June 28, 2023

Pressing Questions: Listener Q&A – Episode 302 | The Unstuck Church Podcast

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Pressing Questions for Pastors in 2023 (Part 4)

If you enjoy this episode, subscribe on your device for more:
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We’ve dedicated a whole series to “Pressing Questions for Pastors in 2023″ — answering some of the known questions pastors are wondering about in this season based on our experience serving hundreds of churches, including:


As we wrap up our series, we wanted to hear from you—our listeners. We asked our podcast subscribers to send in “the most pressing question(s) about ministry/ministry leadership you’re asking this year” and you delivered with some great questions around ministry leadership.

Tune in as Amy and I answer your questions around:

  • How to lead Gen Z staff members
  • Effective structures for governance
  • The role of a second-chair leader
  • Developing a clear vision

How to Re-Engage Your Church in the Mission

Your congregation today is not your pre-pandemic congregation. And your mission is more than just a statement on your wall. In this webinar, Tony Morgan & Amy Anderson will teach you the practical strategies needed to reignite your church’s passion and purpose for living on mission in this season.

We need to know who we're trying to reach before we know what medium to use to reach them. [episode 302] #unstuckchurch Share on X Complex governance is a reflection of the complexity of leadership, the complexity of defining direction, and the complexity of making decisions. [episode 302] #unstuckchurch Share on X Healthy, thriving churches recognize that in order to create unity, clarify direction, and effectively make better decisions, they have to streamline their governance. [episode 302] #unstuckchurch Share on X  A vision should be a clear picture of where the ministry is going in the future—it reflects the place we want to be, but we're not quite there yet. [episode 302] #unstuckchurch Share on X

This Episode Is Sponsored by PlainJoe Studios:

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PlainJoe: A Storyland Studio partners with churches, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and educational environments to create unforgettable strategic, digital, and spatial stories that lift the Spirit. Their team of talented designers, architects, and specialists can assist you with services such as brand development, building projects, custom web development, and more. Their approach to designing custom experiences is both fun-loving and professional, enabling pastors and leaders to enjoy the process while advancing their ministry. 

And here’s some exciting news – PlainJoe is hosting the PlainJoe Design Intervention giveaway, where one winner will receive the grand prize: 200 hours of design services from PlainJoe, for free! Visit plainjoestudios.com for more information. And if you’re ready to rethink your buildings, logos, or website experience to take your organization to the next level, consider PlainJoe.

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Share Your Thoughts and Questions on Social Media

We use #unstuckchurch on Twitter, and we start a real-time conversation each Wednesday morning when the episode drops. You can follow me @tonymorganlive and The Unstuck Group @unstuckgroup. If Facebook is where you spend your time, I’m there, too.

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Sean (00:02):

Welcome to The Unstuck Church Podcast, where each week we are exploring what it means to be an unstuck church. Each week, thousands of listeners tune into The Unstuck Church Podcast to hear the latest conversation with Tony, Amy and our team. But the topic typically comes as a bit of a surprise. On this week’s podcast, you are deciding the topics as Tony and Amy wrap up our series on pressing questions by answering some of the questions that you’ve submitted that are top of mind for our listeners. If you’re brand new to The Unstuck Church Podcast, I wanna invite you to stop before you’re listening and go to theunstuckgroup.com/podcast and subscribe to get the episode show notes in your email. When you do, you’re gonna get resources to support each week’s episode, any of our bonus resources and access to our podcast resource archive. Again, that’s theunstuckgroup.com/podcast to subscribe. Now, before this week’s conversation, here’s Tony.

Tony (00:57):

PlainJoe, a Storyland Studio, partners with churches, nonprofits, faith-based organizations and educational environments to create unforgettable, strategic, digital and spatial stories that lift the spirit. Their team of talented designers, architects and specialists can assist you with services such as brand development, building projects, custom web development and more. Their approach to designing custom experiences is both fun-loving and professional, enabling pastors and leaders to enjoy the process while also advancing their ministry. Now, here’s some exciting news. PlainJoe is hosting the PlainJoe Design Intervention Giveaway, where one winner will receive the grand prize: 200 hours of design services from PlainJoe for free. So visit plainjoestudios.com for more information, and if you’re ready to rethink your buildings, logos or website experience to take your organization to the next level, consider PlainJoe.

