The 2 BIG Problems with Policy Based Governance

Perhaps you are an experienced leader in a ministry that (at least on paper) practices policy-based governance. Maybe your context is a more traditional model of leadership and you are curious about policy-based governance.

At its heart, the policy-based governance provides a framework for leadership for most mid to large-sized churches. Trust your leaders to lead - and make sure they are accountable.
In my experience with the policy-based governance model, I’ve come to realize that there are two major problems implementing it in a church.

1. It is often too rigid.
Most ministries copy and paste their model and specific policies from a non-profit corporation or a larger church who has existing policies in place. The problem? They are not your policies! The policies do not fit the context of your church and your people. They are likely “corporate” and are more than you need to lead your ministry effectively. Over complex policies lead to disengaged board members and leaders. If the real world purpose of each policy is not clear, your leaders will simply ignore it and it will remain buried in a binder. Rigid policies do not help your ministry grow.

2. People
You likely have well-intentioned servants who volunteer their time to serve on your leadership board. The local church would suffer if it were not for people like them. Your kind-hearted people also represent a barrier to effective policy-based governance. It is likely that they do not have the expertise, time, or motivation to immerse themselves in the theory or best practices of policy-based governance. As a result, they either revert to micro-managing the ministry or they become unengaged and serve as a “rubber stamp” for their senior leader. Your ministry needs more from them. Your lay leaders need to function as an effective policy-based board for the health of your ministry. They need help.

Bryan Blackford
5 Pragmatic Ways to Pay for Your Strategic Planning Process

Once a ministry has identified the need for strategic planning, the most common barrier to moving forward is the cost associated with hiring an outside consultant to facilitate the process.
The idea that strategic planning has to cost a lot of money is a misconception.
If done right, engaging the services of a consultant will actually benefit your ministry's finances.
How?
Two ways:
1. People give to a vision. Giving usually increases when you clarify your vision.
2. An effective process will identify several things that you should stop doing. Ineffective practices usually cost you money. Stop doing them and you save money.

While strategic planning will likely save you money long term, there is the reality that most small to mid-sized ministries do not budget for it annually. There is an upfront cost to strategic planning. Here are five ways to pay for it.

1. Get a donor (or 2) to cover expenses.
I have found that this is the most common method of funding a strategic planning process. Do you have someone who is outspoken about the need to grow or do things better? Have someone who has some cash? Find a person or a few people with both the means and passion for the future of your ministry. Make the ask. I’ve found the most willing donors are seasoned citizens who are forced to make withdrawals from their retirement funds and don’t need those funds to cover monthly expenses.

2. Divide the cost between two budget years.
Don’t have room in your current annual budget to pay for planning? Schedule the onsite work of your consultant to straddle two budget years. I’ve worked with ministries who operate on a January-December fiscal year to schedule my two onsite visits in the fall and spring.

3. Leadership pays the bill.
Who are the leaders in your ministry? Staff? Board of Directors? Church Elders? If your leaders feel that strategic planning is worth the effort, maybe they feel that it is worth their treasure as well. Have your leadership commit to paying for the process and “pass the hat.” An added benefit to this approach is that it helps underscore the significance of strategic planning. There is power in being able to communicate to your community that your leadership is so committed to the future of your ministry that they are paying for it!

4. Get a grant.
Not as easy as it used to be. There are foundations and denominations that will fund planning efforts. The term ‘revitalization’ is trendy in the church world now. Make strategic planning your revitalization effort and maybe your denomination or a local foundation will pitch in.

5. Split the cost.
Find another ministry in your area who is thinking about strategic planning. Hire the same consultant and look for ways to split the costs. At a minimum, you can save on travel expenses. Many consultants are willing to facilitate two ministries in the same facility on the same day.

The bottom line in funding a strategic planning process is that in the long run, it should save you money. There are practical ways to pay the upfront cost without wrecking your budget.

Bryan Blackford
How to Measure Engagement in Your Church

I recently had the privilege of attending the one-day Deep & Wide Tour with Andy Stanley. It was a day well spent! Both the content and the messenger were top notch and relevant to ministry today. The folks at Westside Family Church in Lenexa, Kansas did a great job hosting the event!

I took much of what was communicated to heart and am blogging a series of reactions to some of the main ideas.

Most ministry leaders agree that taking worship attendance or counting new members is not a good way to gauge the spiritual growth in your church.

Andy Stanley says it like this:
“If making disciples is what real counts, then we should really count it.”

Most churches and leaders wrestle with the questions of what should we count and how should we count it.

