Friday, February 19, 2010

Book Club Friday: Church Unique, Chapters 1-2

I think I’m going to enjoy this book. I haven’t read both chapters yet, so there may be more questions to come, but a couple questions arise from chapter 1 for me that might be worthy of discussion. These are just ideas. Please share whatever it is that grabs you in the first couple chapters this week. The questions I thought noteworthy…

1. How did this tweak your idea of how vision forms, what vision is?
2. Which of the “Thinkholes” are you most prone to falling into in your own vision/mission mindset?

In case you missed the first post from last week on the Introduction, here it is:


Justin said...

Re: Q1. This is a new way of thinking about vision for me. I’ve always thought of it as something where a leader goes up to the mountain and hears a voice from on high, taking a group of people to a new place – like the promised land, or something like that.

Josh Uht said...

Q1: It opened up my eyes to see vision as a long process and not a weekend excursion that solves everything. Like you apparently. I think that vision is knowing where people are and where they need to go rahter than where I want to tae them. And you can only know that through knowing the culture.

Q2: I really identified with the competency trap. That is exactly what is happening right now to me. I am still trying to figure out the culture here but I keep trying to figure out how I can change the culture to be more like Cypress, instead of seeing the culture for what it is and ministering to where they are.
I also see the Pastors here falling into both needs based and treadmills. It drives me nuts because we never get much done because we are always dealing wit the now. There is no future plan. I also seethe whirpools in our current state. We have no strategy and there is no end in site

Review: I really like this book and I am excited that it isn't delivering a model. I am hoping that it sheds more light on discovery the culture. I haven't read chapter 2 yet but I will have it done by tomorrow morning. I'm sorry that I am writing so much but it is just that good.

What do you think about how Cypress(as a staff) is about reaching their "defined" culture?

I think Sierra Reach knows only half of the story. We understand the background of people that are here pretty well. However, I'm not sure we have a grasp on the culture of how our church operates and if we do I'm not convinced that it is good.I really liked how Mancini laid out that culture is not just outside of the church or the leadership but there is a complete culture of leadership and staff workings that are connected

Anonymous said...

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Justin said...

No problem on writing a lot. I think that's how we most benefit. In terms of how we interpret our culture, I'm not sure and that's my fault not anyone else's. I think I get on a treadmill of what I do and see things through my lens more than doing a good job of hearing from people and getting into their heads. That listening book of Greg's is worth getting because I think it will help me (and others) a lot with listening instead of assuming.

I think our senior pastor spends the most time listening to where people are and getting a feel for where our community is. I'm not sure if he has it nailed, but, despite being here half the time I've been here, I'm confident he's wrestled with it more than I have ... to my shame and his honor.

This is a good challenge for me to listen better and learn so I can add to the process.

Good question. Thanks for helping me wrestle with this a little better. Good book choice. Greg's is good, too. Can't wait to get to that one after this one!

Josh Uht said...

I think Pastor Mike knows the culture there pretty well. I think he also knows the culture of the church that he would like to see. (I've been doing too many exegesis papers, every time I type he I type (H)e.) When I look back at my time at Cypress I see how Mike navigated culture by absorbing it for three years then started to try and give it a nudge without over taking everything.

Did you read Chapter 2 yet?

I'm not sure what to think about it. I'm in a church now that doesn't do a strategic plan but "plans for the future" as Mancini says. I have a really hard time with it. Nothing is defined, success or failure. It's all up to how it felt when we are done. Think there is a difference between stringently planning and planning with the ability to change mid stream. I know Mancini talks about preparing rather than planning and I get what he is saying but it just feels wrong. That's probably just my brain being too small. I don't assume to know more but I wonder how much experience he has long term inside of a church like that. I just feel like I'm in one and am lost.

I don't know what to even ask after reading that chapter.

Justin said...

You're asking good questions. I'll have to re-read it so I don't 'just wing it' with a response. It's also possible that we need to let this develop before we're too critical (or embracing) of the model. I'll try to review it in the next day or two.

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Justin said...

OK. I just skimmed the headlines of chapter 2, but I think I might be able to help with your question, Josh. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I think Mancini's talking about vision that actually gains traction. Too many goals (so it doesn't communicate to the congregation - or staff for that matter, it's too complicated) or too fragmented among silos (that's where we are, but vision is moving us out of it - even if we're a good 'team,' there's room for more common goals) and trusting that there won't be more change, making us unadaptable (I think I've had that problem in college group through the years).

