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

December 26, 2014

6 Reasons Why Most Church Strategic Planning Is a Waste of Time

Church Strategic Planning

Most church strategic planning is a waste of time no matter what you call it or why the church started the planning to begin with. Have you ever personally experienced a time-waster planning retreat?

The planning may be called lots of things like:

  • long range planning
  • vision planning
  • visioning weekend
  • goal-setting
  • strategic operations

In addition to the variety of names, the planning may be spawned for numerous reasons like facility planning, attendance decline, website design, or capital campaign initiatives to name a few. But whatever you call it and and whatever got the process started, Many pastors confess that the outcome of strategic planning  is left wanting. The usefulness of the deliverable itself—the plan, the report, the vision—is so limited, it will soon be stored in a church closet otherwise known as the strategic planning notebook graveyard.

Sound like a doomsday message? I hope not! Because a well designed vision process is one of the most exciting things to lead and experience. It’s why Auxano has eight full-time consultants (we call ourselves navigators) with dozens of Church Unique Certified and Network Navigators who practice our Vision Framing Process part-time. Literally hundreds of churches go through the process every year with amazing success!

So what are the reasons why most church strategic planning is a waste of time? 

Reason #1: Most planning deliverables have too much information.

Two weeks ago, I looked at a current strategic planning document for a church. In addition to a statement of mission and values, the plan contained 5 overarching objectives and 22 goals. It’s not unusual to see this much information. The problem with “too much: is that the only person who benefits is the executive pastor type or board member with a high need for control. It helps them feel good to have all of the objectives and goals listed in one place. The real problem is that no one else in the organization cares that much about the goals.

Does that sound harsh? It shouldn’t. It’s not a negative commentary on the people and their motives, its a negative commentary on the model of planning. In a nutshell, a plan with too much information misses the human element. It doesn’t connect on an emotional level and doesn’t help the average person, really know what to do.

How much information should your plan have? At the summary level it should have five things: mission, values, strategy, measures and “vision proper.” Vision proper means that everyone knows the one, most important goal at any time. For certain people in the organization, there are tools for more complexity, but not much more.

Reason #2: Most mission and values statements are too generic.

We have been so saturated with generic in church leadership we don’t even realize what it is any more. Here is the key principle to understand: Mission and values should be broad but not generic. They are broad because many types of activities are required to accomplish the mission and many different kinds of tasks can flow out of a deeply held value. Therefore your mission and values should be broad yet specific, rather than broad and generic. Consider these definitions to help you think about this idea:

Broad: to a great extent, ample, vast, extensive, large

Generic: applicable to all members of a group; a name not protected by trademark.

Specific: precise or particular; peculiar to somebody or something.

Applying these definitions we would say that your church’s mission should be extensive and vast, but peculiar to your church. 

 

Perhaps the best way to describe idea of broad yet specific is to think of oceans. There are five oceans in the world, Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic and Southern. These are broad bodies of water with complex ecosystems and each is a world of its own. But they are also specific and unique. To make the bridge to church, the better analogy might be a lake. There are over 112 millions lakes in the world larger than half an acre. Each one is peculiar, despite the fact that to a frog, each of the lakes provides for a “broad” environment.

A broad and generic mission is: love God, love people and serve our community. A broad and specific mission is: inviting people into the unexpected joy of desperate dependence on Jesus. To get to broad and specific read this post on why churches operate at less than 50% effectiveness. It will help you get past generic.

The last four reasons are below and will be unpacked in follow-up posts:

Reason #3: Most strategic plans don’t clarify how the mission is accomplished.

Reason #4: Most strategic plans for churches don’t clarify  when the mission is accomplished. 

Reason #5: Most planning processes involve too many people.

Reason #6: Most planning processes neglect training on vision competencies.  

So how many strategic planning experiences have you had that you considered a waste of time? I would love to hear the total!!!

November 26, 2014

The Four Deadly Sins of Emerging Church Leaders

4 Deadly Sins of Emerging Church Leaders by Steve Saccone

The following four sins are an excerpt from a TeamUp tool that helps your team engage key concepts for emerging church leaders around Steve Saccone’s book, Protege. You can download the TeamUp tool here.

Character is doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do, no matter the cost. That is the essence of true heroism, and the defining mark of a Christ-centered leader. Unfortunately, character is not required to be an effective leader. On the other hand, character is what makes a leader worth following—and it’s what gives people a compelling life to follow.

#1 – The Sin of Imitation: Envy

Envy is not only a deadly sin, but probably one of the most uncomfortable sins, especially for emerging leaders as they strive to distinguish themselves from everyone else. And sometimes it’s immensely difficult to distinguish the difference from personal development and imitation development. The pathway toward overcoming the sin of imitation involves the pursuit of living an original life, a pursuit all can attain, one we were in fact created to attain.

