Archives For Will Mancini

Classic wisdom taught us that our mission or purpose statements are timeless. In many ways that’s true and its a helpful teaching concept. And in an ideal world, it works. But in reality, there are times when a leader should change or renew or recreate the sense of mission.So don’t let the classic wisdom freeze you and prevent a significant opportunity to create fresh meaning and new progress for God’s people under your care today. When should you rewrite your mission?

1) When no one knows the one you have

This happens when leaders have not been emotionally connected to the big idea of what the church is about; therefore they don’t use it as an everyday leadership tool. It never makes it into conversations, team meetings, volunteer recruitment or preaching. Usually this is the result of some ridiculous committee-based jargon that is way too long. Or it may be just a short over-generalization of the Great Commission or Great Commandment that has no real teeth for folks in the congregation.

EXAMPLE: Grace Presbyterian in Houston is in a two-year interim between senior pastors. The people of Grace…

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Vision Planning

I have reflected over a decade on the question of how visionaries develop. These are some initial thoughts that I want to share with blog readers as I think out loud a bit. I would really appreciate your comments and input toward the development of these ideas.


Every visionary leaders starts by following someone else’s vision. Here, the fundamental practice of following well precedes and develops the ability to lead well. During this time, a future visionary learns to submit to godly authority. In this stage the future visionary’s style is shaped by the strengths and limitation of the lead visionary. Strengths provide a foundational modeling opportunity. Limitations and weakness forge convictions that will eventually shape the values of the future leader.


Eventually the visionary leader starts casting vision themselves. There are three nuances of how this vision relates to the the prior vision-catching content. In other words, most of early vision casting is found “underneath” the vision of a leader and/or organization of the developing visionary. The visionary casts vision: a) in support of, b) in relation to, and finally c) in contrast with.

Gospel TheologyI recently heard Tim Keller speak on his new book Center Church (more on this in the blog later). The image above is his outline on gospel theology which is about one-eighth of the book. I am halfway through the book and I believe it is the most important book on church leadership written in my lifetime.

Here are a few quotes, including four stellar declarations of a church that is true to the Gospel:

#1 We are a church not just for ourselves but for those who don’t believe

#2 We are a church not just for ourselves but for the poor

#3 We are a church not just for ourselves but for the whole body of Christ

#4 We are a church not just for ourselves but for our church community

Two other quotes:

“In some ways we need to shape the church to be more engaged with the culture and in other ways we need to shape the church to be more confrontational with the culture.” – Tim Keller

“In the church members should say,  ’I give up the right to live my life the way I want, and I submit myself to a covenant community.’” -…

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How do you discover, develop and deliver the unique vision God has for you? How can you know that you won’t die a carbon copy when God has made you an original?

#1 Uncaging vision begins with the vision of God. Finding your unique vision starts by worshipping and listening to the Chief Visionary. Remember that no “better future” than you can imagine was not already imagined in the heart of God. He started with perfection in Eden and he will end with perfection in New Jerusalem. But you have your part in the story in between—thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. When was the last time you prayed to God as the ultimate source of vision?

#2 Uncaging vision demands ruthless self-examination. One definition of genius is the ability to scrutinize the obvious. Most leaders are so close to their community both inside and outside of the church, that they miss the contextual and cultural cues that are essential to guide the vision discovery process. The win is to answer the question, “What can our church do better than ten thousand…

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For years I have dreamed of providing a best of class and totally free book summary service to church leaders. Now its time! And it’s called SUMS.  Imagine getting 26 summaries a year absolutely free!

What got me thinking about SUMS?

I love reading, and I appreciate book summaries like most church leaders. But I wished a team would get serious about selection of books for church leaders, design of something great to look at, and application for the ChurchWorld context.

How have we selected books?

There are three kinds of books we are focusing on. 1) Classic leadership texts that are worth revisiting, 2) Books targeted for church leaders, 3) Current business and leadership releases. To the left  is the first one in our series and and example of that the cover looks like.

Who is behind SUMS and actually writing the material?

Bob Adams is the SUMS team leader and the Vision Room curator. One time when I was eating lunch with Bob, years before he was on the Auxano team, he showed me the trunk of his car- it was filled with books.

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ExcellenceOkay, I couldn’t resist calling these “secrets.” Why? Well, they are such as missing practice in ministry today, they functionally behave like secrets. You be the judge:

Secret #1: Ask God for supernatural insight into your “ministry best.”

He already knows what you can do best because he created you to do it. Every other step in this process fails without a spirit of great dependence on God and the full realization that ministry is a stewardship, not derived from you. Peer into your history. Reflect on your identity. Gaze at your strengths. Pray for vision.

Secret #2: Define your “ministry best” with great clarity.

Have you found that amazing place where the right words symbolically yet powerfully capture your “ministry best?” Great leaders usually do and they know it’s worth sacrificing the time for internal wrestling and outside coaching. Clarity isn’t everything but it changes everything. Name your “ministry best.”

Secret #3 Refine your leaders’ understanding of your “ministry best” with great patience.

Be confident in this: Leaders always overestimate how much their team “get’s it.” Check out Jesus’ ministry to strengthen this point. Your tools to create understanding are time and dialogue. Make the…

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Rick Speaking

Today, I received an e-mail letter from pastor Rick Warren. He has experienced levels of pain requiring him to look into both heart and stroke related possibilities. (Thank God that everything is fine so far.) These issues force anyone to look again at the big picture. What would happen to Saddleback Community Church without Rick Warren?

