Back to Normal? Why Impact Fades After the Crisis Has Passed.

As a clarity navigator, just about every time I have had the opportunity to discuss the unique strengths of a church with its leadership team, a story of how they have come together to respond to a community crisis is brought up. From hurricanes to blizzards to international relief, most churches think that they respond well, with strength of clarity and unity, during a crisis.

And most certainly do.

But just about every church leader ultimately wonders why, just a few weeks after the crisis has passed, there is no sustained impact or residual momentum felt.

I experienced a biceps-curl machine epiphany about this at the gym today. It could be that acting together in a crisis, for the typical church, is more like a one time adrenaline-rush response than an act of muscle memory developed over time. Only one is capable of lasting effect. 

Sustained impact of missional action is built only through the twin leadership disciplines of ruthless focus on, and repetitive communication of, a church’s vision frame. When in crisis-response mode, every church member is pulling the same rope toward one distinct outcome instead of focusing on their individualistic ministry or programatic preferences. Without an ongoing articulation of vision clarity, after the crisis passes, everyone returns to their own predisposed notion of church.

Last weekend, I wrote an article highlighting one church’s vision-directed response to Hurricane Sandy on The Vision Room, Auxano’s latest addition in the Clarity Tool Kit. Here is an excerpt:

On October 29, Hurricane Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City New Jersey as, at the time of this writing, the second-costliest hurricane in history. With over 100 fatalities in the US alone, millions without power, and more than $50 billion dollars in damage, Hurricane Sandy created an enormous need across the entire Northeast region.

As an organization that, according to Pastor Tim Lucas, bears the vision to “take church to the people,” Liquid Church in New Jersey has responded quickly and appropriately to Hurricane Sandy. This is possible because, even before the storm, Liquid has been meeting needs at street level. They have been even been recognized in their efforts by CNN and the New York Times.

In just a few days, they launched a nationwide effort…

Visit the Vision Room to read more about Liquid Church’s response to Hurricane Sandy and Discover how you can be a part.


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