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A Sneaky way to Change the Culture of your Church Staff Team

missions

The church staff at Sun Valley Community Church (the church I have the pleasure of serving at) just did something really unique. It wasn’t complicated or particularly flashy and it didn’t make a big public impact on the church. In fact the church body doesn’t really even know about it. But I believe it will have a tremendous influence on the trajectory of the church.

Due to our unique location being in the southwest, we were able to pile up our church staff in a convoy of vans and drive across the border to Mexico to spend a day serving with one of our ministry partners.

Like I said…not particularly flashy…but how many churches do you know of who take the time and pay for all of their staff to do a 2-day mission trip to Mexico? It’s a simple thing that I believe can make a really big difference…and here’s a couple of reasons why:

#1 Speed of the Team, Speed of the Church

The church always, always, always takes on the culture of the church staff. If you want a church body that cares about reaching people with the Gospel but your church staff doesn’t model that you can forget about it. If you want a church that cares about the nations you need to have a staff that cares about the nations. I want to serve on a church staff team that cares about what Jesus cares about.

#2 Discipleship/Development doesn’t happen in a Classroom

The first time I went on an international mission trip my life changed. It changed the way I viewed people, the way I read God’s word, my friendship with Jesus and the way I viewed myself and call upon my life. I want to put the team I’m responsible for in environments where their life can be changed by Jesus!

#3 Time Together

Like your church staff, most of the time our church staff spends together is related to work. Rarely do we set aside a significant amount of time designed to move us towards one another relationally and spiritually. A shared experience like serving together can begin to change the relational dynamics on a team.


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing

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You Get What You Tolerate

not my job

I talk to church leaders all the time who dream about how they wish their church were different. But I rarely talk to church leaders who are willing to take action and do something with all of that wishing. Just like in parenting, any relationship or social construct, in church leadership you get what you tolerate. If you tolerate bad behavior, you’re going to get bad behavior.

Inaction is Equivalent to Action

By doing nothing you’re actually doing something. Everything person, church or organization is led by intent or neglect to be where it is and where it’s going.

Hope is not a Strategy

Hope is not a strategy. It doesn’t matter what you hope will work or what you wish would work. It only matters what actually will work. And nothing works until you do.

Take Personal Ownership

If you don’t like the way things are in your church today and you’ve been a part of the leadership team for more than 3 years (less than that and you can blame the prior administration) than most likely it’s because you’ve allowed it to be what it is. You’ve tolerated bad or sloppy behavior and it’s become institutionalized in the culture of the church. Take personal ownership of it, admit it, apologize to your team for it, and then stop tolerating it.


Posted in Leadership

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Navigating the Money Conversation at Church: A Practical Resource for Leaders

Most churches that create a strategic plan never quite figure out how to fund it.

I’ve seen it happen over and over: a leadership team creates a strong strategic plan and commits to working it. But, they get stuck when it comes to directing their resources to effectively fund the plan. Talking about finances with your leadership team is really tough. This is why many strategic plans end up only partially funded or shelved altogether.

You created your strategic plan because you care about your church’s future. But to implement it well, you have to have the hard conversations and wrestle with difficult questions like:

  • What ministries are a priority for growth?
  • What ministries should we bury?
  • Where are the best places to direct our funds?

It’s important to navigate this topic well with your team so that you can begin to align your budget with your strategy to fully fund your vision.


That’s why we’ve created a new eBook at The Unstuck Group called Funding Your Strategic Plan. It equips church leaders with the tools they need to:

  1. Critically assess their church’s budget and expenses.
  2. Develop a vision-minded budget around core growth engines.
  3. Change how you and your staff spend your money.

You’ll learn how to dissect the types of expenses in your plan, pinpoint missing links and hidden dollars, and identify wise and foolish budgeting. We’ll show you how to leverage your existing assets to generate extra income for your church and get started with a capital campaign. Plus, you’ll learn how to talk about money to your congregation–and inspire generosity in the process.

The future of your church is greatly influenced by how you direct your resources. Follow this link to get your copy and help lead your church to financial health.


Posted in Leadership

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What Separates Good Church Leaders from Great Church Leaders

lightbulb

Leadership can’t be taught in a classroom, it can’t be learned by ready books, it can’t be developed by sitting around drinking coffee (or whatever your favorite beverage of choice is) and pontificating about leadership ideas, and it certainly can’t be acquired by arm chair quarterbacking other leaders.