Andy and his NorthPoint Church count and make a big deal about these four things:

1. Serving
How many people serve at least two times per month in a ministry at your church?

2. Giving
How many people are regular/percentage givers?
I’m interested to see how churches define and determine this. If someone gives once a month, they are probably a regular giver. How do you measure percentage givers? Do you go with the number of people who have committed to percentage giving?

3. Inviting
How many people have invited someone to church in the last 6 months?

NorthPoint determines this by surveying their people periodically. I guess you could also get the information from your Connect Cards or new membership process.

4. Grouping
How many people are in a small group connected to your church?
This is the only number that NorthPoint has tracked consistently over time. It is their priority.

What are other things that you measure?
How to you keep track of it?
Let me know!

Bryan Blackford
Why Does Your Church Exist? Don't Overthink This One.
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Political strategist James Carville coined the phrase “The economy, stupid” to explain Bill Clinton’s central message in the 1992 presidential campaign. There were issues other than the economy that were important that year, but Carville knew that more than anything, his campaign needed to convince voters that Clinton would handle the ailing economy of the day better than George H.W. Bush. As such, Clinton’s campaign became almost single handedly focused of economic issues - it is the issue that mattered the most.

The church has an issue that matters the most. Churches do many things for many people, but in the end, the issue that matters the most is the Gospel.

When you think about the daunting task of defining the mission of your church, there is good news! You are not starting with a blank slate. Defining your mission is a step that requires understanding, not innovation. You don’t have to make something up. You do have to understand that it has already been spelled out for you. Don’t over think it. Jesus clearly told you, down to the word, what the mission of your church should be. In fact, He saved those words for his last minutes on earth with His disciples.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 29:18-20 (NIV)

Christians call this section of scripture the Great Commission for a reason. I received a whisper after reading this verse on a mountain top in Colorado, the church received this imperative command on a mountain top in Galilee.
Let’s dig a bit deeper to make sure that these words in Matthew are really the mission of your church.

First, let’s make it clear as to who gets to decide what the mission of your church should be. Churches operate with various forms of governance. Some are governed directly through their denomination, some by a bishop, some by congregational votes, some by a board of directors, some by elders, some by one person, and some a hybrid of methods. Whatever, your form of governance, God is the owner of your church.

“And he (Christ) is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
Colosians 1:18 (NIV)


Jesus Christ is the owner of your church. In matters of mission, your church is not a democracy. Jesus has the final say - sometimes it’s good to be King!
He reminds us of the fact right before He spells out the church’s mission in Matthew: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” It is that authority that enabled Him to tell His disciples what to do once He was no longer with them. Jesus is still king - that authority still matters.
The words of Matthew 28 still matter to your church.

Once we have established that Jesus had the authority to determine the mission of the church, let’s look at the words he spoke. Lucky for us, His words here are clear. The mission of His followers (disciples) is to make other followers! Where are we to go about making other followers? Everywhere! All nations. Jesus continues by saying that His disciples should do this through baptism and by teaching them things that He said. We have both the mission and the method in one message! I don’t think that was an accident.

I think it is significant that these words are the last recorded message that Jesus spoke to His disciples.
For some of them, the first time Jesus told them to do something was recorded earlier in Matthew.
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Matthew 4:19 (NIV)
Jesus called His disciples by telling them that the purpose of a disciple was to make more disciples. He leaves them by telling that disciples should make more disciples.

To understand the mission your church is to understand this:

Followers of Jesus seek to make followers of Jesus.
That’s the purpose of the church.
That is why your church should exist.


The words that your church writes down to communicate that message can and should vary from other churches based on your unique ministry context. I work with churches to do just that.

The words you choose may be different, but should be based on Christ’s clear mission for the church.

It’s the Great Commission, stupid.

Bryan Blackford
MISSION DEFINED: Why Does Your Church Exist?
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I have had the privilege to work with churches in different geographic locations and varied demographic/socioeconomic contexts - all with unique ministry challenges and needs. Despite their differences, they all have approached me with the same question/concern: “What can we do to grow?” That is a great question for a church to be asking! Any church with a heart for the gospel and for people should be asking that question. My response to that question goes something like this: "That’s a great question and I’m glad you asked me. I promise we can answer that question, but that question can’t be our starting point. There is another question that we have to answer before we discuss that.”

We need to know the why before the what and the how.

The best definition of a church’s mission is the answer this question:
“Why does our church exist?”

When I say church, I’m not talking about the Church universal, your denomination, religion, or even Christianity as a whole. Why does your specific, local church exist?