Amy (02:05):

Well, welcome back to our podcast, listeners. We are coming to an end of our series on the pressing questions pastors are asking in 2023, and I’m excited, Tony, about this episode cuz it’s a bit different cuz we’re just gonna do kind of more of a quick-hit, rapid-fire Q and A. But before we dive into that, how have you been? You know, we do this podcast via Zoom, where we get to see each other.

Tony (02:27):


Amy (02:27):

But you’ve been on the road. I’ve been on the road. What have you been up to?

Tony (02:30):

I think it’s ironic that, you know, I got to go to Florida recently to work with a great church, New Covenant United Methodist Church.

Amy (02:38):

Hey, I have family there.

Tony (02:39):

Yeah. So, no, I know. I flew into Tampa, drove up to the villages (my first time to The Villages) and great church there. And this church, obviously, it’s primarily pre-retirees and retirees in the villages. And so I love it because they’re so focused on who they’re trying to reach in their mission field. And we’re gonna be journeying with them over the coming months to talk about how to move their mission forward. So that was exciting. But while I was enjoying the sunshine in Florida, you were in where?

Amy (03:12):

I was in Ohio. I was in Cleveland.

Tony (03:13):

Yes. Cleveland.

Amy (03:14):

I was actually thinking about you cuz I walked past the gift shop with all the Cleveland Guardian gear.

Tony (03:18):

That’s right.

Amy (03:19):

Which is, I guess, you have family there.

Tony (03:21):

I do. I do. And it’s my favorite, my favorite northern city because that’s about where I grew up, and I’m a big Cleveland Guardians fan. So, yes, you’ll have to pick up a little memento for me the next time.

Amy (03:34):

All right. Well, anyways, we should probably dive into our topic today. Thanks to all of our listeners that submitted the questions. We’ve got a long list here, and we’ll see how many we can get to today.

Tony (03:45):

Yeah, Amy, I think this is gonna be fun. We’re used to diving deeper into one or two specific topics per episode, but this is gonna be a fun opportunity to answer some of the most pressing questions that our listeners are struggling with when it comes to ministry and ministry leadership. And, well, what, what do you say we kind of dive right in, and maybe we can go back and forth answering these questions. Are you good with that, Amy?

Amy (04:10):

We should have prepped more cause I don’t know what questions I’m gonna get now but sure. We’ll just go back and forth.

Tony (04:14):

I’ve, I’ve gone through the list, and I’m making sure I get all the easy ones. So, let’s start with this one.

Amy (04:19):

Thank you.

Tony (04:20):

Amy, what do you see as the balance between systems and the presence of God? And the reason why Mark was asking this question is that Gen Z seems to want more than a just a good production. I think he’s referring to Sunday worship services. They’re really looking for an encounter with Jesus. So how would you respond to Mark’s question?

Amy (04:42):

Sure. You know, that tension has been there for a while. You know, when I was leading on the weekend role, you know, we had artists who wanted to do the weekend worship kind of one way and then we had leadership who was looking for something different. And here’s what I would say. I think regardless of how you’re leading that time on Sunday morning, I think we all, Gen Z, whatever, whatever generation you are, I think we all wanna have an encounter with God. And so how I often talk about it is it’s not always the methods, but what journey are we trying to create? So, it’s a step back from techniques in other words, Tony. But I often describe it as when people come to church, they start in that outer court, right? If we think about the temple, it’s busy; it’s noisy. People are not ready to be in the Holy of Holies three minutes into worship, right? We start in the outer court. We have to design a journey that brings us to that inner court, where we’re sensing God more. And then ultimately, during that time, we wanna lead people to the Holy of Holies, where all the work that we’ve done is now really pointing people to the Lord. So I think there’s a lot of ways to get what I just described. The challenge, though, is there are even more ways to get knocked out of that journey. So when we, we can do some things when we’re leading people in worship that to maybe the person on the platform who’s got the guitar or their eyes closed, or they’re leading, they’re in a great state of worship, but guess what? A lot of the people that they’re leading are not in a great state of worship. They’re more of, honestly, spectating this person’s worship experience. So this is why I always talk about you kind of need someone off platform to help watch that experience and get rid of all the distractions. By the way, great production can, can lead a great journey to the Holy of Holies. Production can also be super distracting and knock us off of that journey, whether it’s bad lighting, bad audio, those types of things. So I would just, Mark, for your question, others that are interested in this, I think you just need to step back, what’s the win for that worship time? And then how do we design it in a way that the people that we’re leading can actually get to that Holy of Holies? Anything you’d add, Tony?

