Bill Hybels at the 2011 Leadership Summit gave a great opening talk about 5 questions that each leader needs to ask and answer. One of the questions he asked was, “Are you naming, facing, and resolving the problems that exit in your church or organization?” The way Willow Creek had and was answering this particular question was through the use of “The Life Cycle Diagram?”
Every ministry, program, or initiative has a life cycle. It starts, and if it’s good, it will accelerate, becoming more effective in the organization. Sometimes it starts rocking, becoming one of the strongest parts of your organization, but nothing rocks forever. It might crest and then start decelerating, and if you don’t do something, it could start tanking.
Make a list of every ministry, program, or initiative that your church has then map them out on this Life Cycle Diagram.
Here is a potential list of ministries:
- Weekend Services
- Preschool Ministries
- Children’s Ministry
- Youth Ministry
- First Impression Team
- Small Group Ministry
- Bridge Events Team
- Prayer Team
- Recreational Ministry
The leadership team of the church would then seek to honestly plot out each ministry on the Life Cycle Diagram. For example, First Impression Team may be “Booming!” Why is it booming? What can cause it to slow down? And a whole host of other questions could be asked.
Part of your job as a leader is to look problems straight in the eye, and to call them what they are, and to not be intimidated by them. It doesn’t matter how big they are. Put them on a life cycle curve and ask yourself if you’re going to ride them down until the whole thing dies, or if you’re going to arrest tired ideas and try to get them on a new curve.
As a disciple-maker you could use this with the people you are discipling! As a team leader you could this diagram to evaluate the various aspects in your department or ministry.
What other ways can you think of to use this tool?