I’ve been asked a number of times before, “How did the Clarity Model get started?” So, here’s the backstory – the origins of the Clarity Model.
The model really had its genesis back in the early to mid 90’s when Alice and I set aside business for a time and I took over as Executive Director of Beacon Bible Camp.
Leadership and Management
It was a pretty intense time of leadership as you can imagine. Beacon was a small but vibrant organization and we were the only full-time couple who were there. We felt the weight of taking over leadership from the founders.
We had a very small but dedicated handful of volunteer helpers who came in at least once a week to help us clean and maintain the property. But the rest of the work, and there was a lot of it, was done through a volunteer group of about 40 Session Directors, assistants and leaders and a mailing list of about 360 volunteers who led and worked at camp as they were able across the years.
By God’s grace the work was growing and we led in a very successful period of camp history. Waiting lists were long, families wanted to be there, young men and women were engaged and sold out on Beacon. Ideas were flowing and good things were happening.
Ah Yes, the To-Do List
We’re so thankful for that good success. It was clearly the hand of God. As might be expected of any leader, I continually asked myself, “How can I be the best leader possible in the overall and day-to-day leadership and management of this ministry.” Plateauing wasn’t an option. Growth is intentional.
But I had long to do-list, often felt swamped and flirted with overload. There were really important things that needed to happen and I was the one who needed to initiate them.
I really needed to prioritize my work – those things that were important for advancing ministry and those things that were needful for the day-to-day managing of all that needed to get done while working with the many volunteers so they could do what God called them to do.
A tipping point of sorts arrived when I took the time to count over 300 items on my to-do list.
I began asking the Lord, “How do you sort things out? You are a God of order.” I was praying and understood that God wasn’t the author of confusion.
So how did He work?
The Way God Works
At that time, I happened to be doing some studying in Romans. In particular Romans chapter six caught my attention. In Romans six I noticed a progression or pattern that turned out to be the genesis of the Clarity Model. I was so intrigued with this scripture “discovery” that thinking about it almost took up some part of every day.
The beginning of Romans chapter 6 says, “Don’t you know?” There’s something to be known. “Don’t you know that you died with Christ? Don’t you know that you were raised with Christ?” Quite simply, and this is where the term “CLARITY” first struck me, there is something to KNOW. Ah ha … so God pays attention to us getting CLARITY.
Then the chapter goes on to say, “Even so CONSIDER yourselves ..” In other words to take what you now know and make it your own. It’s an accounting term. Own it. Put it in your account. Consider yourself to be this. Consider this to be yours. This is where the term OWNERSHIP came from in the model. Ah ha … so God pays attention to ensuring OWNERSHIP.
Then the chapter points out that a new relationship with God through Jesus really moves us from being subject to a human-centered mindset to OBEYING God and having a renewed mind set on Him. With Christ, God gives us a new STRUCTURE to work within. His structure is a structure of grace – getting what we don’t deserve. Where once we were in a structure bound by self-effort and endeavoring to to do things entirely with the focus on self and man’s opinions, polls and prevailing mindsets, God took our focus from our-self to him-self through our Lord Jesus Christ. Ah ha … so God pays attention to getting the right STRUCTURE.
And when begin to focus on on Him, of course things begin to happen. RESULTS begin to come in. Results let you know how well things are going. A whole string of results creates MOMENTUM toward those things that really matter. Ah ha … so God pays attention to keeping MOMENTUM.
At the end of that Chapter 6 in Romans you see references to results and benefits. God cares about what’s happening and where your efforts and response to Him is taking you. He cares about OUTCOMES, either at the end of this life or at the end of an assignment that he gives (“As the Lord has assigned to each his task.”) Ah ha … so God pays attention to what OUTCOMES are important and achieved.
5 Areas I Could Use in Everyday Life, Work and Leadership
This period of study showed me that God worked in five areas I could easily describe. Clarity, Ownership, Structure, Momentum and Outcomes were a simple description of how God works. And therefore, if I paid attention to these five areas (I could count them on one hand – simple) I could be a better manager of those affairs assigned to me.
That really is the genesis of it as I sought to be a better leader and a better day-to-day manager. I wanted how I did my work and the leadership I provided to be reflective of how God works. And really, in Romans six, I found those five areas in which, so far as I could discern, God was very clearly working.
Then, with further study, my eyes really got opened. I began to see this same pattern all through scripture. These five elements showed up again and again from Genesis to Revelation.
Even then, I never said it was the only pattern but certainly it was “a” pattern that helped me very quickly distill all of the things that were available for me to work on and say, “Well, this, this one activity, is key to work on.”
I could take any long list, any important business or leadership decision and see where it fit in the scheme of these five areas and figure more easily what needed to happen next that would make the biggest difference moving forward.
One Thing is Needful
I kind of went on that principle the Lord Jesus told Martha, “One thing is needful.” There’s one thing that is important to focus on at this given time. That’s what I sought to do.
This model helped me put whatever was happening in context. It showed where I need to focus my attention – on taking ownership, on commitment, on my attitude – whatever word I might’ve used there – or in providing clarity for the volunteers who work at camp. The model just helped me distill my thoughts, gain focus and know what to do next.
I began writing these things down a little later on. Particularly once I finished at Beacon Bible camp I began putting the model on paper and formalizing it.
I’d come up with illustrations of Clarity and I might say, “No, that’s not the word. This word works better” or, “This more clearly illustrates what I see.” I would put those things in illustrations, of which I have some 400 of them now. Some of the word adjustments were just fine nuances of terms which really just helped me translate what I saw into everyday everyday language and practicality for myself and those I worked with.
Used for Professional Coaching and Consulting
I developed this binder of of illustrations and of course once I began coaching then I began reflecting and doing even more work on the model.
I correctly reasoned that the Clarity Model was reflective of the way God works, reflective of the fact that He’s a God of order and has created orderly ways for us to conduct our affairs in this world.
And … if using this God given pattern was pivotal to my providing forward moving leadership and management, it would be of great and practical help to other individuals and organizations as well.
I began using the Clarity Model for clients and experiencing good results, for which I give the glory to God. I never swamped them with all the details I had learned. The model served more as an “operating system” for me, a behind-the-scenes, totally adaptable operating system that could help me help my client zero in on where they needed to pay attention and take action to get the best results.
Ultimately it’s God’s pattern. I just sought to be reflective of the way in which He works.
I hope this gives you a little bit of an understanding of where The Clarity Model came from, what drove it and how I began to use it on a daily basis in the work and leadership that I was tasked with providing.
It continues to be a tool, a methodology, an operating system, my Swiss Army knife of planning, troubleshooting and decision-making that I use every day.
I hope one day I can pass it along to you.
P.S. If you’d like to watch me explain this on YouTube, click here.