“Clarify the Win” – Group Leaders will Thank You

You’ve probably heard the expression, “If you don’t aim at something, you’ll hit anything.”  I wonder how many group leaders aren’t sure what they are aiming for each week?  Church staff who lead Sunday School/Bible study ministries  must “clarify the win” for group leaders so they will know what they are supposed to accomplish each week.  Only when the “win” is clarified can a group leader focus his or her energy and attention on accomplishing the “win.”  Consider the words of Andy Stanley in his book Seven Practices of Effective Ministry:

“The church should be more determined than any other organization to ‘clarify the win’ simply because the stakes are so much higher.  Eternity hangs in the balance.  Clarifying the win simply means communicating to your team what is really important, what really matters.  The best way to leverage the collective power of your team is to make sure that everyone knows what it means to “score.”

Nothing hinders morale more than when team members with separate agendas are pulling against one another.  If the win is unclear, you may force those in leadership roles to define winning in their own terms.  If you don’t define winning for your ministry leaders, they will define it for themselves.

It doesn’t take very long for leaders to take over a class, start a new program, begin an innovative ministry, and rally a crowd to follow them.  They may only be ten degrees off track, but given enough time they will miss the target by miles.  It’s not that they are intentionally being defiant or difficult, they’re just being leaders.

But countless leaders have innocently sabotaged their church by leading people in the wrong direction.  And the fault lies with an organization that has not been systematic about defining and clarifying what a win really is.

Misalignment usually happens gradually.  And if it goes unchecked, it can wreak havoc on an organization.  Like the wheels on a car pulling against each other, misalignment will ultimately ruin the tires and waste enormous amount of fuel.”

Several years ago I decided to “clarify the win” for my adult Sunday School teachers and we re-branded our Sunday School.  The name was changed to LIFE Groups and I created an acrostic for the word LIFE that detailed the four key “wins” every group was supposed to aim for.  My group leaders knew the four key tasks/”wins” expected of their classes:

Learn and apply God’s Word to life

Invite others to become Christ followers

Form authentic relationships

Express God’s love by serving others in the church and community

These four statements were a reminder of the four “wins” the church expected of every adult LIFE Group.  We changed the name of Sunday School, but not because we thought Sunday School was an outdated term. We changed the name because we wanted to “clarify the win” for our group leaders and group members.

If you’re a group leader at your church, do you know what is expected of you? If you’re a pastor or staff leader, how might you clarify the win for your group leaders?


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