Another question to ask that helps clarify the answer to the first is this:
“Why did God send your church to your community?”
I think it is helpful to think like a missionary. If you were a missionary to a foreign country, you would have been sent with a specific purpose:
- To spread the gospel to a tribe in Uganda.
- To minister to refugees in Iraq.
- To care for children in an orphanage in Vietnam.
Thinking of your church’s mission through the lens of a missionary is helpful. It also doesn’t hurt that the word mission is the root of the word missionary! A missionary has been sent by God to an area with a purpose. Why did God send your church to your community?

Most churches do a poor job of talking about their mission. Maybe they have lost their sense of mission. Maybe they never had a sense of mission. Maybe they are focused on going through the motions of church life. Maybe the mission is there, but the passion for it is missing. Whatever the reason, the fact that churches lack a focused mission is unfortunate as it is the cornerstone to growth and movement in a church. It is essential because it brings clarity to all that you do.

Imagine a football game being played where the players didn’t know that the objective of the game was to score more points than their opponents. What would that game look like? I can see 22 players on a field each doing their own thing not necessarily related to scoring points. The quarterback showing off his arm by launching the ball as far as he could regardless of who was there to catch it. A running back running sprints on the side of the field to show his speed. A linebacker hitting players in the head with his helmet without regard to penalties because that what linebackers do!
I know many churches with many people pursuing different objectives. You do too. A clear mission is essential to defining the objective of your ministry - why your church exists.

I love fishing. I love fishing because it is fun for me. To put my love for fishing in mission language, the reason I fish is to have fun. There are reasons that others may enjoy fishing: to catch fish, to eat fish, to enjoy the scenery, or to relax. Those are great motivations for some people, they are why some people love fishing. I just think it’s fun, that’s why I fish.

Your church needs to find its “why”. Why has God placed your church in your community? Why does your church exist?

Would your community miss your church if it were gone?

Bryan Blackford
Love Your Church, Not Theirs: 3 Steps to Avoid the Ministry Comparison Trap
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I check my social media accounts often. I check them on my laptop, my phone, and even my watch. I check in on my friends and strangers everyday. There they are with their new recipe for spinach artichoke dip, vacation pictures, and smiling kids who won the spelling bee. I like social media, but I often find myself comparing myself to my friends and strangers on social media. They take way better vacations than I do. Their houses are larger (and cleaner!). Their kids seem happier than mine. Their life must be awesome.
You also find yourself doing this. Right?

In her book Love Your Life, Not Theirs, author Rachel Cruze says this constant mental comparison is dangerous and can lead to all sorts of mental, physical, and spiritual issues. She points to recent studies that have shown a direct correlation between the increasing amount of time we spend on social media and increased rates of anxiety and depression.

I think this is especially true for ministry leaders. I’m a bit of a church geek. I follow way too many churches and ministry leaders on social media. I love seeing what other churches and leaders are up to. I learn from them. But sometimes, I feel a bit down when looking at them. I don’t feel as smart or effective as those leaders. My church isn’t as large as theirs. People in my church aren’t smiling like the people in their pictures. It must be me.

I’ve seen this phenomenon referred to as “Pastor Porn.” That title fits - ministry leaders viewing unrealistic versions of ministry and feeling down because of it. Pastor and author Carey Nieuhoff says “Someone else’s success should never make you feel like a failure.” But, it sometimes does.

When we look at the success of others online, we can’t help but think they are somehow at an unfair advantage. “If we only had their technology budget.” “If we only had their location.” “If I only had their staff..” That's jealousy. When we cross the line between comparison and jealousy, we start to feel helpless, apathetic, and a bit sad about our own abilities and ministry. Ministry is hard work. Trying to keep up with other ministries is harder.

When you feel yourself comparing your leadership abilities and your ministry to other on social media, pause for a minute. Here are some things that might help motivate you instead of depress you.

3 Steps to Avoid the Ministry Comparison Trap

1. Give Yourself a Reality Check

What you are seeing on social media is real, but it is not reality. You are seeing real pictures from a ministry in action, but those pictures do not tell the whole story - they only capture one moment in time. You are not seeing pictures of the people that are angry because of a recent change the pastor made to their worship services. You are not seeing pictures of the budget meeting. You are not seeing pictures of the pastor stressing over recently declining attendance. You are not seeing tired staff members wondering if they should look elsewhere for another job. I guarantee those moments exist in those ministries. They exist in yours. You don’t highlight and broadcast those moments, neither do they. In the past year, several high profile mega-church pastors had to leave the ministry because of burnout or personal failures. I follow them on social media. They didn’t post any of the events or feelings that lead to their downfall while it was happening. Social media wasn’t their whole story. Social media isn’t the whole story - don’t think that it is. They do ministry in the real world - so do you.

