In his book, Church Unique, Will Mancini pushes pastors to engage in the hard work of finding the unique contribution that their church can make to the world. More than strategy, this is a matter of finding, affirming, and leveraging the unique way that God has created our churches for the good of the gospel and the world. Mancini is delightfully unoriginal with his insistence that our churches are to glorify God and make disciples. The key question is: how is your church called to glorify God and make disciples?
Mancini argues that many churches are stuck because they are simply not working to uncover and focus on their uniqueness. Unoriginal vision is hindering the mission, frustrating staff and leaders, and leaving people without any real sense of purpose. Throughout the book, Mancini is clear that discerning vision is hard work—and clarifying the vision for clear communication is even more difficult. Time, energy, and hard conversations are a part of the process; putting in this work on the front end is crucial to finding out who God has made a church to be and how a specific church can make the biggest dent for the kingdom.
To aid leaders in clarifying vision, Mancini argues that leaders must find their Kingdom Concept, which is found in the overlap between:
- The needs of the surrounding community.
- The potential of the unique abilities and resources of the church community.
- The particular focus that excites and launches leadership to action.
Once a church has their Kingdom Concept, the next step is creating a Vision Frame that answers the following questions:
- What are we doing?
- Why are we doing it?
- How are we doing it?
- When are we successful?
- Where is God taking us?
Once the Vision Frame is in place, Mancini encourages leaders to integrate vision over time relationally, strategically with hard and soft decisions, and with consistent pruning.
Church Unique is a helpful tool for leaders of churches, regardless of size, stage, or strategy, because Mancini’s desire is to help churches steward their gifts well, to the benefit of the kingdom. There is a real beauty to Mancini’s approach that should be exciting to those looking to advance the mission of God. I have already started recommending this book to pastors, church planters, and other ministry leaders.