Tony (06:50):

Well, no, I mean, you covered that well. The only, the only thing I would add is this is actually a topic that the New Testament church wrestled with as well. And if you would like to get Paul’s perspective on this, First Corinthians 14, towards the end of that chapter, actually addresses this: trying to balance a spirit-filled worship experience with orderly worship. And so it might be good just to reflect on what Paul has to say on that as well. So, I love your response, Amy.

Amy (07:22):

Thank you, pastor Tony. All right, I’m gonna grab the next one. This is a question Brent asked. He said, “How do we lead Gen Z in ministry and leadership? It seems like Gen Z church staff have a much different work ethic than previous generations.”

Tony (07:37):

Yeah. So it’s a great question. And actually, that same question came up just in the last couple weeks with another church that I was working with. And, I’m just glad that now Gen Z is being questioned about its work ethic because, as you might remember, Amy, I, well, first of all, I think every generation gets this label at one point or another. But our generation, Gen X, do you, do you know what they used to call us, Amy?

Amy (08:05):

I can’t remember.

Tony (08:05):

The slacker generation.

Amy (08:07):

They did? How rude.

Tony (08:07):

So it’s just, it’s just interesting. Now, Gen X is blaming Gen Z for being the same thing. And I, I, I say that because, and to my friends that write on the differences between generations valuable content, but just to be honest, sometimes I think we overlook the fact that each of us is created uniquely. We all have unique personalities, unique experiences that shape who we are as people and as, as ministers of the gospel. And so rather than looking at this as a generational challenge, I think I wanna just challenge you to look at that individual opportunity for coaching on your staff team. And the reason why I say that is on our staff we have a mix of Gen X, Millennials, Gen Z, and frankly, all of them are, are hard workers, driven, committed to our mission. And I, I think this is more of a reflection of how we hire, how we bring people on our team and then how we engage the mission together, including the coaching and the ongoing development that we’re providing the folks on our team. And so, what I wanna say is, well, and by the way, even in my own home, I have two millennial kids and two Gen Z kids.

Amy (09:28):


Tony (09:29):

All four of them are hard, hard workers, driven, and, and so if I were to just generally paint them in the same light as the rest of their generation, I don’t think that would be fair to them. And likewise, I don’t think that’s fair to the individuals on our church staff team, as well. So I want, I would suggest we just go, go back and look at our hiring process. Is our hiring process bringing the right people, the right fit, the right character onto our team that really fit the culture of the team that we’re trying to build? And then, where you sense there’s some challenge with work ethic, I think that’s an opportunity for you to do some one-on-one coaching with folks. And just to remember, when we were younger, we had some folks that were mentoring, coaching, developing us because we had maturity to take place in our lives and in our leadership. And I think the younger staff on our staff team deserve that same opportunity. So my, my coaching here is don’t look at it as a generational challenge. Look at it as an opportunity to coach the individuals on your team. Anything you’d add, Amy?

Amy (10:42):

Yeah, I’ve got Gen Z kids, too, and couple things that Gen Z’s known for. Number one, they kind of have an expectation of quick career progress, that they’re gonna move fast, and they have this desire for feedback. And so I think where you were saying that one-on-one coaching, I think it’s critical for this generation to truly have some development plans and to have some mentors that are, you know, perceived pulling them up and exposing them to some new things because, I mean, we all had that, right? But I do think it’s a, a hallmark of Gen Z is being able to be around people and feel like they’re making progress career-wise like they’re growing and learning.

Tony (11:21):

That’s good. That’s helpful. All right, Amy. This next one’s for you.

Amy (11:24):


Tony (11:25):

Where will we find pastors and pastoral staff when not many young people are going into ministry? And there are so many getting out of ministry or retiring right now? This is, this question’s from Eric, and Eric is just asking, you know, with churches going through this type of transition right now, how can we find the creative and pastoral staff that we need to fill critical roles?

