One of the toughest yet most important church leadership tasks is communicating God's vision for the church in ways that are easily understood and that create passion and momentum. Whether you are serving in a "temporary" position as an Interim Pastor, a bona fide Transition Pastor or in a permanent pastoral position you've faced this problem. If you've never faced the problem you probably aren't tapped into God's vision for the church or you're probably caretaking rather than leading.
Business leaders face the same problem. There is a rich body of literature on business leadership but this embarrassing wealth of riches makes it very difficult to find anything helpful.
If you're still combing the literature (whether in the business world or the church/ministry world) there's a short, helpful video that deserves your attention. "Starting Lean: Selling Vision". This excellent video offers an interesting path for pastors who find God's vision challenged by lack of resources, lack of response of lack of know-how. Rather than coming online with a full-blown offering, the video suggests a "proto-type" strategy that could easily be implemented in a ministry setting.
The three-step approach is fairly simple:
- Create a Proto-type
- Show your Skills
- Incorporate Feedback
If you're a frustrated pastor who wants to implement missional communities (MC) rather than the typical, member-focused small groups, you may need to start with a proto-type. Recruit a dozen handpicked individuals who understand the vision, who feel passion around that vision, and are eager to get involved. Use that proto-type as a learning opportunity, a sort of "beta testing" program that will help you iron out the bugs before you roll it out to the entire congregation. When it's time to finally sell the vision you'll have a dozen folks who'll do the buttonholing and recruiting for you!
Taking an opportunity to show proven results (that's my take away from their phrase "show your skills") will also build interest and support for the vision by demonstrating what's possible. Sticking with the MC scenario, suppose that the proto-type MC engages in a mentoring single mothers to equip them with life development and life management skills. As the "small wins" start to roll in, have the MC members give testimony on Sunday, write articles for the church newsletter and speak to other groups and programs within the congregation. It may even be possible to have those who have enjoyed the MC's ministry share the impact on their lives.
Along the way, be sure to gather plenty of feedback and make mid-course adjustments as needed. When the proto-type ministry has run its course, be sure to decommission it with fanfare.
The beauty of this approach is that you can develop significant changes that will be needed to carry the church forward, but do it incrementally, learning as you go. You'll also be developing the people who will not only carry the ministry forward, but who will also sell the vision to the rest of the congregation.