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10 Articles that will Help Your Church Make Vision Real

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Thank you for making August one of the best months ever here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real! It’s great staying 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

The language we choose to use is important because it both reflects and builds culture at the same time. And one of the most obvious ways to tell if a church is insider focused or outsider focused is the language that they choose to use. It either says that the church is “inclusive” or “exclusive.”

10 Signs your Church is Headed for Decline

What if there were early warning signs (flashing lights on the dashboard) that helped indicate that trouble was ahead? In my experience Coaching Church Leaders and Consulting with Churches across the country I’ve seen the following 10 indicators of an impending decline over and over again.

4 Steps to Building a Strong Organizational Culture

Vision Arizona is a church planting network located in Arizona that boasts a 90% success rate. At a recent network gathering Chad Moore who serves as the Lead Pastor at Sun Valley Community Church, the church I have the pleasure of serving at, shared some background on a church that merged with Sun Valley to become a Sun Valley campus. During the talk he shared some clear steps that pastors can take to intentionally build a great culture in their churches. Here are some of my notes and thoughts from the talk.

Leadership Summit 2015: Bill Hybels

If you missed the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit this year, no worries I’ve got you covered. I’ll be posting my notes and thoughts from each presenter next week. Until then, Willow Creek Community Church Founder and Senior Pastor Bill Hybels opened the Summit addressing The 5 Intangibles of Leadership.  The following are leadership quotes and lessons from this incredible session.

8 Reasons Why People don’t Volunteer at your Church

Plainly put, volunteering is discipleship. Understanding that, here are 8 reasons people aren’t volunteering in your church…and subsequently aren’t growing in their relationship with God.

Risking Crazy

I recently had the opportunity to connect with Jason Taylor, Lead Pastor of The Vertical Church in Yuma, AZ and talk about his new book Risking Crazy. The following are highlights from the conversation. You can follow this link to get your hands on your own copy of his new book. In a world where following Jesus increasing looks crazy, Jason’s personal story of planting Vertical Church in Yuma, AZ challenges readers that following Jesus is still the best way to live life.

Why People don’t Volunteer at Church Anymore

I’ve never worked with a church that said they had enough volunteers to accomplish the vision that Jesus has given them. In fact here are some of the most common reasons why people may not be volunteering at your church:

Why Your Church Should Play More Freshmen

I recently heard Charlie Strong, the Head Coach of the Texas, Longhorns and former longtime Defensive Coordinator of the Florida, Gators say to the veteran players on the team that when it comes to position battles the tie is going to go to the freshmen. In other words, if a veteran (Sr. player and incumbent starter) is tied with a freshman when it comes to talent and performance the Freshman is going to play not the Sr. Sound harsh? There are 4 Key Lessons that the church can learn from Coach Strong when it comes to recruiting and developing young leaders. And the future of the church may depend on it.

How Many People Should Your Church Have on Staff?

Before you buy into the idea that you need another staff person at your church, think again. That just may be the worst decision you make at your church this year. 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. They hire more competent team members who have the ability to turn attenders into volunteers, volunteers into leaders, and build teams. Instead of paying people to do ministry they pay people to lead others to do ministry.

5 Reasons Why Your Church Event is Leading People Nowhere

How do we get from here, to there? From where we are, to where we want to be? And how do we get people to go with us? The best process is always a one step process. As a result of that compact truth, companies and churches have been intent on pursuing the elegance of simplicity. Unfortunately what many well-meaning leaders have designed to be clear steps and bridges to move people and the organizations they lead towards a preferred destination have become roadblocks to movement and growth. Here are 5 reasons why your bridge event is leading people nowhere:

Photo Credit: justin fain via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership

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New Leadership Coaching Networks: Time is Running Out!

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Time is running out for you to get in on the Leadership Coaching Networks that are getting ready to begin at the Unstuck Group! We’re always excited about the start of new coaching networks, but this year, we’re more excited than ever!

NEW OPTION – Reaching 2,000 & Beyond (Atlanta, GA)

Develop strategies to tackle the unique challenges of larger churches, including leadership development, staffing, communications, discipleship and establishing healthy growth engines. (Reaching 2,000 & Beyond in Dallas filled up fast, so we’ve added a second location. There are already only four spots left.)

Reaching 1,000 (Irvine, CA)

Move from reaching hundreds to reaching 1,000 in attendance by clarifying what’s working and what’s wrong, defining an action plan for next steps, and establishing a staffing and ministry structure that supports growth and health.

Multisite Leadership (Colorado Springs, CO)

Learn from leaders who have served in some of the largest multisite churches in the country about developing a strategy and structure for growing the impact of one church in multiple locations.

