I’m slowly working through Will Mancini’s book “Church Unique”. I say “slowly” because he makes me stop and think a lot. Will spends a lot of time talking about vision clarity. In one place he talks about “Clarity Gaps”. He mentions four of these:
1. The gap between the leader’s perception and reality. Ouch! That one hurts already. Is he saying that we as leaders aren’t always in touch with reality? Here are a couple of questions he suggests:” Do you know the morale level of your congregation?” “Do you know how your leadership team feels today?”
2. The gap between what the leader is thinking and saying. He asks, “What really is the most important thing you need to say to your people?” I have a bad habit of asking people that I coach to give me their vision in as few words as possible. I usually stop them about five minutes into the answer. By then I am confused by all of their words.
3. The gap between the leader’s words and how the followers receive those words. We’ve all got filters. People hear what we say through their unique filters. So many times what we say and what they hear are two very different things. Mancini asks “How will their hearts receive your words and metaphors?” And “How many ways will they need to hear your ideas?”
4. The gap between the followers’ understanding and the words they use to communicate their understanding. Mancini admits that this one is beyond the leader’s ability to control. But the leader needs to monitor what the people are saying, looking for inaccuracies and misconceptions.
Each of these gaps is commonly found in churches (and any organization for that matter). It is the leader’s responsibility to communicate as clearly as possible, as often as possible and to listen for the feedback from the people.
I just read an excellent post from Steve Sjogren entitled “12 Lies Church Planters Tell Themselves” on the Churchplanting.com blog http://tinyurl.com/d6kd8d8. I always love Sjogren’s honesty and deep spirituality. Here are a few of those lies (in bold) with my own commentary on each:
If God blesses this plant, we’ll be up and running in no time flat. Steve uses the analogy of growing asparagus to emphasize the unpredictability of these things. I agree. God’s timing is not our timing. There are ways to speed up the process of building momentum in a plant, but ultimately God causes the growth. That’s in his time, not ours. I don’t think this means the planter ought to sit passively waiting for God to move. I’ve always believed the “work like it all depends on you/pray like it all depends on God” philosophy.
Since great preaching is vital from the beginning, I’ll spend quite a bit of time in message prep from the beginning of the plant. Preachers love to preach – I get that! But I have seen way too many planters launch too soon and focus too much on their speaking ability. I’d say the number one reason planters launch too soon is that they want to be “in the pulpit”. They can’t wait to be preaching regularly. The reality is that during the pre-launch phase you have the freedom to put all of your time and energy on things you will never have enough time and energy for once you are doing weekly services. Use that time wisely!
We’ll figure out how to take care of our money accounting details as soon as we have real money coming in. If you are even thinking about planting a church, go immediately to www.startchurch.com and sign up for their regular emails. These people are experts on all things financial and legal in the church. They will scare the mess out of you with their stories of church plants who didn’t handle these things well. To quote the great Mr. T, “I pity the fool” who doesn’t do this right from the beginning.
These are just a few of Sjogrens Lies. I encourage you to read his full article with his own commentary on these points.
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