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6 Keys to Sustaining Growth

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Most churches experience growth at some point, but few churches sustain growth over the long haul. There are all kinds of reasons that churches get stuck, but few understand how to sustain growth. Fortunately there are some great resources and leaders out there that we can learn from.

In the book “On Leading Change” by the Drucker Institute William Steere, the former CEO of Pfizer, mentions these Six Keys to Sustaining Growth.

These 6 principles would be a great starting point for the leadership team at your church to have a conversation about change and sustaining growth!

1. Focus on What You Do Best

“To identify opportunities, you must identify your primary strength. Put energy into what is already bringing great results and shed the rest.”

2. Cast a Wide Net

“Seek out growth opportunities both inside and outside the organization. Promoting internal innovation is necessary but insufficient; external partners also are essential to bring better products to market, faster.”

3. Create Transparent Objectives

“Everyone needs clear performance targets, and those should be shared at the appropriate level. Senior executives should review their colleagues’ annual goals (and performance) twice a year.”

4. Listen to Divergent Points of View

“While believing strongly in their view of the business, leaders must encourage other perspectives and invite rigorous debate on key issues.”

5. Create a Culture of Trust

“To excel, people must have autonomy. Let others make their own decisions, unless they prove to be untrustworthy – in which case they must go.”

6. Go With Your Instincts

“Effective leaders have the confidence to challenge conventional wisdom. You must be willing to withstand criticism in order to move the organization forward.”

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Posted in Leadership

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Why Bringing Problems to a Leader is a Problem

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Leaders aren’t looking for problems. They’re looking for solutions. That’s one of things that make leaders…well, leaders. They find solutions, not problems. They lean into the future, not the past. Leaders naturally create chaos and tension in an organization they don’t resolve it. Because they know that every organization needs a certain amount of chaos or it stagnates and dies. And that’s why consistently bringing problems to a leader is a sure way to get your leader frustrated with you.

How to approach problems with your leader:

1. Seek Coaching: Seek out your leader early and often. Especially when you sense a problem is coming your way. If you are working with a good leader they’ll be happy to coach you…but don’t expect them to make the play for you.

2. Provide Solutions: If you are facing a problem that you feel like you need your leaders input on, then bring a couple of viable solutions with you.

3. Don’t Ask Them to Solve It: Don’t ask your leader to do your job for you. Your leader trusts you to execute the vision of the organization within the scope of influence you’ve been given or you wouldn’t be in the seat you’re in.

You know you have a problem with your team when:

1. Repetitive Problems: When you’ve got a staff member that has a problem that comes up over and over again, you’ve got a problem.

2. When you have to Point it Out: When your staff member is facing a problem, and they don’t recognize that they are facing a problem…especially if it’s a trend, you’ve got a problem with that team member.

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Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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Meet my New Leadership Coaching Network

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I’m really excited about my next Leadership Coaching Network that’s beginning in a couple of weeks! I wanted to take a minute to introduce you to these incredible leaders that I’ll be spending the next 6 months with, including links to their churches and social media so you can get to know them!

1. Brian LaMew, Campus Pastor at Sun Valley Community Church Tempe Campus located in Tempe, AZ

2. Brian McCoy, Pastor of Discipleship & Outreach at Foothills Baptist Church located in Phoenix, AZ

3. Danny Wells, Executive Pastor at The Vertical Church located in Yuma, AZ

4. Eric Allred, Campus Pastor at Sun Valley Community Church Gilbert Campus located in Gilbert, AZ

5. Matt Martin, Executive Pastor at Northrock Church located in San Antonio, TX

6. Ronnie Bunton, Student Pastor at Harvest Community Church located in Mesa, AZ

7. William Sullivan, Lead Pastor at Endurance Church of the Valley located in Tempe, AZ

Although this coaching network is closed, it’s not too early to apply for the next one. Here are the coaching network details including a link to the application.

In the mean time say hello to my new friends, check out their church websites, and connect with them on Social Media!

