Tag Archive - goals


Vision is a Destination not a Statement

Vision is a destination, not a statement. Many churches spend an incredible amount of time wordsmithing pithy vision statements instead of providing a clear picture of where they’re going. What a majority of churches view as their vision statement is usually a mission statement.

Mission Answers the Question: Why do we exist?

This is the timeless answer to why your church is on the planet in the first place. We don’t get to pick our mission Jesus did that for us. That’s the whole, “go and make disciples,” part. But we do get to pick language that contextualizes it for our culture.

Vision Answers the Question: Where are we going?

This is the next hill that needs to be taken. Vision typically changes every 3-5 years. Vision changes because once you get there and have taken then hill, there’s always the next hill to take.

Most church staff can’t articulate the next hill their church is taking. They don’t’ know the target on the wall they’re shooting for. One way to begin to bring clarity to the vision at your church is to simply ask the question,

“Where would we be in 3-5 years if our church faithfully lived out the mission Jesus has given us in the context of our community, unique culture of our church, gifting and passions of our Sr. Leadership, and resources that God has given us?”

Doing the serious work to answer this question will help you put a target on the wall to hit. Getting crystal clear on this will have a “trickle down” effect on every decision made in your church over the next 3-5 years. It will allow you to:

  1. Set goals and measure results.
  2. Determine how to allocate resources and budget.
  3. Help you understand how you need to structure your staffing model.
  4. Bring alignment to ministries.

Posted in Leadership


4 Strategies to Start in 2015 that will Change your Church

It’s January and the gyms are packed. They’re making money hand over fist this month with everyone making New Years Resolutions to finally get in shape. And when I go to the gym in February it will be back to normal. People are notorious for making huge goals at the New Year and then not following through. That’s why I want to give you a couple of small changes you can realistically make this year that will change your church in 2015. You’ll be surprised by how small degrees of change that you make in your trajectory today can pay dividends in the future. So here are 4 small changes that can make a big deal in your church in 2015.

1. Start Hand Writing Notes

Every week set aside 30 minutes to write a couple of notes and send them in the mail. It can be a thank you to a generous giver or a volunteer. It can be encouraging words to a staff member. You can send a note to say thanks for visiting to a guest. Or send a simple “I prayed for you today,” to someone going through a difficult time. Nothing beats a handwritten note. It’s a simple personal touch that says you care and it makes you more authentic and accessible as a leader. Yes, this means using an actual pen to actually write something and put it in the mail. Not an email, not a text, not a direct message on social media but an actual letter.

2. Build an Integrated Ministry Calendar

Get your ministry staff or leaders together and spend the time to build one integrated calendar for the year. Include weekend teaching series, all church events, and segment ministry calendars like Children’s Ministry and Student Ministries. You’ll quickly discover where ministries are in competition with each other, fuel islands of strength, and you’ll be able to simplify your efforts and make sure everyone is moving in the same direction.

3. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate

Take some time with your team to build a list of every ministry at your church (this might actually take a lot of time for some teams). Then ask 4 simple questions about them: 1) What’s Working? 2) What’s Wrong? 3) What’s Confusing? 4) What’s Missing? Then optimize what’s working, change what’s wrong, clarify what’s confusing, and add what’s missing.

4. Join a Leadership Coaching Network

The whole church gets better when the leader gets better. You can be inspired at a leadership conference and hear a lot of leadership theory; or you spend the time to be around other leaders who are in the trenches, engage in leadership exercises, read and discuss great leadership books and trends, and discover new systems and strategies that you can implement in your local church context. Here’s a link if you’re interested in taking this step.

Photo Credit: Great Beyond via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership


6 Things Your Church Should Know about Core Values

Left to themselves organizations…including churches, drift. It can happen to the best of us if we’re not careful. As organizations and churches grow they naturally become more complex. There are more assets to allocate, more people to manage, decisions seem to have greater consequences than did when you were smaller and more nimble, and those decisions seem to just keep coming faster and faster. It is easy to become consumed with the business of running the church. But just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re taking ground.

Core Values are the guardrails of any organization or church that is taking ground. They are the core beliefs that drive how the people in the church interact with one another and the church as a whole behaves towards others outside of the church. They are the grid that filters our behavior to ensure that our activity is actually getting us where we believe God wants us to go.

So here are 6 things your church should know about core values.

1. Values aren’t real until they’re lived out in the church

There’s a big difference in most churches between what they say they value and how they behave. You can write anything you want to on a sheet of paper, you can train the staff and volunteers on it, you can distribute it on a slick promotional piece to the church body, you can even teach about it in the weekend services. But until it’s lived out it’s not a value, it’s an aspiration.

