Today’s post is about speed wobbles.

Yes, you read that correctly: speed wobbles.

a quick oscillation of primarily just the steerable wheel of a vehicle. Initially, the rest of the vehicle remains mostly unaffected, until translated into a vehicle yaw oscillation of increasing amplitude producing loss of control. 

Nothing worse than vehicle yaw oscillation of increasing amplitude! Am I right?

Alright, so the whole post isn’t about speed wobbles, but rather, how you can get a handle on things when your organization/church/team begins to shake the wheel.

One of the issues that we experience on the leadership side of the Church can be effectively described as a speed wobble – one or more uneven points of influence in the system that runs the life of the Body of Christ, throwing it out of whack. The structure moves, but an uneven, heavily weighted point causes it to wobble, lose traction and as a result, we experience what can feel like a loss of control.

There are dozens of reasons for this, but because this is the 5Q blog, we are going to focus in on its 5Q applications. When we feel the wobble, in the 5Q sense, it’s because one or two of the APEST gifts are too dominant, which weights ministry in a particularly unbalanced direction. If you were to chart it, it would look something like this:

 

The good news is that awareness provides an opportunity for growth and growth is the key to better alignment on your leadership team. Knowing where you are heavy, the Teacher in the example above, helps you focus on where you can activate other gifts to bring your team back into alignment.

One of the issues that we experience on the leadership side of the Church can effectively be described as a speed wobble - one or more uneven points of influence in the system that throws the Body of Christ out of whack. Click To Tweet

Recently, we found this tweet from one of our favorite contributors:

The Ecclessia leadership team has taken the new 5Q Diagnostic Test. They have been working on 5Q awareness and application across their team. It is exciting to see their work paying off. If you look at the small blue polygon on the left you can see that with a slight nudge of Prophet, they are close to nearly “wobble-less”.

So, how can we diagnose where the imbalance is in our organization? How can we see where re-alignment needs to happen? How can we see where we have really growing in our awareness and application of 5Q?

Awareness provides an opportunity for growth that is the key to better alignment on your team. Knowing where you are imbalanced helps you focus on where you can activate other gifts. Click To Tweet

The answer begins with a tool like the 5Q Diagnostic Test.

To understand fully the significance of a powerful diagnostic tool, consider the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI allows the medical practitioner to get a 3D cross section image of an internal organ without the need for invasive surgery. Once a clearer picture is attained, then strategic and tactical decisions can be made. Such decisions are not based simply on hunches, as valuable as these are.

An organizational diagnostic similarly enables us to identify critical weaknesses sometimes invisible to external observation. But it can also show health and strength as well.

As a church improves in its APEST functionality, as it moves from level one through to a level five in each function, it covers more area in the diagram. This is a way of visualizing increasing maturity.

 

Take a minute and do a blink test:

  • Identify in your own mind where you are weak in terms of the fivefold purposes/functions of the church.
  • Now identify where you think you are strong.
  • Now ask yourself: In terms of broad strategy, what needs to be done?

If you are weak in evangelism, for example, you need to develop the evangelistic function, using tools and resources that suit the culture of your organization. It will almost definitely mean that you will have to improve the collective understanding of what evangelism is and why it is a non-­negotiable function of the church. It will also likely mean a budget adjustment to suit. The church will need to find ways to contact non- believers, get its “branding” act together, and work on the overall communication of its message. Ironically, it will also mean that you will need to engage those with evangelistic gifts to get the necessary buy-in to the idea that everyone should be engaging with evangelism. There will likely be a whole host of other leadership decisions needed to get the evangelistic function up to scratch.

Now imagine being able to do a full and accurate 5Q Systems Assessment on the church that you are a part of or lead. I am also (along with many others) developing further resources for coaching and development around the 5Q system (details given toward the “end of this book). Likewise, if a church planting movement is diagnosed as weak in the shepherding gift, then the long-term sustainability of that organization is surely in doubt. It might expand quickly, but because of weak bonds of human association, it will not likely last very long. Movements live off the commitments and sacrifices of the people that make them up. People who are recognized and loved in a movement that genuinely cares for them and champions their contribution will almost certainly give their lives for that movement. Take this human bonding aspect out of the equation, and immediately its sustainability will be called into question. Therefore, a system weak in the shepherding function must seek to remedy this deficiency.

One can even do a similar 5Q assessment on whole denominations and agencies. It would seem to me that Baptists, given their high commitment to Scripture, preaching, and evangelism will score higher in T, E, and with S coming in a likely third. But this only underscores a lack of functionality on the A and P. Pentecostal-Charismatic denominations will tend to highlight the prophetic, evangelistic, and shepherding functions but are likely more dysfunctional in relation to the teaching and apostolic functions.

High Church and mainline traditions will likely emphasize the stability of the shepherding and teaching functions with a supplementary commitment to the lateral prophetic, but will likely have delegitimized the apostolic, evangelistic, and vertical prophetic, and so on. The reader is invited to think about his or her tradition with this fivefold analysis in view. What are its strengths? What are its weaknesses? And what is the result of being biased toward one area and weak in others? How does this play itself out in the history of your tribe?

Having done an APEST diagnostic and gained a clearer map of the distribution, concentration, and relative weaknesses of the purposes, leaders can go on to make choices and develop strategies to enhance them. Click To Tweet

Having done an APEST diagnostic and gained a clearer map of the distribution, concentration, and relative weaknesses of the purposes, leaders can go on to make choices and develop strategies to enhance them. Remember the mixing desk analogy. In a system, diagnosis and strategy are related to each other. And leadership should always remember at least two things here: First, focusing on developing one part does not mean that we should diminish the other purposes. Health is found in all five together. Second, the church has the answer already coded into it. Jesus really has already given us everything we need to operate in the fivefold categories. You don’t have to search far to find the answer; it’s right there hiding in plain sight.

It’s called the Body of Christ.


You don’t have to live with the wobbles. Partner with 5QCollective and let us help bring some needed alignment. The 5Q Diagnostic Test is available to you and your team right now!

Purpose: This test allows leaders to assess the level of understanding and practice at any given point in time. The instrument determines the level of clarity and activity within an organization and not just in individuals.  In other words, it’s a look under the hood of the Body of Christ.

Who does it?: As it is a 360-degree test (many respondents involved), we suggest that, depending on the size of the church/organization,  that about 5-10 people are nominated to take the test on behalf of the team.

Let us know how we can help your team get back…and stay on track! 

 

 

Chris Harrison
Chris is a husband of one, father of three, musician, creative, storyteller, futurist and Editor-At-Large of the 5Q blog. After more than twenty years in youth, worship and lead ministries in Los Angeles and Phoenix, he and his wife, Rebecca, are planting a new multi-ethnic faith community in Houston, TX. You can catch his other APEST related posts and assorted musings at his new blog, fivefoldbible.com.

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