January 14, 2016

Vision Statement Case Study: Harvest Church “Rural Relevance across the Mountain West”

Restarting the Conversation for Long-range Vision

When it comes to vision statements, many church leaders have lost interest. And for good reason–most vision statements are generic and useless. I like to say that your church really doesn’t need a vision statement, it needs a visionary state of mind. Yet, there needs to be a way to cultivate that state of mind. Your team does need some ideas on paper to become a sort of “mental charging station” for themselves and other leaders.  Think of a vivid vision statement as “base camp” for the team to assemble around, in order to take “vision casting treks” and “meaning excursions” all day long; that is the daily work of ministry.

So how do you get this vision thing right? What does success look like?  I answer the question for you in my new book God Dreams. More than that, I created a step-by-step guide for church teams.

To inspire you along the way, here is a case study from Harvest Church in Billings, Montana, led by Vern Streeter. Before we jump into their “Rural Relevance across the Mountain West” vision, let’s clarify what it is we are looking at.

First, it is a vivid description example of a long-range vision or what I call a “beyond-the-horizon” vision. For Harvest, the timeframe is 10 years. Many have abandoned thinking long as discipline as a result of the constant changes of culture and technology. But for the church, there are many foundational reasons why leadership should think long-range. Here are twelve of them.

Second, it is only one fourth of what you need to have a complete visionary plan. This is the start – the long-range context to visionary plan. There are three other horizons to develop and the plan is eventually anchored in four immediate action initiatives in the next 90 days. To see the model for visionary planning check out how the Horizon Storyline works.

Harvest Vision: Rural Relevance across the Mountain West

Within the next ten years, Harvest will establish, renew, and strengthen the tangible value of “the local church” in communities within the five-hundred-mile radius of Billings, Montana.

Harvest is fueling the rural relevance of the local church across the mountain west by overflowing into rural communities especially where local believers perceive there is a lack of a viable, life-giving church. Harvest started in response to community planners who wanted to give the boot to the presence of the local church. Today we are ready to reboot the reputation of what God’s people mean to a community when we actually live life as though Jesus were living through us. We will accomplish this through culturally relevant worship and tangible community focus, so tangible that people are surprised by the love of Jesus through us.

We started in Billings, which is the trailhead of Montana. Now the Harvest brand will be the trailhead for hundreds of believers to start Christ-centered communities of hope and purpose across our vast landscape.

Church: Harvest Church, Billings, Montana

Pastor: Vern Streeter

Vision Templates: Institutional renovation that brings geographic saturation

>>>> Buy God Dreams >>>>

 

January 12, 2016

Vision Statement Case Study: NewBreak Church “Waves of Transformation”

Newbreak Church Vision Statement Case Study

Restarting the Conversation for Long-range Vision

When it comes to vision statements, many church leaders have lost interest. And for good reason–most vision statements are generic and useless. I like to say that your church really doesn’t need a vision statement, it needs a visionary state of mind. Yet, there needs to be a way to cultivate that state of mind. Your team does need some ideas on paper to become a sort of “mental charging station” for themselves and other leaders.  Think of a vivid vision statement as “base camp” for the team to assemble around, in order to take “vision casting treks” and “meaning excursions” all day long; that is the daily work of ministry.

So how do you get this vision thing right? What does success look like?  I answer the question for you in my new book God Dreams. More than that, I  created a step-by-step guide for church teams.

To inspire you along the way, here is a case study from NewBreak Church in San Diego, led by Mike Quinn. Before We jump into their Waves of Transformation vision, let’s clarify what it is we are looking at.

First, it is a vivid description example of a long-range vision or what I call a “beyond-the-horizon” vision. For Newbreak, the timeframe is 10 years. Many have abandoned thinking long as discipline as a result of the constant changes of culture and technology. But for the church, there are many foundational reasons why leadership should think long-range. Here are twelve of them.

Second, it is only one fourth of what you need to have a complete visionary plan. This is the start– the long-range context to visionary plan. There are three other horizons to develop and the plan is eventually anchored in four immediate action initiatives in the next 90 days. To see the model for visionary planning check out how the Horizon Storyline works.

