Ministry in a Fog? Here are 6 Critical Questions that Create Clarity

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Yesterday I added a simple exercise you can use to identify next steps. It occurred to me as I wrote yesterday's post that even completing that simple exercise is very tough for many organizations, because they don't know the answers to a set of essential questions (what I often refer to as the Drucker Questions).

I've been working my way through The Advantage, Patrick Lencioni's latest, for the last several months. Unlike Lencioni's previous fables, The Advantage calls for a careful read. Packed with insights and practices, it includes a set of 6 critical questions that create organizational clarity.

Honestly, I don't know how anyone can build ministries without this kind of clarity.

Here are Lencioni's 6 Questions:

1. Why do we exist? This is the why question. "An organization's core purpose--why it exists---has to be completely idealistic." "How do we contribute to a better world?" Don't settle for the first answer. Ask "Why?" See Start with Why for more.

2. How do we behave? This is about values. Core, Aspirational, Accidental, Permission-to-play. Core values have been identified correctly when it will "allow itself to be punished for living those values and when it accepts the fact that employees will sometimes take those values too far." Aspirational values are those an organization wants to have, wishes it already had, and believes it must develop in order to maximize it success in its current market environment." Permission-to-play values are "the minimum behavioral standards that are required in an organization."

3. What do we do? This is the what question. An "unsexy, one-sentence definition." Drucker's "What business are you in?" is a little bit of a blend between this very basic angle and Lencioni's "why do we exist?" See also, The First Question Every Small Group Pastor Must Answer.

4. How will we succeed? For Lencioni this revolves around the question, "How will we make decisions in a purposeful, intentional, and unique way that allows us to maximize our success and differentiate us from our competitors?" See also, The Second Question Every Small Group Pastor Must Answer

5. What is most important? There can't be multiple top priorities. The implication of top priority is that there really is only one. "Every organization, if it wants to create a sense of alignment and focus, must have a single top priority within a given period of time."

6. Who must do what? This is about understanding and agreeing on roles and responsibilities. "Everyone on the leadership team knows and agrees on what everyone else does and that all the critical areas are covered."

I think you can see this isn't an assignment you complete over lunch. It's a time-consuming and painstaking process. But...if you spend the time working through these 6 questions, you'll probably notice that the fog has begun to lift (if you haven't read The Advantage, I highly recommend it).
Image by Dom Crossley
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. In addition, I am the Small Group Specialist for LifeWay. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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