Amy (11:51):

Yeah. This probably is a good question for me because I’m working with many pastors all the time that are a leader or two short on their senior leadership teams, and they’re trying to figure out: where do we find these people? And then when you get into some roles like family ministry or, in this case, you know, creatives, too, weekend leaders, they’re like, where do we find them? And in different denominations, you know, I know they have different flows for how pastors, ministers come into the fold. So, but if I go from a non-denominational mindset, Tony, I really think the key is we have to stop being dependent on external sources for our future pastors and leaders and begin to truly develop them in-house. I don’t know; maybe you can pull some scripture again. I’m sure if we go old school how people got into ministry was they started following Jesus, had some great mentors around them, their leadership gifts were, were discovered and they moved into a leadership role within the church. And so, it’s not the silver bullet. It’s nothing fast, but I think we have to continue to engage people, give ministry away so that people with these leadership gifts can emerge and get them on a path going towards, you know, pastoral staff. And of course, you know, my husband, I would say, is an example of this: loves Jesus, has a leadership gift, served at the church, got invited on staff and then he went back to school to get some of his theological training. And I think in the old method, you got outta college, you got your theology training and then you moved into ministry. And I, I agree. The trend right now, I think, is more people, you know, went to work, got some leadership experience, you know, found Christ and then they go back and they do some of that theological work for the pastor designation. So that would be my, I know it’s harder, but that’s my encouragement. Get your leadership pipeline built out and start looking for people to join on that path of moving towards leadership. You and I are products of that.

Tony (13:44):

That’s right.

Amy (13:45):

We both got engaged with a great church and then moved into ministry leadership as kind of a second career.

Tony (13:52):

That’s right. That’s right.

Amy (13:52):

All right. Tony, here’s one for you. What is the most effective structure or what are the most effective structures related to church governance? That was asked by Paul.

Tony (14:02):

Ah, well, Paul, great question. And it’s a question that we get pretty frequently, and I’m glad we get it frequently because this is one of those areas where it’s, it’s very noticeable. The churches that are stuck, plateaued, declining compared to the churches that are thriving, healthy, growing. It’s interesting how much church governance actually comes into play and really is a differentiator between those two types of churches. And here’s what’s crazy, just talking with another church in the last few days about this, there’s actually an inverse relationship between the size of a church, the church’s board and the number of committees that the church has compared to the overall health and growth of the church. In other words, stuck, declining churches tend to have larger church boards, and they tend to have more committees. Healthy, thriving churches tend to have smaller church boards and fewer committees. And I think, it’s not, it’s not causal, Amy. I think it’s a reflection of the complexity of leadership, the complexity of defining direction and the complexity of making decisions.

Amy (15:19):

Decision rights?

Tony (15:20):

That’s right. And in healthy, thriving churches, they’ve recognized in order to create unity, in order to clarify direction, in order to effectively make better decisions, they have to streamline their governance so that we’re empowering the right people to make the right decisions at the right time and then freeing up more people to actually engage the mission to be involved in ministry. So, because this is a frequent question that pops up, though, in the past, we’ve done a series of podcasts and webinars on church governance, and rather than trying to repeat all of those best practices now, we’ll just include links to some of those answers from previous podcasts in the show notes.

Amy (16:06):

But, Tony, wouldn’t you say if your governance structure is off, it is, it is a game changer, you know, to the, to the effectiveness of your church. So if it feels off, get it right. Go after it.

Tony (16:19):

And we’ve actually seen examples of churches that have tackled that challenge. And it is a challenge because usually, I don’t know what it is about us humans, we like to hold on to power or perceived power. But for the churches that have worked at this and they’ve really streamlined their governance, and, in most cases, these churches have moved to one unified board that’s the right size and empowered to make the right decisions, those churches, it’s like night and day on the other side of that shift. So I, I really would encourage churches to consider that.

Amy (16:50):

It sure is. A new day.

Tony (16:51):

All right. Amy, since we have, this is, it’s kind of leaning into digital ministry and marketing, and that’s kind of more your lane than mine. So let me, let me ask this question from Chad. Chad is asking, since we have more tools available than ever to communicate with unbelievers, you know, everything from signage to social media to, you know, direct marketing and on and on and on and on, are, are, what are the best practices that you’re seeing churches engaging in this season as it relates to kind of the marketing efforts to people outside the church and outside the faith?