 Newbreak Vision Before:

Newbreak had great language in their culture but not shared vocabulary around a vivid description. One of my favorites phrases that they use is “shaking the planet.” Phrases like these can be motivational but are ultimately limited by the generic nature. And by the way, there are nine common forms of generic church vision. Newbreak leaned toward the “change the world” and “reach more” kinds of generic vision.

NewBreak Vision After:  Waves of Transformation Vivid Description

In the next decade we will raise up hundreds of guides who will in turn take thousands of people on the journey of a lifetime. Not a vacation but a transforming adventure: a biblically fueled, Spirit-inspired, and relationally charged leadership development process. The adventure will focus on Jesus and our twelve marks of following Him. 

Why leadership development and why now? By God’s grace thousands of men and women call Newbreak home. We now have five campuses—strategic mission posts spread throughout our region. But San Diego County is a place with hundreds of unique community identities. From refugees on the run to displaced transplants to an always mobilizing military, our corner of California is dying from spiritual starvation, and it’s increasingly adrift on a sea with no rudder.

Therefore our leadership development itinerary will not stop until thousands of people become agents of bold change, serving their surrounding communities with authentic love. We imagine dads enjoying their children, marriages welded together, and coworkers radically concerned for one another. We see neighborhoods turned upside down by the unexplainable kindness of Newbreakers. We envision hundreds of small groups as life rafts pulling people from an ocean of crowded loneliness. We see dozens of beachheads in our city’s niche neighborhoods, with platoons of skilled and loving Newbreakers moving in to start new campuses and empower new causes. The impact of each campus will be measured by positive community transformation. And we won’t stop until we blanket our city with an ever-growing network of campuses on mission.

What’s the Newbreak vision when you boil it all down? It’s a wave of leadership development that brings a wave of community transformation that brings a larger wave of leadership development that brings an even bigger wave of community transformation. There’s nothing like watching a swell build from the vantage point of the cliffs in Ocean Beach. That’s what we see as we look at communities from a development perspective. Can you see it?

What we do through Newbreak in our lifetime will shake the planet, from here to the farthest points in the world.

Let’s make some waves.

Church: Newbreak Church, San Diego, CA

Pastor: Mike Quinn

Vision Templates: Leadership multiplication that results in targeted transformation.

>>>> Buy God Dreams >>>>

January 7, 2016

1 Simple Step to Reach Thousands More with Vision

Paul Pettefer on His God Dreams
I am grateful for Paul Pettefer– a pastor and missional entrepreneur who has applied the principles of Church Unique and God Dreams with great skill. As a natural visionary, Paul wants his focus to be a clear as a possible. As a natural evangelist, Paul wants to spread the word every day. He is totally in touch with God’s vision for his life. As a result he reaches thousands more with vision than the average guy in ministry.

Paul lives for the “city to be different” in Lake Charles, Louisiana. (TheCityShouldBeDifferent.com) He wants to see the gospel invade his city. He does this through initiatives like his laundry business, a job-finding ministry, and by cooking the best BBQ in the city as an excuse to talk about Jesus. Spend time with Paul and you will never forget his vision. 

Paul recently posted a review of my new book,  God Dreams. One principle popped into my mind as I read his review:

Vision casting is fundamentally a transfer of enthusiasm.

Sometimes it’s hard to get excited about the concept of vision or practice of planning because we have lost touch with a passion for the future. Paul reminded me that it’s not that hard to pump up your enthusiasm. Reaching more people doesn’t start with reaching more people; it starts with cultivating deeper personal passion about what God has called you to do. Increase the wattage and more people will see the light.

What’s the one incredible simply step to reach thousands more with vision? Start by dramatically increasing your enthusiasm. It’s actually not that hard. Follow Paul’s recommendation. Grab a tool and grab some friends. Get God Dreams and talk about it with your team. Listen to Paul’s passionate plea as one pastor to other pastors:

While God Dreams is great for Every Influencer in the church, I’ll tailor this encouragement for the Senior Pastor: Leading a church, being the guy at the tip of the spear, it’s not for the faint of heart. I congratulate you on following Jesus thus far! Your job requires a lot from you. The urgent needs are pressing, relentless. I know you have established rhythms that bring you joy in ministry and others that foster productivity.

