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Tag Archives: Strategy

As I continue this long and sometimes painful journey of pioneering a non-profit I’m constantly reminded of the importance of team. So many churches, sports teams and businesses seem to always have a key person as the “face” of the organization.

But great organizations don’t become great because of one person. My theory is quite simple, I’m praying that God will surround me with a team of people who share my passion, but who do things so much better then I do.  Here is what I’m looking for in a team:

1. Passion: If I have to motivate them, then I don’t want them on the team. If someone lacks passion then they become a hindrance to the vision of the organization. Get rid of them asap.

2. Organized: It’s really hard to image someone being truly effective in any aspect in life if they don’t have a sense of organization. I’m not talking about the highly organized individual, I just want someone who can understand the importance of structure and decision-making. We all impact each other.

3. Controlled: I want the team to be passionate. At the same time I don’t want every meeting to drain the life out of the team. We all have to learn when to push buttons and when to relax and move forward.

4. Work-ethic: Again, if someone lacks proper work-ethic, there is a big issue. You want to be around a team that gets things done. If they are passionate, organized and work hard, they are going to produce. If I have to micro-manage productivity, then my life will stink and the culture we create will not be healthy.

5. Attitude: If I can’t do life with the team, if I don’t want to be around them…or they don’t want to be around me, that is not going to suffice. You gotta be able to do life together and enjoy the process.I want my team to be my friends. I want to fight for them and I need to know that they will fight for me.

6. Focused: For dreamers its really easy to have so many dreams and still get so little done. Less is more, especially in the beginning. I struggle with this issue. You have to have people who start something and finish something. This is why a team needs balance. If you have to many dreamers and not enough implementers your organization will have great idea’s but little fruit. I’m a dreamer…I gotta find the implementer. If I start something I want to finish it. Typically implementers will have a higher success rate finishing what the dreamer started.

In my opinion, the implementer is the most important member of the organization. It’s easy to dream, it’s hard to see the dream come alive and produce. Usually pioneers have to be good at both: Dreaming and implementing. You don’t have to be great at both and over the course of time it will be vital to hire the right team-member.

7. Clarity: I have so many ideas that it’s easy to overwhelm people. Just ask my friends. The team has to be clear about the initiatives that they are working on. This is the leaders job. So vital…yet so hard. The team needs to know that they are working on the right things at the right time with the right people.

8. Leadership: Can the team lead when we need them to? Can they make tough decisions? Can the fire when someone needs to be fired? Can they confront when someone is not doing the job right? Can they sacrifice and set an example? When I hire people, I want to hire leaders. No matter what role they fill, I want them to lead.

Questions to ask:

Is the strategy clear? Do you have the right team in place? Is the team cohesive and effective? Did you hire leaders? Or did you hire workers…?

Anything else I should add?


Jeff and I have been in deep discussion about the future of Vista. We love our church and God has blessed us. Yet we know their are so many holes that need to be filled and vital decisions that must be made if we are to progress and evolve as a faith community.

We’ve spent a lot of time on vision asking some very important questions like:

  • Where do we see God leading us?
  • How are we going to get there?
  • What decisions do we need to make so we can move forward?
  • What risks do we need to take?
  • Where does faith play into the decision?

As a church plant it can sometimes take years to finally see a clear vision and understand the strengths and weaknesses of the church and staff. For instance, we know we have to make two immediate changes if we want to see fruit and keep momentum moving forward:

1. Admin: We are horrible at this. (who would have thought) We need skilled admin help asap.

2. Office Space: Our office can’t get high-speed Internet. So basically it’s a waste of time. We are looking to move locations asap.

I say that to say this. Every organization has weaknesses; the good organizations identify those weaknesses and put the right people in the right place so synergy is possible. If we fail to identify our weakness, then we will struggle to move forward. I think this is why many organizations lose or never gain momentum.

Every time an organization takes the “next-step,” they also have to deal with more issues. Maybe this is why most churches in America is less the 100?

We know this because our people tell us. They tell us in a good way. Because they love us and support the vision. We are a team and we need to hear from the team members. This is vital and also provides confirmation for the organization.

So we need to do better at admin, in order to do that we need a more efficient and creative office environment. Therefore, we need to take some risks to move forward, maybe spend a little more money and have faith that God will provide the resources.

What changes does your organization need to make?

This morning I’m not feeling well…I got the cedar fever thing going on or something else. Anyhow, I spent most of the morning studying churches that I think “have it going on.” I was not worried about theology or ministry philosophy-I just want to know what churches are making an impact and what can I learn from them even if I would never do church/ministry they way they do.

Brand Autopsy has a great post that I think is relevant to this conversation. And I think Rob Bell or somebody asked the same question at some conference last year.

If you’re church or business was gone today-would anybody care? Brand Autopsy uses some of the following businesses as example:

1. Subaru: Nope, I could care less about them.
2. Sears: Nope, it’s been years since I stepped into a Sears.
3. Well Fargo: I would not, but if WAMU was gone I would be depressed.
4. Chilli’s: I still enjoy Chilli’s. But I’ve only been there maybe once in the last year. So I would be sad, but not really.

Now what companies would cause depression if they disappeared.

1. Starbucks: I’m not a fan really, I prefer local joints. But I would still be sad, because I would miss the convenience.
2. In & Out or Chick-Fil-A: Yes for sure. I love these joints.
3. Harley: I want one-BAD. So yes I would be sad.
4. Amazon: Oh God-please…That would be horrible.
5. Target: Yes, love Target.

6. All the local pubs, coffeeshops and restaurants. (Mozart’s, Genuine Joe’s, Shady Grove, Freebirds, Waterloo Records etc.)

I think there is something to be said about culture. And I think my job as a leader is to determine how my church can become a community that would be deeply missed by Christians and non-Christians. When I was studying these churches, they seem to have that dubious “it” factor. They got vision, momentum and excitement. It really does not matter if you are a simple church or mega-church. There is still an “it” factor or maybe a tipping point. Something that generated momentum which then became a movement.

I’ve identified seven things that they all seem to have. This is just a quasi personal opinion, no formal research. So, hopefully after Christmas I will be able to post the seven things that every church had or seemed to have. In the meantime I leave you with this quote by Seth Godin via Purple Cow.

“The lesson is simple—boring always leads to failure. Boring is always the most risky strategy. Smart businesspeople realize this, and they work to minimize (but not eliminate) the risk from the process.”