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Most church leaders would agree that it’s important to create clarity for the people they lead.  At the same time, few churches are able to create the kind of clarity that actually reaches everyone in the organization. All-too-common among pastors is the frustration that comes from looking around and feeling like no one is participating in their carefully laid out vision for their church.

The mission and vision of any local church should be compelling enough for any believer to want to be involved. So if people are not participating chances are good that they don’t have clarity on what you’re asking them to do. Here’s how to know if you have clarity?  You have organizational clarity when everyone who attends your church can tell someone: 1) What you do  2) Why you do it and 3) How to participate.

The old adage is true “If you can’t say it, you don’t know it.”  How many people on your leadership team can “say it” for your church?   How many of the staff?  How many team leaders?  How many volunteers?  How many people in the seats?

The further down the org-chart you go the more vague and generic the answers seem to become.   As simple as it sounds, if they can’t say it they don’t know it.  If they don’t know it, they can’t do it.  Until the majority of people who are part of your church are “saying it” (and they’re saying the same thing) you haven’t created clarity.

Easier said than done to be sure, but well worth it.  Here are just a few advantages of taking the time to really create clarity for your church:

  • It provides everyone with a common vocabulary
  • It helps people understand what is important and what is not
  • It allows everyone to participate
  • It creates a sense of unity around what you’re doing… which results in momentum

So, how can your church go about achieving clarity? One of the best places to start is to to get with your leadership team and answer the following questions for your church.  (Hint: Don’t get bogged down in trying to craft just the right vision or mission statement right now. Answer simply, and focus on what you want people in your church to know and do.

Why does this church exist?  What are we trying to accomplish?

When this answer is clear not only does it provide motivation, it should also guide the daily and long-term decision-making at every level of the organization.

If our church were only going to be known for one thing we would want it to be…

Knowing this answer will create unity around a common vision and will help to keep you from taking long, painful and sometimes very expensive detours.

What behaviors, actions or attitudes do we value?

Strong organizations identify a small set of values or behaviors that are fundamental to their culture and then adhere to those values without exception.  They know which qualities lie at the heart of who they are.

How are we going to keep score?

Measuring the right things will keep you on track.  How can you measure your answers to questions 1-3.  You may have to be creative here.  Keep in mind that people typically don’t do what you expect.  They do what you inspect Make sure that you’re measuring the right things.

Who has to do what for us to achieve our goals?

One of the greatest challenges for churches is finding a way to get the vision on the calendar.   (If that’s you, we recommend going through our series, “putting your vision on the calendar”.)The process of taking a grand vision and breaking it down into bite-size chunks is a lot of work.

Too often church leadership teams decide on a new initiative and then make dangerous assumptions about who’s going to to what simply based on job titles, roles and responsibilities.  Everyone loves the direction but no one has the time to add it to their plate, so no one really owns it.  If no one owns it, it doesn’t happen.

The best leadership teams are willing to wear multiple hats and shuffle responsibilities based on the needs of the organization.

Am I modeling what I would like to see from the people I lead?

This is not about character (although that’s important.)  This is about me doing the things that I’m asking others to do.  Do I want them to mentor someone?  Who am I mentoring?  Do I want them to lead a small group?  Am I leading one?  Do I want them to lead at home?  Do I want them to get involved in the community? What the congregation sees leaders do is more important that what they hear leaders say.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. Decide who needs to be around the table for this discussion. Give them the questions beforehand and then plan a time to get together to discuss.
  4. Why does this church exist?  What are we trying to accomplish?
  5. If our church were only going to be known for one thing we would want it to be _____________.
  6. What behaviors, actions or attitudes do we value?  What do we want people to do? How?
  7. How are we going to keep score?
  8. Who has to do what for us to achieve our goals?
  9. Am I modeling what i would like to see from the people I lead?
  10. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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