I AM HERE TO URGE YOU TO MAKE A RHYTHM FOR VISIONARY PLANNING…

God Dreams is your best resource to go next on that journey.

My friend Will Mancini is handing you the field-proven fruit of his well over 10,000 hours of leading church leaders to amplify their efforts toward this rewarding end. You will not find a more insightful guide to help you navigate from the meandering pools of the generic to the Flowing Spring of Visionary Clarity.

I’ve had your job, as a Church Planter, and I’ve worked for you, as a college pastor at a large church. I know the pressure you are under to have all the answers. Breathe in the provision that our Heavenly Father has for you in God Dreams. I am hearby giving you permission to release sole custody of preparing all the Vision stuff on your own! Maybe Vision is your best thing, and you coach others in your circles on vision. Sweet! Buy 5 copies, because God Dreams will soon be your go-to resource for helping your friends! If Leading or Serving or Teaching is your best strength, then God Dreams will help you and your team build on what you have to discover the narrative God is doing with your church and how to draw that out so your entire church catches on. What will they catch on to? The Bigger Narrative of God’s Vision for your church, a compelling picture of your future.

Come on, you know you dream at night about dozens, hundreds of people in your church developing an animating passion for carrying the ball of the Kingdom forward in your church! You have the passion for it. You have the people there. And you’ve done a great sermon series. Then another. And another. By all means, keep those great sermons coming! What your people need is for you to make more space for Visionary Planning, to capture the story of how God is going to use your church, specifically, uniquely, inspirationally! Maybe for such a time as this our Heavenly Father is giving you God Dreams, to walk with you to build this Larger, God-Size Narrative of what He is wanting to do in your church, in your city, in your day. The enemy you must fight, the one that keeps people clapping but not engaging, is (at least partly) a generic vision. As Will says, there are no snowflakes alike, no people alike, and no churches alike. The Stunning Clarity of Vision that God wants to give you, well, it’s available.

Do yourself a huge favor. Buy this book today. Read it the week it arrives. Then come down to Lake Charles next year and we’ll eat a BBQ dinner at theRibShack Barbecue and you can tell me, with a huge smile of your face, how God has uncorked the animating passion in the people of your church through the stunning clarity of your new Visionary Planning.

If you are interested in buying God Dreams or reading some of the first 30 reviews, go here. If you want to check out the God Dreams resource site, go here.

January 4, 2016

5 Reasons Why Scheduling a Leadership Retreat in 2016 Will Increase Attendance in 2016

Effective RetreatWhen was the last time you experienced a dynamic 2-day offsite retreat that refreshed and refocused your team? This week is a great time to calendar, block, and schedule a retreat with your key leaders.

But some leaders might wonder, “Things are going so well, do we really need to go through the trouble of extra vision and planning days?” It’s a great question. I fundamentally believe that much greater progress can come with actionable reflection. Yet, I thought I would explore the connection between taking time to envision the future and increasing attendance in your church.

Here are five reasons why pausing to plan will result in more people being attracted to your church.

Reason #1: Communicating the retreat that you schedule this week indirectly sets a tone of expectation for ministry results in 2016. This kind of leadership move has a domino effect on the team and your leaders will be more likely to decide and act in ways that link to more people coming. For example, your student ministry director might think ahead on student events so that they are done faster and better. After all, the retreat is coming and his or her ministry will be discussed.

Reason #2: Creating harmony and flow among the leaders who implement ministry makes ministry environments more attractive. Years ago I learned that a perfectly executed worship service with frustrated or burned out leaders isn’t really as much of a “win” as I thought. “Who we are” as we do the ministry is just as important as “what we do” and people attending are adept as sensing the atmosphere.  Taking time to listen, relax and focus on the future will refresh a sense of community that others seeing that community from a distance can feel.