I don't think you avoid goals, but you stay focused on a few overarching goals (Simple) with the willingness to adapt plans (Adaptability) because plans shouldn't be inherently tied to the vision. Andy Stanley says plans/strategy change, vision doesn't. And being unified as a staff by this vision helps break down silos (Synergy).

This is getting long, but this is the perils of thinking out loud.

It seems like vision should be fixed in a few points, but dynamic in other elements. This allows clarity and teamwork while staying adaptable. This seems possible enough, but perhaps as we progress through the book we'll get a better idea.

Josh Uht said...

That clears things up a bit. I get it more now than I did then. However, I'm not totally on board with it yet. I think where my problem lies is that my church as of now doesn't communicate it's vision as much as its mission. We know why we exist but we don't know how we exist. We point to Luke chapter 4 as our reason but we don't communicate legs to that reason. I'm not sure how we would change that but it bothers me quite a bit.

I understand the view of creating a vision over a long period of time and I really have been taking a backseat this last year just trying to understand the church and its culture but I run into road blocks when there isn't a process that the church goes through to create vision or goals. There aren't any measurable goals that are set and I am hoping that in the next few chapters that Mancini will give some suggestions on how to fuse goals in.

I think my other frustration is that I don't feel like I have the authority of right to change anything here. My role is to submit to the Senior Pastor and I can only do what he wants me to do. He isn't totalitarian or a micro manager. He just seems to resist change because this church is built on being different from all models of "churching".

So my question is how does some one lead from the back seat?

Justin said...

Regarding "leading from the back seat," get the book Leading from the Second Chair by Bonnem and Patterson. You're probably right that you don't have the authority to change things in some ways, but you can have good questions of clarification with your pastor and, if there are initiatives you'd like to see develop, bring them up and ask if/how they fit into the vision. Whether they do or not, you're gaining clarity and can perhaps communicate that to others in the congregation.

Another thing that I'm seeing in our vision is that there are different aspects ... vision, mission, values, etc... So they may have a clear, concise 'vision,' but the other stuff hasn't been hashed out. Maybe, after reading and discussing, you'll be able to see what the implied values, mission, etc... are. Or, you'll be able to ask the right questions and be an asset in moving forward to clarify vision - maybe in a way that they didn't even know they needed.

I think I mentioned this earlier, but I was a little nervous about Mike working on vision with the fear that it was going to be an overhaul of who we are, but the vision Mancini is talking about is based on who a church is and focusing that identity. In this way, vision hasn't been a frightening change. Instead, it is a liberating direction that I can channel people and say, "Be who you are and here's how we're going to make maximum impact by being who God made us."

End rambling. I'm enjoying this. I'm going to send the link to Kupper, Terry, Takeshi, and Mike to see if they want to give any input (they're the vision team around here).

Justin said...

This is from Bob when I told him what we were doing here online:

Just one note which you may already know . . . . there is not ONE RIGHT way to do this kind of activity. There are some ideas, guidelines and definitions that help move a church/business through this adventure but it is as much art as it is science. Each author usually jots down what he feels works for him or her but each situation is always a bit different. We all liked “Church Unique” as a foundation but didn’t necessarily agree with everything Mancini said so don’t feel bad if everything doesn’t fit exactly right. That is why it is great to have a team doing it.

Hopefully that doesn’t frustrate you too much. I didn’t want you to get frustrated if things weren’t fitting the model but maybe I made things worse and frustrating you by saying there is no one right way.

Greg said...

Once again, sorry to be behind. I don't really have much to add to the ongoing conversation but I will answer the questions that have been posed. However, one of the problems I am having with really understanding this book is the lack of background I have with thinking about the mission/vision/values of a church. As one who has really only been a volunteer and just tries to do what is needed it is difficult for me to understand how some of this actually works. But I will do my best.
Q1 I think in the past I have seen vision forming out of strategic planning but more recently I have been made aware of finding the culture of the church and working with that towards building a more appropriate vision.
Q2 I think I probably fall into the hole of the conference maze. I don't go to conferences but I am one who thinks that if something works why try and reinvent the wheel. The problem is that that wheel may not roll on this road.

Justin said...

Those are fine insights, Greg. And there's some wisdom to not re-inventing the wheel. We need to learn from others, but we need to give it our local flavor - like good missiology.

Regarding not having to do vision, think of it from your different areas of leadership in the church. How helpful would a clearer vision from leadership been for you in terms of forumlating where you desired your area of ministry to go - trustees, college, men's, or missions.

How would clearer vision from the top have helped? What would it have made more difficult?