Overcome an Overloaded Life: Choose Wisely

We’re all busy in the same sorts of ways. Our lives are consumed with the crushing weight of family, work, and church activities. Our lives are bombarded with requests, demands, and desires. Individual situations may be quantitatively less busy than others, and some more so, but as a society we are living a shared experience of an overwhelmed life.

Where does it all stop? When will things slow down? How can we recapture time lost?

Technology has delivered time-saving devices that actually consume more time. Progress moves our lives faster and faster, yet we seem incapable of enjoying little if any benefit. We desire and often achieve more. We have bought into a full-life timeshare to only find ourselves bankrupt in emptiness.

Are you asking this question?

I don’t have enough time to do the things I need to do, let alone the things I want to do.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz

As Americans, we assume that more choice means better options and greater satisfaction. But beware of excessive choice: choice overload can make you question the decisions you make before you even make them, it can set you up for unrealistically high expectations, and it can make you blame yourself for any and all failures. In the long run, this can lead to decision-making paralysis, anxiety, and perpetual stress.

In The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz explains at what point choice – the hallmark of individual freedom and self-determination that we so cherish – becomes detrimental to our psychological and emotional well being. In accessible, engaging, and anecdotal prose, Schwartz shows how the dramatic explosion in choice – from the mundane to the profound challenges of balancing career, family, and individual needs – has paradoxically become a problem instead of a solution.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

We are living at the peak of human possibility, overflowing in material abundance. As a society we have achieved what our ancestors could, at most only dream about, but it has come at a great price. We get what we say we want, only to discover that what we want doesn’t satisfy us to the degree we expect. We are surrounded by timesaving devices but we never seem to have enough time.

The success of our lives today turns out to be bittersweet, and everywhere we look it appears that significant contributing factor is the overabundance of choice.

The fact that some choice is good doesn’t necessarily mean that more choice is better.

There are steps we can take to mitigate – even eliminate – many sources of distress, but they aren’t easy. They require practice, discipline, and perhaps a new way of thinking. On the other hand, each of these steps will bring its own rewards.

  1. Choose when to choose – To manage the problem of excessive choice, we must decide which choices in our lives really matter and focus our time and energy there, letting many other opportunities pass us by.

  2. Be a chooser, not a picker – Choosers are people who are able to reflect on what makes a decision important, or on whether none of the options should be chosen, or whether a new option should be created. Good decisions take time and attention, and the only way we can find the needed time and attention is by choosing our spots.

  3. Satisfice more and maximize less – Learning to accept “good enough” will simplify decision making and increase satisfaction. By settling for good enough even when the “best” could be just around the corner, satisficers will usually feel better about the decisions they make.

  4. Think about the opportunity costs of opportunity costs – When we decide to opt out of deciding in some area of life, we don’t have to think about what the opportunity costs.

  5. Make your decisions nonreversible – What we don’t realize is that the very option of being allowed to change our minds seems to increase the chances that we will change our minds. When a decision is final, we engage in a variety of psychological processes that enhance our feelings about the choice we made relative to the alternatives.

  6. Practice an “attitude of gratitude” – We can vastly improve our subjective experience by consciously striving to be grateful more often for what is good about a choice or an experience, and to be disappointed less by what is bad about it.

  7. Regret less – The sting of regret (either actual or potential) colors many decisions, and sometimes influences us to avoid making decisions at all. It pays to remember just how complex life is and to realize how rare it is that any single decision, in and of itself, has the life-transforming power we sometimes think.

  8. Anticipate adaption – When life is good, adaptation puts on a “hedonic treadmill,” robbing us of the full measure of satisfaction we expect from each positive experience. We must develop realistic expectations about how experiences change with time.

  9. Control expectations – What may be the easiest route to increasing satisfaction with the results of decisions is to remove excessively high expectations about them.

  10. Curtail social comparison – Though social comparison can provide useful information, it often reduces our satisfaction. So by comparing ourselves to others less, we will be satisfied more.

  11. Learn to love constraints – We should learn to view limits on the possibilities we face as liberating, not constraining. Choice within constraints and freedom within limits enable us to imagine a host of marvelous possibilities.

Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice

A NEXT STEP

There are costs to having an overload of choice, not the least of these is reduced time. Our culture is infatuated with freedom, self-determination, and variety, and we are reluctant to give up any of our options. But clinging to all the choices available to us contributes to bad decisions, anxiety, and stress.

Make a choice to take control of your decision-making. Set aside 30 minutes three days each week for the next month. During each of those 30-minute periods, review and reflect on one of the 11 actions listed above by doing the following:

Write the phrase on a chart tablet. Read it out loud, and then write down thoughts and actions that come to mind. Take no more than five minutes for this exercise.

Then, go back over the list and circle up to five items that most interest you. Spend several minutes on each one, adding additional thoughts to those as needed on the chart tablet.

After reviewing those, choose a single thought or action that you will immediately begin to implement in this area. On a new chart tablet sheet, list the 11 areas above again, and write this action beside the appropriate phrase.

At the end of a month, you will have worked through the list of 11 items above, and developed a single action item to help you improve in that area. Reflect back on what you have done, and how it has improved your decision-making.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix #87-3, released February 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.

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 <<

Download PDF

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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.

See more articles by >

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Pastoring Your Cul-de-Sac: Samaritan Living

Author Reggie McNeal invites us to get off our ass (biblically speaking) with a focus on the Parable of the Good Samaritan:

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Luke 10:25-37 (NIV)

 

We’re living in a bizarre polarity of unprecedented connectedness and unparalleled isolation.

When we finally get home, joining countless others in our cul-de-sacs or subdivision streets, we want to be home.

The Great Commission may carry you to the ends of the world, but it starts on your street. God has given us a perfect environment for demonstrating the gospel and advancing His mission, if only we would open our eyes to it. It’s that place you probably consider your personal and private fortress – your home. Hospitality is one of the simplest – and most exciting – ways to engage in God’s mission.