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Posted in Leadership

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Why Policies are Bad for your Church

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No, I don’t have a policy for that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked to share a Staff Handbook, the hiring process I’ve built and use, budgeting policies, board policies or a whole host of other policies someone is looking to implement at their church. Because the majority of my experience in church-world has been in the role of Executive Pastor most people automatically think, “policies and administration.” My real job is to bridge the gap between vision and reality…but that conversation is for another time. While some policies can be useful and helpful (by the way if they aren’t helpful you shouldn’t have them), I’m actually a minimalist when it comes to policies. And here’s a couple of reasons why…

1. Policies Have a Tendency to Shrink Thinking

Policies are rules that shrink the box of creativity, problem solving, and big ideas. Policies set the standard for how we do what we do every time we do it. And that’s fine if we’re on an assembly line making cars. You want consistency in that situation. But disciple making is not the same thing as making cars.

2. Policies are Anti-Leadership Statements

Leaders want to tell, not be told. Leaders want to build, not be confined. Leaders want to move, not be held back. Policies constantly tell people in the organization what they can’t do, and leaders are solution oriented not excuse or problem oriented. A church with a lot of policies will consistently find it difficult to attract and keep good leaders.

3. Policies Punish Everyone

Policies are designed to punish everyone in the organization everyday for something that someone might do someday.

Please don’t mishear me. I’m not saying all policies are bad. Just that I have a tendency to take a minimalist approach. Less is more when it comes to policies in a church. Only put a policy in place if it’s absolutely necessary. And there are only two reasons in my mind that it’s necessary:

#1 Legal Obligation

#2 It Helps you Make the Vision Real

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Posted in Leadership

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5 Articles that will Help Your Church Make Vision Real

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Thank you for making September a great month here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real! It’s great staying connected with you through social media and hearing about how helpful different articles have been. So, thank you for connecting with me through the content on this blog! You made these the top 5 Posts from this last month. If you missed out on any of them, here they are all in one place for your convenience!

1. How Much Should Your Church Pay Your Pastor?

The 2014 Large Church Salary Report conducted by Leadership Network in partnership with the Vanderbloemen Executive Search Firm has just been released to the public. The largest survey of its kind ever conducted, 727 churches of over 1,000 people in attendance from 42 states and Canada participated to provide more information and more specific information than ever before available. Follow this link to get your hands on a copy of the survey results! Here are a couple of facts that caught my eye along with the top 10 findings info-graphic below.

2. You’ve Got to be Stupid to take that Job!

Thinking about taking a new job? Think twice, because you’ve got to be stupid to take that job. And I mean it. There’s a special blend of arrogance and naivety needed to take a new job, especially in church-world.

3. Your First 90 Days

Some have said that your first 90 days in a new job are your most important 90 days in that job. After all in those first 90 days a new leader sets the tone for and posture from which they are going to lead. They begin to reveal how they will interact with other team members, how they make decisions, their communication style, and their ability to assess the landscape and implement change. During the first 90 days leaders are literally setting the tone and the underpinnings for the culture that they are going to build moving forward.

4. Church Shopping: Find What You’re Looking For

People church shop. Like it or not when people look for a church they typically go on a bit of a shopping spree to find what they’re looking for. Comparing and measuring teaching, worship style, facilities, kids ministry, general vibe…the list goes on and on. Week after week they walk on church properties with a mental scorecard looking for that special feeling that says, “You’re home.” So here’s how to find what you’re looking for when you’re church shopping.

5. Top 10 Reasons Churches get Stuck

For more than 18 years I’ve been working full-time in a local church setting. The last 13 of those have been in large mega-church and multi-site settings. I’ve had the unique opportunity to work with an incredible team of people at a the Unstuck Group a successful consulting firm specializing in helping churches get unstuck. Over this span of time I’ve seen churches get and stay stuck for all kinds of reasons but there are 10 catalysts for church stuckness that I see come up over and over again. Here they are in no particular order:


Posted in Leadership
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