October 25, 2008

The Garage Sale Exercise

A Simple Exercise for Moving Toward Simplicity

What is true or our garage is true for other areas of clarity in our life and ministry:

“Regardless of how well organized all the stuff in our garage may be, laying everything out on tables in light of day yields a completely new perspective of it all.

This principle is articulated by Dan Roam in the The Back of the Napkin.

When Auxano helps a church assess its ministry strategy we walk the empowered leadership through an exercise that helps them see more clearly everything that the church is doing. Basically we simulate a garage sale. Without exception we surface new insight and immediate action steps when we lay all out all of the ministries “on the driveway” at once. 

What metaphorical garage sale would help you unlock critical ministry insight.  What would it look like to lay out different information in one place, and one time, in clear view:

  • What are the key responsibility areas of everyone on your team? 
  • What is the breakdown of giving units in the congregation? 
  • How may total volunteer positions as a church are we attempting to fill?

Have fun and keep in mind this simple exercise works in any area of your life, like a file drawer or closet or day-timer.

October 20, 2008

Two “Musts” for Every Church: an Ed Stetzer Interview with Perry Noble

Ed Stetzer of Lifeway Research asked Perry Noble of NewSpring Church “What advice would you give to churches in America? What elements would you say are a must in any church?” Perry’s answer included two elements. The first thing is a focus on Jesus. The second element is posted below:

“Number two, don’t try to be anything except who God called you to be. Maybe God didn’t call you to go multi-site. Maybe God called you to one location. You need to be completely content with that. Maybe God called you to go plant churches instead of doing video venues. You need to do that.

Maybe God told you to do video venues and plant churches. You need to do that. You don’t ever, every need to feel pressure because another church somewhere else in America or somewhere else in the world is doing something to think, “Oh, wow, we have got do that.” Our call as a church is to do exactly what God called us to do. In the book of Revelation chapter two and chapter three Jesus gives seven different messages to seven different churches.

If he wanted every church to be the same he would have just said, “All right. Here is my message to every church and it is just the same.” But he addressed seven churches specifically and said, “Here is what is going on with you. Here is what is going on with you. Here is what is going on with you.” I just think that each church has a unique DNA that it needs to focus on. The gospel should be central, but the strategy and the structure of the church should be completely open to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

To see the entire interview, click here. To see the passionate response of Kenny Corn (where I originally found the excerpt), click here.

October 18, 2008

Attention Whiteboard Addicts!

This book by Dan Roam is a fascinating read- in several hours he stretched my thinking about how people think and communicate. With a practical bent and witty style, Roam walks through how we digest the world visually and how this understanding can transform communication- from problem solving to boiling down complex ideas. The best part of the book is how Roam models the concept on each page with helpful and inspiring pictures all the way through.

I highly recommend this book to any leader or teacher, and especially anyone addicted to whiteboard like me. I have a notebook full of whiteboard drawings I use when I consult. This book messed with my mind by forcing me to reevaluate each one. Here is an example:

On page 211 of Church Unique, I show the “attunement grid”. This tool is designed to help leaders identify four kinds of people in church based on a person’s ability to see the vision and their willingness to contribute. Its uses a voyage metaphor yielding the four types as stowaways, passengers, crew, and pirates. I have always drawn this grid with words, but Roam would prefer I use picture. What do you think?

Abby, my nine year old is a wonderful drawing consultant!


October 16, 2008

Born to be Visionary

I read a simple observation this week that continues to haunt me: Walk into a first grade classroom and ask the kids to raise their hand if they can draw. All of the kids will raise their hand. Ask if they can sing. All of the kids raise their hand. Ask if they can dance. All of the kids raise their hand. Ask them if they can read and only some will raise their hand. Now do the same exercise with a ninth grade classroom. The results are opposite- the only time they all raise their hands is when asked about reading.

Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge. Where does our extreme capacity for imagination go?

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us… Eph 3:20.

October 12, 2008

Savvy Guerilla Marketing


While many forms of advertising may be less effective today there are forms that appeal to young consumers. One book that discusses this is Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are, by Rob Walker. According to Andrew O’Connell of HBR, the key is to “emphasize meaning first, functionality second; remember that people simultaneously want to feel like individuals, and be a part of something bigger than themselves”

At CATALYST last week, the Auxano team designed a strategy to give away hundreds of copies of Church Unique, by creating a memorable experience as part of the giveaway. First we blanketed the conference environment with little business cards that said “BUZZ” on one side with a message on the other: text “catalyst-buzz” to a 95495 (our 5 digit short code). T-shirts were given away with the same message. When people texted the number on their cell, an immediate reply via text told them where they could get a FREE COPY of the book that’s creating all of the BUZZ. Once they got the book, recipients would then wear a big round sticker that said, “I caught the catalyst buzz.” We created meaning with a combination of intrigue- an unexpected yet interactive impression, that was both individual (personal touch with me and our team) and big (co-branded with the large event) as we distributed the most valuable mass giveaway of the conference.