If we are ever going to join all our lives to God’s mission to change the world, we need to reclaim all of our ordinary pieces as a part of that gospel mission. We have to reject the notion that something has to be big or unusual to be significant. We will have to view the ordinariness of our lives as significant, and allow God to use our homes as a seed to be planted and grown, not something to be discarded or devalued.

We need to practice neighboring.

Just who is our neighbor? And, how can we serve our neighbors?

SOLUTION #1: Practice the three actions of the Good Samaritan

THE QUICK SUMMARY

There was a time when neighbors knew each other’s names, when small children and the old and infirm alike had more than their families looking out for them. There was a time when our neighborhoods were our closest communities.

No more. Neighborhoods have become the place where nobody knows your name. Into this neighborhood crisis the words of Jesus still ring true: Second only to the command to love God is the command to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

In Next Door as It Is in Heaven, Lance Ford and Brad Brisco offer first principles and best practices to make our neighborhoods into places where compassion and care are once again part of the culture, where good news is once again more than words, and where the love of God can be once again rooted and established.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

After the attention-getting quote by Reggie McNeal noted above, he continues:

“I don’t know what business you are in (education, the social sector, for-profit enterprise, health care, etc.), but ultimately you want to be in the people business. Helping people is the best part of life! If you don’t discover this truth and act on it, not only will your “neighbors’’ needs go unmet, but you will never be whole.”

The Parable of the Good Samaritan is a call to action, not just a great story.

If anyone should “neighbor” differently, it should be us. So let’s do it. Let us love our neighborhoods as ourselves.

As followers of Jesus, we can’t afford to miss the point in the parable usually named “The Good Samaritan.” We believe we would better understand Jesus’ point if, we called it “the parable of the good neighbor.” The Samaritan – the one who proved to be a real neighbor – demonstrates several important traits we can learn from.

Nearing – All three of the players in Jesus’ story “saw” the man who was in distress. All three of the guys were busy. They were on a journey. They had things to do, people to see. But there was a difference in the three. Two people saw and went on. One person saw and went to.

It’s so much easier to just “pass over to the other side.” What we thought we saw or heard may not be the case. It could just be our imagination. That conversation I overheard between one of my kids and her playmate from down the street may have sounded like her family is struggling with finances, but I may have misunderstood. Then again, little Carly does seem to eagerly accept every offer for a chance or to stay for dinner.

I will never know the answer unless, like the Good Samaritan, I go to the person.

Caring – The real neighbor in Jesus’ story begins to attend to the wounds he discovers. Not only does he offer his own immediate resources, he seeks the assistance of others nearby. The Samaritan needed to continue his journey. But he didn’t just leave the man behind. He asked the innkeeper to take care of the fallen man.

Think about that. Our aim must be higher than just to be a good neighbor ourselves. The goal is to create a neighborhood of good neighbors whereby our collective gifts, talents, resources, and caring heart of many neighbors join forces when needs arise.

Sharing – Finally, look back and see what this neighboring example set in motion. Before we get the parable of the real neighbor, we get the great commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” Heart. Soul. Strength. Mind.

Jesus is talking about our passion and being. What do you care deeply about? What do you love to do? What are you skilled at and knowledgeable about? Jesus says, “Love God with all of that!” And then he says, “Make it tangible by loving your neighbor as yourself.”

Lance Ford and Brad Brisco, Next Door as it is in Heaven

A NEXT STEP

For our friends, it’s easy for us to share what we have and know. But Jesus takes it to an entirely different level. He defines real neighbors as those who are willing to do so with strangers – and not just strangers because they’ve never met.

Authors Lance Ford and Brad Brisco provide some ideas for reflection and preparation in practicing the three actions of the Good Samaritan as noted above. Set aside some quiet time this week and follow the suggestions below.

  1. Immerse. Slowly read the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 from at least five different Bible versions in order to hear differences in translations.
  2. Recognize your resources. Reflect on your own heart, soul, strength, and mind. Make a list of what you know and what you possess. What are you passionate about? Begin making a list that will help you to serve others and provide an example for your neighbors as they consider their own resources.
  3. Consider others. Think about your neighbors. Who might be interested in joining you in making your neighborhood the best it has ever been?
  4. Pray. Begin praying for your neighborhood each day, that it becomes a place that experiences the peace and blessings of the Lord and the revelation of the gospel of the kingdom of heaven.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 88-1, released March 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.

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 <<

Download PDF

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Discipleship >

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.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

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

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Developing Generous Children, Part Two: Nurture Financial Learning Through Daily Living

Humans tend to obsess over what they possess – or desire to possess.

Consider the following thoughts by Craig Bloomberg, professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary:

  • The poor strive to acquire enough to survive
  • Those whose basic needs are met naturally want more as a cushion
  • The middle class is discontent because they see people with more
  • The affluent compete with their peers in material one-upmanship

Advertising bombards us constantly, creating a consumer culture designed to make us feel shortchanged and always looking to acquire the next possession.

How do we stand any chance of developing generous children in such a consumeristic society?

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Your Kids Can Master Their Money by Ron and Judy Blue and Jeremy White

Current research tells us today’s kids and teens don’t know how to budget or spend wisely. They have purchasing influence, but they aren’t prepared to handle money. Parents presume that their kids “get it” or that they are learning these skills in school. Yet kids still need parental guidance on how to manage money.

Your Kids Can Master Their Money reveals key traits of financially wise people and gives parents tools to instill those traits in their children.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

According to noted financial consultant Ron Blue, there are five powerful trends pointing toward the necessity of teaching the next generation the truth about financial principles:

  1. Financial illiteracy is the norm among America’s youth
  2. Kids and teens have money and spending influence – and advertisers and credit card companies are coming after them
  3. Parents apparently presume someone else is teaching kids about money and finances
  4. Whether parents like it or not – or even realize it – kids look to them for financial guidance
  5. Financial support to churches and ministries is tenuous at present, and likely to be even weaker in the future

The evidence is clear – your kids need financial training, and they need it from you.

