0

5 Characteristics of Churches that Change

Change1

Over the past 7 years working with the Unstuck Group I’ve consulted with all kinds of churches. Small churches, large churches, single site churches and multisite churches, churches that are denominationally entrenched and non-denominational churches, urban churches, rural churches and yes suburban churches.

Many of those churches have gone on to get unstuck and produce all kinds of great fruit, seeing many people meet Jesus and experiencing a reinvigorated season of ministry.

Unfortunately, not every church gets unstuck, but for those that do there are some common characteristics that I’ve observed.

Personal Ownership

Churches that change and get unstuck take personal ownership. They don’t blame previous leaders, they don’t blame the economy, they don’t blame what’s happening in their community, they don’t blame the people attending the church, and they don’t even blame the devil. Churches that change get to the point where they stop making excuses for not growing and reaching new people for Jesus. These churches don’t play the role of a victim. These church leaders intuitively know that you can’t change what you can’t control…and they know you can’t control much…but you can control your attitude, your effort, and your approach. These churches are willing to change all three of those things.

Justice Oriented

Somewhere along the line the leaders of churches that experience real genuine change acquire a holy discontent with the status quo. They begin to see that staying where they are and doing things the way they’ve been doing them would actually be wrong. Maybe even sinful. A sense of justice rises up in them prompting them forward to a new future with a different approach that produces different results.

Courage

Churches that actually change understand that change is going to be difficult. They know that it’s going to be painful. They know that not everyone is going to go with them on this new journey to reach people far from Jesus. They often times even admit that it’s going to be a bit scary. They simply have the courage to do it anyway.

Action Oriented

Often times these churches have gotten stuck because they’ve been risk adverse or more oriented towards keeping people they already have happy as opposed to doing new things to reach new people. Every church that I’ve seen change and get unstuck has adopted a new approach that has required them to take new action.

Strong Point Leadership

Something that I consistently see in churches that get unstuck and change is that they’re led by strong Sr. Pastors. Now don’t hear what I’m not saying. They’re not all led by dynamic communicators or incredibly gifted leaders. But they are led by Sr. Pastors who are strong and are willing to leverage whatever gifts God has given them to move the ball forward. Often times that simply means that they’ve accumulated relational trust over a long period of time and they’re willing to cash that trust in to move the church forward. Instead of riding off quietly into the sunset they’re willing to go out with their guns blazing so to speak.


Posted in Leadership

0

How Healthy Is Your Church? Take a Look at the Latest Benchmarks

Church Trends from the Q1 2019 edition of The Unstuck Church Report

More than eighty percent of churches are currently sitting on the downward slope of the typical church life cycle.

That feels staggering to me. And truthfully, it can be discouraging looking at data like this.

At The Unstuck Group, we measure church growth by life change. I’m glad if people are visiting your church, but if few of those are experiencing and meeting Jesus, something’s missing.

I feel a responsibility to equip leaders with the resources to lead more people to Christ. And gosh, if I can be part of more life change, that’s something I definitely want to do. But my hope is you’ll take advantage of these resources to bring change and lead more people to Jesus.

We recently launched the Q1 2019 edition of The Unstuck Church Report. It’s a 6-page PDF that highlights 20 updated metrics in key areas of church health. And this quarter, we included a new section that specifically shows significant changes over the past year.

We release an updated report each quarter with new insights and highlighting new trends. If you want in, you can sign up below (we’ll deliver it to your inbox for free :-))

In ministry, I’ve learned that perspective goes a long way. I talk about it a lot, because I’ve seen stuckness linger because leaders lack perspective. Looking at something from a different angle with more insight can bring powerful awareness. This report is a good place to start.
If you’re interested in checking out the data, download it here.


Posted in Leadership

3

Avoiding My Multisite Mitakes

multiple

For the past seven years I’ve been serving as an Executive Pastor in a large multisite church in the Phoenix metro area…before that it was a single site megachurch in the Phoenix metro area…but adopting a multisite strategy changed everything. If you’d have asked me back in High School when I was called into ministry if I ever wanted to be an Executive Pastor at a Mega-Multisite church I probably would have replied, “What’s an Executive Pastor and what does Multisite mean?”

Recently I’ve been hearing stories of churches that went multisite somewhere along the way as a strategy to reach more people and deliver growth to a new community that are now releasing those campuses to be their own independent churches, shutting campuses down, or abandoning their multisite approach altogether.

I’m a firm believer in multisite as a strong and successful strategy to deliver growth into new communities for the right churches. I believe in it so strongly because I’ve seen so many people get to meet, know and follow Jesus that otherwise would not have been reached. But not every church is ready to go multisite.

The statistic still holds true that only 15% of multisite churches ever get past 3 campuses. It doesn’t have to be that way for you and your church. Here’s a few mistakes that I’ve made along the way that I hope you can learn from.

The Campus Pastor

Unfortunately, every time we’ve hired a Campus Pastor from the outside it hasn’t worked, every time. However, every time we’ve promoted someone from the inside, even if they’d only been on the team for a year, it’s been a win. One of the worst mistakes I made was hiring in a Campus Pastor from the outside and putting him on a campus that was the furthest away with the least visibility to coaching and the Central Team. He wasn’t a bad guy by any stretch of the imagination, we just didn’t put him in a situation to succeed.

Location, Location, Location!

We’ve started one campus in a set up and tear down situation. It met in the biggest, newest high school in the community. The room they met in had a pitched floor, theatre seating and a great stage. It was nicer than most churches! The problem was it was in the wrong location, it was buried in a neighborhood. As soon as we relocated that campus to their own facility on a major road with the right volume of drive by traffic, parking and accessibility it grew by nearly 50%.

