Does it always seem like your church team members are on different pages? If so, it’s time to learn how to align your team with your vision.
Growth and engagement aren’t possible if everyone is working towards different goals. It’s far more effective if everyone works towards the same visions and goals.
While it may take some work, you’ll discover that everyone becomes more passionate about the church, the team and ministry.
Define Your Vision Clearly
Before you do anything, you have to define your vision clearly. It’s not about just having a vague idea in your mind. Unless it’s clear, it’s going to be difficult to explain to your team. It’s also important to note that your vision statement is different than your mission statement, which we’ll talk about up next.
Your church’s vision statement should be a short sentence or even a few short sentences that explain your long-term goal and inspires people to want to achieve it. Think of it kind of like a tagline or slogan, but more goal-oriented.
The best way to refine and define your vision is by looking at examples from other churches. You shouldn’t copy them, but let their visions inspire you. What is it you want to accomplish with your church? Now, turn that thought into an inspiring statement.
Church Relevance lists over 30 examples of statements ranging from 4-127 words. For help writing your vision, mission and values statements, Smart Church Management provides tips for each.
Even though Gray Stone Advisors deals with a wide variety of companies, their guide to developing a team vision can also be helpful in defining your church’s vision.
Ensure Your Vision Aligns With Your Mission
If you’re struggling with your vision, look more closely at your church’s mission statement. This single statement explains why your church exists. Ideally, your vision should align with your mission. Having a shared purpose between the two makes it much easier to align your team with your vision.
If the two don’t align, it may become confusing for your team. Perhaps your vision goes against the mission of your church. If so, which one should your team embrace?
Think of your mission as what your church’s purpose truly is, while your vision is how you’ll achieve the goals to fulfill your purpose.
Develop Your Strategy
Now that you have a clear vision statement that aligns with your church’s mission, it’s time to develop a strategy. Without a strategy, it’s impossible to make your vision a reality.
Your strategy involves the steps you need to take to make align your team with your vision and continuously work towards your church goals. Some key elements of a successful strategy include:
- Communicating regularly with your team
- Refining processes until they align
- Saying “no” when necessary
- Energizing and inspiring your team
- Developing programs that fit with your vision
While the exact steps of your church’s strategy will vary, you need a strategy to get your team aligned to be able to meet your church’s goals.
Stop Trying To Please Everyone
This might sound odd, but often churches make the mistake of trying to please everyone. You can’t align your team if you never say “no.”
The truth is you won’t be able to please everyone no matter how hard you try. So stop now! Your job is to guide your team and align them with your church’s vision. The more you try to please everyone, the further you’ll get away from that vision.
People are actually more productive and passionate when they’re all working together toward a similar goal. Even if everyone doesn’t agree with your vision initially, the more they work toward it and see the results, the happier they’ll become.
Remember, everyone has their own thoughts and opinions, but your job is to lead your team. Listen to them, but align your team by guiding them on the right path, instead of letting everyone veer off to do their own thing.
Limit Team Activities To What Aligns
How many different ministry groups and activities does your church currently have? For example, does the group “Christian Men Who Like Dogs” really align with your church’s vision and mission?
However, when your team isn’t aligned, you end up with numerous groups and activities going on that hold your church back. Instead of ministry, you essentially have fun social groups. While these have their place, they take away resources and time from more important things.
For instance, you could have a single group of “Christians Supporting Animals” where your team leads members in rescuing and fostering area animals or raising money for animal charities. This would fit well for a vision about helping all God’s creations.
This also goes back to saying “no.” If your team wants to create and run a fun social group on their own time, that’s fine. Otherwise, tell them “no” if it doesn’t align with your vision.
At first, reducing the groups and activities in your church might be met with some anger, frustration and disappointment. However, encourage members to join the remaining or combined groups. Not only will they get to interact with more people, but they’ll be able to get more involved in activities that fit with your church’s goals. In the end, it’s a win for everyone.
If you’re struggling to figure out what to keep and what to cut, let your team and church members vote. It’s one of the more fair ways to handle the situation and ensure everyone has input.
Serve As An Example Of Your Vision And Mission
One of the easiest ways to align your team with your vision is to serve as an example. From the way you lead your team to the actions you take in the church, be an example of your vision in action. Suggest ideas that fit well with your vision. Let your words and actions be more purposeful and mindful.
