June 26, 2014

Fall 2014 Church Planters co::Lab – Join Me and 16 Other Planters!

The Church Unique Vision co::Lab is helping our church discover its one-of-a-kind thumbprint and then to cast vision with compelling clarity. It’s been a powerful experience for our key leaders. During our discussion, it has been amazing to see how God has imparted clarity to our leaders. Now we hae key people coming alongside us rather than doing their own thing. I strongly encourage other churches to go through this powerful training.

- Darren Tidwell, LifePointe Church

I am really looking forward to leading the next vision small group that begins on August 28.  There is some general information you can click thru to at the end of this post, but I wanted to share a more personal note first.

We refer to the virtual vision small group as the Virtual co::Lab. It is an adaptation of the on-site Vision co:Labs that we do in certain cities across the US. The “co::Lab” idea represents a continuous and collaborative (hence the double colon) laboratory to focus on your vision.

We initially adapted this to help those who were in distant cities. But after four years, and a great response from leaders, it is a method we will continue to celebrate and use. While we have several consultants on our team at Auxano, it is my joy to lead this group personally. I limit the group to sixteen participants at a time in order to form a collaborative learning community and allow for focused coaching during the process. If you are interested please let me know as this group fills up quickly.

GROUP PURPOSE

  • Equip church planters to lead their core teams through a formal vision process in sync with the group
  • Drip concepts of vision and strategy into ongoing, daily leadership
  • Learn to articulate the identity and direction of your church plant
  • Lead your church plant to experience the dynamic of strategic unity

FORMAT OF THE GROUP

We will meet 2x per month as a group.

  • The first monthly meeting is a 2-hour webinar. You will see me on video and walk through content, tools and training all in a chat-enabled format.
  • The second monthly meeting is a 90-minute conference call. This part is optional and designed for a Q&A roundtable and troubleshooting.

DATES

The monthly co::Lab webinar and Q&A calls are calendared in advance. The webinar and calls begin at 2:00 PM central time (this allows good timing for all time zones) on Thursday afternoons on the following dates:

  • TBD short practice webinar and “Meet & Greet”
  • August 28 Launch
  • September 18 Q&A call
  • October 2 Session 2
  • October 16 Q&A call
  • November 6 Session 3
  • November 20 Q&A call
  • December 4 Session 4
  • December 18 Q&A call
  • January 15 Session 5
  • February 5 Q&A call
  • February 26 Session 6
  • March 19 Q&A call

TOOLS YOU GET

  • One copy of Church Unique
  • One copy of the Vision Deck ($80 retail value)
  • A set of process tools we use for onsite vision work
  • A notebook for a set of handouts and worksheets for each session

INVESTMENT

The coaching fee for the entire co::Lab is $1,200.

NEXT STEPS

Thanks, and I look forward to getting to know you!

I believe that the co::Lab experience will prove to be one of the single most significant chapters in the life of 360 Church. After being in ministry for over 25 years, I’ve absolutely never experienced anything like this journey with Auxano. Saying it straightforward, it’s time for us as leaders to be awakened to the outrageously unique DNA that already exists within our local churches and adventurously live it out! Be aware, this is not an easy process – if it were, it would not have value. My encouragement to other pastors and leaders is simply this: Do it! Actually, do it now!

- Steve McCoy, 360 Church

May 13, 2014

10 Factors that Determine the Size of Your Vision

I often see leaders with radically different size visions, despite having a lot in common. Pastors may have the the same gifting, the same budget and the same amount of people attending worship services and yet still be on entirely different vision wavelengths. Where does this come from? Why does this happen?

Here are my initial thoughts.

Keep in mind that I believe providence and local ministry context are the primary factors in determining the scope of a ministry’s vision. This list focuses on developmental aspects of leadership.

#1 The size of your God

This isn’t a spiritual throw-in to get the list rolling. This is a very discernible feature in a leader’s life. Some leaders have a more cultivated inner life and deeper awareness of God’s Word. Their ability to dream big comes from the big God that they walk with and serve each day.

#2  Exposure to others who “think big”

Did you ever notice why many prominent leaders have children who are prominent leaders? I think of Andy Stanley or Franklin Graham, for example. When you are around others with a larger perspective, it rubs off. I am surprised sometimes how leaders tend to stay in a very confined space—geographically and relationally—for their entire lives.

#3 An active imagination

Some people have a tenacious impulse to learn, ask questions and grow how they think. That kind of curious drive pays off. The imagination is your most powerful human ability. Do you exercise it much? Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge.

#4  Sequences of risk taking

I’m not talking about a bias for risk in general, but the ability to “stack risk-taking” and feel the momentum of one “leap of faith” after another. Many leaders take a risk or two and settle for the really good outcomes rather than continuing to find even more extraordinary results.

#5 Ability to focus gifting

Most leaders know themselves but don’t have a fine-tuned understanding of precisely why God put them on earth. When you do, and when you focus that gifting, big things will result. The scope of your vision grows as your focus narrows.  Are you trying to do five things with your life or one thing?  (If you want more info on my first personal vision  cohort—starting in August— let me know.)

#6 Team and network building ability

We all know wild dreamers who didn’t have a team. Your team building ability will dramatically enable of disable the size of your vision. In addition, I am amazed by the increase of wisdom, access, ideas, and opportunities that come through active network cultivation.  Wouldn’t you expect the vision of a pastor who networks to be bigger than one who doesn’t bother?

#7  A goal oriented outlook daily

Every person who achieves a big vision has a basic recipe for attacking the 24-hour unit of time we all possess. What is yours? I have a three kinds of days in my life (focused, buffer and free). On buffer days I determine the 2 most important things to accomplish by 11:00am.