2. Think Blessed vs. #Blessed

Recenter your thinking on the blessings that you have in your ministry and the blessings in other ministries. Be thankful for the people and opportunities that you have in your ministry right now. It is also important to be thankful for the people and opportunities that other ministries have in their community and context. If you are thanking God for your opportunities and their opportunities, it is hard for jealousy to work its way into your heart. Focus on the real blessings in your ministry and not the #blessings you see in other ministries through the filter of social media.

3. Maintain a Learning Mindset

I do not suggest that you stop following other ministries or give up social media altogether. In fact, follow more ministries and ministry leaders. Learn from them. While comparing your ministry to others can steal joy, learning from others should motivate you. Look at other ministries, analyze them, and steal their best practices if they fit your ministry. Leaders are learners and learners are motivated by more learning. The dangers of constantly comparing your ministry to others are real. But the opportunities for real reflection and learning are just as real. It is a choice you must make Either approach what you see on social media with a learning mindset or a comparison mindset.

Do you compare yourself to other leaders on social media? How do you deal with it? Let me know!

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Bryan Blackford
My System for Leading an Awesome Meeting
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Ministry is about people. Therefore, ministry leaders have many important conversations and meetings.
As a busy church worker, you need to make the most of every meeting and conversation that you have. Just think of all the meetings that you have each month.

Team planning meetings
Talking with volunteers
Board meetings
Staff meetings
Annual performance reviews
Coaching talks
Counseling sessions
Hiring someone
Firing someone

Most ministry leaders are busy and don’t have the amount of time they’d like to prepare for these meetings and conversations.
The result? Unfocused conversations and unproductive meetings.

You need to enter a meeting with a clear purpose and course of action.
You need a method to take notes and document your conversations for future reference.
You need a way to remind yourself of decisions made in meetings.

I have developed a simple one-page tool that has helped me prepare for my meetings, keeps me on track during conversations, and provides me a way to follow up if needed after a meeting.
I’d like to share it with you.

My Ministry Meeting Notes can keep you focused on the topic at hand and the people you are conversing with. The templates remind you to plan ahead for your meetings, stay on track, and keep you accountable for following up on important action items.

The minimal design of each page in this notebook is designed to keep your focus on what is important. Each page of notes is formatted to follow the natural flow of your meetings.

I hope that Ministry Meeting Notes gives you an organizational edge.

Ministry is important.
People are important.
Being organized is important so you can carry out your ministry to people.

Bryan

Bryan Blackford
Ministry Meeting Notes - A Resource for Ministry Leaders!

Ministry is about people.
As a ministry leader, you meet with people...a lot.
Think about the meetings that you have: planning meetings, board meetings, coaching sessions, talking with volunteers, staff meetings, counseling sessions, hiring someone, firing someone.

If you are like me, you wish that you had more time to prepare for all of your meetings. I also need an organized way to remember what was said and decided on in a meeting. I've learned that if I don't have an organized method to plan and follow-up, I tend to have unfocused and unproductive meetings.

As a ministry leader, this is a problem.
I have tried several resources that promised to help me prepare for a meeting, take notes during a meeting, and follow-up after a meeting. Maybe it is just me, but none of them were much help.
My frustration with unfocused meetings led me to develop my own one-page template that I now use to prepare for meetings, keep meetings on task, and write down what I need to do after meetings. Using my own template, designed for the work of ministry, my meetings have become more focused and productive.
I have decided to share my ministry meeting template with you.

Check out Ministry Meeting Notes! A notebook with 120 blank meeting note templates designed for ministry leaders. This NEW resource will help you organize your thoughts before, during, and after a meeting. You will also have a documented record of your meetings!

The notebook is available in both hardcover and softcover editions. While both versions are great, I personally use the hardcover editions because I like a sturdy surface to write on.

Check it out here.

Let me know what you think.
Bryan

Bryan Blackford
Church Worker: Your Value is You and Not What You Produce.
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I recently took a new employee at my church out to lunch. It was the end of his first week working as our Business Manager. He is a great guy and came to us from a position in the banking industry. During our lunch conversation, I asked him what he thought some differences were in the industry that he came from and working in a ministry. He responded by saying that while he had been busy that week, there was less tangible stuff to produce - less reports, less matrix boxes to check off, and less bottom line numbers and results to look at. I smiled and let him know that he was well on the way to understanding one of the fundamental truths of church work: What you produce for the church has value, but your value to the church is you.

