Guest Post by Allan Love
Note from Bob: If at first glance, today’s post, seems like it only applies to Church Leaders, you would be wrong! The “Questions” that Allan shares can help all leaders shape the the future of their companies/organizations.
It has been said, “Your future depends on what you do today.” And since we are talking about moving forward into the future as churches, let’s unpack what we should prioritize today so that our tomorrow is brimming with noble and exciting realities!
Over the past decade, there has been a ‘Niagaratic’ flow of resources to help churches achieve their so-called “2020 Vision.” Then Covid-19 happened! Yet, for some, this intensified the vim and vigor of championing a church’s future. We have been hearing words like “pivot,” “adapt,” “innovate,” “ideate,” “imagine,” “forecast,” “disrupt the disruption,” and so forth – at levels and frequencies we have not heard before. Amid this flurry and in some cases, obsession, of all things ‘church-futuring,’ I have found a very helpful starting place to prepare your church for her future: ask questions.
Every question contains the catalytic power to ignite a quest – an exploration and expedition – into the shaping of the future. I’ve often heard that the best leaders lead from questions and not from answers. (Sidebar: according to Gospel accounts, Jesus asked 307 questions, was asked 187, and only answered 3.)
Here are some questions to ask and work through with your team, as you navigate your future direction as a church community. Be both courageously curious and compassionate when working through your questions – fostering a safe and motivating environment.
Known as the 4 Helpful List questions, they can be asked in a variety of contexts – to help evaluate teams, departments, or the organization as a whole:
- What’s working? How can we leverage these successes here?
- What’s broken? How do we fix it?
- What’s missing? What should be added or changed?
- What’s confusing? How can we bring clarity?
Within every question, we should also ask, “Why?” Why is it working, broken, missing, or confusing? “Why” questions help us get to the root of the matter.
Ask these 4 questions about the following areas of ministry:
- staffing (hiring/transitioning, training/resourcing, and team health)
- strategy (mission, values, vision, pathways, and measures/outcomes)
- systems (communication and decision-making)
- services (Sunday morning and all that is offered throughout the week internally and externally)
- structure (in all the ways we are organized or not)
As part of this questioning process, evaluate both the church’s scalability and sustainability. (It’s all about learning to travel lightly toward your destination.) These elements are essential to creating and cultivating a reproducible movement that both expands (leading more people to Jesus) and transforms (leading people to live more like Jesus).
Furthermore, indispensable to any church’s ‘futuring’ is the ongoing query: are we operating out of a place of attunement (discerning and knowing God’s vision for us) and alignment (living that vision out in unity) – resulting in a beautiful harmony between both focus and flow?
Here are some further questions; these may feel like they have a ‘leading’