The Importance of Alignment
This past month I was reminded again of the importance of alignment. Eastside was in the process of calling a new staff member. Our final candidate was awesome. He was brilliant. He had experience. He had the personality fit for the position. As the interview process unfolded several red flags emerged that reminded me of the importance of alignment.
The candidate’s theology aligned perfectly with the non-negotiable beliefs of our church. I had clarified this alignment issue during our very first conversation. However, what I failed to do was to clarify alignment in three other critical areas: philosophically, relationally, and organizationally. Unfortunately I didn’t do my homework on the front end, therefore, I didn’t discover these misalignments until the candidate was in-town for an “official” visit. During his official visit to Eastside, these misalignments manifested themselves over and over. For example, I am a very poor manager but a great leader. Since I don’t have an executive pastor, the mantle of management falls on me. Since I am a poor manager, I have developed systems to help me. One of these systems is to have my lead staff team members place their daily activities on a shared Google calendar. Each leader can plug in their daily meetings, agendas, and other items and I don’t have to wonder where they are. I place all my activities, meetings, and appointments on the calendar as well so that my staff will know where I am. This provides accountability and builds trust.
Another example is that Eastside is very team oriented. Our lead staff team develops the strategy for each semester and coordinates all the events and goals for each semester. In both cases our potential new staff member could not see the value in either of these situations (there are many other examples that he didn’t see the value in either). Why? Because he was not in alignment with us in these other three arenas. Maybe I did a poor job of communicating our need for alignment in these other three arenas, I don’t know.
Here are a few of my learning’s as we move forward with our search:
- We need to ask more clarifying questions about alignment on the front end in all four arenas: theologically, philosophically, relationally, and organizationally.
- Allow the potential new staff member to spend more time with our lead team members on his official visit to Eastside.
- Have the potential new staff member attend our weekly lead team meeting.
- Develop a summary of what each of the areas of alignment looks like.
- Stress our culture at Eastside of team versus silo ministries.
- Administer Thinking WaveLength Assessment early in the process.
Why is unity and alignment important? If we’re not aligned as a church, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish God’s plan and purpose – to make disciples who can make disciples.
In addition it was Jesus’ prayer for His Bride. Jesus prayed, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:20-23 (NIV)