Been Away for Awhile

I haven’t posted to this blog in a while. I have been busy trying to get my book ready to publish. The book is entitled: “What Happened to Our Church?” with the subtitle “And where do we go from here? 

I really believe this book will be helpful, particularly to churches facing changing. It is primarily addressed to people in more traditional churches that have not successfully changed with the times. I offer a lot of explanation as to why their church is in the circumstances it is in, and I offer options for change.

This project came out of the many consultations I have with traditional churches in my work. Hopefully, the book will be in print (and digital?) early in 2015.


 

THE POWER OF STRATEGIC QUESTIONS

As a church consultant, I find that some of the most effective tools in my box are good, strategic questions. Good questions are always clear and easy to present, but often difficult to answer. As a big fan of Will Mancini www.willmancini.com, I often use his five questions to discover where a congregation is. Here are those questions:

The mission question: What are we doing? Mancini says that the trouble with most pastors is that they lead from a general sense of mission, rather than a clearly focused sense of mission.

The value question: Why are we doing it? Our values are our motives that guide our actions reveal our strengths.

The strategy question: How are we doing it? Can you draw a “napkin sketch” that illustrates your “how”? Mancini says that we often confuse ministry means with ministry ends. When we are not clear, we tend to measure our means rather than our ends.

The measures question: When are we successful? He states that a lot of churches just count attendance and income. Circuses can count these – what makes your church different from a circus.

The vision question: Where is God taking us? This is unique to every church (hence, Mancini’s book “Church Unique”).

So next time your team is debating some proposed activity or new ministry, it may be helpful to fall back on these questions before making the decision.

 


 

Do What You Do Best

We had lunch today at Surfrider Restaurant in Hampton. If you are from Hampton Roads you know this restaurant has several locations around the region. It is one of the better seafood restaurant in the area. But they are known for an unlikely item that has nothing to do with seafood. This is one of those love-it-or-hate-it food items. I’m talking broccoli.

Broccoli with hollandaise sauce is the side item of choice at Surfrider. This head of broccoli is the size of a small tree. It is gigantic! It is steamed to perfection, leaving just enough crunch. It is always the same. I don’t know who their supplier is, but the broccoli is the same year round.

Now, for you non-broccoli lovers (you know who you are George H.W. Bush), this is not a big deal. But there is definitely something to be said for consistent quality. I love variety, but I also value consistency. I know that when I go to Surfrider, the broccoli is going to be there. There is something to be said for doing what you do best with consistency.  It builds loyalty and trust. I’m sure Surfrider pays more for their broccoli than most restaurants. They sacrifice for quality.

What do you do well? Do you do it consistently well? What would it take to do it consistently well? These are key questions if you want to build loyalty and trust in whatever you do.