October 13, 2015

12 Fun Facts About the Vision Frame for Church Leaders

Vision Frame in action by church leaderWhat is the Vision Frame? I’m glad you asked. It is a simple napkin sketch or whiteboard drawing that is used to represent the five irreducible questions of any ministry. It pictures mission, values, strategy, measures and vision and relates them in a way that is more meaningful and memorable. Read the complete overview.

For now here are some fun facts about the Vision Frame which debuted in print in the book Church Unique: How Missional Leaders Cast Vision Capture Culture and Create Movement.

1- BIRTHPLACE: The Vision Frame was born on a napkin sketch in 2001, in Clear Lake, Texas when I was playing and doodling at my desk. It is now 14 years old and sometimes wakes up with pimples.

2- CHEAP LABOR: When the Vision Frame first hit the road consulting, I was simply begging my seminary buddies to bring me in for staff retreats. I would come as long as they paid my airfare and bought lunch.

3- BILINGUAL: The Vision Frame speaks two languages— it can enter a meeting on classic planning and hangout in the missional conversation. This language roughly corresponds to leaders over 40 years of age (classic lingo) and leaders under 40 (missional lingo). In other words, the Vision Frame is proud to be multigenerational tool.

4- PERSONALITY: The Vision Frame is notoriously hard to get to know and even comes across square at first. But once you get to know it, it becomes a best friend that you will always want around.

5- NO FAVORITES: Since the Vision Frame is truly model neutral, its works for any faith tribe, ministry model or philosophy. It loves church planters, turnaround leaders, and megachurch pastors just the same. It truly has no favorites!

6- HAPPIEST DAY: Anytime a church leaders go up to a white board and shares the five irreducible questions of clarity around a box, square or anything that remotely looks like a Vision Frame.

7- SADDEST DAY: When the Vision Frame read Tim Keller’s Center Church and it was never mentioned.  It’s feelings were hurt since so many books in the missional conversation where mentioned both good and bad. After all, how can you talk about “theological vision” without a Vision Frame?

8- TRACK RECORD: Church leaders search for “Vision Frame” 400 times per month on the internet; it sells the same number of books per month after 8 years.

9- TRAVEL: The Vision Frame has spent the most of its travel time all over South America, Korea, Germany and Switzerland. The Spanish version is Iglessia Unica. The Korean version of Church Unique is literally translated, “Your Church in 10 Years.”

10- SECRETS: The Vision Frame secretly believes that when Jesus was drawing something in the sand, it was probably looked like a frame.

11- STYLE: The Vision Frame is the only organizational approach to clarity that actually uses a picture to transmit the key ideas. Patrick Lencioni, Jim Collins and Peter Drucker have similar irreducible questions but never made them visual or fashionable. Further more the Vision Frame has icons decorating it and a 52-page gorgeously designed visual overview dedicated to it. Get it here—requires e-mail.

12- KISSIN COUSIN: The Vision Frame has a related tool, the Horizon Storyline, which debuts on January 1st of 2016:  God Dreams: 12 Vision Templates to Find and Focus Your Church’s Future. While the Vision Frame will be a little jealous there are many shout outs to it in the book.

June 3, 2015

46 Ways to Use Periscope in Local Church Ministry

A guest post from Bryan Rose, one of Auxano’s Lead Navigators.

As the social media app Periscope continues to grow in popularity, an ever-increasing number of church leaders are leaning in to this emerging tool as an opportunity to connect and transfer vision.

Periscope videos are public broadcasts viewable by anyone, with notifications that are sent to your followers and to your Twitter feed when you “go live.” However, there is also a private broadcasting feature which allows the user to limit potential viewers to a select group of followers.

Given this functionality, the ability to interact with viewers, and the 24-hour lifespan of each video saved, here are 46 examples of how leaders might use Periscope in Church Ministry…

