(As I said yesterday, I am going to be writing about what we have set up as our "guardrails" at Ridge Church. This is part 1 of 7 Practices for Effective Ministry. These are 7 practices that we follow ruthlessly at Ridge.)
Practice #1 (& the one that potentially jacked me up the most when I was confronted with this whole philosophy) is simply to CLARIFY THE WIN. This is HUGE! It might not sound like it at first but I believe it will make or break a ministry (or any organization period)!
I can remember reading this chapter & listening to the concept of this practice being discussed by Andy, Reggie, & Lane and I was blown away, because the ministry I was working in was FAR from practicing this and I could see that it was killing us! (btw - you can also listen to that conversation around these 7 Practices! Download the podcast on iTunes for free - it's called "Practically Speaking". & everything in "quotes" is either straight from the book or the podcast.) I asked a lot of tough questions and it will eventually drive any leader crazy when the WIN is not clarified. So, I totally know how is to be on both sides of this!
As a leader in ANY organization you MUST -> Clarify the Win! You must "define what is important at every level of the organization." I believe it is suicide not to do this.
This is probably easier for most companies to do, but churches straight up suck at it! The only thing that most churches can think of to prove they're winning (or losing) are money & numbers!
But, we've GOTTA do a better job than that!
Forget money & attendance numbers... at Ridge Church we're trying to ask questions like - “do peeps feel comfortable inviting their unchurched friends? Are our people recognizing the need to give a percentage of their income? How many individuals are successfully getting plugged in to small groups? Do our people understand how to apply the scriptural truths we’re teaching in their daily lives?”
& You can't praise the wrong things! But you need to praise the things that are WINS for you, because what you celebrate is what will be repeated! So, "clarifying the win simply means communicating to your team what is really important and what really matters."
Some of the most cutting statements that guys like Andy Stanley and Reggie Joiner constantly say about this practice is “As long as the ‘win’ is unclear, you force your team to guess what a win looks like.” & “if you don’t define winning for your ministry leaders, they will define it for themselves.” And you KNOW that is so true! Every volunteer in your church just makes up their own WINS when one is not clarified for them.
Even staff at a church have to make up their own wins... and it's usually based on what is celebrated. So if #s are all that's celebrated, then that is the main WIN for that staff member! Leaders communicate SO MUCH more than they realize by what they celebrate!
When you don't clarify the WIN for your team, you can't stay on the same page! And Reggie says that being on the SAME page is even more important than starting with a BLANK page as a staff team! You've got to continue to hold up a clear picture of what the WIN is for your team if you want to lead effectively!
And it is so true that when staff and volunteers know what the WINS are, they will fight to WIN & when people are winning they will "1) work harder, 2) be less negative, 3)trust the leadership, 4) give more generously, 5) stay involved." & obviously we all want those things.
Reggie Joiner gives 4 steps to helping you clarify the WIN for your team & volunteers:
1 Sum up the Win in a Simple Phrase
- Key Question = “What do we want people to walk away and do?” The answer to that can clear up a lot of confusion about the goal of an environment and force you to clarify the win!
2 Keep the Win as Specific as Possible
- “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Don’t be too general. *I think these wins have to be things we can actually DO/ACCOMPLISH. Obviously some stuff has to be left to the Holy Spirit.
3 Restate the Win Frequently and Creatively – constantly keep the WINS in front of your peeps. I must creatively keep the wins in my everyday language!!! [so, I think it’s gotta be something cool & easy because I’m gonna say it a lot.]
4 Meet to Clarify the Win at Every Level
For example - our Upstreet environment (Children) @ Ridge Church we have 3 overall WINS = Excellent, Helpful, & Fun. Hopefully every volunteer knows these wins because they have heard us say it a million times! So as we go home on Sundays we can know if we won by simply asking the question "Was it excellent, helpful, & fun?" And for our Small Group Leaders in Upstreet we add 1 more Q = "Did our small group build better and deeper relationships today?"
And another example is our Student Ministry at Ridge. A win for us is NOT how many students showed up to something, but instead it's our goal to see 3 things = Students SERVING STRATEGICALLY, CONNECTING RELATIONALLY (with peers and small group leades), and INVITING THEIR FRIENDS! When we see students engaged in those 3 things we know we are WINNING in student ministry! Pretty simple!
The process of writing these WINS is time consuming and hard, but it's so worth it because "the payoff is HUGE!" as Andy says.
So, what are WINS for YOU? If you don't have any then just remember that your peeps are defining wins for themselves!