Small Groups That Work (Nashville, TN)

Move from theory to practical next steps to help your church establish a thriving small groups ministry that provides a path for both healthy community and spiritual formation.

Next Level Staffing (Houston, TX)

Build your team through staffing strategies including hiring and firing, establishing a senior leadership team, structuring for growth, leadership development, managing performance and eliminating team dysfunction.

With each of these new coaching networks, you get a nine-month experience that includes three in-person gatherings and video conferences in the months when we don’t gather in person. Each will help you discover the shifts that need to happen in your leadership and your ministry strategies and systems. We hope you’ll join us!

Learn More & Apply Here!

In our coaching networks, you can expect a relational experience built around simple and practical systems and tools to help you take your next steps as a leader. We take a look at best practices in growing, healthy churches, and we press into tough conversations to help you get unstuck in your leadership and ministry impact.

If you’re considering joining us here are some things to keep in mind…

This is not an opportunity for someone who is looking for inspiration: These coaching networks involves work. You can’t just show up. You will have to commit to nine months of reading and engaging exercises with the ministry team at your church.

This experience isn’t for people looking for leadership theory: Yes, you’ll learn some leadership skills, but this experience is designed for you to put those skills into action. Every month you will leave with new tools to implement in your ministry environment.

This is not a conference experience: In a conference, you can sit and soak in the teaching without engaging anyone else. In this coaching experience, you will be encouraged and challenged by other leaders who will be counting on you to participate fully.


Posted in Leadership

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Risking Crazy

I recently had the opportunity to connect with Jason Taylor, Lead Pastor of The Vertical Church in Yuma, AZ and talk about his new book Risking Crazy. The following are highlights from the conversation. You can follow this link to get your hands on your own copy of his new book.

In a world where following Jesus increasing looks crazy, Jason’s personal story of planting Verticle Church in Yuma, AZ challenges readers that following Jesus is still the best way to live life.

Paul: Where did the idea for your new book “Risking Crazy” come from?
Jason: Ever since a young age, I felt a deep desire to be a part of something bigger than myself.  Acts 17:6 where the Bible speaks of the early disciples having a reputation of “turning the world upside down” really resonated with me from an early age.  I know that I have not risked as much as those early disciples or even what believers around the world are risking everyday; however, I began to think what would it look like if every Christian took the words of Jesus to “deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him” seriously.  From that thinking came the term “Risking Crazy”. Everyone risks at different levels for Jesus; however, for all the idea of doing what Jesus is asking you can sometimes seem crazy.
Paul: You talk about calculated risk in your book. Some may ready that and respond by saying that, “calculated risk isn’t risk at all.” What are your thoughts on that?
Jason: The calculation part comes into play knowing that God has already calculated the cost and outcome of the risk He is asking you to take.  It is not that you calculate yourself and know the outcome, but that you are trusting in God who has already planned your life in advance for His glory.  Proverbs 3:5-6 tell us that if we “Trust in the Lord”, “lean not on our own understanding”, and  “in all our ways acknowledge Him” that He will “make our paths straight.” I truly believe that this is a promise that God has already calculated the risk for us and we can trust in His calculation for the outcome.  Knowing and believing this can help you take the “calculated” risk that God has planned for you.
Paul: How do you view the connection between faith and risk?
Jason: They are deeply connected. Godly faith leads you to take the risks that He asks of you.  You can risk in your own strength all day long.  But, if Godly faith is not involved, you are not risking for Jesus. There is a self glory that takes over.  Some people just love the feel of adrenaline.  What I am talking about is different.  It is trusting in Jesus for the outcome while doing something you never dreamed possible.  People might want to ask themselves “Is what I am risking so big that unless God does it I am doomed to failure?” If you can do it in your own strength you do not need faith in a big God to do the big thing through you.  So faith and risk are deeply connected if you are doing it for the glory of Jesus.
Paul: In the book you tell the story of the start of Vertical Church, the church you’ve planted. What did you learn about your own ability to “risk crazy” during that time?
Jason: Church planting is hard.  We parachuted into a place neither my wife nor I had connections in and from day one had to learn to step out of our comfort on a minute by minute, day by day basis.  The book Risking Crazy speaks about much of that experience.  I learned that God wants us to surrender, but at the end of the day, the outcome is not ultimately up to me.  To truly make a dent in a city for the glory of Jesus, the Holy Spirit has to be your senior partner on a daily basis.  Learning to commune with the Spirit and listen to His voice and then obey that voice was the risk for me.  It seemed like once we conquered one risky hurdle, the Spirit of God was asking us to jump another.  Thankfully, He has and still gives us the power to jump those risky hurdles.
Paul: What do you hope readers walk away with as they read “Risking Crazy?”
Jason: After reading Risking Crazy, my dream is that readers will look at the world around them differently.  That God has placed each of them in their corner of the world for one reason: to take risks that bring glory to the name of Jesus.  I am praying that people will read this book and walk away saying “yes” to the call to plant churches, feed the homeless, care for the sick, reach out to a neighbor, and impact their pocket of the world.  Last, I believe if the readers take the words of Jesus to “deny self and follow Him” seriously, together we can “turn the world upside down”.

