Nobody Wants to Own Swampland

swamplandAs I was growing up, the running joke for years around our house revolved around a tract of swampland that my parents bought right after they were married. Responding to the promise of a free toaster, or some other sort of shiny lure, Mom and Dad were scammed into buying property in South Florida, unsuitable for any actual human usage.

My parents were embarrassed at their momentary lack of judgement around a sizable sum of money with no promise of any return. In fact, there really was not even any way to physically see or walk on the property, it was literally in the middle of a marsh. We can laugh now, but I can remember days when my parents would have rather had their tangible investment instead of their superficial ownership.

More times than is funny, pastors lure leaders with the promise of a brighter future, and instead trade tangible investments in vision for a superficial ownership of tasks. It is a vision bait and switch and the reality is that over time, nobody wants to own what they cannot see, even if they might initially be excited at the prospect of the service.

Clarity in articulation coupled with consistency in delivery brings tangible ownership to vision, and in result, long term confidence in the organization itself. As a campus pastor or church planter, tangible vision ownership is key to ongoing execution, even if you do not have a full palette of paid staff. Creating a staff culture, independent of wages, means that you are delivering vision regularly to leaders in every ministry area and celebrating those moments when the vision is lived-out.

In the end, staff ownership goes beyond just making sure that jobs get done. Assigning tasks builds a short term accomplishment of doing church, while transferring vision builds long-term ownership of making disciples. If no one else owns the vision, the vision is on its own, and destined to not last very long.

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