Your kids will learn about money from two primary sources: (1) watching you and (2) having their own experiences with finances. If they’re learning from you, you’re teaching inadvertently (without meaning to) or intentionally (on purpose).

Here’s a sample of activities your kids can learn to master their money.

Generous Giver

Charity Gifts for Birthday Parties

Teaching Goals:

  • To reduce the dependency on material gifts for happiness at birthday parties
  • To provide experience for your children in encouraging others to give
  • To teach kids leverage in giving
  • To allow children to directly give to a charity or ministry

Activity Description

Use only if your child is mature enough to understand and “buy into” the idea. For your child’s next birthday party, plan a fun event. When other children are invited, inform parents that no gifts are to be given directly to your child. Tell them your child has chosen a charity to which he requests all gifts be given.

Decorate a box – preferably a see-through container – where monetary gifts can be “deposited.” Decorate the box with information about the charity. After the party, total the money that was given and take the money with your child to the chosen charity. Send thank you notes to each child, letting them know the total amount given.

Sharp Shopper

Food Court Funding

Teaching Goals:

  • To teach kids how to allocate spending within boundaries
  • To give them experience with minor decision-making

Activity Description

Give your kids a predetermined amount to spend at a mall food court. Set the amount high enough to have a decent meal, but not so high as to order the super size of everything. Let the kids order and pay the cashier.

Besides teaching principle of smart shopping, you’ll be amazed at how this activity reduces dining out conflict.

Willing Worker

Hire Your Children at Home

Teaching Goals:

  • To provide additional opportunities to earn money
  • To recognize the effort it takes to earn money

Activity description

Post a list of chores your kids can do for extra money. Call it your “For Hire” list. Put it on the refrigerator or family bulletin board. Beside each job, include the amount to be paid for he work and how frequently it can be done. Here are some examples:

  • Pull weeds from landscaped areas (once a month in summer)
  • Scrub the bottom of tub/shower (once a week)
  • Clean out the garage (twice a year)
  • Wash windows (three times a year.
  • Wash car (as needed)

Inspect your child’s work after it’s finished. Your aim isn’t to nitpick, but to let your child know that paid labor is evaluated.

Ron and Judy Blue, Jeremy White, Your Kids Can Master Their Money

A NEXT STEP

An efficient approach to helping your kids become financially mature is to teach them “as you go.” In Deuteronomy 6:4-9, God recognized that the Israelites best taught their children as they “went along” in all of life’s daily activities.

Using this same mindset, review the ideas listed above (and find dozens more in the author’s book). Using the three example categories listed, create three chart tablets, each with the titles listed: Generous Giver, Sharp Shopper, and Willing Worker.

Create an opportunity with your children to come up with ideas for each of the three categories, and write them on the chart tablets. Discuss each, and agree on how you and your children will regularly practice one from each category in the coming month.

After the first month, repeat the exercise above for new activities for the next month.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 86-3, released February 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.

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 <<

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Resourcing >

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.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

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

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Overcome an Overloaded Life: Create Margin

We’re all busy in the same sorts of ways. Our lives are consumed with the crushing weight of family, work, and church activities. Our lives are bombarded with requests, demands, and desires. Individual situations may be quantitatively less busy than others, and some more so, but as a society we are living a shared experience of an overwhelmed life.

Where does it all stop? When will things slow down? How can we recapture time lost?

Technology has delivered time-saving devices that actually consume more time. Progress moves our lives faster and faster, yet we seem incapable of enjoying little if any benefit. We desire and often achieve more. We have bought into a full-life timeshare to only find ourselves bankrupt in emptiness.

Are you asking this question:

I don’t have enough time to do the things I need to do, let alone the things I want to do.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Margin, by Richard A. Swenson

Margin is the space that once existed between ourselves and our limits. Today we use margin just to get by. This book is for anyone who yearns for relief from the pressure of overload. Reevaluate your priorities, determine the value of rest and simplicity in your life, and see where your identity really comes from. The benefits can be good health, financial stability, fulfilling relationships, and availability for God’s purpose.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Life in much of the world today is essentially devoid of time and space. The time and space that once existed in the lives of family and friends who regularly lingered after dinner, visited with the neighbors, sat on the front porch, went for long walks, planted flowers or a garden, and always had a full night’s sleep.

People are exhausted from trying to live life in a 24/7 world. People are stressed trying to keep the good things going and the bad things at bay. People are overloaded with things that (maybe) were once good but now are burdens.

We need more time. We need more space. We need more reserves. We need more buffer.

We need margin.

Margin is the space between our load and our limits. It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed. It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations. Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing and suffocating. 

To be healthy, we require margin in at least four areas: emotional energy, physical energy, time, and finances. Conditions of modern living, however, have drained these margins rather than sustaining them.

Restoring Margin in Emotional Energy

  1. Cultivate social supports – The existence of intact, functioning, healthy, nurturing systems of social support are as good a resource for replenishing depleted energy reserves as can be found.
  2. Reconcile relationships – True reconciliation is one of the most powerful of all human interactions.
  3. Serve one another – One of the best ways to heal your own pain is to focus instead on meeting the needs of others.
  4. Rest – Be with people and serve them. But be sure to get away occasionally. Escape. Relax. Sleep in. Rest restores.

Restoring Margin in Physical Energy

  1. Take personal responsibility – Until we accept personal responsibility for our own health, the road to the future will remain paved with aches.
  2. Change your habits – Changing habit disorders often requires changing lifestyles.
  3. Decrease intake of fat, sugars, and total calories – There are healthier foods that also taste good, we can change our bad habits, and we can’t afford not to.
  4. Exercise for the body, mind, and spirit – One hundred percent of people who exercise to the point of cardiorespiratory fitness will experience an increased sense of well-being.

