Why, Where, Who and What?

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Tags: Church and society leadership

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Dear Pastors

Why, Where, Who and What?

Let’s review four ‘key’ ideas around Organisational Leadership this week.

1. Why do we exist? That is your Mission (or Purpose) Statement.
2. Where do we want to go? That is your Vision Statement.
3. Who do we want to be? That is your Values Statement.
4. What are we going to do? That is your Strategy Statement.

OK. Let’s dig a little deeper.

  1. It’s so important to begin with The Why? For local churches that doesn’t need to be invented. The Bible clearly articulates that. For most churches it is a re-wording of the Great Commission. ‘To win people to Jesus and develop them as fully devoted followers of Christ’ Or ‘Helping people find and grow in Jesus’ or ‘Reach, Win and Grow’ or similar words that are a variation of these statements. In its simplest form we exist to ‘make disciples’.
  2. There are so many things you could do as a local church but what should you do or what are you called to do? A vision is what you ‘see in your minds eye’. A vision is about your preferred future. It’s an inspirational statement about what isn’t yet but is none-the-less achievable, this year, and next year and in three years’ time. It is also about ‘who you want to become’.
  3. Values describe the desired culture you want to create. As Coca-Cola puts it, they serve as a behavioural compass. Coke’s values include having the courage to shape a better future, leveraging collective genius, being real, and being accountable and committed. Google’s core values include ‘Focus on the user and all else will follow, Fast is better than slow, Democracy on the web works, You can make money without doing evil, There's always more information out there, and great just isn't good enough’. Values determine the culture of your organisation. Values state what is valuable to you, the things that really matter. Values are about those things you will die for.
    Peter Drucker (Father of modern management) said it like this. “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. To be clear he didn't mean that vision and strategy are unimportant – rather that a powerful and empowering culture was a surer route to organisational success. I’m convinced he’s right and in a blog soon to be written I will talk more about this.
  4. Once you have the above three clear in your mind (and on paper) then formulating your strategy becomes a relatively straight forward process. A related question here is, how are we going to get from here to there?. Or what must we do to get there? But here is our challenge as Pastoral Leaders. Ensuring that the why, where, and who are consistent with the what. In my consultancy work I most always take a deep dive into these ‘key’ documents only to discover very often quite a disconnect between the why, where, who and what. This is an issue of alignment and it is a crucial issue in my opinion. If your strategic intent and everyday work is disconnected from the Why and from the Where and from the Who, then all your left with is fragmented activities that may well have the appearance of usefulness and progress but end up just doing busy work. And ‘busy work’ does little to move an organisation forward or advance the kingdom of God.

Finally and perhaps unsurprisingly I am a great advocate that churches call in some outside ‘consultancy’ expertise to review all of the above and then some. It would be rare in my experience for local churches (and mission organisations) to have the requisite experience needed to get all this right.


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