January 14, 2014

#1 on the 2014 Ministry Vision and Planning Countdown: Bruce Miller’s Six Rhythm Strategies

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 8.05.51 PMAs I compete the countdown for 2014 I want to give you some gold, that has been hidden deep. Bruce Miller is a friend and pastor of Christ Fellowship in Texas. Years ago he wrote a book called Your Life in Rhythm which he then adapted to church leadership to bring Your Church in Rhythm. I wrote the foreword for the latter.

Bruce, helps us answer a critical question for vision and planning: What time is it at your church?  This book uniquely walks you through a chapter on defining your current life-stage as a church and discerning your current ministry season. These are a part of discerning the Kairos rhythms.

In addition Bruce encourages church leaders to look at the five Chronos rhythms that God has built into the universe.

  • Orbital (annual): based on the earth orbiting the sun, about every 365 days
  • Seasonal (quarterly): based on the tilt of the earth shifting, about every 90 days
  • Lunar (monthly): based on the cycle of the moon, about every 29.5 days
  • Sabbath (weekly): based on the creation pattern of seven days
  • Rotational (daily): based on the rotation of the earth, about every 24 hours

So what does all of this rhythm stuff mean? In short, it means leading with more energy to accomplish the right things in the right time. It means leading with sanity and appropriate expectations. I like how Bruce uses a rhythm approach to contrast the default mode of a “balanced health” approach in church leadership. Here is a comparison from the book:

Church vision planning - 6 rhythm strategies

 

As an effective leader himself, Bruce builds the application of the book around six rhythm strategies; three for kairos and three for chronos.

Kairos Rhythm Strategies

  1. Release Expectations
  2. Seize Opportunities
  3. Anticipate What’s Next

Chronos Rhythm Strategies

  1. Set Your Pace (frequency and flow)
  2. Build Missional Enhancing Rituals (traditions and habits)
  3. Oscillate Intensity and Renewal

I highly encourage you to check out this book and bring these strategies into your thinking as a pastor and team culture as a leader. You won’t be disappointed and it may provide break-thru clarity for 2014.

As this concludes out 2014 countdown, I would love to hear from you. Which post of the ten did you benefit from the most?

 

January 5, 2014

#2 on the 2014 Ministry Vision and Planning Countdown: 4 Steps to Building a Leadership Pipeline

Church Leadership PipelineLeadership development is by far the most discussed need these days. I believe we have grown more aware of the need, through a variety of emphasis including, the missional re-orientation, discipleship culture, multi-site and church planting. So how do you begin addressing your leadership development challenges? I believe there are four broad steps.

These steps come from work I have done with Mac Lake over the last several years.  We have designed a six-month coaching track to help your team design, build and install a leadership pipeline. Here is an overview of these steps:

Step #1: Define Your Structure and Redesign for Function and Development Not Just Function The first step is to take the leadership pipeline levels (see below) and evaluate every ministry area structure in light of it. Once all of the ministry area leaders do this visibly together in the same room, you will have break-thru perspective.

  1. Level one LEAD SELF
  2. Level two LEAD OTHERS
  3. Level three LEAD LEADERS
  4. Level four LEAD A DEPARTMENT
  5. Level four LEAD THE ORGANIZATION

Step #2: Create a System to Move “Up” the Pipeline and Align Ministry Areas to the System.

Once the structure itself is defined, you must ask the practical questions of “how?” Here is how it works. Imagine saying to a student pastor, “I want you to show me how a 18-year old student comes to Christ and eventually becomes a student pastor some day. What would that process look like?” How many of your leaders actually have an answer to that question?

The system will include an overarching leadership development strategy. In 2004, Aubrey Malphurs and I wrote Building Leaders (link to the right). One of my favorite chapters in the book is one in which I document 16 leadership development “venues” that create a recipe book of sorts for building this part of your system. The system will answer many things. Here is small sampling:

  • How many times do all leaders gather throughout the year?
  • How many mentors or trainers do we need in order to keep up with church growth?
  • What will a centralized leadership application look like?
  • Will we have interviews?
  • What are the specific follow-up and contact steps?
  • How will leader to leader peer learning take place?
  • What qualifications or prerequisites are needed for each level?

Step #3 Capture a Fresh “Team Snapshot” of your Current Levels and the Roles that You Need to Fill

After you clarify your structure and system, it’s important to look at the people you currently have that populate each level.  Even though leaders are certainly one of the church’s more precious resources, I am amazed at how many churches do not have a team lists and levels defined and the practical tools to communicate with them.

Step #4 Define the Competencies Required at Each Level for Each Ministry Area

As you move up the pipeline, new skills and abilities are needed. Some of these will transcend ministry areas and some will not. I recommend starting by defining the top 5 competencies for each level that will apply to each ministry level. Then specific ministry areas can add others. For example, the worship ministry will add skills specific to musical talent. Once you have defined the competencies, you will have to create some training tools around the content. How we do that, I will save for a later post.

These four basic steps are critical to building an effective pipeline. If this simple overview is appealing, you may want to consider getting outside coaching assistance in developing your own. We have slots left for more churches this year if you are interested in the the 6-month process. Just post a comment and let me know.

December 31, 2013

How to Communicate Your Church’s Vision Visually (2014 Ministry Vision and Planning Countdown Post #4)

Communicate your church vision visuallyIf you are clear about who you are and where you are going as a church that’s awesome. Now it’s time to help everyone else in the world to see it, catch it and pass it on.

