Is it harder to stay focused and make timely decisions the more people you reach?
Congratulations – your church has just completed its third year in a row of growth! Weekend worship attendance is growing at 20% per year; your offerings are ahead of budget; and participation in small groups has increased steadily toward your goal of 75% of worship attendance.These are only the leading indicators of a successful growth curve.
While your church may not fall exactly into one or more of those growth indicators, success is likely happening in some area of ministry.
But beware – success brings its own new problems everyday. What were once easy decisions in your church four years ago now have now become complicated, cumbersome, and confusing. Your leadership team has likely grown, and chances are, your leadership in terms of group dynamics and interpersonal communication has not kept pace.
It is time to stretch your personal development and lead your church to stay focused and make timely decisions. If you are experiencing success and feeling the resulting complexity, consider implementing a three-rhythm process for effective execution.
THE QUICK SUMMARY – Rhythm, by Patrick Thean
All growing companies encounter ceilings of complexity, usually when they hit certain employee or revenue milestones. In order to burst through ceiling after ceiling and innovate with growth, a company must develop a reliable system that prompts leaders to be proactive and pivot when the need arises.
Drawing on his experience as a successful serial entrepreneurial and speaker, Rhythm author Patrick Thean demonstrates how to identify the signs of setbacks before they occur, track those signs, and make adjustments to keep your plan on track and accelerate growth. Thean introduces a simple system to empower everyone in your company to be focused, aligned, and accountable–a three-rhythm process for effective execution.
A SIMPLE SOLUTION
A church with a successful growth pattern soon realizes how difficult of a task it is to keep everything balanced.
What if the pursuit of “balance” was the wrong choice?
Take a look around you in the natural world – do you see balance? Life is not static, linear,
or uniform. It moves, oscillates, vibrates, and pulsates. From different seasons that seem to come early (or begin late) to weather that is unpredictable to a backyard garden that one year is bountiful and the next sparse, nature doesn’t follow a balanced ow but instead moves in rhythms.
Paul, with the inspired wisdom of our Creator, called the church a “body” – a living organization. A growing, healthy church will find ways to harmonize with created and providential rhythms. Churches, like all organisms and organizations, develop through stages, experience seasons, and live in the cycles of creation.These cycles may last just a few weeks – or may extend into many years.
As pastor Bruce Miller said, “We can learn how to dance church to the God-shaped rhythms of life.”
The right rhythms give you focus, alignment, and accountability.
Rhythms help organizations continually identify the right things to review and discuss in order to stay focused on the future and avoid being blindsided. Once discovered, rhythms can help propel you forward, past ceiling after ceiling of complexity.
Think Rhythm: A rhythm of strategic thinking to create focus for the future of your organization.
Plan Rhythm: A rhythm of execution planning to let all teams and individuals know what they are supposed to be doing.
Do Rhythm: A rhythm of doing the work to keep the plan on track.
The best thing about having Think, Plan, and Do Rhythms is that they make you and your organization continuously ready to deal with ceilings of complexity when you meet them. When you hit a ceiling of complexity, you should not have to start up new processes and new habits to help your teams deal with change. In fact, making smart adjustments in your organization as a part of the three rhythms helps you avoid hitting those ceilings completely. Your rhythms should ensure that your teams are ready to respond, learn, and improve as you grow.
– Patrick Thean, Rhythm
A NEXT STEP
Rhythm is a process, not an event. It takes time to improve in small steps. Utilizing the Think, Plan, and Do Rhythms will help your team become focused, aligned, and accountable.
Apply the concepts of Rhythm to your organization by practicing these following actions:
Think Rhythm Actions
- Make “think time” a priority in your personal schedule, and lead your team in monthly, quarterly, and annual “think” sessions.
- Be proactive about scheduling time to work on the strategy and continued growth of your organization by scheduling a monthly lunch meeting with your team and focusing only on strategy.
- Spend time refining and communicating the core strategy of your organization so ministry teams can make the right execution decisions with purpose.
Plan Rhythm Actions
- Separate execution planning from strategic thinking. Execution planning is figuring out how you will get your ministry initiatives accomplished to move your church forward steadily, month after month, year after year.
- Create an annual plan that is both inspiring and practical – one that people connect to with their hearts and their heads.
Do Rhythm Actions
- To make sure that planning becomes doing, spend 30 minutes each week reviewing the week that just ended and setting your priorities for the coming week. Model this for the rest of your team.
- Use the collective intelligence of your team to encourage members to share when they are stuck or off track early, allowing everyone to contribute possible solutions and adjustments.
- Utilize two types of adjustments: corrective actions for goals not met or falling behind; and scaling the bright spots – actions that are working well – across the entire organization.
Don’t be discouraged by your success – as Auxano Founder Will Mancini writes in Church Unique:
Every leader must contend with clarity gaps and complexity factors. Clarity gaps are the logical areas where obscurity and confusion enter the leader’s communication world. Complexity factors literally wage war against the leader’s practice of clarity by making it difficult to maintain focus. When it comes to clarity, new levels bring new devils.The higher the leader goes, the harder the leader must work to stay clear.
Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 23-3 published September 2015
Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader
Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “summary” for church leaders. I’m going to peruse back issues of both SUMS and SUMS Remix and publish excerpts each Wednesday.