Restoring Time Margin

  1. Expect the unexpected – To plan for the unexpected is not an invitation to sloppiness or mediocrity but instead a concession to reality.
  2. Learn to say “No” – Saying No is not just a good idea, it has now become a mathematical necessity.
  3. Get less done but do the right things – Busyness is not a synonym for kingdom work – it is only busyness.
  4. Prune the activity branches – Even though it is much harder to stop something than start it, periodically, get out the clippers and prune away.

Restoring Financial Margin

  1. Live within your harvest – Not only should you make do with what you have but accept what you have.
  2. Discipline desires and redefine needs – Clarify the distinction between needs and desires and be honest about it before God.
  3. Fast – The world does not stop nor the family fall apart when we unplug from the treadmill of consumerism for a period.
  4. Counter culture – Willingly and knowingly wrestle control from a culture wanting to tell us what we must buy and own.

Richard A. Swenson, Margin

A NEXT STEP

Review the above four areas of margin needed in your life, and choose the one that you personally most need at this time.

Block off a two-hour minimum time where you will not be disturbed. Turn off your mobile phone and ask not to be disturbed.

On a chart tablet, list the margin area you chose at the top, and then divide the chart tablet into four quadrants. In each quadrant, list one of the four actions that accompany the margin area above.

Taking at least 20 minutes for each, list actions or thoughts that come to mind in each of the four areas. List everything that comes to mind, even if it doesn’t seem practical at first.

When you have completed all four quadrants, review the tablet and connect any similar actions with a line. Now, force rank at least three actions in each of the quadrants.

List the top three from each quadrant on a new chart tablet entitled, “My Prescriptions for Restoring Margin.” For each, write out a brief description and date as to when you will begin taking this action.

Repeat the above steps once per week until you have covered all four areas of margin in your life. Calendar time one month from the start your work in each of the four areas to revisit your progress, making changes as needed.

Bonus: Walk your leadership team through this exercise. The greatest gift you may give your staff is the ability to create margin.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 87-1, released February 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.

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 <<

Download PDF

Tags: , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

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.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

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

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Communicate Your Vision: Engage Everyone to Create Energy

There is no more powerful engine driving an organization toward excellence and long-range success than an attractive, worthwhile, and achievable vision of the future, widely shared.

– Burt Nanus

The right vision for the future of an organization moves people to action, and because of their action, the organization evolves and makes process. Like a bicycle, an organization must continually move forward, or fall over. The role of vision in driving the organization forward is indispensable.

The vision’s power lies in its ability to grab the attention of those both inside and outside the organization and to focus that attention on a common dream – a sense of direction that both makes sense and provides direction.

To that end, your church’s vision cannot exist merely as words on a page or website, or in an impressive visual display in your church foyer.

Articulating your vision through consistent and powerful ideas is one of the toughest tasks of leadership.

SOLUTION #2: Engage everyone to create energy

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Lead with a StoryPaul Smith

Storytelling has come of age in the business world. Today, many of the most successful companies use storytelling as a leadership tool. At Nike, all senior executives are designated corporate storytellers. 3M banned bullet points years ago and replaced them with a process of writing strategic narratives. Procter & Gamble hired Hollywood directors to teach its executives storytelling techniques. Some forward-thinking business schools have even added storytelling courses to their management curriculum.

The reason for this is simple: Stories have the ability to engage an audience the way logic and bullet points alone never could. Whether you are trying to communicate a vision, sell an idea, or inspire commitment, storytelling is a powerful business tool that can mean the difference between mediocre results and phenomenal success.

Lead with a Story contains both ready-to-use stories and how-to guidance for readers looking to craft their own. Designed for a wide variety of business challenges, the book shows how narrative can help:

  • Define culture and values
  • Engender creativity and innovation
  • Foster collaboration and build relationships
  • Provide coaching and feedback
  • Lead change

Whether in a speech or a memo, communicated to one person or a thousand, storytelling is an essential skill for success. Complete with examples from companies like Kellogg’s, Merrill-Lynch, Procter & Gamble, National Car Rental, Wal-Mart, Pizza Hut, and more, this practical resource gives readers the guidance they need to deliver stories to stunning effect.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Good leaders are able to not only tell a good story, they are able to involve their audience in it. Your audience should be a part of the story, and play an active role as the story unfolds.

When you are trying to convince an audience of something, or to go along with your vision, you can share all the research and statistics you want. That will have some impact.

But if you really want to multiply that impact, and bring your audience along as part of the story, make sure they see themselves in the story.

Your audience needs to see itself in the future you describe.

Getting your audience to pay attention, of course, is just the first step. Now that your audience is receptive, it’s time to actually describe your vision. This is where storytelling really shines! After all, a vision is a picture of the future so inspiring it drives people to action – in other words, a story. But the story must be well crafted and personal.

Stories can be used to get your audience to sit up and pay attention to your vision. Stories can also actually explain what your vision of the future is. But sometimes a vision is so lofty or aggressive it comes across as an unachievable dream, not a realistic vision. If that’s the case with your vision, congratulations on having such a worthy idea! But if people don’t believe your vision will ever happen, they won’t be motivated to help you deliver it.

Any time you can actually bring your audience into the story, instead of just telling them a story, it magnifies the effectiveness of your message many times over. It takes the power of storytelling to an entirely new level.

Paul Smith, Lead with a Story

A NEXT STEP

Invite your team to be part of an exercise that involves dreaming, storytelling (written), and personal involvement.

Construct a series of headlines based on what you dream God will do through your church. Instruct your team that the headlines need to be able to be fleshed out as full stories with people, events, etc.

