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, 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.



Seth Godin’s “The Dip” Part Two

This is the second of a three part post on Seth Godin’s short book “The Dip”. Last time we looked at the Cul-de-sac, which has people driving around in circles, getting nowhere. This time I want to talk about The Cliff. You probably see where this is going already. The cliff comes after a slow incline. You get focused on the climb without thinking about where it ends. Then suddenly you are like the coyote in a Road Runner cartoon, in free fall.

The thing about the cliff is that before you reach the end, it feels like you are making progress, a little bit each day. There comes a point where you have invested “too much to quit” so you keep on going. Then the bottom falls out. Why do so many small business people wait to they are bankrupt and in financial ruin to quit? After all we have all heard stories of people who persevered and won. The key is in knowing the difference between a dip and a cliff. (We’ll clear that up in Part 3.)

For now, look ahead! What possible outcomes are there if you stay on your current path? Sometimes it takes an outsider pointed out the obvious to us. We get so wrapped up in climbing this slope; we don’t stop and look up to the end. Or we feel that we have invested too much to turn around now.

Godin’s advice is: Quit! Quit now! Put your energy and resources into something that has a chance of succeeding. We have always heard that quitters never win. That simply isn’t true. A lot of people quit one thing only to succeed in something else.

If you have read these two posts, you are probably thinking, “So Seth Godin wants us all to quit what we are doing.” No! There is a time when we need to do just the opposite of quitting. Stay tuned.


Is My “Better” better than your “Better”?

I recently read a quote from Santana Moss of the Washington Redskins related to Robert Griffin III’s leadership ability. Santana said “Everyone lines up behind him and says, ‘Take us to the Promised Land'”. If you consider yourself a leader, ask yourself if people are lining up behind you to follow you to the promised land.

I always appreciate the concise way Seth Godin puts things. This brief post (below) from his blog says a lot about Vision Casting. I find that many church leaders think of themselves as “visionaries” but can’t figure out why people aren’t standing in line to follow their vision.

Seth writes:

Four reasons your version of better might not be enough

I might not know about your better, because the world is so noisy I can’t hear you.

I might not believe it’s better, because, hey, people spin and exaggerate and lie. Proof is only useful if it leads to belief.

The perceived cost of switching (fear, hassle, internal selling and coordination, money) is far higher than your better appears to be worth.

Your better might not be my better. In fact, it’s almost certainly not.