The Bible teaches us that leadership is actually a spiritual gift. A spiritual gift that isn’t given to everyone. But even among church leaders there is a difference between good ones and great ones.

Over the past 20+ years of full-time ministry and 5+ years of consulting with churches and coaching church leaders around the country there are a few characteristics that I’ve observed that separate good church leaders from great church leaders.

*Note: I’m working with the basic assumption that these church leaders demonstrate character and are personally following Jesus.  

Courage

Great church leaders have the courage to do the right thing even when it’s unpopular or difficult. They’re willing to make difficult decisions, or experience difficult outcomes for the sake of the mission.

Timing

Great church leaders understand sequencing and the art of timing. They’re playing chess not checkers. They understand when the timing is right to implement change and who to involve in that change.

Determination

Great church leaders don’t give up. They are determined to stick with things even when they don’t go well. They get back up when they fail (yes even great church leaders fail sometimes). They’re in it for the long haul and often times simply outlast their critics.

Inspiration

Great church leaders have the unique ability to persuade others to join them in the vision God has given them. They inspire people to take action and get personally involved.

Inner Circle

Great church leaders surround themselves with other great leaders. They don’t lead alone. They don’t lead alone because they’re chasing something that is bigger than one person can do alone. Not only does it take a team, but it takes a great team. Great church leaders attract great team members because they aren’t intimidated by other great leaders.


Posted in Leadership

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10 Articles that will Help Your Church Make Vision Real

viewfinder

Thank you for making August another great month here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real! It’s been great to stay connected with you through social media and hearing that these articles have been helpful. So, thank you for connecting with me through the content on this blog! You made these the top posts from this last month. If you missed out on any of them, here they are all in one place for your convenience!

10 Insider Focused Ministry Names

I’ve been blogging now for about 7 years, and over that time this continues to be the most popular post. It’s a list of real ministry names that I’ve personally seen churches use. Some are tremendously funny. But all of them reveal a deeper issue that is at play in most churches in America.

How Many People should your Church have on Staff?

It’s not uncommon in churches that I work with to hear them say, “We need to add more staff.” After all if there are problems or areas where the church is stuck then throwing staff at that problem will surely fix it…right? Well, not always. In fact the opposite may be true. In fact the most effective churches that I see have a tendency to hire fewer staff not more staff.

Why Churches Decline and Die

However, church decline can be avoided and even turned around. If your church is stuck or in decline I’d encourage you to start a conversation with the Unstuck Group. They have proven track record of helping churches get unstuck. Here are a couple big reasons, in no particular order, why churches decline and die.

3 Big Reasons Why Missions Pastors are an Endangered Species

More and more churches are dropping the role of mission pastors like hot potatoes.

Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit 2017

If you missed the 2017 Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, then you missed some great content, great speakers, and incredible ideas that have the potential to shift your thinking when it comes to leadership. But no worries! Now you’ve got all the notes to every session right here at your fingertips for free! Hope you enjoy!

8 Reasons Why People Don’t Volunteer at your Church

I’ve never worked with a church that has said they don’t need more volunteers. But I’ve worked with a bunch of churches that have trouble getting people to volunteer and stay engaged volunteering.

The Difference between Credibility and Ability

There’s a big difference between ability and credibility. I’ve had conversations with many young leaders who think they should get a shot at an opportunity or they deserve be promoted because of their ability. But what many young leaders fail to understand is that real leadership is recognized not appointed.

The Difference between Preparation and Planning

Do great organizations prepare for the future or do they plan for it? The answer is, “yes.” To be clear preparation and planning are not the same thing, and great organizations become great by doing both.

When to Invest in a Young Leader and when to Ignore them

Experienced leaders are always going to have more opportunities available to say yes to than capacity to meet them. This is true in leadership and this is true in developing young talent. You have to make a choice. So, choose wisely. How do you know who to invest in and who to ignore?

7 Lessons from a Sr. Pastor Succession that Worked

In 2014, I had a front row seat to the handoff of senior leadership of a multi-mega church from one Lead Pastor to another. Serving on the Executive Team at that time I had the privilege of having a behind the scenes view to the whole thing, start to finish. This post details some of the learnings from that experience


Posted in Leadership
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