Amy (17:34):

Yeah, boy, this, this could be a whole podcast series, and I’m sure we have actually done them. But let me just give you a couple of broad-brush answers to that, Tony. First off, yes, I just wanna reiterate there are more tools available than ever to be communicating with people these days. The conversation I just had with the pastor I was working with, cuz they’re having a little bit of communication spread, even at The Unstuck Group, I said, “We use Slack to communicate to one another, email to communicate to our clients. And we use Asana to, you know, all of our tasks.” So, that’s just a little microcosm when we’re talking about how do we market, how do we leverage these to reach our communities. Number one, you just have to step back and think that through—the digital side of things. You need to get some content marketers, some people to think through digital strategy with you. But where I think some of the best practices are is, number one, drawing people to your church is not anything related to digital or social media. It’s your church body who loves your church and wants to invite their friends. So, that’s gotta be in place first when we’re thinking about outreach resources. It’s your people. Second, I think the digital side of these things are things that come alongside to help your people invite people to church. So, for instance, we’ve talked a lot about content marketing, creating tools, you know, that are biblically based, but don’t, you know, you don’t have to believe in Jesus to accept this truth. Content that’s helpful to people’s everyday life. If your church created that and your people could actually leverage those resources and share them through Facebook or however they wanna share them with their friends, they’ve just created, you’ve just created a positive exposure. You’ve, you’ve leveraged a digital strategy to create a positive exposure in your community for that work. And we had some churches, years ago now, but you know, they had some campaigns called, you know, “For the fill in the blank.” In my area, it was like, “For the Basin,” where they were located, and they used that social media hashtag every time they did something in the local outreach area of their church to just kind of say, “We’re doing this cuz we are for our community.” Again, digital came alongside to create a positive image, you know, a positive exposure to help when people actually invite someone to church. There’s, you know, a positive relationship with that church. When you talk about constant contact and email, boy, if you’re just blasting emails out there, you’re really not using it strategically. Constant contact and email strategies can be amazing if you have a strategy to draw people towards you. You wanna say something?

Tony (20:09):

Yeah, no, I mean this is great stuff, Amy. It’s interesting cuz this topic came up earlier this week one of the churches I was with. And, what they were talking about was just the fact that, you know, they’re, it’s so confusing with what types of platforms to use based on who they’re trying to reach. It’s, it would be interesting, though, to do, kind of get that focus first on who is it that you’re trying to reach.

Amy (20:35):

That’s right.

Tony (20:36):

Because, especially in social media, the different platforms actually are more attractive and more used by different generations. As an example, my kids: Instagram, TikTok. My mom: Facebook. So it kind of depends, and believe it or not, yeah, the boomers, they’re, you know, entering retirement. And, you would think, “Ah, this, they’re not gonna be on social media.” Well, actually, they are. I actually just read that Facebook is, of all the generations, the boomer generation uses it, uses it the most. And 96% of boomers are checking Facebook at least once a week.

Amy (21:16):


Tony (21:16):

So, I don’t know if, what they’re doing. I mean, they’re probably just checking up on you and me, Amy. I don’t know what’s happening there. But, it’s, all of that, is under the premise, though, we need to know who we’re trying to reach before we know what, what medium to use to reach those folks.

Amy (21:34):

And I would say at a minimum with this as a question, going back to Gen Z, you’ve got, this is one of their strengths.

Tony (21:41):


Amy (21:41):

They are native to this whole world. And to, to have a leader and to build a team around of all the choices we have, what are the channels we’re going to use, how are we gonna measure their effectiveness so that we know they’re actually helping us reach new people, would be a great first step if you haven’t stepped out in this yet. All right. Ready for the next question?

Tony (22:03):

I am.

Amy (22:04):

All right. I’m gonna give this one to you. Let’s see. Keith asked this; he said, “How is the succession process different for small churches than for large or mega churches? Are there key differences? How much input should the outgoing pastor have in the process? What’s the criteria for candidates?” Can you talk through that at all, Tony?

Tony (22:23):

Yeah, here’s one of those instances where I really don’t think there is a difference, that much of a difference. I mean, the, who you’re looking for, their strengths, their wiring and so on, yeah, that’s gonna look a bit different. But the process is gonna look the same. And Amy, I’m not gonna answer any of Keith’s questions because I think the answer for both small churches and large churches is you need somebody from the outside to help you through all of those steps.

