>>Putting clarity first
This is one that I could write pages and pages on. I will spare you that an simply say that unless you have absolute clarity in your mission, far too much of your energy and momentum will be spent in vain. There is no such thing as alignment that is not preceded by clarity. Without absolute clarity of purpose, no organization or individual can function at their God-given potential. Make your first priority an absolutely ruthless pursuit of clearly articulating God’s unique vision for your church or organization. The book Church Unique was an absolute eye-opener for me in this area. You can download the free Visual Summary of the book here.
>>Taking a sabbath
I am amazed at how often pastors and other leaders have trouble with this one. In fact, in this list of 5, I would probably rank this as number 1 in difficulty. Sometimes we forget that God honors obedience over sacrifice. I know many many pastors and leaders that intellectually recognize the importance of a sabbath, but struggle to regularly honor God by taking one day of rest out of every 7. Leaders, this is one of the Big 10! It’s right up there with “Thou shall not commit adultery”. Not only is it a basic command of obedience encapsulated as an aspect of the Greatest Commandment, it’s part of how God protects and blesses us. Without this basic obedience of rest, will he really honor and bless our work for him? Check out Dr Matthew Sleeth’s upcoming book 24/6 for an honest and Biblical challenge for what this looks like in a digital age of 24/7 productivity, or take a look at how Ron Edmondson protects his sabbath.
Modern technology gives us simple tools that allow us to connect on a more personal level with some of the thought leaders of our generation. We have an amazing potential to teach and learn from a broader base than we’ve ever had in history. A generation ago, the best avenue to share the unique experience and perspective that God was building into your life, was through becoming a published author. Blogging is a simple, easy way to disseminate your spiritual journey and life mission in smaller bite-sized chunks to a potentially worldwide audience, as well as invite conversation and collaborative learning to take place. Don’t think blogging will ever replace the personal touch, but it’s also a great way to maintain a more personal connection with a larger group of people than you could possibly manage in more traditional ways. Even if you have to use a ghost writer, this is something you should be doing.
Don’t underestimate the impact that 140 digital characters can have! Twitter is essentially a global text message. Just like a cell-phone text, you have to clarify your message into 140 letters/spaces or less. A lot can be said in such a small space – and technology allows your tweet or Facebook post to link to a blog, article, picture, video, anything! Use it as a hook to let people know where they can find resources that add value to their lives and ministry. Use Facebook to invite people into conversation or make a first connection. Use Pinterest to show the story that God telling at your church with great pictures that are worth a thousand words. I know that someone on your staff or leadership has been telling you this is something you should be doing. Just take the plunge and mark off one hour a week to plan how your church can connect to the new town hall of the Millennial generation. Ask for help, and give your people an opportunity to serve in an area that they enjoy.
>>Inviting people to tell their story
One of the challenges of being a good communicator with a clear mission is that we can tend to be the one telling the story too often, when God wants to give voice to his glory through the redemption stories of the people in our community. Get in the habit of seeking out the stories of God moving – transforming lives and brokeness into grace, redemption, and a life on mission – and then give those stories voice. Few things reveal the magnificence of God’s work and capture hearts quite like a story. We are called to be witnesses, so let’s give people something to bear witness to!
NEXT UP: >>Dangerous God