#2 –  The Sin of Performance: Self-Reliance

Every leader faces the challenge to produce or perform. Although this ambitious pursuit and intentional focus isn’t inherently wrong, I’m convinced that what ought to motivate us and what actually does motivate us gets all too blurry. The mindset of productivity is so pervasive in our culture that it can result in a subtle but critical shift in our approach to how we view and do ministry leadership and understand what great performance is really about.

#3 – The Sin of Overconfidence: Foolishness

Where do we draw the line between healthy confidence and unhealthy overconfidence? Where does the balance lie between knowing you have specific gifts to offer, and thinking you are better than you are? And how does knowing the difference actually make a difference? My experience shows me that ministry leaders don’t always seek the right kind of wisdom, thus maintaining characteristics of what the Scriptures call, “a fool,” which is where the sin of overconfidence leads us.

#4 – The Sin of Entitlement: Greed

Greed is a deadly sin because it takes more than it gives. It consumes rather than creates. It is never satisfied. What makes it worse is that greed is difficult to recognize and then acknowledge within yourself. As a result of going unchecked, greed begins to fuel and pollute our ambitions, the very ones that look good on the outside but wreck havoc in our leadership, marriage, ministry, and personal lives.

November 22, 2014

Exclusive Offer for the Most Innovative Book Summary Tool for Church Leaders

SUMS Free Church Leaders Book Summaries

As a leader you like to read. But with the pace of life, its hard to cover all of the bases when great new content is always coming at the speed of light. Now you can get the best book summary tool every created. And its just for church leaders!

That’s why, for the last two years Auxano has been bringing you SUMS: Book Summaries for Church Leaders. We have been distilling the best content just for church leaders like you, and giving you immediate and practical action steps.

Now we are taking the SUMS tool to a whole new level. Every other week you can receive, not ONE, but THREE book “summaries” all focused around solving a practical church leadership problem. It’s called SUMS Remix. For example, our first SUMS Remix, released earlier this month focused on the problem, “We want leadership development to be happening all of the time, not just at special events.” To solve this problem we looked at Noel Tichey’s Leadership Engine, Aubrey Malphur’s book (co-authored with me), Building Leaders, and Dave & Jon Ferguson’s book, Exponential.

In a nutshell why is SUMS Remix better?

  • You need content that solves the challenges you face every day
  • You want to scan more information in less time to find the best content
  • You will to achieve more with more credibility as well-read leader

Check it out for yourself and see if you would agree that this is an incredibly innovative content tool for the church: SUMS Remix Issue #1

DON’T MISS TWO OPPORTUNITIES!

As we roll out this incredible new tool, I want to give you two things: First I want to invite you to become a founding subscriber this December to the SUMS Remix. Second, I want to give you a FREE copy our best SUMS tools to date— all 52 Summaries one click away in a SUMS Bookshelf Edition PDF.

GROUND FLOOR OPPORTUNITY – BECOME A FOUNDING SUBSCRIBER

In just a few weeks we will be creating a paid subscriber list to the new SUMS Remix. As we do, I want my blog readers to have the first opportunity to be founding subscribers. What exactly is a founding subscriber? It’s a special pricing status with benefits that include:

  • 50% off the regular SUMS price, locked-in for life.
  • The opportunity to gift to 3 other people a free year subscription this Christmas
  • 2 years of our regular SUMS—that’s 52 book summaries—in one FREE Bookshelf Edition PDF

GET THE FREE SUMS BOOKSHELF EDITION TODAY!

If you want the SUMS Bookshelf Edition PDF today, I have it ready to e-mail to you. But first let me tell you why I like it so much. I use the bookshelf PDF as a “bookshelf within a bookshelf” in iBooks. Every cover on the bookshelf links to the summary for that book. As I scan the bookshelf PDF, I can immediately open a summary and pop it right into my iBooks. This is the fastest way to keep reading book summaries on planet earth. And now you have 52 at your fingertips, absolutely free.

If you prefer not to use a smartphone, no problem as you can open as many PDFs on your laptop or desktop as you want or print and read. I just showed this tool to my Father on his Macbook Air and he loved it.

ONE LINK, TWO OFFERS

By clicking on the link below and providing your e-mail, you can get the free SUMS Bookshelf Edition PDF sent immediately to your e-mail. By receiving this gift, you will automatically get a personal e-mail from me to be a FOUNDING SUBSCRIBER to SUMS Remix, within the next 2 weeks. I think you will love the opportunity!

