Habits impact churches much more than they realize. In fact, many churches are stuck because of bad habits.
Charles Duhigg writes in The Power of Habit, “Most of the choices we make each day may feel like the products of well-consumed decision making, but they’re not. They’re habits. And though each habit means relatively little on its own ... over time the way we organize our thoughts and routines has enormous impacts.”
Lately, I have noticed four recurring bad habits developed by teams with no clear ministry strategy.
1. Allowing the loudest person to dictate the direction of the leadership team. Ministry strategies help focus discussions and allow everyone to give input. Because conversations are ultimately geared toward the clearly defined vision, all team members can bring innovative ideas to the table. Allowing the loudest voice to determine decisions is a bad habit because the quiet introvert sitting in the corner may have the answer you are looking for.
2. Failing to offer leaders clearly defined plans for future growth. Sharp people follow leaders who provide them with clear next steps. This makes it easier to get everyone pulling in the same direction if there’s agreement and understanding of what a leader is hoping to accomplish. People want to follow a clear vision.
3. Scheduling too many meetings. In the book Read This Before Our Next Meeting, Al Pittampalli says we are now addicted to meetings that insulate us from the work we ought to be doing. Instead of meeting out of habit, determine whether or not the meeting is necessary. If it’s not, get to work.
4. Ignoring the importance of presenting a clear plan for offerings received. People tend to save their financial gifts for organizations with clear financial goals and objectives. Too many times, churches get in the habit of collecting offerings with no clear strategy. Giving should be part of a spiritual journey that leads to life transformation.
I would love to hear some other bad habits that you have seen leadership teams develop. Without a clear ministry strategy, it is easy to get stuck in the routine. Maybe you know where your organization needs to go but you are unsure how to get there. If so, we would love to start a conversation with you about creating a strategic operating plan.
Tony Morgan is the chief strategic officer and founder of TonyMorganLive.com. He’s a consultant, leadership coach and writer who helps churches get unstuck and have a bigger impact. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, Ga.), NewSpring Church (Anderson, S.C.) and Granger Community Church (Granger, Ind.). With Tim Stevens, Tony has co-authored Simply Strategic Stuff, Simply Strategic Volunteers and Simply Strategic Growth—each of which offers valuable, practical solutions for different aspects of church ministry. His book Killing Cockroaches (B&H Publishing) challenges leaders to focus on the priorities in life and ministry.
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