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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

23 Sep '13

Moving from ambiguity to clarity

Posted by T.J. Addington in clarity, missional clarity
The single most important job of a leader is to ensure maximum clarity for the organization he/she leads. Without absolute clarity your people will not know what defines you, what your mission is, where you are going and what the desired end result looks like.

One of the five dysfunctions of ministries is that of ambiguity. And it is the reason that so many ministries are not more missional and effective in what they do.

This is especially true with churches. Often, churches grow to a certain size and then plateau. While many do not realize it, one of the key causes of a church to plateau is lack of clarity on mission, guiding principles, central ministry focus and the desired end result (for more information on these four areas, see Leading From the Sandbox).

Why would ambiguity cause a church to plateau? Because general clarity yields general ministry with general results. Ambiguity or lack of clarity prevents the staff from being deeply missional (we are not really clear on what we are about), aligned (around what?) and focused on clearly defined results (we have not defined those). Lack of clarity does actually cause a church to start to stall at some point and before it can move forward it must come to clarity on the four areas above. This can be true in a church of 500 or a church of 4,000.

Focused, aligned, results oriented ministry depends on a high degree of clarity regarding who the ministry is, what the culture we are trying to create is, what we need to do day in and day out and what our target is. In the absence of clarity, staff will simply do what is right in their own lives but one will not have a focused, aligned, results oriented ministry.

Interestingly enough, when a senior leader walks through the process of clarifying the essential issues (mission, guiding principles, central ministry focus and preferred result) they often discover that they don't have all the right players at the table. In the absence of clarity they have assembled some good people but not all of whom want to or can live with focused, aligned, results oriented ministry. They have not had to live there in the past and now they have a great deal more accountability for how they do what they do. In fact, they are part of the reason that the church has plateaued. Some staff would far prefer the comfort of ambiguity over the accountability of clarity.

Maximum clarity combined with truly missional staff will provide great lift for a ministry organization. If you need help in getting to clarity, Leading From the Sandbox is all about that. It is job one of a good leader and it will make all the difference in the effectiveness of the church or organization you lead. While this is a simple principle it is one that is largely not understood or practiced.

Clarity if job one for leaders!