Seven days ago I took I ride you never want to take. Wrapped like a new-born baby, starring up at the sky, I was rushed down the mountain slope in a Ski Patrol toboggan, painfully shaking all the way.

 Within the hour a doctor was looking at an x-ray of damaged shoulder parts. His diagnosis was enough for a temporary solution plus a new directive. “When you get home, you will need a better picture of your shoulder.” He concluded that my humerous fracture (that’s not very funny) had a 3mm discplacement and would not require surgery. 

 Three days later I was staring at a much higher definition x-ray of my shoulder. Using computer equipment, the doc quickly drew a line revealing an unmistakable 12mm displacement. With the need for surgery a high probability, he sent me to get a CT scan. While his picture was much clearer it was still only one dimension. My case required a 3D snapshot.  The next day, a magic machine with camera’s whirling around a 360 ring, made the exact position of my large bone fragment clear. Surgery next week!

We constantly seek clarity in every dimension of our lives. From windshields to teen-age faces to sunny days and diamond rings. In the case of my shoulder, each clearer snapshot proved not only helpful but necessary for the right solution. My doctor trip diary reveals once again one of my fundamental mantras: Clarity isn’t everything but it changes everything. The rest of my life would be adversely affected if I had only the first x-ray.

Yet for leaders in general and with ministry in particular our appetite for clarity process and conversation is way too faint. Like anorexic teenage girls our whole life is adversely affected because every decision is made from a vantage point that’s not whole, not robust, not complete. 

What level of clarity are you operating from?

1X CLARITY:  You know “what” but not much more. You think most activity is on mission, but really, many decisions miss the mark. Practically you don’t have much more equity with mission, vision or strategy than to “make disciples.” (You correctly know that you have a fracture but don’t think you need surgery – wrong diagnosis)

 2X CLARITY: You have been intentional to articulate your identity and direction to a degree. You have confidence that many of your decisions and much of your activity is on mission. But at the end of the day the picture, while clear, is one-dimensional. Practically, a sense of mission defines your people and there is some awareness of cultural uniqueness. As good as this is there is still much value to be gained from more clarity work. (You have a fracture and probably need surgery- get a CT scan)

 3X CLARITY: You know that you know that you know. Practically speaking, people are attuned and ministry activity is well aligned. You can answer in a clear, concise and compelling way, the what, the why, the how of the mission. You know when you’re successful (as God defines it) and you know where God is taking you. (You need surgery next week with "this kind" of metal plate.)