Movement Building
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A Ministry Funnel Illustrated

Distinguishing future leaders from the general mass of people challenges nearly every ministry starter. The quicker you can identify, empower, and entrust leadership tasks over to someone besides yourself the better (Tony Steward’s insightful post on releasing expired leaders is worth checking out).

Campus Crusade since it’s inception has done a tremendous job of developing and sending leaders. This ministry funnel encompasses the cumulative thoughts and experiences of many staff.

I’ve divided the funnel into five categories determined primarily by the degree to which they are aligned to the mission, vision, and values of your minsitry. Each of the five categories have a corresponding words that describes both the activity in which they seek to engage (gray) and they activity in which they need to perform in order to grow in alignment (yellow), as well as a rough percentage of the total ministry that the group represents.

I’ve also noted four “Friction Points” that happen at each level of increasing engagement. Click here to read my previous post on ministry friction points.

I’d love your comments, thoughts, questions, and suggestions for improvement, as I hope to do some cool things with this in the future (including a game/learning exercise that any ministry could use).


Click here to see the larger version of the funnel


  1. Paul Nunez says

    Brian, I really like the funnel and see it’s potential in helping leaders clarify where students are at and what the next steps are for them. Even as I’m thinking about, I’m thinking through do I have adequate and effective opportunities for emerging leaders to serve? Am I freeing up my leaders to multiply or are they weighed down by serving? How are my top leaders doing at empowering others? Wow, those are great questions for a leader of a movement to be asking themselves. Am I right on that? Is that how you intended it to be used?

    A few thoughts for improvement or at least some questions I feel i still need clarifying… when you say “gray” i assume you mean the gray font that’s written in the yellow background. That’s slightly confusing since the other option is the “yellow” that’s on the gray background. So for example you said “activity in which they seek to engage…’gray'” – did you mean gray background or gray font? I intuitively guessed you meant the font by your descriptions. The yellow font being what students need to engage in in order to grow.

    Also you measure or categorize leadership here by alignment to vision and values etc. The key issue being alignment. I might consider changing that since 1. this model assumes that core are 100% aligned, yet has an activity so they can grow in… alignment? 2. You have alignment on the leaders level (what does that mean exactly?- that leaders need to be engaging in aligning others or being aligned?) So the overall measure is alignment but it also appears in one of the subgroups. I think the leaders level is a good place for it, but not as the overarching measure 3. I would argue many leaders are 100% aligned but are not CORE material. So alignment is necessary but not sufficient for that top level.

    I don’t know what overall measurement you are going for, but intuitively I’d say you are showing the progression of leadership capacity within our movement… alignment being a critical step in getting to that CORE level.

    So i think the right column of “what they need to engage in to grow as leaders” is very helpful and I think a good picture of the progressions students need to take and the opportunities we need to give them.

    The column in the boxes is a little less clear. They are not really activities, or at least they are not worded that way. Maybe this would be a good adjustment – they attend, they participate, they comit, they align others (or are aligned themselves), they vision cast. But is that what you are even saying?

    Well the fact that I wrote all this shows that I’m really excited about the model (and leadership development in general which is why i follow your blog). Hope any of my thoughts help bring whatever clarity it can to it.

    • these are great thoughts and feeedback paul.

      my goal would be to get the funnel clear enough that most of it could be understood after looking at for a couple minutes.

      i’m literally going to use nearly all of your feedback for future posts on the funnel!

      a movement is “done” being “started” when it has an aligned critical mass of leaders AND emerging leaders. the descriptive words are really important to me because so often planned events do not take into account what’s needed to keep moving forward and developing and growing each category.

      also many ministry leaders place too high or too low expectations on people in each category–for example expecting the masses to “get it” or not demanding that core leadership people multiply their lives.

      thanks for taking the time to comment! it’s going to make this much better and helpful!

  2. Tim Casteel says

    Good stuff Brian – Thanks for consistently delivering good content. This Funnel has grown on me as you’ve explained it over the weeks.

    I plan on using it (with some slight adjustments) with our staff team during our back-to-school-planning. One of our critical path steps involves moving people from merely being involved to being aligned multipliers. And I think this funnel will be very helpful in helping our staff see what changes need to be made.

    I think the Funnel needs some work for its truths to be self-evident. A few points of confusion for me:
    – Are masses totally not involved? I’m a little unclear on the dividing line when the masses become laborers. Which leads to. . .
    – I don’t quite understand laborers (maybe b/c you haven’t done a explanatory post on it). I think the term laborers may be a little muddy in CCC circles (with it usually meaning 100% aligned Christ-centered laborers). I imagine you mean “marginally involved” or “attenders”
    – It might be helpful to put the “activity they need to perform” to progress to the next level in between the blocks (maybe inside a block arrow?).

    Maybe I’ll e-mail you and get a personal tutorial so I can become a licensed teacher!

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on ministry.

    • Tim this is great feedback for me. Your comments and observations are right on–it seems like some sort of complementary resource is needed. Would you agree?