#8  Margin to write down your dreams

At first I wanted to say “disciple to write down your dreams.” But discipline is over-rated in this way. The bigger challenge is margin. People enjoy dreaming and writing down their “wish list” when given the time. That doesn’t take discipline— its one of the most exciting things you can do! Over and over again, you will see the common thread of big visionaries: Put it on paper

#9  Recovery from big failures

Don’t underestimate the power of a good failure. Failures remind you that life is short. Failures expand your pain threshold. Failures purify and humble and bring powerful perspective. Sometimes a failure in one area or with one dream can increase the size of another.

#10 Graciousness and kindness to others

I suspect there are people who excel at the first nine factors but in the end, they just aren’t that nice.  They don’t care about others. They don’t stay connected to their teams and their friends. They are so driven, they loose the human element in everything they do. So you might not think something this simple would make the “big vision” list. But I can’t shake it.

May 9, 2014

The 60-second Church Communication Assessment and Auxano’s New Service: The Virtual Communication Audit

This week we had fun releasing a new service at Auxano. We are calling it the Church Communication Virtual Audit. For years we have done communication audits onsite through our Vision Framing work and our Guest Perspective Evaluations. We find that we can deliver a lot of value really fast when we are onsite. Finally the thought occurred to our 8-person Church Communications team: Why can’t we help any church with their communications whether we go onsite or not? Voila! The virtual audit was birthed. Se we thought we would tease the church world with this four-part lightning-quick assessment to get you juices flowing about the limitations of your current church strategy. So just pick one word from the two matrixes below to describe your church’s communication strategy: Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 5.37.35 PM Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 5.37.46 PM So what words describe your strategy?

  • Cluttered and Interesting?
  • Outdated and chatty?
  • Unseen and unheard?

If it’s anything other than effective and engaging, then go here and get a free quote for a Virtual  Audit. It may be just what the doctor ordered to fulfill the mission that Jesus have given your church!!! PS- we thought we would release this new service through a teaser e-mail, prior to the roll-out of our new website. So the only way to get info on this service is via our subscribed e-mail list or this blog.

April 27, 2014

The 6 Areas of Break-thru that Church Teams Need Most

The New Auxano Church ConsultingTwo months ago we celebrated the 10-year milestone of Auxano. Back in February 2004, we built into the DNA of Auxano the idea that our services would always adapt to the primary growth challenges of local churches.  Today, with over twenty on the team, we are responding to the needs of churches with our boldest move ever.

In fact, we have re-articulated our mission and strategy to reflect how we address the challenges of the growing churches we serve. Our new mission is Creating break-thru clarity with church teams to realize their vision.  Our new strategy is providing five primary services around the “cornerstone” core service of vision clarity, using what has now become the highly celebrated Vision Framing process.  This “services map” is pictured above and below in expanded form. Some of these services we have provided for years “under the waterline.” Other have been in R&D for the past two years. Every service is an approximate 6-month break-thru process with your team. 

As we get ready to roll out the “new Auxano,” I would like to ask your help and give you something. First, I want give you what will be our best monthly resource to date. I invite you to sign-up for our new Break-thru Leader monthly. It will share insights and stories of churches realizing their vision from our six services.

Sign-up here

You’ll get digital grand opening announcement along with a special edition TeamUP download. After 10 years were have created Our Top 10 Exercises for Great Team Moments. Second, I would love your feedback!  Simply read the statements below for each of our services. Which one reflects your greatest challenge at this time? Thanks for taking a second to let me know. You can simply write a single word in the comments to cast your vote.

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 10.20.50 AM

April 19, 2014

Welcome to “No Church” – 4 Steps To Reversing Your Negative Church Messaging

Screen Shot 2014-04-19 at 12.12.30 PMAlmost without exception, churches somewhere utilize negative messaging for very practical reasons. After all, someone parking in the wrong spot can create havoc. So it’s quite natural to put up a sign that says, “No Parking Along Curb.”

But is that the only way to get the intended result?


Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 7.47.14 AMThe question is worth asking because studies show the impact of negative verses positive messaging on the brain. Negative messaging narrows your thought activity and focuses on actions related to the message. Positive messages on the other hand, broaden your thinking and create openness. More on this topic, from The Science of Positive Thinking.

So the big question is what kind of brain patterns do you want to create for people as they enter your church an prepare to worship the all-powerful and all-present living God and creator of the universe?

Let’s play this out for a guest coming to your church. What happens when they hit a cascade of messages like these:

  • No parking
  • Do not enter
  • For church members only
  • No skateboarding
  • No rollerblading
  • No bicycles
  • No scooters
  • No food or drink allowed
  • No talking
  • No trespassing
  • No running
  • No mobile phones
  • No signs allowed
  • No posters
  • No advertising
  • No parking along the curb

Essentially you create what we call the “No Church” church dynamic. Enough negative messaging and you might as well be saying…Screen Shot 2014-04-19 at 12.00.27 PM

  • Don’t come here
  • Don’t relax
  • Don’t worship
  • Don’t find God

Sounds laughable, doesn’t it. It wouldn’t if you could feel the influence of multi-stages of negative messaging from the perspective of someone totally new to church.

What can you do about this dilemma? Four things:

Step #1: Inventory your negative messages. List every one, walking from your entrance of your church to the worship center or sanctuary.

Step #2: Ask how important the prohibition message really is. I once worked with a church that prohibited the use of the ball field on their campus. Is that really worth it?

Step #3: Consider a positive message instead. This might not be obvious at first glance, but explore options as a team. Can a “No parking along curb” sign be replaced with a “Please keep traffic flowing” sign?

Step #4:  Use your negative message  with a point of humor. Why not have fun if you must communicate a negative message? The classic illustration is the “Thou shalt not park here” sign. What other ideas have you seen?

And, if you have any other funny negative messages, please share!