For the Vision-Dripping Senior Pastor…

1. Deliver daily devotions during a season of campaigning

2. Share vision-soaked highlights of the day on Sunday evenings

3. Reveal a Thursday afternoon sermon preview with handles on how to invite to Sunday services

4. Broadcast business meetings during those hard-to-quorum summer months

5. Lead sermon-based small group leaders by reviewing main points and potential applications

6. Share weekly prayer moments – taking requests and praying

7. Poll member’s feelings about a topic while preparing a sermon

8. Host regular “Bible answer man” / tough questions sessions

9. Give live tours and updates during a building or renovation project

10. Moderate monthly roundtables with area pastors to discern community needs and promote unity

For the Mission-Multiplying MultiSite Campus Pastor…

11. Connect the core team to vision during pre-launch phase

12. Bring updates to the entire church before, during or after campus services

13. Host community round tables anchoring campus to geographic location

14. Moderate real-time chat with the teaching pastor, connecting them personally to the context

15. Broadcast set-up/tear-down as it happens, capturing the heart for vision behind the hard work of the volunteers

16. View the central campus live feed with onscreen notes for campus leaders as they happen

17. Engage live Q&A with teaching pastor, fed from stage at each campus

For the Deep-Connecting Christian Education Director…

18. Conduct weekly training for leaders highlighting vision-fueled application questions

19. Create regular input sessions with group leaders receiving feedback and sharing stories of discipleship

20. Highlight a small group each week and live stream from their meeting

21. Reinforce the vision of connection and community by sharing stories from groups

22. Invite invested leaders into real-time thinking and get input before decisions are made

For the Snapchatting-Before-It-Was-Cool Youth Leader…

23. Share nightly updates on what God is doing among the youth at camp or on a mission trip

24. Preview youth group worship topics for students with an inviting hook for students to use at school

25. Prep youth volunteers on their role in upcoming big events

26. Create fun, interactive video segments during youth group

27. Push real-time helps for parents in response to a community crisis or cultural event

28. Blow up a student’s big game, performance or life event, letting everyone celebrate with them

29. Host a live “ask me anything” night for the teenagers, if you dare

For the People-Empowering Children’s Minister…

30. Build VBS anticipation with a walk thru of environments theming

31. Deliver weekly volunteer preparation for the lesson or craft that will be used that week

32. Broadcast VBS rec/craft/worship with real-time look-ins

33. Host monthly parent forums with Q&A on a particular topic

34. Give a Sunday night recap of the morning with questions for parent/child interaction around the lesson

35. Settle once and for all how much more fun volunteering with kids really is

For the Always-Analyzing Executive Pastor..

36. Produce training updates on one of your boring policies or procedures

37. Live stream mandatory annual health insurance meetings – the staff can fake interest by sending hearts

38. Realize, that – who are we kidding – you bristle at the thought of another social media channel to have to police

For the Cause-Mobilizing Missions Pastor…

39. Transmit updates from teams as they reflect on the work of God that day

40. Host “Missions Weekend” interviews with missionaries in the field

41. Give progress reports on construction projects or evangelistic initiatives

42. Live stream back home from worship environments around the world

43. Produce time-zone transcending monthly updates to partners in the field, with feedback and prayer request avenues built-in

44. Keep track of the “church has left the building” projects as they are happening

45. Connect groups meeting in prisons or missions centers to the larger church body

For the Hard-Working Church Custodian…

46. Show everyone how wrecked the church is after a youth meeting

Read more from Bryan.

May 23, 2015

7 Reasons Why Every Church Leader Should Consider Periscope, the New Social Tool

It’s only been eleven days since I heard about Periscope from one of Auxano’s newest navigators, Chris Rivers. We were doing a leadership training event at Elmbrook Church with 500 leaders discussing their new mission and values. In seconds,  Chris started live streaming the event and over 40 people joined in. Since then, I have broadcast 11 live events, averaging one per day. Yesterday, anyone could have watched 15 minutes of Auxano’s virtual team training. Last night anyone could have chatted with me about book writing, while I hosted a 15 minutes Q&A at 11 o’clock at night trying to stay awake for another few hours. (I have 14 days left to finish God Dreams, my fourth book.)

What is Periscope? It’a an insanely simple, live streaming tool that connects with your twitter account. (Twitter bought it for $100 million.) Whatever you live stream, people can comment on, and “heart” showing realtime interaction and engagement. Best of all, it archives your live streaming event for 24 hours so that you followers can watch later if they weren’t available.   Read more at Wired or TechCrunch.

So why should every church leader jump on the band wagon?

Let me say up front that I am not a tech guy and I don’t really pay close attention to all of the new stuff that comes out. I am an opportunistic guy, who sees patterns fast and far.  What periscope will become is actually mind numbing when you consider the possibilities.  I won’t unpack it in this post.

But I do want to urge you to get on this tool and start experimenting.  Here are at least seven reason why every church leader should consider periscope, the new social media tool. 


 #1 Every new social tool is a new opportunity to learn as a leader.

I know you are busy and you can’t get distracted by everything. But the benefits of this opportunity are huge. If you keep the perspective of periscope as a leadership tool and a learning tool it will help. Think of is this way— It’s more efficient and probably more fun than reading another leadership book.

#2 Your influence may dramatically increase if you are an early adopter with a tool that will be widespread.

You want to be in the know when the odometer turns and everyone is reset to zero. That’s right, everyone is at the starting line. And the first ones to use it will begin to have differentiated influence. And every day you wait, you get further behind.

 #3 Periscope doesn’t start from scratch, but leverages your current twitter following. 

Fortunately you are not turning a giant flywheel with no momentum, unless of course you are not on twitter. For many of you, jumping into periscope will enable you to connect with dozens of people due to its integration with twitter. Yup, more stuff to retweet!


The most important factors, of course, have to do with the gospel and your ministry calling.

#4 Periscope removes the greatest barrier to discipleship—opportunities for life modeling that don’t require physical presence.

You can teach what you know, but you reproduce what you are. Periscope is an amazing tool for life modeling. Think about it. You might teach or preach to a crowd once a week. But who gets to see you do family devotions? Who might want to peek in for 5 minutes to see where you have your God times? What’s better than seeing the mission trip live from a handful of people on the ground?