  • What will be the most newsworthy happening?
  • How will your church be different?
  • How will God use your church to change your community?
  • What personal role will you play?

Break your team into groups of three to four people, and use your Vision Frame (your mission, values, strategy, and measures) to guide your thinking.

Brainstorm a list of headlines you will read one year from now. After making the list, choose the group’s favorite three to share with the entire team.

Brainstorm a list of headlines you would like to read three years from now. Again, select the top three to share with the entire team.

Reflect on your personal part of each of the stories.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 84-2, released January 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.

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 <<

Download PDF

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

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.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

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

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Communicate Your Vision: Create Stories that Reflect Experience

There is no more powerful engine driving an organization toward excellence and long-range success than an attractive, worthwhile, and achievable vision of the future, widely shared.

– Burt Nanus

The right vision for the future of an organization moves people to action, and because of their action, the organization evolves and makes process. Like a bicycle, an organization must continually move forward, or fall over. The role of vision in driving the organization forward is indispensible.

The vision’s power lies in its ability to grab the attention of those both inside and outside the organization and to focus that attention on a common dream – a sense of direction that both makes sense and provides direction.

To that end, your church’s vision cannot exist merely as words on a page or website, or in an impressive visual display in your church foyer.

Articulating your vision through consistent and powerful ideas is one of the toughest tasks of leadership.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins, by Annette Simmons

Stories have tremendous power. They can persuade, promote empathy, and provoke action. Better than any other communication tool, stories explain who you are, what you want…and why it matters. In presentations, department meetings, over lunch any place you make a case for new customers, more business, or your next big idea you’ll have greater impact if you have a compelling story to relate.

Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins will teach you to narrate personal experiences as well as borrowed stories in a way that demonstrates authenticity, builds emotional connections, inspires perseverance, and stimulates the imagination. Fully updated and more practical than ever, the second edition reveals how to use storytelling to:

  • Capture attention
  • Motivate listeners
  • Gain trust
  • Strengthen your argument
  • Sway decisions
  • Demonstrate authenticity and encourage transparency
  • Spark innovation
  • Manage uncertainty

Complete with examples, a proven storytelling process and techniques, innovative applications, and a new appendix on teaching storytelling, Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins hands you the tools you need to get your message across and connect successfully with any audience.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Organizations run on numbers, facts, forecasts, and processes. If that sounds dull and unengaging, it’s because those factors are not what really drive our passion and desire to excel, to lead, or to sink our hearts and souls into the work we do. Ultimately, the kind of transformative results that can come only from enriched, passionate people depend on a distinctly human element – storytelling.

The power of even a simple story to affirm someone’s connection to your organization’s people, values, and vision can mean the difference between simple competence and fully realized ownership. Your stories help people feel more engaged and alive.

Story can be defined as a reimagined experience narrated with enough detail and feeling to cause your listener’s imaginations to experience it as real.

You are already telling stories about who you are, why you are here, and what you envision, value, teach, and think about. The problem is, you haven’t realized how much your stories matter. To help us pay attention, let’s look at the six kinds of stories we tell that lead to influence, imagination, and innovation.

Who-I-Am Stories

What qualities earn you the right to influence a particular person? Tell of a time, place, or event that provides evidence you have these qualities.

Why-I-Am-Here Stories

When someone assumes you are there to sell an idea that will cost him or her money, time, or resources, it immediately discredits your “facts” as biased.

Teaching Stories

Certain lessons are best learned from experience, and some lessons are learned over and over again. It’s better to tell a story that creates a shared experience.

Vision Stories

A worthy, exciting future story reframes present difficulties as “worth it.”

Value-in-Action Stories

Values are subjective. Hypothetical situations sound hypocritical.

I-Know-What-You-Are Thinking Stories

People like to stay safe. It is a trust-building surprise for you to share their secret suspicions in a story that first validates then dispels these objections without sounding defenseless.

When you turn your attention to the six kinds of stories, you will be more intentional in creating the kind of perceptions that achieve goals rather than reinforce problems.

Annette Simmons, Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins

A NEXT STEP

People are starving for meaningful stories, while we are surrounded by impersonal messages dressed in bells and whistles that are story-ish but are not effective. People want to feel a human presence in your messages, to taste a trace of humanity that proves there is a “you” as sender. Learning how to tell personal stories teaches you how to deliver the sense of humanity in the messages you send.

Schedule some time where you can be alone to complete the following exercise.

Imagine you are stranded alone on a desert island. You have six slips of paper, a pencil, and six bottles. If you could communicate one thing by using each of the six story types listed above that would inspire your church for the future, what would it be and how would you say it?

Write each of the six “messages” on a separate sheet of paper, then roll them up to create scrolls. Insert each message in a separate bottle.

At your next team meeting, read each message aloud, and discuss it as a group.

Ask each team member to repeat the process on his or her own over the next month.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 84-1, issued January 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.

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 <<

 

Download PDF

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

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.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

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

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Communicate with Intentionality: Remarkablize Your Message

“Scrambling to keep up and looking for ways to get their message heard, churches are creating more videos, designing more logos, printing more inserts, sending more emails, launching new apps and websites, posting more social media updates, and trying to write lots of captivating content.”

“Here’s what happens. The people they are trying to reach move further away just to survive the onslaught.”

The above paragraphs resonate from the introductory pages of Kem Meyer’s book “Less Chaos. Less Noise.” These words become a powerful reminder that today’s church faces a culture in which the difficulty of connecting with people has become an ever-changing proposition.

Every day, your church stewards thousands of moments of truth. Every time a member talks to a neighbor, someone drives by the church facility, a ministry e-mail goes out, a pastor’s business card is left on a desk, some interaction on behalf of the church has transpired. Every time these events happen, the church’s vision glows brighter or dims in the tiniest little increments.