It can be tough to find and hire great church workers. The pay is often lower than public sector employment and the hours longer. A good church hire is finding someone with the skills needed to complete the tasks associated with the job. The best hire a church can make is someone who amplifies the desired culture.

Churches need to look for workers who people naturally look up to and who have the character to lead in a ministry setting. Sometimes this sets up a dichotomy in the hiring process. There are legitimate business tasks that need to be accomplished. Yet, there is a ministry to lead. What if you can’t find someone who can do both? Keep looking. This is often easier said than done. It is tough leaving a job unfilled while you look for a more ideal candidate. I promise it is worth it in the end.

While churches often struggle with finding value in both what a worker produces and the value of the character of the person filling the role, the real struggle often happens in the mind of the worker. Not being clear about what is most important leads to worry, stress, and anxiety in those who work in the church. There is a constant tension between getting the list of tasks accomplished and sending time and effort in improving ourself and our character. If you are a church worker, read the following set of questions and statements to help clarify what your value is to the church.

Is there value in the spreadsheet the the church accountant produces? Sure.
Is there value in the clean floor that the custodian produces? Sure.
Is there value in the lesson taught by the Children’s minister? Sure.
Is there value in the servant event that your Youth minister arranged? Sure.
Is there value in the sermon you preached? Sure.
Is there value in what you produce? Sure.

Your value is in the example you set for others.
Your value is modeling the life of a disciple.
Your value is in empowering others to feel valued.
Your value is being there when you are needed.
Your value is the unique perspective that you bring to the table.
Your value is found in just being you - it is likely the reason you were hired.

As a church worker, your greatest value to the church is your relationship with Jesus, His Church, and His people. Any task that interferes with that is of no value to the church.

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Bryan Blackford
9 Productivity Apps for Ministry Leaders
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Do you know what it feels like to be “in the zone” with ministry work?  It feels great when you are cranking content out like crazy!  The magic happens when you are passionate about something and have both the energy and the organization to get things done.  How often does that happen to you?
A personal mentor recently told me that I am one of the most productive and organized people that they know.  That may or may not be true, but I do tend to be organized and get things done before they need to get done.  I think my productivity is a result of a passion for my work and having found the right tools to help me with my work.  Maybe some of the tools that I use can help you.

Task : Task Management
Tool:  OmniFocus
There are many apps and tools that help you manage your tasks.  Pick one that you like and commit to it.  My #1 suggestion is that it is syncable on all of your devices (computer, tablet, phone..)  I have been using OmniFocus for almost 5 years as find it powerful and effective. It follows David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology precisely.   It syncs with my laptop, phone, tablet, and watch! The learning curve to fully utilizing all of its features is steep - if you are a technology novice, you should probably investigate a simpler system.

Task: Posting on Social Media
Tool: Missinglettr
If you post professionally on social media, you already know that scheduling your posts ahead of time is a game changer.  Missinglettr takes your content (blog, sermons, whatever..) and creates a social media (Facebook, Twitter) drip campaign that you can use to schedule and reschedule posts throughout the year!  I've been using Missinglettr for almost a year now and love it!  It is a game changer for ministry leaders and communicators who post in social media.

Task: Managing My Calendar
Tool: Fantastical
Fantastical is a calendar system that syncs between all of your devices.   It can manage and aggregate all of your calendars (Google, Outlook..)I paid for it and used it over the calendar that came with my Apple devices because it is more intuitive and simpler when entering appointments.  I’m a visual person and it is better designed than the stock calendar on my devices.  I can’t recommend Fantastical enough.

Task: Writing
Tool:  Apple Notes
Until recently, I used the Ulysses app for all of my writing.  They changed their pricing model and to be honest, it ticked me off.  I went in search of an alternative and didn’t love anything that I found.  I ended up using Apple Notes and it is getting the job done.  It is super simple to use and easy to export text to almost any other app.  I’m still looking for a better, more elegant option here.

Task: Focusing on a Task
Tool: Focus
It’s a great looking countdown timer on my phone (and Apple Watch) that helps me focus on my work and reminds me to occasionally take a break.  Simple and it works!

Task: Email
Tool: Apple Mail
The standard Apple Mail App that comes with my Apple devices fits my needs.  I’ve investigated other options, but haven’t felt that their features justified the purchase price.  If you are overwhelmed by email and need help managing your inbox, I recommend InboxZero.