The single most powerful way to help people become contagious carriers of your vision is to give it to them visually! Did you know that of all five of your senses, your brain allocates 80% of its energy to the eyes. We are visual thinkers. I have watched over and over and over, how many people NEVER get the vision through words alone.

So what kind of visuals are we talking about? Allow me to explain two ways. First, I will ask you some simple questions as a bit of a litmus test. Second, I have attached Auxano’s brand process guide to illustrate how we build a design and communication toolbox for churches.

Have You Communicated Vision Visually?

  • Does your logo tell a story or create a conversation starting point?
  • Do you hand out a program or worship guide during services that is hard to throw away?
  • Is your church’s mobile website easy to use and engaging?
  • Can you draw your church’s strategy as a simple napkin sketch? (i.e., how you make disciples)
  • Do you capture video testimonies that illustrate your church’s mission, vision and values in the lives of people?
  • Do you have stylistically appealing tagline? (font, color, placement)
  • Can you read and see things about your church on social media (facebook, twitter, instagram)?
  • Do you have a 3-5 minute anchor video that shows where God is taking your church?
  • Do you have a consistent set of purposefully chosen design elements (based on you mission and values) that make up the look and fee of your primary communication tools?
  • Does your space intentionally utilize your church’s brand from architectural pieces and symbols to banners and signage?

Would you like to do a better job this year with this important aspect of vision-casting? If so, check out the brand process guide that we use at Auxano. It tells the story of the design and communication toolbox we did for Christ Fellowship in West Palm Beach last year.

DOWNLOAD:  The Auxano Brand Process Guide

If you are interested in getting some outside help for branding & design, you can let us know here:

Fill out my online form.

December 30, 2013

14 Posts You Loved (of over 500 Written) – #3 on the 2014 Ministry Vision and Planning Countdown

December 29, 2013

#5 on the 2014 Ministry Vision and Planning Countdown: Mike Breen’s Invitation & Challenge Matrix

At this point in our series,  I want to introduce you to one of the most powerful matrix concepts I have seen taught for discipleship. The source is Mike Breen and the fantastic team over at 3DM. This simple tool is useful for planning, vision casting, assessment, correction and leadership development. The chart below is pretty self explanatory.

Mike Breen's Invitation - Challenge Matrix for Making Disciples

Below you will find three excerpts from posts defining the matrix and two tools for you to use.  The first tool is a link to Community of Hope’s Kevin Vogt who does a short leadership piece with the matrix. Finally, I have included a “must see” support video, that is an amazingly powerful illustration of invite-challenge using the training of horses as an illustration. The first time I was taught this tool, I saw the video. It will be awesome to use during a leadership training even in 2014!

DEFINITIONS

By Robert Neely on the 3dm team

Who is the best teacher you ever had? The best leader? The best mentor?

No matter whether you’re thinking about a teacher, a coach, a conductor, a parent, a youth-group leader, or some other guide in your life, chances are that the person who sprung to mind when you read those first three questions did two key things:

1)   He or she gave you access to his/her knowledge, expertise, experience – and maybe even life.

2)   He or she called you to be better than you were at a specific skill, talent, task – and maybe even life.

To put it another way, the best teachers and leaders and mentors both invite us and challenge us. Both are necessary to truly help a person grow.

This is true for music teachers, volleyball coaches, dance instructors, and head chefs, and it’s also true for people who disciple others to become followers of Jesus. As in all of these other areas, invitation and challenge are necessary to truly help a person become like Jesus was and to do what Jesus did.

Read more from Robert

By Ron Edmonson

Invitation - This refers to the atmosphere and degree of welcoming a church or an individual message provides. Do people enjoy being there? Do they want to come back? Is it inviting? Is a message fun to listen to? Is it encouraging and helpful?

Challenge - This refers to the degree others are encouraged to grow in their walk with Christ. Are they challenged? Are they held accountable? Are personal disciplines encouraged? Are sins exposed? Are expectations strong? The theory is that churches tend to fall into one of these four quadrants:

  • Low Invitation / High Challenge – Produces a discouraged/burnout culture.
  • Low Invitation / Low Challenge – Produces a bored culture.
  • High Invitation / Low Challenge – Produces a cozy/chaplaincy culture.
  • High Invitation / High Challenge – Produces a discipling culture.

Read more for Ron

By Ben Sternke

Invitation refers to an attitude that says, “I’m glad you are here, I’m committed to you and will welcome you no matter what.” Challenge refers to an attitude that says, “I want you to grow, I’m committed to holding you accountable to change for the better.”

People are used to experiencing cultures that are either highly invitational or highly challenging, but typically they don’t ever experience them together. Left to our own devices as leaders, we tend to either create cultures that are “high invitation/low challenge” (cozy, consumer) or “high challenge/low invitation” (stressed/discouraged), or perhaps we swing between the two, unsure of how to actually bring both at the same time.

Read more from Ben

LEADERSHIP TRAINING EXAMPLE  Video Link 

INVITE-CHALLENGE DISCIPLESHIP VIDEO

MUST SEE SUPPORT VIDEO link

This is fairly self explanatory. The trainer is the video is modeling a way to “break a horse” that is not customary. It has been the custom for years to use physical force or overly harsh methods to train. But Monty (the trainer) studied how horses naturally get assimilated or adopted by another family of horses. He then adapts the technique as a human. The technique beautifully illustrates the back-and-forth nature of invitation and challenge in the breaking process.

Support video for mike breen's invitation challenge matrix