COVID 19: Leading with Vision Clarity

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

Will Mancini from Auxano dives into the tools he uses to guide congregations to lead with vision clarity, and what churches can be doing to make that vision clearer during COVID-19.

"It's demanding [and] scary time, but the future will be seized most dramatically by those who take enough margin to reinvent, to innovate. . . into the future."

Resources Mentioned:

Auxano Consulting

Book: Church Unique

Book: Younique

Book: Innovating Discipleship

Zoom Video Communications


Tommy Rosson:

All right. Will is on the call with us. So I want to go ahead and give him as much time as humanly possible. We are very blessed, to have will here with us. And I know that Will has been providing daily updates, and has, is just an in conversations with so many pastors across the nation that he coaches, and even denominations that he works with. So, like I said, I've known Will for over 20 years. He wrote Church Unique, Younique, as well as many other books. He is a just a leader in helping to clarify vision and how that can, help really, expand your ministry. Expand. Well I'm just butchering this. I'll let Will say a little bit about Will and just kind of just gives a brief introduction role.

Will Mancini:

Yeah. Thanks so much Tommy. Well, I want to say, first of all, you guys are the hero class for me because I get to work on ideas as behind the scenes all the time and a kind of coaching in the non urgent places of, you know, ministry. And this is the exact opposite of a Houston Responds. Kinda just dirt under the fingernails being out there, serving and the compassion, kind of movement is where the real heroic action is. So I, I love, I love that I bind, but thank you for the work that you all are doing here day in and day out. I have, I I'll share a little bit about, I've been in Houston for, ever since 98 and came, met Tommy cause we were both at Clear Creek Community Church, back in those days.

Will Mancini:

And both, have done some different things and kinda church consulting and similar spaces at this moment. In terms of the church broadly and collaborations specifically locally, my, my role is to help in some ways. I'd say my most important role right now is to help, and Tommy, you can kind of help me kind of understand how to best insert this and do this particular group. But the, I'm helping pastors moved from adjustment and response in the sense of the quick things you have to do as a ministry leader to get your services online. That kind of thing to a posture of how do we actually take more ground for the mission of Jesus, you know, in this time. So how do we actually shift to a posture of advancing and innovating, not just adjusting and responding, sort of moving from being back on your heels all day long to actually getting back on your toes and playing, offence.

And there are several, you know, big ideas I could share around those themes, Tommy that maybe will get us rolling. But one thing I want to be that I want to be careful of in my ministry right now, and this is where I need the dialogue with you, is I don't ever want to be tone deaf. You know, as if meeting the urgent needs that are around us, that could be changing each day. You know, if someone's got a desk for need, I need to go help. That's not a moment of innovation. It's a, it's a moment of mercy. It's a moment of urgent helping. So, we have to live in two times zones. We have to be fully present and compassionate well by moment, but we also have the opportunity to recognize this is the once in a lifetime opportunity to reinvent ourselves from the mission of Jesus.

So I would say cultural Christianity took a hit two weeks ago, but the mission of Jesus did not. The mission of Jesus is not thwarted. It's not slowed down in any way whatsoever. And, so forth. So I, I, so with that said, Tommy, I could share a few initial thoughts on how to, how to move toward that posture of proactivity. But I want to make sure that's not a tone deaf message right now in terms of just this community and, and the sheer, wait and, and call a response that we're dealing with. You're muted, Tom.

Tommy Rosson:

I was trying to be good. I'm in the midst of it. Being in Houston, we're very aware of what it's like to, to be in the midst of a disaster and needing to respond for weeks and months on end, but yet also still needing to direct the body and lead the body and, and grow. And so I think everybody's wearing two hats right now. And to be honest with you, I think this is the opposite of, of what a hurricane or a tornado or something like that causes where and that moment the needs of the community are so screaming at you. We can put the church part on hold and go meet the needs. But right now what we're seeing is kind of the opposite. We've got to figure out how to, you know, be the church or be the local house of worship.

But then also eventually, as these needs continue to grow, we're going to see the flip side of that too. We're going to have to go out and figure out how to meet these needs as this continues to grow. So it's a little bit opposite, which is kind of interesting. But no, I don't think this is tone deaf at all. Now's the time for us to really think about, because it's not only, this is not only a chef for a multiple, you know, for a few weeks or a few months. This is something that we might have to live into multiple times. This is something that's going to change very much the DNA of how America does church. And it's really fascinating. I'm hearing that from a lot of leaders.

Will Mancini:

Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Well good, good. Well, I'll share, I share a few initial thoughts. I do. I think, from a ministry, I would say this is the greatest opportunity of ministry innovation that we will have in our lifetime. This is that hundred year event. And, as we, you know, as we get our bearing and we kind of stabilize, you've got an unprecedented opportunity and I'll unpack that a little bit more. One way to approach the opportunity I would suggest is, through good asking good questions. So the quality of your life is determined by the quality of the questions that you ask. The quality of your ministry through this crisis is the quality of the questions that you're asking yourself right now and daily. Let me illustrate that. Well, and I just, I tend to think of questions I want to keep adding questions.

I want to ask better questions. One of the questions that's been my favorite for the last 72 hours is if the church experienced increased giving right now, what kind of church would that look like? Which is a way of saying what does great value look like to the, to the scattered people of God that are living in this very unique time of uncertainty, but that are in relationships in different ways. Maybe you get six feet, but they're standing six feet across from neighbors with new time and availability. They're in constant contact with different people. Same people in new ways, different people in new ways. What does that mean for the mission? So, you know, that's a great question. Another question to ask right now that actually is even a little bit more disruptive is, Hey, what happened? What would happen? What would happen in this Sunday if right now the internet broke?

And the reason I like that question is it helps you think about what I've committed my life to, which is clarity. You know, who's on mission, who my leadership team have? We do, we does our leadership team now, right now, know what a woman looks like. And if I was actually shut down from even internet connectivity, what would happen to Sunday? What are, you know, what, whatever part of the ministry that I'm leading and responsible for, what, what would happen to it? And that just raises the bar on leadership development, raises the bar on clarity, those kinds of things. So, the quality of your life and the quality of your ministry will be determined by the quality of the questions that you're asking me right now. Another helpful metaphor that's not original to me in the Andy Crouch and some others developed it as the single most helpful, article that I've read in terms of thinking about this in terms of the duration.

So I want to give you this metaphor to guide your communication thinking and it's, again, you guys would teach me a lot about response and crisis management, but the metaphor is that we have a, what we're experiencing right now is a long blizzard. It's an event. We know that blizzard is going to turn to a winter and we'll have a three to four month, you know, season here. And what Andy Crouch and others are talking about is how we are, we go from a winter to a little, well, what they're calling a little ice age. So you want to be thinking about, planning for winter, but preparing for a little ice age. What are those irreversible ways that church attendance will be different or nonprofit leadership or not? You know, the way people relate to nonprofits will be different and we want to be attentive to that.

As we lead again, that just means we've got to fight every day. We're fully present to God and to others. We're, also thinking about leading beyond the blizzard engaging winter and leading, leading beyond the winter and to the little ice age. If you'd allow me to speak from my sweet spot to the local church and pastors for a moment, I do believe what we're experiencing is an act of grace in a similar way to being banished from the garden was an act of grace. The flow in terms of the big picture of God's redemptive plan. He waited till the last human was still righteous, and then he preserved that threat of righteousness for all humanity. But the private, the easiest or most helpful act of grace to reference right now is a, is babble.