The letter is a great example of leadership, specifically in the area of what we call “Lower Room” and “Upper Room” identity. In answering the question of what would happen without pastor Rick, the answer is simple: the church’s vision moves forward.

You see, every person in your church looks to something for the defining, emotional connection to the church. Why do they call your church home? Most of the things that connect them to the church are “Lower Room” identities of which there are four primary:

  • Place – the physical environment itself
  • Personality – the personal connection to and likability of the staff
  • Programs – involvement in a a favorite area of church life
  • People – the enjoyment of first-name social connection and acceptance

Theses four “P’s” are the provisions of God for your church that…

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#1 Stop Trying to Prove Yourself

There’s nothing wrong with wanting a promotion, but you don’t want to minister with an unsettled spirit that’s always trying to push hard and overdo it. The tone of your action can overshadow the action itself. A secure leader with with lots of responsibility wants to delegate to other secure leaders. They don’t want to give more authority to someone who needs a ministry title to fill a hole in their soul. Let your gospel identity strengthen you here, not your career objectives.

#2 Demonstrate the Ability to Think Globally

Good skills in specialized ministry areas are a dime-a-dozen. Global, holistic thinking is rare. Start making decisions that put the good of the entire church first, not just your ministry area. If you do that once or twice, it will really distinguish both your character as a leader and a competency set unique to the best leaders. It will be impossible to stop your promotion if you keep demonstrating this ability.

#3 Solve the Problems of your Senior Leader

You are paid to the solve the problems unique to your role. So go the extra…

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SailingThis post is the fifth and final in the Summer Dreamin series. I want to focus now on the tenacious chase of your dreams. How do your really “get-r-done,” when it comes to big life goals. How can you stay focused on the longer horizon but take small but real steps each day?

When I approached these questions, I found four immovable factors. In summary:

DREAMS + TIME  + MONEY + COURAGE = Your Life Goals Achieved

Let’s walk through this simple equation.

Essential #1: Focused Reflection to inspire

Since most people don’t have clear goals to begin with, the starting point for achievement is the ongoing journey of reflection. Not just a casual or soft kind of reflection that the word often connotes, but an intense, energetic, everything’s-at-stake kind of reflection. Figure out the ideal time, place, and tools that you need to uncover the patterns of what God is doing in your life. Where does he want you to go next? The greatest secret for this step,  is what I already discussed in the second post, writing your goals down in a place that you will revisit. Here is a…

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In this series we are advancing the  notion of  ”Bucket List Living;” that is, how do we experience a more meaningful life through goal setting.

As my blog is directed toward ministry leaders, I want to deal briefly with the potential push-back to the series: Is it selfish to dream big and set goals for self-fulfillment? At first blush, I would say, “it absolutely CAN be!” Anything we do — even then most “spiritual” things — may be driven by hidden motives that are self-driven rather than God-inspired. So a better question might be, “When does a bucket-list aspiration become an act of pure indulgence rather than an expression of glorifying God?

I recommend running your goals or bucket list items through a four-question filter. I think of these as ways to redeem your dreams. Quite frankly, these questions have exposed my own selfishness and helped me to redefine or redirect  my aspirations. Consider these questions:

Filter #1: How is the goal facilitating deeper intimacy or special bonding with people?

Relationships matter in God’s world. The simplest way to see build a bucket list for God’s purposes is to see them…

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Will's GraphA few days ago I posted some church leaders take-aways from the Kony 2012, Invisible Children video, 70 Million Views in 7 Days: A Vision Analysis. I also mentioned  the opportunity to see this video through The Six Elements. (Grab the free tool on the previous post.)  Here are just a few observations of how the video weaves through The Six.

And remember… Scheudule 45 minutes in your staff meeting in the next 2 weeks to watch the video and discuss this as a team (30 to watch it and 15 to discuss). Have each team member right down a few phrases for each of The Six Elements.

Common Denominator

  • The video opens with a child being born and a statement about how we all come into the world. The framework of a Father son relationship is leveraged for all the viewers.
  • Use of his own child’s ability to understand the story’s gravity brings stunning clarity and universality to the cause
  • Justice as a universal concept and basic human drive is established
  • The use of social media, great design and simple things like bracelets create a community identity and emotional…

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Empowering PeopleSomeone once asked “Are you going through life or are you growing through life?” I love that question. Right now I am going through significant transition in how I lead. I have never been more motivated by the maxim, “If you are doing what you did last year, you’re not growing.

One of the greatest growth challenges for any leader is the ability to empower and release others. While I constantly aspire to raise up others, I am consistently amazed at the conditions of my heart that hold me back. Specifically there are four internal barriers that I must consciously work through. Maybe one of these is stopping you right now.

Why do we stop empowering others?

#1 Empowerment increases the scope of unknown ministry outcomes.

As soon as you give some else the steering wheel, you don’t know which road they are going to take. How is your own need of control keeping you from a step of delegation? How can you develop your faith and take a calculated risk  with one of your leaders?

#2 Empowerment requires a sacrifice of short-term ministry efficiency.

Chances are, you are not only good at what you do, you are also fast!…

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