THE ART OF ALIGNMENT
In the final post of this series, we are going to explore the issue of alignment. This attribute is very critical to the overall success of a disciple-maker or a local church in making disciples.
Most of the differences or divisions in a local church emerge from one of these four arenas.
“Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet? Amos 3:3 (ESV)
There are 4 key areas of alignment to equip the church for its purpose of making disciples of Jesus.
Relational Alignment means valuing relationships in the same priority as God does. God desires deeply that his creation be reconciled back to him and to be reconciled to each other. It means to be known as a lover of God and others, and to be willing to fight for relationship. Knowing that each person has a willingness to be known in a more intimate way.
How does your culture promote relating to each other? How do the people celebrate and care for each other? Most of these interpersonal interactions are non-verbal and understood from a collective frame of reference. A previously shared experience, or many generations of shared experiences. Sometimes as a leader it is hard to see the forest through the trees, especially if leadership has been together in one place a long time.
Relational alignment is getting the entire group aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the culture. Moving together towards the culture and being able to disciple each other and whoever might join in the future. Changing directions in this area are hard and feel very awkward at first, but small changes towards relational health can make a huge impact.
The time in meetings, the dollars being spent in the budget, the energy/focus inside the church building and outside the community… All three of these areas are very intentionally focused on keeping the purpose of the Church in the forefront.
If you’re a church that is dedicated to making disciples above all else, then your church should have the budget, staffing and calendar to support making disciples. We are not suggesting that you decide not to pay the heating bill because it doesn’t directly impact making disciples. We are suggesting that leadership take a careful assessment of individual administrative processes, making sure they align with making disciples.
From elders to staff to key volunteers to key influencers, all must understand what the church believes and can explain the church’s position and beliefs to whomever asks.
Getting people to align on their theology is crucial to growing as a disciple-making church. For the purpose of unity in the future, new people must fully understand the church’s stance on theological issues. The church needs to agree on what are issues it is willing to draw a line in the sand on. Also, it is just as important that the church members are clear on what issues are not worth fighting over.
Not being aligned on theology can easily strain relationships and hurt spiritual infants. It is up to church leadership to bring clarity to these topics to bring unity.
The vision, mission and process work together to accomplish the purpose of His Church – being a disciple-making church.
The statement that your church may have on the wall in the foyer is called many things. Some churches call it a mission statement, vision statement, unity statement, etc. Regardless of what you call it, it must be aligned with making disciples of Jesus. This is important in many ways. Ministry leaders and volunteers will make decisions and focus their collective energy towards that one statement.
How are you fighting for Alignment in your ministry?
What role does “Alignment” play in becoming a disciple-making church?