The Leadership Addiction That is Tanking Your Church Vision

If only I had one dollar for every time I have heard a pastor say it, well, I would not be sitting in this chaotic coffee shop. I would be typing this from poolside at an all-inclusive Riviera Maya beach resort. Seriously, here is what I have heard, a lot:

“I am not a vision guy…” usually followed by, in their mind, a more tangible, product-driven, measurable, “ministry output type-guy” description.

In our culture today, leaders are addicted to products. Our measurables appear to validate our efforts: Sunday attenders, community attracting facilities, and positive numbers on our spreadsheets.

The temptation behind this addiction is clear…  to grow attendance, build buildings and meet budgets. All the while forgetting our only true measure of success is making disciples who in turn make disciples who make disciples, and so on. A process rooted in vision.

Leaders are addicted to products, but process provides meaning.

I am convinced that none of us will stand in Heaven one day and hear God say: “well done good and faithful servant, you grew your church 5% annually…” or “you met budget every year…” or “you built some really attractive buildings… enter into your Reward!”

A leader recently asked for an example of vision that “really does inspire people to come on Sunday morning.” Implying that the value or reward for clarifying and articulating their church’s unique vision, through a process like Auxano’s Vision Framing, is a product: more people coming to our church.

Creating break-thru clarity to realize vision is not another marketing initiative to inspire people to come on Sunday mornings or strategic planning effort to fix systemic church issues.

It is an identity process to reveal the God’s unique calling for each church.

It is an assessment process to eliminate the myriad of good activities that distract and keep us from great impact.

It is an alignment process to bring ministries into operational harmony.

It is an empowerment process to equip the congregation to live on mission.

It is an engagement process to develop collaborative leadership.

It is an informative process to discern and direct efforts toward God’s preferred future.

That said, imagine a church that is confident of God’s call, focused on impact, guided by collaborative leadership, marked by ministries in operational harmony, in which every member is living on mission. It is not hard to also imagine that church might see more people attending each Sunday.

A good leader can create a plan and grow a church without making effective disciples.

Great leaders cast vision for growing disciples that make the church effective.