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.
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.
Check out Will Mancini’s insightful blog:
I’m having trouble with my link function – you may have to cut and paste this, sorry!