By setting this example, your team will follow. They’ll be inspired by what you’re saying and want to participate. For those who may not have understood your vision, seeing what you say and do shows them exactly why your vision is important and how it benefits the church.
Explain What Needs To Change Overall
You’ve expressed your vision and told your team things need to change, but what needs to change? Your team might not even realize they’re not aligned with your vision.
Before you talk with them, make a list of things that need to change. For example, you might talk about unnecessary ministry groups. Perhaps certain team members refuse to embrace necessary changes and prevent your church from growing.
Your team will have questions as to why you don’t think they’re aligned. Be prepared to answer those questions. Otherwise, they might refuse to make any changes.
Talk With Your Team One On One
Often times, people in a group are afraid to speak up, even your team. To align your team with your vision, it’s a good idea to talk with each member one on one.
This isn’t to reprimand them or just tell them what to change. It’s also a chance to get their input. If you’ve already clearly defined your vision, you might be surprised that you’re not aligned with it either. It may take a team member to point out where you may need to make changes too.
Remember, a team isn’t just a group of people with a leader. It’s a cohesive unit. While there is a leader, even leaders learn from their team members. Get ideas and feedback from your entire team and use it to develop the right strategy to better align your team with your vision.
Change Your Goals To Better Align
Sit down with your team and ask everyone to write down what they think your church’s ultimate goals are currently and what they believe those goals should be. Make sure you present your vision statement first.
Work together to get on the same page about your church’s goals and how they align with your vision. Odds are, you’ll get a wide variety of different answers. Some will align, while others will be completely off base.
This exercise gives you a chance to better explain your vision and what goals you’ll need to meet to stay on track.
Look At The Future
If the above exercise doesn’t work, ask your team to write down where they think your church will be in five or 10 years. Without any changes to your church and team, can your church achieve the ultimate goals of your vision and mission?
If reaching the unchurched more effectively is your vision, will your current branding, ministry activities and community outreach help you reach them? Will avoiding social media because your team doesn’t believe in it set you further back from your goal?
If what you’re doing now won’t help your church be where it needs to be in the future, it’s time to make major changes. Show how far off your church might be and that alone will help align your team.
Energize Your Team With Your Passion
It’s easy to feel discouraged when your team never seems to agree or work toward the same goal. However, your team needs you to lead with passion. Show that you believe in your vision. After all, your passion can be contagious.
Come to every meeting with scripture to back up your vision and strategy. Start each meeting by passionately and proudly stating your vision. Get excited when talking about how everyone can work together as a team to grow your church and community.
And don’t just stop with face to face meetings. Energize your team with inspirational messages on social media. Write blog posts that align with your vision and inspire your team and members to start taking actions that align as well. Soon, everyone is one the same page and are just as passionate.
Always strive to be a passionate leader. Passion drives vision and energizes your team.
Ensure Everyone Feels Involved
The quickest way to ensure your team isn’t aligned is to make them feel excluded or micromanage them. Your team needs to feel like they’re all important. Give them opportunities to contribute. Assign them tasks. Listen to their ideas.
The more involved your team feels, the easier it is for them to focus on working towards your vision. Everyone needs a purpose. Give your team that and watch as they grow and align.
Display Your Vision And Goals Everywhere
So, you walked in, talked about your vision and then never mentioned it again. If you believe in your church’s vision, make sure everyone else does too. Make it an inspiring and energizing mantra.
Display your vision and church goals throughout your church. Announce it to new visitors during services. Start meetings with it. Also, place it prominently on your church’s website and social media pages. Even people who never attend your church can serve as part of your extended team, guiding and leading others based upon your vision.
Continue To Revisit Your Vision
Even after you feel you have aligned your team with your vision, take some time every six months to a year to ensure they’re still aligned. Are the changes you’ve made working? Is everyone still on the same page? Can you measure the results?
It’s important to find ways to measure the effectiveness of your strategy. If your goals seem to be further away than before, it’s time to make more changes. It may be your team is aligned, but your members still aren’t on board.
It could be something as simple as needing to better focus on your social media content or church blog. Or, it may be time to make leadership changes within your team for the betterment of your church. Revisit your vision and goals regularly. It’s only by doing this that everyone stays aligned and you’re able to consistently grow your church.
Help align your team with an engaging church website that constantly reminds them and all visitors of your church’s vision. Have a place on your site specifically for your team to stay in contact and stay aligned.