Reason #3: Focusing attention and resources on one area of impact will positively effect the whole system. The idea here is that your church needs one big goal at a time. Even if that goal is not directly aimed to increase attendance, it will likely have a positive impact. The church as the “body of Christ” is a set of systems. Strengthening one part, helps the whole.

Reason #4: Making room to diagnose problems and consider alternative perspectives will create new ideas. Every organization gets stuck in ruts in how they operate. There are always ruts. The only question is, how are you identifying and tackling them? The best idea  for increasing attendance at your church may never come if you don’t create the time and space to birth it.

Reason #5: Resetting the vision is essential for inspiring greatness and creating energy. It’s easy to forget how monotonous ministry is on the front line. What are we ultimately supposed to be doing? Why do we do what we do? Where are we headed as a church? Your leaders ARE asking these questions whether you are aware of it or not. Why not involve them in helping see the future again? Increasing clarity creates energy to get more done and lifts the spirits of the people as they work. Do you think that increasing the energy and enthusiasm of your top 20 leaders will lead to increased attendance this year? You bet it will.

Sometimes having a facilitator for a 2-day retreat makes a huge difference. Our team at Auxano is ready to help you this year. We have a strong retreat agenda developed based on my latest book, God Dreams. Why not invite us in to help you?  Learn more.

December 26, 2015

How 12 Templates for Church Vision Will Transform Your Leadership

12 templates for church growth from God Dreams
The 12 Templates for church vision as a resource made the subtitle of God Dreams— my first major book release since Church Unique in 2008. God Dreams is toolbox for installing a visionary planning model in your church. The master tool of the book is called the Horizon Storyline and it fits inside of the Vision Frame–more on that to come.

SO WHAT ARE THE 12 TEMPLATES?

The Horizon Storyline will engage your thinking on church vision 5-20 years into the future depending on the age and life stage of your ministry. When it comes to thinking this far away, I have found that it is very difficult getting people on the same page. Vision that distance into the future can seem fuzzy or unnecessary to think about.  The 12 templates were designed as an on-ramp to vibrant imagination and dialogue as a leadership team.

Think of the 12 templates as a vision typology. When believers sit together and dream about the impact they want to have in the world, I believe any dream can be ultimately defined by one of the templates. It’s church vision made that simple.

In fact, that’s how the templates emerged in my mind. About 4 years ago I had crossed the 10,000 hour mark of facilitating with church teams. I began to see the patterns crystallize in my mind. We have been using these tools for about 4 years at Auxano, and a year ago, I decided that we needed to put it in a book. The visuals and definitions of the 12 templates are available on the free download below.

HOW WILL THEY TRANSFORM YOUR LEADERSHIP?

Most teams select and relate the top two templates for their church. For example, New Break in San Diego uses the “leadership multiplication leading to targeted transformation” as their picture idea. From there you build out a vivid description of your long-range vision horizon. (God Dreams walks through this process). In the end, the transformative nature of having a long-range vision comes from the brand new ability to:

  1. Increase your confidence as a leader
  2. Shape the destiny of the whole congregation
  3. Create deeper meaning for individuals
  4. Cultivate heroic sacrifice among people
  5. Focus the resource base of the church 
  6. Guide the development of long-term strategy

The state of church vision is so anorexic with regard to this kind of long-range thinking that it’s hard to recognize it any more. We are trafficking in such general ideas, we no longer recognize the lack of meaning of anything beyond sermon series planning or the next annual budget. Where does that leave our people? They are not emotionally connected to anything that our church represents or the impact we can have, beyond the next weekend service or small group.

Let me ask you: What kind of dramatic gospel impact will your church have in your community, in your lifetime? 

Download the 12 Templates Overview

Templates that ADVANCE (arrow)

  • Geographic (Gospel) Saturation
  • Targeted Transformation
  • People-group Penetration

Templates that RESCUE (cross)

  • Institutional Renovation
  • Need Adoption
  • Crisis Mobilization

Templates that BECOME (circle)

  • Spiritual Formation
  • Presence Manifestation
  • Obedient Anticipation

Templates that OVERFLOW (wave)

  • Leadership Multiplication
  • Cultural Replication
  • Anointing Amplification
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