2. Keep the List of Values Short

If you value everything then you don’t value anything. There must be a few nonnegotiable hills that you’re willing to die on that drive the behaviors you’re looking to create. For a lot of reasons, I encourage churches to try to keep the list of values to be no more than 5.

3. Don’t Copy Values

Unless you want to be a clone, don’t copy values from other churches. Take the time to discover the unique personality of your church and what God has uniquely put in your heart as the leader. Copying values from other churches simply doesn’t work. You have to be you.

4. Hire and Fire (Staff & Volunteers) based on your Values

When team members or key volunteers demonstrate values that are contradictory to the values of the church either coach them up or lead them out. As you recruit volunteers and staff to join you allow your values to drive the recruitment. Because, you become who you recruit.

5. Articulate your Values

You’ve got to do the hard work of wrestling these ideas to the ground in such a fashion that they can be articulated in a clear, concise, and compelling manner. If your value statements can’t be sent out using twitter then they’re too long. If it doesn’t inspire or move people towards action it’s too dry.

6. Prayer and Doctrine aren’t Values

Prayer, evangelism, discipleship, outreach, core doctrines of the faith and the like aren’t values. They’re assumptions. If anything they’re permission to play values. Those basic values that allow you access to the room. I’ve listened as church leadership teams say they value outreach. Outreach doesn’t make a church unique, it’s the common behavior of any person or church that is following Jesus. Values are core and compact identity issues that make your church distinct from others.

 So what else would you add to the list? Leave a comment I’d love to hear your input!

Photo Credit: krissen via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership


What My 8yr Old Taught Me About Goal Setting

The other day I was driving my 8yr old daughter to school, like I do every day, and we got into a conversation about goals for 2014. She quickly began to teach me a leadership lesson about goal setting that I thought I’d pass along to you. She explained to me that there are 3 kinds of goals:

1. “Soccer”

You know, like when you score a goal in a soccer game. Yep, got it. Keeping score is a good thing when you’re setting goals.

2. “Animals”

This one took me a bit longer to understand, and she actually got frustrated with me because I was a little slow on the uptake. But what she was saying was “gulls.” Like Sea Gulls. The thought process of an 8yr old, cute.

3. “When you Reach for Something”

Finally she said that a goal is something you have to reach for, and you can’t mark it off your list until you keep doing it. In other words it involves 3 things:

1. Consistency: Just because you change a behavior one time or achieve something once, doesn’t mean you’ve mastered it or arrived. You’re looking for a consistent change in behavior.

2. Accountability: A list is a great way to build accountability. If it isn’t written down it doesn’t exist. You’ve got to have a solid concrete target to shoot for.

3. Reach: Whatever goals you set in 2014 they should push you to reach for something on the top shelf. It shouldn’t be easy and the sheer movement towards that goal should cause personal growth.

Smart little lady huh? I should let my kids write all my blog posts!

Posted in Family, Leadership


Bringing Clarity to the Language of Organizational Leadership

One of the most frequently reoccurring conversations I get into in helping churches focuses around building organizational health and alignment in churches. Often times in those conversations confusion surfaces over language such as Mission, Vision, Goals, Strategy, Structure, Core Values, and Systems. So here’s an attempt to help provide some clarity and a framework to some of the most influential conversations you may have as church or organization.

1. Mission:

Answers the Question: Why do we exist?

This is the timeless answer to why your business, organization or church is on the planet in the first place. For those of us in church-world we don’t get to pick our mission, Jesus did that for us.

2. Vision:

Answers the Question: Where are we going?

This is the next hill that needs to be taken. Organizational vision typically changes every 3-10 years. Vision changes because once you get there and have taken then hill, there’s always the next hill to take.

3. Goals:

Answers the Question: How do we get there?

Goals are actionable and attainable steps or objectives to be met that move the organization in the direction of the vision. You know you’re winning and moving in the direction of accomplishing the vision when you are meeting your goals!

4. Strategy:

Answers the Question: Who does what next?

Strategies are the decisions that need to be made to coordinate the application of the resources (people, time, money, information and other assets) of the organization to meet the goals.

5. Structure:

Answers the Question: How do we organize ourselves?

This is the way you intentionally put together all the various parts of the organization to work together in order to support the strategies.

6. Core Value:

Answers the Question: How do we behave?

These are the core beliefs that drive how the people in the organization interact with one another and the organization as a whole behaves towards others outside of the organization.

7. System:

Answers the Question: How do we reproduce it?

Essentially systems are made up of complex independent parts working together to perform a function (for example think skeletal system or solar system). For our purposes building a system is the art of connecting the Core Values, Structures, Strategies, Goals, and Vision to work in alignment that builds a culture that leans towards accomplishing the Mission.

What are some other definitions of these terms that you’ve heard that may be helpful to the conversation? Leave a comment!

Posted in Leadership
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