The visionary leader cares too much about the message to let it just blow in the wind, unattended. Church leaders must be bold and relevant as they integrate vision into the all aspects of church communication. This can happen only with a tremendous amount of intentionality in the complex discipline of church communications.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – The Big Moo by Seth Godin

Most organizations are stuck in a rut. On one hand, they understand all the good things that will come with growth. On the other, they’re petrified that growth means change, and change means risk, and risk means death. Nobody wants to screw up and ruin a good thing, so most companies (and individuals) just keep trying to be perfect at the things they’ve always done.

In 2003, Seth Godin’s Purple Cow challenged organizations to become remarkable—to drive growth by standing out in a world full of brown cows.

But how do you create a big moo—an insight so astounding that people can’t help but remark on it, like overnight shipping (FedEx) or the world’s best vacuum cleaner (Dyson)? Godin worked with thirty-two of the world’s smartest thinkers to answer this critical question. And the team—with the likes of Tom Peters, Malcolm Gladwell, Guy Kawasaki, Mark Cuban, Robyn Waters, Dave Balter, Red Maxwell, and Randall Rothenberg on board—created an incredibly useful book that’s fun to read and perfect for groups to share, discuss, and apply.

The Big Moo is a simple book that, instead of lecturing you, tells stories that stick to your ribs and light your fire. It will help you to create a culture that consistently delivers remarkable innovations.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Few authors have had the kind of lasting impact and global reach that Seth Godin has had. In a series of now-classic books that have been translated into 36 languages and reached millions of readers around the world, he has taught generations of readers how to be remarkable.

In Purple Cow, first published in 2003 and revised and expanded in 2009, Godin launched a movement to make truly remarkable products that are worth marketing in the first place. Through stories about companies like Starbucks, JetBlue, Krispy Kreme, and Apple, coupled with his signature provocative style, he inspired readers to rethink what their marketing is really saying about their product.

But as it turns out, being remarkable was just the starting point.

Remarkable isn’t up to you. Remarkable is in the eye of the customer. If your customer decides something you do is worth remarking on, then, by definition, it’s remarkable.

Every once in a while, though, a product or service is so remarkable that it changes the game. Your innovation becomes something even bigger than a purple cow.

A big moo is the extreme purple cow, the remarkable innovation that completely changes the game.

A purple cow is what you need, but the big moo goes a step further. In order to grow at the pace the markets demand, you and your colleagues must find the big moo, the insight that is so astounding that people can’t help but remark on it.

You must remarkabalize your organization. Create a culture where the big moo shows up on a regular basis, where “normal” is nothing but the short pause between remarkable innovations. In fact, where normal is gone and where the new normal is a constant stream of industry-busting insights and remarkable innovations that keep your organization growing.

Wanting growth and attaining growth, though, are two different things. Most organizations are paralyzed, stuck in a rut, staring at the growth paradox. On one hand, they understand all the good things that come with growth. On the other, they’re afraid, petrified that growth means change, change means risk, and risk could mean death. Nobody wants to screw up and ruin a good thing, so the organization just sits there, motionless.

There isn’t a logical, proven, step-by-step formula you can follow. Instead, there’s a chaotic path through the woods, a path that include side routes encompassing customer service, unconventional dedication, and unparalleled leadership. Are you ready to embrace the quest for the big moo?

Seth Godin, The Big Moo

A NEXT STEP

Schedule a half-day offsite team meeting that includes a meal together, a fun and different team activity, and time for a two-to-three hour “big moo” idea session.

After the meal and activity, gather the team and write the phrases “guest experience,” “unconventional dedication,” and “unparalleled leadership,” on the top of three separate chart tablets.

Use the following schedule for each of the three categories:

In a thirty-minute blue-sky session, take 15 minutes to list (without discussion) ideas for the phrase. Then, take 10 minutes to review the list, and choose the top three ideas. Finally, take five minutes and choose the top idea by answering this question: “How will this idea/action/event make our organization remarkable?”

After you have completed the above exercise for each of the three phrases, write the resulting three ideas/actions/events on a chart tablet. Take thirty minutes to discuss which of the three should be acted on first, and sketch out a timeline and responsibility chart for it.

After implementing the first one, repeat the process for the other two top ideas/actions/events within the next three months.

At the end of the three-month period where you have implemented all three, bring your team together for an evaluation time to measure how successful the ideas/actions/events were in terms of making your organization remarkable.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 81-3, issued December 2017.


 

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.

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 <<

 

Download PDF

Tags: , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Communication >

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.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

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

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Joining God in Your Neighborhood: Stop, Look, and Listen

Just for fun, ask this question to a group of church leaders: “Is an attractional model of ministry or incarnational emphasis more effective?” Then sit back, as a vigorous discussion is sure to follow.

Attractional ministry implies that the church’s basic strategy for reaching the lost revolves around getting “seekers” or the “unchurched” into the church building. Once inside, the opportunity to present the gospel defines the primary opportunity for evangelism. This is often known as an “invest and invite” approach.

In contrast, the incarnational emphasis of a missional mindset focuses on living and sharing the gospel “where life happens.” The emphasis is placed on the church “disassembling” itself for the primary work of evangelism in the nooks and crannies of everyday life.

In the attractional mode, big church buildings are important, and the church gathered is the consummation of evangelism. In the incarnational mode, fluid and flexible communities of faith are important; the church scattered is the consummation of evangelism. A common rally-cry against the attractional model is that the church should be measured by its sending capacity, not its seating capacity.

The missional reorientation described above represents an important shift in focus from methodology to identity. Sending is not something you do, but being sent is something you are.

SOLUTION #1: Stop, look, and listen

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Gospel Fluency, by Jeff Vanderstelt

Even if they want to, many Christians find it hard to talk to others about Jesus. Is it possible this difficulty is because we’re trying to speak a language we haven’t actually spent time practicing?

