.

It’s like they just can’t “get it.”

I know I have the right person in the right seat when they come to me for coaching, share how they are going to handle a situation or a decision they are planning on making, and I am able to say, “That is exactly what I would do.” Or, whether I would have had the wisdom and insight to make the same call myself, I can wholeheartedly say, “That is a great decision.”

So when trying to find someone’s seat on the bus, realize what you can – and can’t – coach. You can get them from 60 to 80 or 90, but you can’t take anyone from zero to 60.

> Read more from James Emery White.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James Emery White

James Emery White

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. He is the founder of Serious Times and this blog was originally posted at his website www.churchandculture.org.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
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comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Lessons in Leadership from the U.S. Military: Paint a Bold, Inspiring Vision for the Future

Following the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. military accelerated the ongoing and gradual process of searching for the best people available to lead – regardless of sex. As a result, female career military officers began to advance into very visible leadership roles: the first female combat pilot in the U.S. Navy, the first female in U.S. history to command in combat at the strategic level, and the first woman in U.S. military history to assume the rank of a four-star general.

They didn’t want to be “female leaders”—they just wanted to lead.

These women were wives, daughters, mothers and sisters. But they were also military leaders, warriors, academics and mentors in their own right.

As the military has evolved to develop an appreciation for the potential of women to serve in the most challenging of positions, it is also time for the American public to see these women for what they bring to the fight: brains, strength and courage.

They are leaders.

No one does leader development better than the military. Behind winning our nation’s wars, its primary purpose is to develop leaders. This happens through organized leader development programs, like institutional schooling and courses, but mostly through personal interaction and example. It’s the unit-level leaders out there who are making the critical impact in our armed forces.

Falling between Armed Forces Day (the third Saturday in May) and Memorial Day (the last Monday in May), this SUMS Remix honors three female leaders who demonstrated principles of leadership development that all leaders will find helpful in leading their own organizations.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Fearless Leadership by Carey D. Lohrenz

An F-14 fighter pilot’s top lessons for leading fearlessly–and bringing a team to peak performance

As an aviation pioneer, Carey D. Lohrenz learned what fearless leadership means in some of the most demanding and extreme environments imaginable: the cockpit of an F-14 and the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. Here, her teams had to perform at their peak–or lives were on the line. Faltering leadership was simply unacceptable. Through these experiences, Lohrenz identified a fundamental truth: high-performing teams require fearless leaders.

Since leaving the Navy, she’s translated that lesson into a new field, helping top business leaders, from Fortune 500 executives to middle managers, supercharge performance in today’s competitive business environments.

In Fearless Leadership, Lohrenz walks you through the three fundamentals of real fearlessness–courage, tenacity, and integrity–and then reveals fearless leadership in action, offering advice on how to set a bold vision, bring the team together, execute effectively, and stay resilient through hard times.

Whether you’re stepping into your first leadership role or looking to get out of a longstanding rut, Fearless Leadership will act like your afterburner–rocketing you to ever-higher levels of performance.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

The primary work of nourishing people with vision is discovering and communicating that unique identity as a church. Many leaders photocopy a vision from a conference or book and then wonder why more people don’t flock to the to that vision. Do your people really want a vision based on another church’s values?

Never forget that God is always doing something cosmically significant and locally specific in your church.

A nourishing vision requires five courses. As you deliver the five-part meal, you’re really addressing the irreducible question of clarity people need. If you have not thought through all five aspects of your church’s vision, people won’t be able to really access it.

The five questions play out as follows: At our church…

  • What are we ultimately supposed to be doing?
  • Why do we do it?
  • How do we do it?
  • When are we successful?
  • Where is God taking us?

If you asked these clarity questions to the top 40 leaders in your church, what would they say? If they don’t have a clear, concise and compelling answer that’s the same answer, it’s time to go to work.

A fearless leader begins the work of leadership with a bold vision.

The vision you create and hand down to your people is going to be the cornerstone of your team’s success. It all starts with a clear concept, a view of where you want to go. If your vision is limited, your potential and possibilities are, too.

The very essence of leadership is the ability to create a picture of success and bring people toward it. Your vision gives the team a universal understanding of who you are, as both an individual and a leader within the organization; who they are as members of the team; and where the group is headed. It’s a chart to our destination, providing a steady compass to orient your team. And when the sea gets rough, the vision allows you to navigate the challenges and come out ahead.

If you don’t have the courage to set the vision, the tenacity to keep after it, and the integrity to pursue it authentically, your team is going to be dead in the water.

Clear vision is not just wishful thinking. It’s more than simply imagining what you hope the future will be. It’s an incredible tool that catalyzes your team, gives it purpose and focus, sustains it in challenging times, and helps it perform at the highest level. You and your team have to see yourself accomplishing that dream without losing your way or getting distracted. The right vision can make that possible.

Carey D. Lohrenz, Fearless Leadership

A NEXT STEP

Set aside time to reflect and answer the following questions. Circle “Yes” or “No” – don’t dwell on the question, but answer it without too much thought.

Dreaming and Achieving Pop Quiz

  1. When people talk about the future of our church, is there an immediate sense of enthusiasm? Yes / No
  2. Have we named a shared dream within a five-year timeframe? Yes / No
  3. Do our volunteer leaders regularly pray for some specific yet epic impact that our church will make in our city or community? Yes / No
  4. Do most of our leaders naturally talk about “the big picture” of the church before they talk about their ministry area? Yes / No
  5. Do we have several days already calendared in the next year to review and reset a visionary plan? Yes / No
  6. Has our team boiled down the single-most important priority for our ministry in the next 12 months? Yes / No
  7. Are we totally confident that our team is taking action and reviewing ministry progress each week? Yes / No
  8. In the last five years, did we have a church-wide, disciple-making goal that was not related to money? Yes / No
  9. Has our team written down what our ministry will preferably look like three years from now? Yes / No
  10. Has our senior pastor spent as much time on preparing a visionary plan as he/she has spent on preparing the last four sermons? Yes / No

After you have completed the above questions, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How many “no’s” did we circle collectively?
  2. What was the easiest “no” to circle?
  3. What was the easiest “yes” to circle?
  4. What was the most frustrating “no” to circle?
  5. Are you excited about taking some time as a team to work on our church’s big dream? Why or why not?
  6. Is there any reason why we shouldn’t be able to answer “yes” to these questions after a few months of work?

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 93, released May 2018.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

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

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