Missional Leadership IV: A Preparedness Mentality

Posted: April 30, 2013 in Leadership, missional, Missions
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Part 4 of reflections from a class on “Missional Leadership,” taught by Dr. Reggie McNeal at Columbia International University. In this part, I want to focus on some of the parts of what Dr. McNeal called a “preparedness mentality.” In other words, what are some of the discrete parts that we can work on, in an attempt to build momentum for movement. The context is in missional movement, but Dr. McNeal also related it to leadership development


1. Vision

“Vision bubbles up, not cascades down. Ask the right questions: If a spiritual awakening came, what would it look like? What would churches be doing? What would we be doing?” (RM – Reggie McNeal)

“Vision is very concrete – ask community leaders what 2 things, if changed, would make a difference in our community. Then connect what the church leaders say with what community leaders say.” (RM)

Everyone’s “vision” will be different in building a movement – and that’s ok – in fact, it’s great! It’s a measure of our trust in the work of the Holy Spirit to recognize that the vision He gives others is a part of the whole. We frequently turn the vision concept upside down, thinking that the pastor is the conduit through which the Holy Spirit casts a divine vision, when in fact he might be the bottleneck that squeezes God’s vision into a mortal memo.


2. Values

“Values are behaviorally examined -they are not beliefs.” “What behaviors will support the vision?” (RM)

“There can be – and often is –  vision/values misalignment. When that happens, we might not make progress in vision, but we sometimes don’t know why.” (RM)

The last statement helped me realized just how important are these values. They aren’t necessarily the starting point, but they probably need just as much time and attention, if not more, as we put into strategizing a vision. In the end, the big picture vision motivates us, but the behaviors bring a vision to life and make it reality. 


3. Results

The scorecard – how do we know we are winning? How do we know we are making progress? Dr. McNeal developed this idea at more length throughout the week, and I will deal with it separately in the next post. It is one of the fractals, or discrete elements, of our preparation, though, because we must know what to count before we begin counting!


  • 4. Strengths

“Move forward on our strengths.” “Balance is a myth. It’s paralyzing. You are not balanced, and you never will be.” “Be aware of your weaknesses, but lead with your strengths” (RM)

When we focus on our strengths, and lead with our strengths, I think we more closely function in line with Biblical teaching on Holy Spirit gifting. One question, however, is how leading with our strengths affects multiplication, both of faith communities and of other leaders. In other words, if I am a gifted preacher, when do I need to subordinate my strength, to allow other less gifted preachers an opportunity to grow? Although I would say that multiplication demands that we assist others to grow soon and fast, the question arises – when do I get to use MY strengths (gifts?) 🙂

Dr. McNeal suggested that we get all these elements – vision, values, results, and strengths – condensed to the size of a postcard. As he put it, there is an inverse proportion between the size of the plan and what actually gets accomplished. If we can concisely and quickly tell someone what we hope to accomplish and how we intend to do it, we have a much better chance of engaging them – as opposed to boring them!

Missional Leadership I

Missional Leadership II

Missional Leadership III

  1. […] Missional Leadership IV: A Preparedness Mentality […]

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