To become fluent in a new language, you must immerse yourself in it until you actually start to think about life through it. Becoming fluent in the gospel happens the same way—after believing it, we have to intentionally rehearse it (to ourselves and to others) and immerse ourselves in its truths. Only then will we start to see how everything in our lives, from the mundane to the magnificent, is transformed by the hope of the gospel. 

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

For many people, learning a second language occurred in high school or college, most likely in a classroom setting. You probably had a textbook and some sort of audiovisual support.

Maybe you learned a second language from an audio course of some kind, or an online course.

In each of the scenarios above, you probably were merely translating an unfamiliar language into a familiar one.

However, it’s one thing to know the basics of a language and quite another to become fluent in that language.

Fluency requires more than just translating from the unfamiliar to the familiar; it requires interpreting all of life through that new language.

When you begin to think, feel, and speak in that language, you are moving toward fluency. That language becomes the filter through which you perceive the world – and help others perceive your world and theirs.

It’s the same with gospel fluency.

Gospel fluency begins in you, gets worked out within community, and is expressed to a world that needs to hear about Jesus.

We have to become gospel-fluent people.

Such fluency is what God wants his people to experience with the gospel. He wants them to be able to translate the world around them and the world inside them through the lens of the gospel – the truths of God revealed in the person and work of Jesus. Gospel-fluent people think, feel, and perceive everything in light of what has been accomplished in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

They see the world differently. They think differently. They feel differently.

We are Jesus’s people, who speak the truths of Jesus into the everyday stuff of life.

Speak the truths of Jesus for rightly ordering our budgets. Speak the truths of Jesus for finding a spouse. Speak the truths of Jesus for how we respond to our employers or employees. Speak the truths of Jesus for how we parent our children. Speak the truths of Jesus into everything.

This is gospel fluency.

Language fluency requires immersion into a community of people who speak the language constantly. Gospel fluency requires immersion into a community of people so saturated with the gospel of Jesus Christ that they just can’t stop speaking the truths of Jesus wherever they go and in whatever situations they find themselves.

Jeff Vanderstelt, Gospel Fluency

A NEXT STEP

How can you become gospel fluent?

Just like the example of learning a second language recounted above, the best way to become gospel fluent is through immersion in a gospel-speaking culture.

And, again like the example, you don’t become fluent through classes or passively listening to another language.

You become fluent through immersion in a gospel-speaking place and through ongoing practice.

Consider the following common actions and the related gospel fluency questions:

Listening to people

  • How is this in line with the truths of the gospel?
  • What about Jesus and His work might be good news to this person today?

Experiencing culture

  • What themes of the gospel do you see?
  • What themes represent a false gospel?

Personal transformation

  • How are you experiencing personal changes as the truths of the gospel are integrated into your thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and actions?
  • How is hearing and speaking the truths of Jesus Christ into everything helping you grow up into Christ in every way?

Create a way to confront these questions each day for the next seven days. Record your observations around the three areas above each evening as you prepare for bed. Assess your growth in gospel fluency and take steps to continue growth.


 

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.

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 <<

 

 

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Discipleship >

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.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

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

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Communicate with Intentionality: Clarify Your Message

“Scrambling to keep up and looking for ways to get their message heard, churches are creating more videos, designing more logos, printing more inserts, sending more emails, launching new apps and websites, posting more social media updates, and trying to write lots of captivating content.”

“Here’s what happens. The people they are trying to reach move further away just to survive the onslaught.”

The above paragraphs resonate from the introductory pages of Kem Meyer’s book “Less Chaos. Less Noise.” These words become a powerful reminder that today’s church faces a culture in which the difficulty of connecting with people has become an ever-changing proposition.

Every day, your church stewards thousands of moments of truth. Every time a member talks to a neighbor, someone drives by the church facility, a ministry e-mail goes out, a pastor’s business card is left on a desk, some interaction on behalf of the church has transpired. Every time these events happen, the church’s vision glows brighter or dims in the tiniest little increments.

The visionary leader cares too much about the message to let it just blow in the wind, unattended. Church leaders must be bold and relevant as they integrate vision into the all aspects of church communication. This can happen only with a tremendous amount of intentionality in the complex discipline of church communications.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller

Donald Miller’s StoryBrand process is a proven solution to the struggle business leaders face when talking about their businesses. This revolutionary method for connecting with customers provides readers with the ultimate competitive advantage, revealing the secret for helping their customers understand the compelling benefits of using their products, ideas, or services.

Building a StoryBrand does this by teaching readers the seven universal story points all humans respond to; the real reason customers make purchases; how to simplify a brand message so people understand it; and how to create the most effective messaging for websites, brochures, and social media.

Whether you are the marketing director of a multibillion dollar company, the owner of a small business, a politician running for office, or the lead singer of a rock band, Building a StoryBrand will forever transform the way you talk about who you are, what you do, and the unique value you bring to your customers.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

What is clarity really about? A synthesis of definitions brings clarity to the concept of clarity: it means being free from anything that obscures, blocks, pollutes, or darkens.

Being clear as a leader means being simple, understandable, and exact.

The leader helps others see and understand reality better. Leaders constantly bring the most important things to light: current reality and future possibility, what God says about it, and what we need to do about it.

Unfortunately, there is often a gap between the leader’s words and how followers receive the leader’s words. Like a dropped cell call, this is caused by various sources of disconnection and static between people, even if the leader is communicating clearly.

Like the bars that indicate signal strength on a cell phone, every leader has signal strength levels that distinguish perceiving, thinking, and communicating with others.

The effective leader must spend extra time bridging the gaps by practicing clarity with words.

Words sell things. And if we haven’t clarified our message, our customers won’t listen.

Nobody will listen to you if your message isn’t clear, no matter how expensive your marketing material may be.

Your customers have questions burning inside them, and if we aren’t answering those questions, they’ll move on to another brand. If we haven’t identified what our customer wants, what problem we are helping them solve, and what life will look like after they engage our products and services, we can forget about thriving.