What did Jesus due when he came to earth? He modeled his life so that he could start a life-modeling chain reaction. When he left he provided his personal presence through the Holy Spirit. He distributed his presence through the incredible nature of the Trinity himself. In some ways that is the same multipliable opportunity with Periscope. Periscope has been called “consensual voyeurism.” I would encourage you to think about it as “ever-present modeling multiplication”

#5 Periscope expands how a mobile society can stay connected to your ministry events.

My first post in 2015 became popular as I discussed why you most committed people will attend church less frequently. Here is a tool to address that challenge. Why wouldn’t you want to have a distributed workforce of people showing your ministry events, shared experiences and God moments as a church? I can’t wait to see the applications for church communicators!

 #6 Periscope creates a new horizon of innovation opportunity for the almost 8 billion in the world. 

The mind blowing begins when you think of the modeling, teaching and training opportunities leveraged across a growing global population of digitally connected people.  If you want some fuel to throw on your imagination, consider reading this post on 8 Predictions for the world in 2025.

Do you ever get tired of the church lagging far behind the innovation curve? Again, here is an new opportunity to leap ahead.

#7 There will be tons of distracting and even evil stuff on Periscope, so let’s saturate it with the gospel! 

Enough said.

Are you on Periscope yet? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Oh and be sure to connect with me @willmancini. Periscope up!

March 27, 2015

Powerful Quotes on Vision and Leadership by Lyle Schaller, Church Consultant #LyleLearnings

Will Mancini tribute to Lyle SchallerLyle Schaller, a church consultant who passed away last week, was the most well-known and most-traveled church consultants of the 20th century.  He was a master of understanding church vision and leadership. He wrote or cowrote over 94 books, and brought a prolific diagnostic ability to his work. I cannot express my gratitude enough for his life model and the rich learning that he passed on; especially helping guys like me practice in the arena of church consulting.

To celebrate his legacy, the Auxano team is inviting church leaders and church consultants everywhere to join in a simple social media tribute today. Share powerful quotes or insights or just shout out that he visited your church.

Use the hashtag #LyleLearnings.


On Vision

  • The safe assumption today is that no two churches are alike; each congreation has its own unique culture.
  • One of the most widely neglected facets of new church development is the value of a distinctive identity for every new mission.
  • The key variables in new church development are not location, location, and location, but visionary leadership, entrepreneurial leadership, and long-tenured leadership.
  • Church leaders operate in a longer time frame than most realize. What you do this week will not be significant for three to four years.
  • A vision for a new tomorrow usually is based on a high degree of discontinuity with the past.
  • Planned change always begins with discontent with the status quo.
  • The most serious shortage in our society is for skilled transformational leaders who possess the capability to initiate planned change from within an organization.

On Diagnosis (Lyle’s Learning and Listening Approach)

  • Too many congregations try to establish a ministry plan out of thin air.
  • Change is the name of the game, and questions are the heart of that game.
  • You can’t really effectively provide fully informed decisions on any kind of action or strategy, such as a ministry plan for a congregation, unless you first have a diagnosis.
  • One of the most important dimensions of a change agent’s job may be to foster creativity by asking questions rather than by suggesting answers.
  • It is appropriate, productive, and good for congregational leaders periodically to engage themselves in the process of appraising the role, ministry, internal dynamics, outreach, and life of that congregation.
  • The small congregation is to the megachurch what the village is to the large central city. They are different orders of God’s creation.

On Volunteers

  • Make a distinction between hiring staff to do ministry and choosing staff who focus on challenging, motivating, enlisting, training, placing, nurturing, and supporting volunteers.
  • In well over 95 percent of all American Protestant congregations, the driving force in assigning volunteers is to fill vacant slots. In the other 3 or 4 or 5 percent the number-one criterion is, ‘Will accepting this volunteer role enhance the spiritual and personal growth of this individual?’
  • Do not expect long-established groups to attract new members!

What would you add and what have you learned? Please share if you have had any exposure too or experience with Lyle Schaller as a church consultant. Remember to use #LyleLearnings

For more on Lyle Schaller’s life,  my friends at Learning Network wrote this tribute. Here is an article from Christianity Today.

December 28, 2014

12 Church Logos that Tell a Story (and Why Yours Should Too)

12 Church Logos that Tell a Story by Will Mancini

Auxano just released another TeamUP download that focuses on one of our six services: communication. As a “vision shop,” we believe that all vision should be communicated visually. This gorgeous, free PDF will share a little bit more about our philosophy of communication and how your design can elevate and demonstrate the unique work of God in your church. Christmas is a great time to remember that Jesus is the logos of God; that is, the word, the expression, the representation of Him. In the beginning was the logos and the logos was with God and the logos was God (John 1:1).

Here is a glimpses of the logos we will explore inside.

Auxano 12 Church Logos

Also included is a guide (we do this with all TeamUP downloads) that you can walk through with your church team. Be sure to forward this to your team for first of the year planning. Wouldn’t you like to take your communication to a whole new level in 2015?

Church logos teamUp

Download our newest free resource: TeamUP – 12 Church Logos That Tell a Story

Read 'Church Unique'? Get the companion tools.The Auxano Store