      I wanted to keep the funnel as simple as possible but w so many different elements more clarification is needed.

      here’s some short answers to your questions. i do plan on updating the funnel based on yours and paul’s feedback.

      masses: the most practical but slightly ambiguous answer is “they have come or are coming to something regularly, but that’s it”–may sound ridiculous to non-campus ministers but i’m sure you know exactly the kind of students i’m talking about.

      if i was reporting the number of people involved in my ministry i would include the masses who regularly attend, but not the masses who infrequently attend.

      i was also concerned about adding a percentage to this group because the range varies so greatly from ministry to ministry–and i didn’t want people to assume a hard and fast number for this group.

      i like “attendance” vs “participation” to differentiate btw masses and laborers. there is a key moment of season of time when a student doesn’t just attend but participates–their actions in some way reflect and basic understanding of the whole.

      the phrase i use and some in my ccc circle uses is “hang their hat”–laborers have hung their hat in your ministry.

      REALLY like your suggestion about putting the activity in between. am literally going to make that change after i finish posting.

      thanks for taking the time to give feedback! will also serve up a post on laborers soon!

      • Tim Casteel says

        That makes sense re: “Masses”. I thought it was a bit confusing that it didn’t have a percentage by it.
        I’m sure you’re aware that Rick Warren has a somewhat similar model. He calls the lowest level Community and defines it as “Those living around your church who never, or occasionally, attend.”

        Would love to hear more about Friction point ideas (I liked the one you mentioned in a previous post and plan on implementing it with our core leaders) – specific ones for each level (not there is just one between each level, I’m sure there can/needs to be a whole variety). As far as design – if you’re going to put an “activity arrow” in between each level, wouldn’t the friction point be the catalyst for that activity? So would it make sense to put it at the base of the activity arrow? It may not be what you meant by friction points.

        I like what you’re doing here Brian with putting out an idea and getting feedback. It reflects what Matt McComas commented about in the Blogference in April (which I’m just now reading through – how did I miss that? I must be WAY out of the cool Cru blogging loop) –
        β€œI think believing that people will take your idea and make it better ought to be the standard perspective. This is the beauty of open-source software right? I think the same perspective is true with ministry ideas. Let’s make all of our ministry tools, strategies, ideas open-source.”

        • do you remember when rick warren spoke at csu? he had some sort of chart that was exactly like a ccc resource.

          anyways i really like that description. much clearer.

          the friction points are a great piece for movement builders:

          i think of them as dials on a dashboard to keep the movement balanced. top heavy movement w too many leaders become bureaucratic and the vision gets diluted.

          bottom heavy movements are more social than missional and fail to send and reproduce quality leaders.

          friction points can quickly correct these problems (1-2 years). so it’s less about developing leaders and more about aligning the movement.

          really like the activity arrow concept, and merging the friction points w the 5 activities–wondering if there is another symbol that illustrates the dial–i don’t know how to draw a dial πŸ˜‰ maybe time to get someone w more than a 4th graders knowledge of photoshop!

          also considering inverting the diagram so it actually looks like a funnel. let me know if you have any thoughts on that.

          your thoughts are really shaping this. love matt’s post in the blogference! hope you participate in the next one.

          • Tim Casteel says

            Dials doesn’t resonate with me as much as just friction points. Maybe I don’t use dials on dashboards enough πŸ™‚ Maybe I’m thinking of them differently than that. I like what you said re: dials adjusting the movement. But when I think of the funnel I think of individuals (singular vs. plural “movement). So I’m thinking of what would it take to move an individual along the funnel. And the friction point would cause him to be uncomfortable and promote change (since we don’t usually change unless it becomes too uncomfortable to stay the same). I guess friction applied to many individuals would result in eventual movement change. Not sure if any of that makes sense??

            Anyway, I just thinking of illustrating it with bumps (like rumble strips) or cracks or ?? An agitator that helps them take the step. Am I thinking of friction points correctly?

            I like inverting it to be a true funnel.

            In terms of the goal, I tend to think our goal is to have gospel-centered and missional students (or Christ-centered laborers to put it in traditional CCC terms). I want our students to thoroughly grasp the gospel and their desperate need for Jesus (Keller’s “You’re far worse off than you ever imagined, but far more loved than you ever dreamed”) and to devote their lives to multiplying themselves as Ambassadors for Christ (or Missional). Especially if you’re going to be using this with students (or even some staff) alignment to CCC (even if you’re not saying that, I think you’re saying CCC’s DNA, core values) may come across wrong. Maybe just flesh out alignment. I think it may come across better to students who, nowadays (dang postmoderns), are skeptical of authority and agendas.

            This may be similar to what Paul said above. But it’s not merely Leadership capacity. But who knows, the gospel-centered (the motive, driving force for all of this) may be unnecessarily cluttering an already complex diagram. But it would, again, help with it not coming across (to staff/students) as purely being a machine/business.

            I guess my hope is that this funnel would work in the short term to help think thru your current movement but also work as a grid to help think thru bringing students from Lost–>Christ-Centered. So Core would be an actual group during college (for us, our best junior/senior leaders) but also a state that we’d want all students to move toward –> being 100% committed followers of Christ (which means they are 1) Gospel-centered and 2) Missional)

            Hopefully those disjointed thoughts make sense.

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