What we think we are saying to our customers and what our customers actually hear are two different things. And customers make buying decisions not based on what we say but on what they hear.

We need a filter to minimize the noise. The essence of branding is to create simple, relevant messages we can repeat over and over so that we “brand” ourselves into the public consciousness.

Donald Miller, Building a StoryBrand

A NEXT STEP

Stories move us. The engage us. They inspire us. Stories give us examples of how to act – and how not to act. The best ones stay with us forever.

To clarify your message using stories, it will be helpful to follow the formula that author Donald Miller uses in his book Building a StoryBrand. Purchasers of the book will receive free access to an online tool, the StoryBrand BrandScript.

While you will not be able to use the powerful techniques in this brief overview, you can at least get an idea of how those techniques might be used in your setting.

Here is an overview:

Nearly every story you see or hear can be outlined as: A CHARACTER who wants something encounters a PROBLEM before they can get it. At the peak of their despair, a GUIDE steps into their lives, gives them a PLAN, and CALLS THEM TO ACTION. That action helps them avoid FAILURE and ends in SUCCESS.

In a team discussion, write the key words from the above statement down the left side of a chart tablet.

  • Character
  • Problem
  • Guide
  • Plan
  • Calls them to action
  • Failure
  • Success

Brainstorm the successful transformation you’re helping the average church member achieve by writing out ideas for each of the categories listed.

Discuss among your team how you can use the StoryBrand principles to clarify your church’s message through the telling of stories.

Every human being is already speaking the language of story, so when you begin using a story framework, you’ll finally be speaking their language.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 81-1, issued December 2017.


 

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.

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 <<

 

 

Download PDF

Tags: , , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Communication >

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.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Effective Peer Leader-shift: Creating Collaboration

Leaders, by definition (if not practice) have followers. Leaders find, recruit, and train followers for specific tasks. While this is an important task in any organization, a leader who can only lead followers is limited. To make it to the next level of leadership, a leader must be able to lead other leaders – those alongside them.

Leading peers is a unique challenge, no matter what organization a leader is part of. A highly competent leader who is seen – rightly or wrongly – to have considerable influence with his boss is often at a disadvantage when it comes to peer-to-peer relationships.

To succeed at leading alongside your peers, you must work at giving your colleagues reasons to respect and follow you. You do that by helping them win, and in doing so, you will not only help your organization but you will also help yourself.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – The Power of Peers by Leon Shapiro and Leo Bottary

Birds of a feather flock together. We’re all in the same boat. Great minds think alike.

While just figures of speech to some, they reflect a simple truth–it’s the company we keep that often determines the level of personal growth and professional success we achieve in life.  Business leaders exchange information and ideas. They network to make deals and build partnerships. They work together to optimize best practices, and they reach out to leaders outside their companies to accelerate growth. Simply put, CEOs and business leaders provide value to one another that they can’t find anywhere else.

In The Power of Peers, authors Leon Shapiro and Leo Bottary introduce peer advantage, a concept that transcends peer influence. This is what CEOs and business leaders experience when they are more selective, strategic, and structured in the way they engage their peers. Peer advantage gives CEOs the insights to compete and the courage to act.

The Power of Peers features stories of business leaders from a range of industries to illustrate the five essential factors for peer advantage, how it impacts personal growth and why it has proven so effective in helping leaders identify future opportunities and challenges. It’s what top, growth-oriented executives have relied upon for decades to be successful in business and in life.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION – Create valuable team interaction

A gathering of peers often provides a rich environment for discussion leading to potential solutions to a problem. However, these types of skilled discussions require a framework of safety and the firm belief that everything that happens in the room stays in the room.

When repeated often, these skilled discussions can lead to creating close ties among the members of the group, leading to a high-performing team who excel in pursing perfection.

A well-defined, proven process with specific rules of engagement is essential for fostering the sense of efficacy required to bring serious matters to a group of peers.

Consider valuable interaction in terms of a conversation where all the participants are engage. They understand precisely what’s being talked about and are prepared to ask insightful questions that inspire focus and clarity of all the participants.

A skilled discussion is designed to fully examine a situation and separate good ideas form bad ones in the hope that the best ideas or solutions will rise to the top. A discussion lacking a process or discipline can easily devolve, so members end up simply sharing information, tossing out ideas, and selling those ideas. In a free-flowing discussion, it’s not uncommon for the group to reach decisions that are either based on incomplete information or are influenced in a particular direction by and individual in the room who has a strong personality. In these instances, the nod goes to the best advocates, not necessarily to the strongest idea.

These rich, skilled discussions don’t happen by accident. Skilled discussions are possible when participants use a framework to optimize and accelerate conversations from simple sharing to meaningful dialogue and action.

Leon Shapiro and Leo Bottary, The Power of Peers

A NEXT STEP

To utilize the concept of skilled discussion, use the following fishbowl technique with your leadership team.

Take the lead in demonstrating this technique by choosing an issue in which you would like feedback from your team.

Divide the team in half. Ask half the team to join you in a small circle in an active discussion about the issue. The other half of the team remains outside the circle, listening and gathering data, but not interacting with the inner circle. In each half, designate one individual to be a “smart guide” (see below).

After a period of time, switch the outside group with the inside group, so the “outsiders” take what they heard and interject it into the process. Because they have had time to observe and process the first discussion, they often have better questions and insights.

After another period of time, switch the groups a final time discussion.

The person in the middle – the smart guide – has been given the opportunity to engage in deep conversations with a smaller group in stages, rather than working with the whole group at once.

During the inner circle discussions, from time to time have the smart guide ask this question: “If you were the one who had to solve this problem, what recommendations would you give yourself?” This additional step often interjects a unique and valuable contribution from a different perspective.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 79-3, issued November 2017.


 

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.

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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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

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

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.