Amy (22:51):


Tony (22:51):

And the reason why I advocate for that is I’ve seen churches, you know, try to form search committees, try to go through the selection process on their own, try to find the right pastor. And sometimes, churches kind of get lucky. But in most instances, when churches try to find their next senior pastor on their own, it takes years. And what I’ve noticed is the churches that spend the money to actually hire the, the outside firm to help them with the succession process, those churches get through the process more quickly. And because of that, because they’re bringing in new fresh leadership more quickly, they don’t experience as much of the dip as the churches that try to find their next senior pastor just using an internal process. The other key advantage there is somebody from the outside, if there are internal candidates, somebody from the outside can bring kind of an unbiased perspective of is this person the right fit or not.

Amy (23:57):

That’s good.

Tony (23:58):

And what I’ve noticed is, of course, if somebody is an internal candidate, they already have relational connection. There’s already trust that’s been built. There’s all, there’s already kind of a, a bias towards wanting that person to take on the role. But, many times, the internal candidate isn’t necessarily the right fit. They’re not bringing the right direction, the right vision for the church, where the church needs to go in the future. And many times, if there needs to be a significant shift in strategy or the culture of the church, it’s actually much better to bring in somebody from the outside, an outside voice to lead the church through that change. And so I’m not gonna answer any of the specific questions, Keith. I’m sorry for that. But my strong encouragement is that you find somebody, find a firm to come in and help you through those steps. All right. Amy, this one’s for you, and the reason why is this person’s asking about second-chair leadership. And he’s asking, I understand that leadership is influence, but just having some nuts and bolts around the second chair roles would be nice. Specifically, how do you lead from the second chair and if the high, if the lead pastor is a high-capacity doer rather than a leader, kind of how do you lead up in that situation?

Amy (25:18):

Sure. Well, first of all, if the lead pastor is a high-capacity doer rather than a leader, that high-capacity lead pastor is going to be the lid to the church’s growth. And so, and I get it, lead pastors, they own, they own what they’re doing, and they wanna see it move forward. And it’s a conversation I have regularly with lead pastors. And often, when they dip down into the organization or they overstep their second-chair leader, there’s a lot of reasons for it. But often it’s, they just don’t trust that things are gonna get done unless they bring their voice to it and step into it. So, I’ll just start there by saying if you’re a lead pastor listening to this and you find that you’re regularly jumping over your second-chair leader, it’s a good thing to step back and try to figure out why is that happening that way because the trust between a senior or lead pastor and an executive pastor is so crucial to the effectiveness of this working for the organization. And, again, senior pastors, if you have an executive pastor, you should be being set up to do those four things that only you can do, which is be the vision person, be the spiritual leader, guard the culture and guide the teaching, the teaching and the content team. Everything else should be delegated to that second-chair leadership. So specifics to second chair, when I think about the executive pastor role, there’s three or four things that come to mind immediately that an executive pastor has to own. First, they have to make vision actionable. So if the lead pastor’s responsible for vision, it’s that executive pastor, who we call the integrator, who has to own that responsibility for closing the gap between that vision and the execution of that vision. Second, the, the executive pastor has to oversee strategic planning, which is a part of the one I just said. But they need to drive those core actions, those core initiatives that the church has agreed on. These are the things that we need to get done. The third thing is really owning leadership for a healthy, high-impact team. And we often talk about this is a team that is both spiritually healthy and actually is getting things done, so they’re healthy and high performing. Executive pastor, that’s part of your responsibility. And then the, the fourth one is really just keeping the team aligned, ensuring that everyone’s aligned to the mission and the strategies of the church because the executive pastor often has those senior leaders reporting to him or her. The executive pastor’s job is to ensure that every ministry leader understands what success looks like for their team, their role, and how that fits in with the overarching goals of the church. Anything you’d add to that, Tony?

Tony (27:53):

No, you just nailed that, Amy. You’re pretty wise.

Amy (27:57):

Thanks. Just don’t ask me a question I don’t dabble with. And, Tony, I was just looking at the time here. I think we’ve got time for just one more question. I’m sorry that we can’t get to all of them, but is there one here that stands out to you that you wanna tackle?

Tony (28:11):

Yeah, let’s, how about that question from Mike about vision?

Amy (28:15):

Oh, sure. All right. So here’s what Mike asked. He said, “How do you move a vision from a vague future concept with no finish line,” that should be a red alert right there, by the way, “with no finish line to something that we can accomplish and that impacts our budgeting process and strategies?”

