January 16, 2024

The Power of Strategic Alignment for Your Church

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In his book, Focus, author Al Ries writes, 

“The sun provides earth with billions of kilowatts of energy, yet if you stand in it for an hour, the worst you will get is a little sunburn. On the other hand, a few watts of energy focused in one direction is all a laser beam needs to cut through diamonds.” 

Can you imagine if our churches had that kind of focus? Can you imagine what God might do through your church if you could harness the ‘watts of energy’ you’ve been provided? 

After all, none of us go into ministry so we can “sunburn” people with the gospel—we want to see people’s lives totally and radically transformed by Jesus.

Building Alignment

At The Unstuck Group, we talk about it in terms of alignment. We believe one of the most critical things church leaders need to do is connect the big picture to the everyday work of their team members. When you do that, everyone understands how their work aligns with the mission, vision, and goals of the church. 

In churches where this alignment is missing, energy and resources are dispersed. While there may be agreement on the mission (why you exist), and the vision (where you’re going), from there teams scatter. They may be doing good things, but when team members pull in different directions, churches get stuck. 

Fortunately, alignment problems can be solved.

The Strategic Alignment Pyramid

The Unstuck Process can help. We don’t tell you who to be or what to do. Rather, we help you clarify where God’s called you to go and how you are going to get there. We help churches build alignment and focus in their ministry. We use a pyramid to visually represent what needs clarity in order to achieve this alignment. And just like a pyramid, alignment is built from the ground up. It looks like this—

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Foundation (Levels 1-3) 

At the bottom of the pyramid, these foundational levels don’t change.

How you phrase them might get wordsmithed, but regardless of the methods of ministry you choose, you’re not changing what you believe, why you exist, or who you want to be becoming as disciples of Jesus. 

Direction (Levels 4-7)

In the middle of the pyramid, these levels provide organizational direction. There cannot be alignment deeper in the organization if leaders don’t provide clarity and around where the ministry is specifically headed.

Unlike the foundational level, these need to be revisited regularly. Vision should be refreshed every 3-5 years. Organizational goals should be updated each year (tied to the vision), and organizational strategies should be evaluated for effectiveness. Our structure should then be altered to reflect the key goals and strategies we have defined.

Action (Levels 8-9)

The top of the pyramid aligns the work of the ministry teams and team members to the foundational and directional levels. When this is done, every person knows how their work is connected to the bigger vision, and gets everyone pulling in the same direction.

“Building a visionary company requires one percent vision and 99 percent alignment.”

— from Built to Last by James Collins and Jerry Porras

When there is alignment, everyone in the organization has clarity around how their roles connect to the bigger picture. Team members are in tune with what success looks like, and they are able to hold loosely to methods (strategies) and much tighter to mission. Priorities are clear, and pruning is possible. 

When there’s no alignment, success is not being defined by the organization. It’s being defined by individuals and separate ministry areas. 

Our church consulting process helps every church define their critical, foundational, and directional levels. Then we help you build a structure that will optimize your teams for action—so that everyone is pulling in the same direction.

We help pastors clarify where God is calling your church to go in the future and define how you'll get there—and then we coach you as you lead change.

Interested in learning more?

Amy Anderson

Amy has served as the Director of Consulting at The Unstuck Group since 2016. During this time she has served over 150 churches, helping them design ministry, staffing & multisite strategies that aligns and fuels their mission. Prior to joining the Unstuck team, Amy served as the Executive Director of Weekend Services at Eagle Brook Church in the Twin Cities, helping the church grow from one location of 3,000 to six locations with over 20,000 gathering each weekend. Her husband is a Teaching and Engagement Pastor at Hosanna Church in Lakeville, MN.

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