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation

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Why your Church should Play more Freshmen

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Some of you know that I have what some may say is a bit of an unhealthy obsession with College Football (really hoping the Gators can begin to turn things around this year). Right now teams around the country are practicing and preparing for the start of the season, and Coaches are watching the players on the practice field and identifying who their starters are going to be.

In light of that I recently heard Charlie Strong, the Head Coach of the Texas, Longhorns and former longtime Defensive Coordinator of the Florida, Gators say to the veteran players on the team that when it comes to position battles the tie is going to go to the freshmen. In other words, if a veteran (Sr. player and incumbent starter) is tied with a freshman when it comes to talent and performance the Freshman is going to play not the Sr.

Sound harsh? I think there’s a lot that the church can learn from Coach Strong when it comes to recruiting and developing young leaders. And the future of the church may depend on it.

1. Talent Development

Talent isn’t developed in the locker-room; it’s developed on the practice field. You don’t learn leadership is a classroom, you learn it through leading. Young leaders need to develop into experienced leaders, and the only way that is going to happen is if you take a risk and play them and coach them.

2. They ask “Why?”

Everyone knows that young talent isn’t experienced or seasoned talent. They’re not going to bring a wealth of experience and ideas to the table. But what they are going to bring is a new way of thinking. They don’t know why you do things the way you do things and so they’re going to challenge the way you do things and make you think differently about the way you do things (try saying that 5 times fast). When you begin to answer their challenges and talk through the way you do things, it’s going to naturally provide you the opportunity to improve upon how you do things.

3. Freshmen are the Future

This may sound harsh, but it’s true. Freshmen are about the future and what’s going to happen. Sr.’s are about the past and what already happened. Now we all know that great teams have both freshmen and Sr.’s but when there’s a tie do you defer to the incumbent player or the new player? Maybe it’s time to start deferring to the freshmen?

4. Recruiting new Talent

Your church, like a lot of churches, may be struggling with attracting and keeping young leaders. Here’s a simple solution (not an easy solution). New recruits want to go where they’re going to get the chance to get on the field and play early. If you show that you’re not afraid to allow young leaders to lead then guess what? You’ll attract more young leaders!


Posted in Leadership

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4 Steps to Building a Strong Organizational Culture

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Vision Arizona is a church planting network located in Arizona that boasts a 90% success rate. At a recent network gathering Chad Moore who serves as the Lead Pastor at Sun Valley Community Church, the church I have the pleasure of serving at, shared some background on a church that merged with Sun Valley to become a Sun Valley campus. During the talk he shared some clear steps that pastors can take to intentionally build a great culture in their churches. Here are some of my notes and thoughts from the talk.

  • “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” Peter Drucker
  • A merger is very different than a multisite.
  • A multisite is when you take a couple hundred of your people and your culture and go 20 minutes away or so and start a new campus. A merger is like adopting a rebellious teenager or a rebellious grandparent.
  • In a culture of decline you’re not playing offense you’re playing defense. The value is to survive.
  • Transitioning culture requires loving first, leading second, but always doing both.
  • Culture is transferred or changed through people.
  • People, not strategy, change culture.
  • Mergers require humility on both sides (on the side of the lead church & the follow church).
  • Your church already has a culture.
  • Culture is more on the art side of leadership.
  • Two big questions to help you to begin to identify your culture:
    • What in your church (staff), when you see it, it energizes and excites you?
    • What in your church (staff), when you see it, it makes you cringe?
  • The world is not the enemy they’re the goal.
  • It takes about 3-5 years for the church/staff to become who you are.
  • If you’ve been at your church 3 years or more and there’s things about it you don’t like…look in the mirror on that one.

How to Build Culture:

#1 Preach: Inspiration & motivation. This is all about language. Use the same language over and over and over again.
#2 Teach: Application. How do I do it?
#3 Model: Illustration. Testimonies, personal life…”join me”
#4 Celebrate: Celebration. Have everybody clap for it. What you celebrate gets repeated.


Posted in Leadership
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