Tony (28:31):

Yeah. So I think, first of all, it goes back to is this vision or not? And, Amy, you and I have talked about this a lot. Many times, what we see as vision statements in churches are really just a restatement of the mission statement.

Amy (28:45):


Tony (28:45):

And I think every church needs a mission statement that expresses: this is why we exist. However, what every church also needs is a vision, a clear picture of where the ministry is going in the future. And vision, by its definition, reflects someplace we want to be but we’re not quite there yet. And what we’ve learned through the years is whatever the “there” is has to be well defined. You mentioned it. We need to know what the win is. We need to know the timing that’s expected. We need to have an understanding of who’s gonna own it so that we can move forward on whatever is required to get that vision accomplished. And so, I think we need to step back and just ask the question, “Have we really clarified our vision?” Because if it’s been clarified, there are probably only one or maybe two bold moves that we’re focused on accomplishing in this next season of ministry. And it’s, these bold moves are significant enough that we’re relying on God, and actually, we’re inviting people from our leadership and our congregation to be praying for this.

Amy (30:01):


Tony (30:01):

It’s worthy of our investment of time. And because of that, our team is invested in it, and we’re inviting the church to join us as well. And it’s, it’s bold enough that we sense that we should be investing financially in this as well. And so we’re inviting our congregation to invest financially in seeing this bold move accomplished. And if we can answer, “Yes, this is causing us to pray. Yes, it’s causing us to invest our time, and yes, it’s causing us to invest our financial resources,” that’s an indication that we have a clear vision for where we’re going into the future. And then the hard work begins. That’s when we have to make sure we have the right leader in the place, the right team in place to pull this off and clear action plans so that we know exactly what needs to be accomplished today in order to see that vision become reality whenever in the future we’re intending for that to happen. And, Amy, as you know, our Unstuck Process is designed to help churches do just that. And so it’s what you and I get to do every week with churches that we’re serving. We take that maybe that vague picture of the future, and we try to define that. We try to clarify those next bold moves, and then we put that, help the churches put the action plans in place to actually see that vision become reality. That’s why I get up in the morning. I love that.

Amy (31:36):

Yeah. We didn’t plan to end with that question, but it was a good question to end with. And here’s one of the things that I was thinking about as you were talking. If you have a vision right now, if you could put the phrase in the next five years, that might help you figure out if you’ve got a true destination. Or if you have, you know, if your, if your vision right now is “We are gonna reach the world with the love and hope of Christ in the next five years,” it’s probably not specific enough, right?

Tony (32:02):

That’s right. That’s good, Amy.

Amy (32:03):

So specifics are the way we go with vision. All right. Well, thank you for that. That was fun, Tony. And hopefully, there were some questions in there that people who were listening also happened to be wondering about and got some answers today, or at least a nugget or two that helps ’em think about their challenges a little bit different. Any final thoughts from you before we wrap up today’s conversation of this pressing-question series?

Tony (32:26):

Yeah, I mean, I’ve really enjoyed this series, Amy. And as we’ve mentioned before, it really gets at the heart of why we’ve done this podcast over 300 episodes now. We want to meet pastors where they are and give them the resources and help they need to grow in their ministry and in their leadership. So, hopefully, we’ve been able to do some of that through this series. But if you’re listening and you feel like you could use some personal guidance on any of these topics we’ve addressed in these last few weeks, well, I would just encourage you to start a conversation with our team by going to theunstuckgroup.com/start. And one final reminder, if you’re listening to this on Wednesday, June 28th, when it first releases, it’s not too late to join us tomorrow on Thursday, June 29th, for our free webinar on how to reengage your church in the mission. And you can register now at the link in your show notes to secure your seat, and we hope to see you there.

Sean (33:23):

Well, thanks for joining us on this week’s podcast. Like Tony mentioned, we’d love to have you join us on our upcoming webinar on June 29th. To register, download the show notes at theunstuckgroup.com/podcast. Next week, we’re back with another brand new conversation. So until then, have a great week.

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Founder and Lead Strategist of The Unstuck Group. Started in 2009, The Unstuck Group has served 500 churches throughout the United States and several countries around the world. Previously, Tony served on the senior leadership teams of three rapidly growing churches including NewSpring Church in South Carolina. He has five published books including, The Unstuck Church, and, with Amy Anderson, he hosts The Unstuck Church Podcast which has thousands of listeners each month.

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