VISION & A review by missional coach Jim H. of “Church Unique” by Will Mancini.

Review of Church Unique (Will Mancini) by Jim H. 2018 Missional Coach candidate, 4/2/18.

Over the last month, I not only read this book, I studied it.  My Life Coach recommended the book last summer and when I had the chance to read it for “credit” I took it.  Since I’m moving closer to working with churches in need of revitalizing I’ve been looking for philosophical positions and practices on the best way to reverse churches.  Although this book is not really a philosophical book, it does begin with the idea that every church has a unique role or character that makes it different from every other congregation.  

The book has four sections of which I will identify bullet points that made an impression.  The sections are:

  1. Recasting Vision
  2. Clarifying Vision
  3. Articulating Vision
  4. Advancing Vision

Recasting Vision:  The idea behind this section is to redeem the visioning process for churches.  We made it too much into a “canned” process.  Leadership can restrict vision which is the lifeline to any church.  

  • Every church is a unique, but they’re not valuing their uniqueness.  Discovering their uniqueness can be hard work and humbling.  They may have to be realistic of their uniqueness, but they need to be comfortable in their own skin.
  • Church culture is defined by a list of qualities from its people.  The uniqueness of a church is equal to its culture.  This is not defined by a church service as much as the interacting thoughts, actions, attitudes and beliefs.  The sociological impact of a church is greatly underestimated.
  • Strategic Planning can kill a church!  Things I learned:
    • Too much information can kill vision!
    • Silos in the church are killing the team atmosphere.  Finding ways to break down the competitive nature within ministries and people is critical.
    • Leadership blinders greatly hampers a churches capacity!  My big take away on this is focusing on preparation and not planning.  Also, leaders and churches can be arthritic or adaptive.  
  • Space often times defines a church and its vision which should be combated.  Four walls don’t define us, so learning to resource those four walls to serve vision is important.

Clarifying Vision:  Once we discover that unique vision, how do we communicate it and keep people attune to it.  

It will take too long to go through all these clarifying characteristics, but it does seem to match other discovery techniques.  

  • Clarifying vision is about looking to the past as much as the future.
  • Clarifying vision requires careful consideration of strengths and limitations.
  • Clarifying vision is as much about identity as it is methodology.
  • Clarifying vision is always about what God is already doing.
  • Clarity makes leadership credible

Articulating Vision:  

  • Vision Frame:  The way Will Mancini broke this portion of the book down was helpful.  I will be studying this further to possibly integrate it into my own processes.  It does help to “frame” vision since it can be all encompassing. 
  • Mountain Top + Milestones:  this was also a helpful concept to process.  It is understandable that people need to see the big picture, but to create successes along the way to keep people motivated and moral up.

Advancing Vision:  Once the vision has been clarified and articulated, the messiest part is advancing it.  Life happens and people get distracted.  

  • My job as a leader is to constantly align, attune, and integrate the vision into the minds and hearts, actions and passions, and roles and organization charts of the Church Unique.
  • This is the part that scares me the most.  My strengths lie in the previous parts and not as much in this area.  I know I need to develop these skills.  God may put me in this role again to do just that.