We assume and want to think that our ministries are unified and aligned when in fact they often are not. Why does it matter? Non unified ministries are simply a collection of independent ministries housed under a common name. This is true of many churches where each ministry does their own thing. It is also true of many mission organizations where various divisions or teams or missionaries are going their own way oblivious to a common and unified and aligned vision, mission and strategy. The net result is a dilution of missional effectiveness and organizational confusion along with competition among its parts.

Unified organizations have far greater potential for missional effectiveness because everyone is pulling in the same direction. Here are some of the characteristics of a unified, healthy organization.

One: There is a mission, vision and set of guiding principles that are common to all, that all leaders believe and live out and which their part of the ministries conform to. In other words the ministry has great clarity about who it is and what it is about. In addition, all ministries are on the same page and know what that page is. It is not as common as one might assume, nor easy to clarify what the whole ministry is about and just having these on paper somewhere does not count! 

Two: There is active cooperation, coordination and synergy between leaders across the ministry. This only works when the first characteristic is present. If there is not mission and vision that applies to the whole, the parts will not know how to cooperate and coordinate but are forced to do their own thing. Often in the absence of ministry clarity we try to force cooperation and synergy but it rarely works and usually creates significant frustration. The best glue among leaders and ministries is a common missional agenda that equally applies to all and which all can live out.

Three: All ministry leaders are evangelists for the same missional agenda. In a truly unified and healthy ministry, every key leader is equally passionate about the clearly defined purpose and vision of the ministry. In the organization I lead, ReachGlobal, I knew things had changed when people started telling me that they heard the same story from everyone they talked to along with the same passion.

Four: The senior team representing different ministry divisions sees itself as one united team based on common clarity rather than as representatives of the various ministries they oversee, merely coming to a common meeting table. Many church staff teams, for instance are not a united team based on common clarity but are rather attending a common meeting representing their own clarity. There is a critical difference between these two versions of team and that difference tells you whether the organization is truly united and healthy.

Five: The ministry as a whole and among its parts can point to results that reflect its clarity. The central ministry focus of ReachGlobal, for instance, is to develop, empower and release healthy ReachGlobal staff and healthy national leaders. To the extent that we live that out in each corner of the world where we work we are unified and healthy. To the extent that the ministry parts are focused on different priorities with different results we are not. 

These characteristics are markers of three simple facts about a unified and healthy ministry organization.

There is maximum ministry clarity for the whole that applies equally to each of its parts.

There is alignment by all around that maximum clarity.

There are results by all based on that maximum clarity.

If that is true of your organization, you are truly a unified organization. If it is not you have some work to do, starting with real clarity!

  • Dec 06, 2012
  • Category: News
  • Comments: 0
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