Enjoy these 52 book summaries. I hope you have some great extra reading time over the holiday season.

***** LINK to the SUMS Bookshelf Edition PDF*****

Oh by the way, here is a list of 52 Book Summaries in the SUMS Bookshelf Edition PDF:

  1. How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler
  2. The Advantage, Patrick Lencioni
  3. The Present Future, Reggie McNeal
  4. Resonate, Nancy Duarte
  5. Leaders Make the Future: 10 New Leadership Skills, Bob Johansen
  6. Great by Choice, Jim Collins
  7. What Matters Now, Gary Hamel
  8. Insanely Simple, Ken Segall
  9. Center Church, Tim Keller
  10. Creature of the Word
  11. Deep and Wide, Andy Stanley
  12. Midnight Lunch, Sarah Miller Caldicott
  13. Tribes, Seth Godin
  14. Back of the Napkin, Dan Roam
  15. Simple Church, Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger
  16. On the Verge, Alan Hirsch, Dave Ferguson
  17. Be Our Guest, Disney Institute
  18. The Ten Faces of Innovation, Tom Kelley
  19. The Leadership Pipeline (Revised), Ram Charan, Steve Drotter, Jim Noel
  20. Visual Leaders, David Sibbet
  21. Church Unique, Will Mancini
  22. Better Together, Warren Bird and Jim Tomberlin
  23. Less Clutter, Less Noise, Kem Meyer
  24. Conversational Intelligence, Judith Glaser
  25. The Leadership Challenge, 5th edition, James Kouzes & Barry Posner
  26. The Performance Factor, Pat MacMillan
  27. The Five Most Important Questions, Peter Drucker
  28. Leading Kingdom Movements, Mike Breen
  29. The Accidental Creative, Todd Henry
  30. Protégé, Steve Saccone
  31. The Art of the Start, Guy Kawasaki
  32. Just Lead, Jenni Catron & Sherri Surratt
  33. Judgment on the Front Line, Chris DeRose and Noel Tichy
  34. Prodigal Christianity, David Fitch and Geoff Holsclaw
  35. Decisive, Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  36. Church Transfusion, Neil Cole and Phil Helfer
  37. Relational Intelligence, Steve Saccone
  38. Spiritual Leadership, Henry and Rickard Blackaby
  39. Transformational Groups, Ed Stetzer and Eric Geiger
  40. The Truth About Leadership, James Kouzes and Barry Posner
  41. The Myths of Creativity, David Burkus
  42. What Great Brands Do, Denise Yohn
  43. Simply Managing, Henry Mintzberg
  44. Innovating Discipleship, Will Mancini
  45. Execution is the Strategy, Laura Stack
  46. Your Volunteers, Chris Mavity
  47. The Idea-Driven Organization, Alan Robinson and Dean Schroeder
  48. Be the Best Bad Presenter Ever, Karen Hough
  49. Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams, Roger Schwarz
  50. EGO vs. EQ, Jen Shirkani
  51. Brief, Joe McCormack
  52. The Complete Executive, Karen Wright
October 18, 2014

Using Social Media as a Christ Follower: One Principle and Three Questions

social media enough book

After taking LifeWay Christian Stores through a vision process, I not only shop there often, I go with a different mindset. Their mission is passionately engaging believers on their journey of faith. The big idea is to be an oasis-outfitter. A place that feels at the same time like a refreshing oasis and an REI outfitter, for your spiritual life.

Because I’m a father to Abby, my 15-year old daughter, I recently  picked up a new piece of equipment: a book by Kate Conner titled,  Enough: 10 Things we Should be Telling our Teenage Girls.

Here is a takeaway that I think brings immediate value to any Christian using social media. How do you become a great social media Christian?

ONE PRINCIPLE

Conner argues that the answer to problems with social media don’t center around removing social media itself. Rather it involves the commitment to:

Take the good, leave the rest.

She cites 1 Thess. 5:21: “Test everything. Hold on to the good.” Here is where her words grabbed me:

  • Take the enjoyment, leave the addiction
  • Take the communication, leave the isolation
  • Take the inspiration and leave the jealously

Good stuff. And remember what Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

THREE QUESTIONS

1. What story am I telling?

If you look at the ongoing communication of social media what is the dominant theme and meaning of your life. What are you all about? Travel? Parenting? Sports? Work? Criticism? Food?

2. If I went back and read all of my social media statuses, would I recognize me?

Conner emphasizes that our heat-of-the-moment selves are not our best selves.

3. If I want back and read all of my social media statuses would I know I was a Christian? 

Great questions to bring clarity to your life. What questions would you add?