Leadership and Clarity

Listening to Marcus Buckingham speak at a Willow Creek conference.

He’s so good.

He says every culture ever studied has been documented as having a fear of the unknown. And every leader’s job is pulling people to a better future…which is unknown.

The antidote to the unknown, according to Buckingham, is clarity.

Particularly, clarity with these three questions:

  1. Who do we serve?
  2. How do we keep score?
  3. What specific action do we take now?

Great questions!

One’s we’ve asked ourselves constantly at the Vineyard Church of Waterville.

Here are the answers as I understand them at this time:

  1. We serve those without a church.
    Irregardless of where someone is on their spiritual journey, if they’re without a church home, we’re here to serve them.

    This gets tricky. It’s easy to find people with a church home…at least on Sundays. But the group we serve is quite decentralized.

    So we do lots of things: servant evangelism, random acts of kindness, pool parties, supporting a local worship station (people without a church home still need feeding, radio is often all they get), partnering with Chamber events.

  2. We keep score by number of people served.
    There are lots of ways to keep score. We could count kinship numbers or Sunday morning attendance. We could judge success on how many first-time, second-time, and third-time visitors we have. We could keep score based on Sunday offerings and average amount given per person.

    All good stats. And stats we track. Here are our weekly averages for our Sunday worship services in 2008:

    2008 Weekly Averages
    Total attendance: 21.1
    adults: 12.8
    teens: 1.4
    children: 7.2
    first-time visitors: 3.6
    average offering: $340.39
    total first time visitors in 2008: 25
    average offering/person: $16.13

    If we kept track on these numbers, we’d have reason to beat ourselves up. Giving should be around $25/person, not $16. And we’d have reason to feel good: 3.6 first time visitors each week. That’s 17% of a Sunday attendance. (Sure, the “.6” person is hard to accomodate.) 🙂

    But we keep score by numbers served. Check out our 2008 score card:

    Jan: 215
    Feb: 224
    Mar: 100
    Total 539 served

    539 people served! That’s more than 25 people for each person that shows up on Sunday. Including the kids under 10!! 25 people served for each of them too!

    Some of these have been through formal VCW events and projects, some have been done individually and reported back to me. All are done because we believe our community has heard that God loves them but few have seen Christians actually be loving. And we’re out to change that.

    Our goal? 3000 touched in 2008. We’re right on track, especially with the 406 boxes of Peeps we’re passing out this week. (Check out our Easter invitation at our website.)

  3. Our next specific action is the Peeps Outreach this Saturday at 10:45 at the VCW building.
    We are constantly instigating ways to get us out of our comfort zones. The goal is that we’ll get so used to serving the people around us, that we’ll do it even when it’s not a “official” VCW event. The point is about Jesus, not VCW.

Buckingham points out that it’s not if the answers are “right” or “wrong.” The point is are the answers clear?

I think ours are.

If VCW is your home, do you agree? From your experience of us, do we serve those without a church home? Do we keep score with numbers served? Do we keep having a specific action?

Marc A. Pitman

Marc A. Pitman helps leaders lead their teams with more effectiveness and less stress. The author of "Ask Without Fear!®," he is the founder of The Concord Leadership Group and FundraisingCoach.com. He's also the executive director of TheNonprofitAcademy.com and an Advisory Panel member of Rogare, a prestigious international fundraising think tank. He is the husband to his best friend and the father of three amazing kids. And if you drive by him on the road, he’ll be singing 80’s tunes loud enough to embarrass his family! You can connect with him on Google+, on Twitter @marcapitman, and like "Ask Without Fear!" on Facebook. To get his free ebook on 21 ways to get board members engaged with fundraising, go to http://thenonprofitacademy.com/21waysebook

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