Task: Capturing Ideas
Tool: Just Press Record
There are times when I need to capture a quick idea and don’t have a pen and paper or typing something wouldn’t be appropriate.  Most often, this happens while I am driving.  I use Just Press record on my iPhone and Apple watch to record my ideas.  It records with a press of a button or voice commands.  Later, when I can take action on my idea, there it is waiting for me.  You can also translate your voice recording to text and export it to another app, email, or text message!

Task: Reading Online Content
Tool: Pocket
Ever find a good article online and want to save it?  Ever start reading an article and can’t finish it?  Install the pocket app and with the press of one button, save and organize all of your online reading for later.  You can also share articles with others easily with several share options.  I save several articles and use Pocket when traveling and do not have internet access to catch up on my reading.

Task: Social Media Management
Tool: Grum
Facebook has a built-in method for scheduling your future posts, Instagram doesn’t. Enter Grum. You can schedule your post ahead of time and interact/comment on them from your Grum Dashboard. This has been a huge time saver for me!

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Bryan Blackford
5 Practical Ways to Increase Ministry Accountability
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Accountability is about ownership.  That's the bottom line.
Here are 5 practical ways to increase your ministry’s sense of ownership & accountability.

1.  Be aware of victim conversations.
Look for people (maybe you) who tend to focus on past failures.  Human nature leads us to blame external forces for those failures.  You need to be accountable in your conversations - you need to be the one who encourages others to take ownership of actions and results.  When you feel a conversation headed down the external blame road, try saying something like “I wonder what lessons we can learn about ourselves from that failure.”

2.  Communicate your vision often.
You (and your people) need to be reminded often about the importance of your vision.  Keeping the focus on the main thing should be inspiring to you and those you serve with.  Here are two great resources to get you started on this:
      Making Vision Stick - Andy Stanley 
      7 Ways to Help Others Understand Vision - Rick Warren

3.  Model Ownership
Your actions will speak louder than your words. 
By modeling expected behaviors, you make it safe and normal to embrace ownership and accountability.  If you are walking the walk, you have eliminated at least one excuse that others may use for not taking ownership.

4.  Clarify expectations using vision language.
Healthy accountability often begins with clear expectations.  Understanding what is expected is key to both individual and ministry-wide accountability.  Don’t make up random expectations that sound good.  Use the language that you already use to communicate your vision to set your expectations.
“We are making changes in our children’s ministry to better minister to the families in our community that we want to reach.”
“We are adding facility space to make room for the 1,000 people that we want to meet Jesus each week.”
"We need our volunteers to wear the same shirt because we want people to feel comfortable in our building.”


5.  Focus on the future.
True accountability is not about the consequences of the past.  Talking about past failures does little to motivate a sense of ownership and enables people who tend to blame external forces. Talking about the future can motivate ownership.  By its nature, the future is unwritten and is optimistic.  Cast a future vision that people want an ownership stake in.  

In what ways are you encouraging ownership and accountability in your ministry?  Let me know!

Bryan Blackford
7 Questions that Reveal Your Level of Ministry Accountability
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Accountability is about ownership.  Gauging your level or others level of ministry accountability should focus on determining the level of ownership of your vision.  If you don’t have a clear ministry vision or need help clarifying it, I can help.

To determine your level of ownership or the “buy in” for yourself or team members, ask the following questions:

1.  In one sentence, what is the vision of our ministry?
Either you have this down or you don’t.  Not a lot of gray area here.  If you cannot communicate this for yourself or to others, don’t bother with the remaining questions - work on this one.

2.  What specific elements of the vision are meaningful to you?
Having head knowledge of the vision is one thing, being able to explain personal understanding and motivation is the next.  Motivation matters.

3.  How would your life change if our ministry were to realize our vision?
If you are living a life that is dedicated to the vision, surely your life would change significantly if that vision were achieved - right?

4.  Who have you shared the vision with?
Followers of Jesus share the Gospel - it’s what followers of Jesus do.  Owners of vision share the vision - it’s what owners do.

5.  What specific actions have you taken to advance the vision in the last month?
It is one thing to think happy thoughts about your vision.  What are you doing about it?

6.  What challenges or barriers exist that may get in the way of the vision?
If you own the vision, you should know the things that could kill it.

7.  How much money have you given to advance the vision?
Show me your budget and I’ll show you your priorities.

What other questions help you clarify your ownership of your vision?  Let me know!

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Bryan Blackford