In Part 2 of their conversation on strategic leadership, Ted Vaughn helps Mingo identify some of the breakdowns in strategic leadership around the Dinner Service ministry at Torrey Pines Church and offers advice on bringing clarity and purpose to all ministry.
When it comes to launching new ministries, Ted Vaughn has years of experience in helping church leaders, and therefore he can offer a few key pieces of advice for anyone in a leadership role.
First, plan a pilot of your new service for a few months. “I am fine with failure and piloting. I think there’s something actually really helpful about piloting something,” Ted says. A pilot period gives you the chance to evaluate how well something is working, where it might not be working, what needs tweaking, and whether or not the ministry should continue.
After the pilot, it’s time to review and reevaluate. “What have we learned? Do we do a new pilot? Do we keep this going?” It’s essential that you find clarity around the purpose of the ministry. Who is the audience, and what does success look like based on that? “Whatever the answer is to ultimate intention, now content is shaped to serve that,” Ted says. “At some point you have to have a deeper metric for why you do stuff.”
Mingo and Ted dive into the example of the Dinner Service at Torrey Pines Church. Mingo originally intended the service to reach young adults, but it ended up pulling in a broad audience of all ages. While having families at the service has been great, it wasn’t what the leadership team was expecting. Ted points out that this is because the marketing around the service was never directed towards young adults specifically. This is where piloting the service and then reevaluating after 3 or 4 months would’ve been helpful.
But don’t feel that you need to have a service perfectly planned out before launching it, Ted cautions. “I don’t think you have to have your perfect, refined act together before you launch. That’s a nightmare for any church… You’ll never launch anything, and that’s frankly why most churches don’t do anything progressive, because they don’t have time.” Just get your Minimum Viable Product out there, pilot it for a few months, and then regroup and reevaluate.
As the conversation draws to a close, Ted and Mingo discuss the unique challenges faced by the new generation of senior pastors. “You’re wrestling with different problems than the generation of senior pastors before you,” Ted notes. “How do we collaborate better? How do we invite people in? How do we stay on mission for those that don’t know the Gospel? You’re wanting to change the game, and you’re doing it with an existing church that isn’t quite sure what the new game is.” What is the new game for churches? Ted believes it means “being more on mission, leading from the periphery and not trying to align with mainstream culture, because we’re not.”
Doing this within a church that has history can be a challenging task for new senior pastors, but if you’re in this position right now, Mingo hopes that this conversation has encouraged you. Even if you’re not currently in a position of senior leadership, Mingo says, “You’re not exempt from needing to think clearly about leadership. I would argue the more you think about leadership, the better every kid that comes through your ministry is going to experience Jesus and all the things you’re trying to convey over time.”
If you’re seeking more insight and want to delve deeper into conversation with Ted about strategic leadership and finding clarity, you can get in touch with Ted at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out his new vodcast (launching in March) on Strategic Leadership.