The Balance of the Four Goods

SSJ-16x9-White-BackgroundTo successfully play in the “red zone” a football team must be balanced. It must have an offensive backfield of great talent and ability. It must have an offense line who executes plays with few flaws and blocks effectively. Its defensive line must be swift and agile. Players in the defensive backfield must be fast and anticipate moves by the offensive player behind them like they have eyes in the back of their heads.

Let’s not forget the special teams. Without great talent and consistency they can cause the team to defend their own “red zone” rather than advance to the other team’s “red zone.”

Ultimately we want the team to be balanced. Balance is also a key principle in congregations. Balance allows congregations to renew their core while extending their ministry. It also adds to the depth and quality of life in congregations. Balance needs to be expressed in ways that produce meaningful collaboration between four factors.

The exceptional balance of Good Faith, Good Community, Good Works, and Good News results in Great FaithSoaring Churches with a generous presence of spiritual and strategic vitality and vibrancy.

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Stories and ‘Ships

SSJ-16x9-White-BackgroundWhat are the categories you use to describe your congregation? What frameworks or assessment tools do you use? Is the best category size, age, location, growth status, worship style, denominational affiliation, facilities, disciplemaking processes, pastoral leadership, programs for children and youth, ethnicity, status in the community, or the primary age groups of the attendees?

Try the fuel and flavor of four organizing principles for congregations that impact the stages of in a life cycle assessment. These four principles are Visionary Leadership, Relationships Experiences, Programmatic Emphases, and Accountable Management.

If your goal is to help your congregation effectively live into the next generation of life these four organizing principles need to be guided by Stories and ‘Ships. Keep reading. You will see below how Stories and ‘Ships leap into the Playbook.

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Substance, Strategy and Structure, and Style in Congregations

SSJ-16x9-White-BackgroundI was first introduced to the concept of substance, structure, and style by Robert Webber who was considered the guru of blended worship which later in his ministry he called convergent worship.

Several times I heard Webber suggest that when congregations consider starting a new worship service, they start by talking about the style of that worship service. Should it be a contemporary worship service with a praise band? Should it be a worship service with formal liturgy? Should it be a dialogue worship service characteristic of café conversations? Should it be a contemplative worship service characteristic of monks?

Webber’s proposition is that such dialogue starts in the wrong place. To talk about a new worship service should begin with dialogue around substance. Who is it we worship and why? What does authentic worship of the Triune God look and feel like?

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Vision Plus Intentionality: The Three Magic Words for Congregations

SSJ-16x9-White-BackgroundThe three most important words for congregations who desire to play in the “red zone” of congregational life are--Vision. Plus. Intentionality. These are the only three words congregational leaders need to understand to help their congregation soar with faith as they journey toward their full Kingdom potential. If congregations are embraced by the concept and the behavior of these words, and renew their commitment and refresh their execution of Vision Plus Intentionality every season of their ministry, they will continually play in the “red zone.”

The challenge is these words are easy to say and difficult to embrace and execute. Being embraced by these words is like the thrill of a triple reverse then a Hail Mary pass with three seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter when if successful would win the game and move the team into the playoffs.

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Learnings About the “Red Zone” of Ministry for Congregations

SSJ-16x9-White-BackgroundAs I begin a Congregational Champions Retreat I spend the first hour letting the group get to know one another and I share something of my background and experience in helping congregations soar with faith in the direction of their full Kingdom potential.

We also deal with expectations. What do the participants want to gain from our time together? When they leave on the last day, what are they taking home with them in terms of new learnings? The expectations are usually predictable. Participants want to learn how to help their congregation, or congregations with which they consult or have a coaching relationship, become more vital and vibrant.

Then it is my turn to start sharing information and knowledge I hope will increase their wisdom in leading and coming alongside congregations.

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