Month <span class=February 2015" src="">

Month February 2015

What Vision is your Church Talking About?

Vision No comments
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Remember the old adage, of something particularly mundane: “It’s nothing to write home about”?

I’m not sure that people write home anymore, but the principle still makes sense.  Some things are worth sharing, some things aren’t.

Which side of that fence is your church on?

Here’s what I mean: when your people are out to lunch, on a business trip, or catching up with their long-lost friends, is there anything about your church they’d want to report?  Is there anything so contagious, any vision so compelling, that they feel like they have to speak up, with the same pride that drives grandparents to show off pictures of their grandkids?

It is certainly possible.

For example, the church I attend at present has such a fantastic children’s ministry, I feel compelled to share about it whenever church enters a conversation.  I remember at various times during my days in the pastorate I would hear good reports about something big we had underway, and those reports would be coming from third or fourth-hand sources.  “I heard you guys were doing that . . .”   How did they hear?  Who told them?

When things are excellent or compelling, word spreads quickly.

So, right now, let’s do a gut check on your congregation, and your vision.

What is happening right now that is generating buzz?  What has people talking?  What has people looking for ways to bring up church in a conversation, just so they can talk about it with their friends?

Or, to bring things down a level (life isn’t always quite that exciting), how about this question, posed to someone who is not on your leadership team:

So, what is our church doing this year?  What’s going on?  What goals do they have?

If the answer is, “That’s a great question, I’ll have to ask,” or “I’m not sure,” you might have a gap in vision (or in the communication of vision).

Here are a few questions to ponder: 

  • Pastor, what you reaching for, in Christ’s name?
  • Who are you serving boldly with the gospel?
  • What kingdom goals are being completed right now?
  • Who is being trained up for ministry?
  • What new ideas are percolating through the leadership team right now?
  • How will your church be different in six months than it is right now?

I don’t believe we always need a “shiny object” in the church that is somehow new and improved, and we shouldn’t be worried about generating buzz for its own sake.  There might be long seasons of faithfulness required in between “big, new things.”  But even then, the goals can be clear. Their connection to the Great Commission vision must be established.

In kingdom work, there is always something we can write home about.

About the Author–Dan Jarvis is a certified strategists with Leadership Outreach and a free-lance writer. He is the editor of Revive! Magazine, a publication of Life Action Ministries. Dan is the author of Commissioned, a book detailing the explosive growth of the local church in India. Dan can be reached at Dan@leadershipoutreach.com.

The Best Opportunity for Non-Profits

Vision No comments
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What if faith-based non-profit activity could be a bridge between culture as it is today, and culture as we wish it could be?

If churches are the place where people are supposed to “meet with God,” what will happen if churches continue their decline?  The statistics are certainly alarming, and the trend lines don’t look good for “church as usual” (at least in the West).  Where will people meet God, if churches fade away from a community?

Part of the answer may lie with spiritually-based non-profits.  I know of many organizations that do good for the world, and many volunteers and dollars are drawn to these important causes, which can “make the world a better place.”

But what if these non-profits more overtly dedicated effort to help people meet God?  Some non-profits shy away from being “pushy” so as not to offend donors or recipients.  The calculation is that being a good example will attract people, and eventually this will lead to spiritual conversation.  I often fall into this category myself.

But what if we changed this paradigm? What if non-profit groups consciously looked for ways to bring God into the conversations, and by doing so, share the “good news” right alongside of their “good deeds?”  Wouldn’t that accomplish the mission?  Isn’t that the most helpful thing any person or organization could do?

Leadership Outreach has helped non-profits do just this.  It is exhilarating to facilitate pathways for non-profits to close the communication loop as they deliver their services.  We help them not only reach out to help by delivering their services, but if they desire, we can help them refresh the spiritual dimension of their ministry work.  I believe getting such a strategy woven into a non-profit’s vision/mission is the “secret sauce” to real strategic planning and leadership development.

Can non-profits be a significant discipleship path?  Could they assist churches as they renew their own vision and cultural significance?  Why not?  They are more likely to draw young and old in large numbers.  Once someone has God at work in their own heart, they are more apt to be open to what churches offer. What if faith-based non-profit activity could be a bridge between culture as it is today, and culture as we wish it could be?

Well, non-profits – are you up for the challenge?  And as you strategize to help your constituents physically, emotionally and – as I’m suggesting – spiritually, would you like some help?  Leadership Outreach would love to partner with you in pursuit of your mission, and toward the larger mission we read about in God’s Word.

Jean Cholka is leadership coach and organization strategist with Leadership Outreach.  She has served in leadership and HR roles in fortune 500 companies and start-ups/turnarounds.  Most recently she was the CEO of Freeborders, Inc. a global consulting company based in San Francisco, CA. She can be reached at Jean@leadershipoutreach.com