Give Rope Don’t Take It

Multisite provides the opportunity to come up with all kinds of new solutions. Those new solutions 9 times out of 10 don’t come from central team that serves all of the campuses, they come from the campuses, because they’re the ones closest to the people. The trouble is when every campus is coming up with their own solutions it can make for not only complexity but straight up conflict between campuses and the central team. I’m all for innovation, but we’ve learned that there’s no innovation without first communication…and we’ve learned it’s much easier to give a little rope along the way and margin to contextualize and innovate than have to corral the horses and take that rope back once it’s already out there.

It Cost More Than You Think

Going multisite forced us to change our entire financial approach. We had church planted for years, and honestly church planting was a pretty low financial investment compared to starting a new campus. When you plant a church, you may send out a leader or two, you may send some families to go with them, you financially invest in it for a season and you may provide coaching for a while. But then once it’s birthed it’s pretty much on its own. When you launch a multisite campus you’re on the financial hook for the whole thing. If finances get tight you have to figure it out. You can count on multisite costing more than you think.

Need some help with the multisite journey at your church? The Unstuck Group has a unique process designed specifically for multisite churches. Follow this link to learn more!


Posted in Leadership

4

2 Fatal Church Leadership Mistakes

mistake

When it comes to leading a church, there a lot of things that can go wrong that are outside of a pastor’s control. However, the other side of that coin is also true. There are a lot of wrong things that pastors do that are well within their control.

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination. There are all kinds of things I’ve seen church leaders do to sabotage themselves. But the following two mistakes are so common and so easy to solve that I couldn’t help identifying them.

Choosing Availability over Competency

Churches are notorious for choosing the available person over taking the time to search for or develop a competent person. Just because someone shows up doesn’t mean they’ll show out. I’ve seen churches choose staff too many times based on convenience. They’ll elevate a volunteer to a staff role because they’re a faithful volunteer and great at doing ministry or delivering tasks on time. I hope you don’t mishear me, I am all for developing internal talent, in fact about 75% of the staff who work at Sun Valley (the church I have the privilege of serving at) have been developed and hired internally. Unfortunately, just because someone can deliver tasks on time doesn’t mean they can build a team and lead others to do the tasks of ministry. It’s one thing to lead by doing, it’s a completely other thing to be able to delegate tasks to others or empower them to make decisions. Churches are also guilty of over promoting young talent too quickly because they see “something special” in them instead of developing that young talent. Promoting and developing aren’t the same thing. While it’s certainly more convenient to choose someone who’s already around and available it doesn’t always prove to be the right move.

Being a Discourager instead of an Encourager

When a good team member does something wrong, nine times out of ten they already know it. Every once in a while, (that 1 time in 10) you may need to point it out. You may need to check in with them to make sure you’re both seeing the same thing the same way, but good team members don’t need over coaching. They don’t need someone to be harsh with them or pick and point out every little thing they did wrong. They need encouragement. They need someone to believe in them and help lift their attitude, because when you lift someone’s attitude you lift their performance. You can’t play a good game with a bad attitude. Here’s the thing, even a mediocre performing team member doesn’t get any better when you rub their nose in a mistake they made. Taking an over critical or harsh approach discourages people, lowers their performance, and it demotivates. Do that long enough and all you’ll have left on your team are low performers. As a leader your words carry incredible power and weight. Use them to build people up and move them in the right direction.

If you’re a church leader and you struggle with either of these two pitfalls the first step you need to take is be honest with yourself, then be honest with your team and apologize to them. Own it. Then change your approach. It’s within your power to change. You can do this!


Posted in Leadership

0

Why Holiness isn’t what most Churches think it is

bible

At Sun Valley, the church I have the honor of serving at, once a month we gather our team together from all of our campuses. We spend time worshiping together, we share wins with each other, we communicate some stuff that we everyone needs to know, we share a meal together and we do some leadership training with everyone. From time to time I share some of those thought here with you when they may be helpful. This month Chad Moore, who serves as the Lead Pastor at Sun Valley kicked off the new year with our team with a talk that may challenge you to think differently about holiness and following Jesus.

Big Question: How do you know when you’re growing in holiness?

  • What does Jesus mean when He says, “By holy as I am holy?”
  • Technically the word holy means “set apart,” but what does that practically and daily mean for us?
  • For most of us growing up in church, holiness was more about what we don’t do…it was behavior oriented. If that’s accurate then holiness is all about following the rules.
  • But Jesus says holiness = loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and loving your neighbor as yourself…functionally speaking holiness is relational in nature.

Big Answer: You know you’re growing in holiness when you’re growing in relationship with God and people.

  • Everything that God wants to do in our lives this year is relational.
  • If you can’t be holy you have nothing else left but to be weird by trying to follow a bunch of rules.
  • Jesus said that the world will know us by our love for one another = by the quality of our relationships.
  • Ask most people in church about holy living and they’ll go to a list of what they have done and haven’t done this past week.
  • So many churches leave the relational component out of following Jesus when relationships are the beginning and end of what holiness actually is.
  • The reason the Church is irritating to so many people around the world isn’t because we don’t have the truth or good theology but because we don’t have love. This is why the bible describes love in terms and phrases like, “if I have everything right and together and don’t have love I’m still irritating to everyone around me,”…even if I’m right.
  • Holiness is relational.
  • You cannot be following Jesus in a real way and be a jerk.
  • Relational health is spiritual health.
  • The reason heaven is heaven is because relationships are perfect there.
  • Holiness is relational…that is the Christian life.
  • The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your relationships.

Posted in Leadership
Page 1 of 19612345»102030...Last »