The Shape of Your Influence – Part 2

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

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

6. Buildings

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

7. Moments

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

8. Structures

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

9. Systems

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

10. Policies

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

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

> Read more from Eric.


 

Download PDF

Tags: , , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

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

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
— Russell C
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

3 Features of Church Government NOT Found in the Bible

When it comes to ministry, the process of decision making is so important because bureaucracy can become incredibly inhibiting. To make matters worse, a church’s structure is often wedded to some of the most deeply rooted customs within the life of a church.

Yet a church’s structure is crucial when it comes to rethinking the church because it is a church’s structure that supports and facilitates the purposes and mission of a church. Think of it functioning the way a skeleton serves a human body — it holds together and supports the working parts of the body in order to enable them to function as a body.

A church’s structure can either serve the church or bring it to a standstill. It can energize a community of faith or lead it toward ever deepening levels of discouragement. It can enable men and women to use their gifts and abilities for the kingdom of God or tie the hands and frustrate the most dedicated efforts of God’s people.

Why?

Because the structure of any organization directly affects morale, effectiveness and unity. Morale, effectiveness and unity are key issues for the life of any church. Consequently, church structure must be evaluated in light of whether it promotes them.

There are a wide number of approaches to church government, from elder rule to a more congregationally based approach. Yet most forms of church government have three features that dominate their structure: committees, policies and majority rule.

None of them serve morale; none of them serve effectiveness; none of them serve unity.

And none can be found in the Bible.

The most successful churches subscribe to a singular philosophy. Namely, that the ministry is not called to fit the church’s structure; the structure exists to further effective ministry. And there are some real concerns regarding committees, problems with policies, and misgivings about majority rule.

My biggest concern with committees isn’t that it takes people away from the frontlines of ministry and moves them into issues related to maintenance, such as budgets and organizational matters (it does). My biggest concern is that oversight committees keep the people who are doing the ministry from making the decisionsabout the ministry. Authority and responsibility become distant from one another. This is a recipe for poor decision making, not to mention low morale. This is not to say that oversight – particularly in regard to vision, values, performance and mission – are not appropriate. Yet the fact remains that the individuals who are the most intimately involved in a particular ministry are the best qualified to make the day in, day out decisions regarding that ministry.

My biggest problem with policies is the removal of judgment. A few years ago the federal government bought hammers with a specification manual that was thirty-three pages long. Where is the trust in the person who is buying the hammers? This does not mean certain policies are not required to serve as guidelines, and even as protection. Yet unhindered, policies can multiply to the point of organizational asphyxiation. It takes trust for this structure to operate but, as Plato argued, good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will always find a way around law.

My biggest misgiving about majority rule is that the Bible teaches that a church is a family (see Galatians 6:10; Hebrews 2:10-12; 1 Peter 4:17). In most family structures, there are the mature (parents) and the immature (children). As a family, the church contains members who are at different levels of spiritual maturity. If every decision is made by the majority instead of the most spiritually mature, then there is a very strong chance that the majority could mislead a church.

This is precisely what happened with the Israelites. Moses sent twelve spies into the Promised Land to report back to the people if it was everything God had promised. All twelve agreed that the land was flowing with milk and honey, but the majority said that the land could not be taken. Only two, Caleb and Joshua, were convinced that God wanted them to possess the land. The majority were allowed to rule, however, which left the Israelites wandering in the wilderness for another forty years.

I don’t know what your church structure is like. If you were to ask me, I would encourage the separation of maintenance from ministry, and the development of self-directed work teams.

Let me give you a quick insight into both. In most churches, the relationship between maintenance and ministry is simple: the pastors are the ministers, and the people are the administers. Yet this is diametrically opposed to the teaching of the Bible in relation to the pastor’s role as equipper and leader, and creates a bottleneck for ministry. Rethinking structure involves an entirely new paradigm: the people are the ministers, and the pastors are the administers.

As for self-directed work teams, the idea is simple: for a team to function at its optimal level of ability, the members must be self-directed, which means they must own the process or task at hand. Only when given the responsibility and the authority to follow through on a task can a team have the ability to become flexible and responsive to changing events and demands.

Michael Hammer likens it to how a football team operates. The offense and defense bring together a collection of tasks—blocking, tackling, passing, and receiving—that together achieve a result. The offense and defense operate within the confines of a carefully worked out game plan and strategy, but once a play begins, the players are largely self-directed. They have to be self-directed because the nature of the game demands it. When the ball is handed to a runner, it is up to him to determine whether to cut left, right, or go up the middle. While the offensive coordinator may have designed the play, selected the players, assigned them their roles, and even trained them, it is the players who are the implementers and who must have the freedom to make split-second decisions in light of the constantly changing realities of their situation. This is why we celebrate quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Cam Newton; they are able to read the defense, call an audible, and make the best play.

But that’s the point of any good structure. Let your players be able to play.

> Read more from James.

Download PDF

Tags: , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

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.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Josh — 05/02/17 4:30 am

Boom ;)

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
— Russell C
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.