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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

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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.


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10 Articles that will Help Your Church Make Vision Real

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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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7 Questions to Help your Church Determine the Location of your Next Multisite Campus

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The multisite movement isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, the last statistics I saw indicated that only 12 of the 100 of the largest churches in America are not multisite churches. What was once a band aid solution that growing churches used to create space for outgrowing their facilities has now turned into a mainstream method to deliver growth to new locations.

If you church is thinking about launching a new multisite location in the next 18 months I’d encourage you to seriously think and talk through the following 7 questions with your Sr. Leadership Team to help you determine the next right location.

#1 Do we already have people attending our church that live in that new location?

You plant new churches where you don’t have people attending your church but you start new campuses where you already have people attending your church. Launching strong means “going where you are.” I know it may sound counterintuitive but it works. Start by mapping out where your current attenders live and identify pockets of greater density as potential areas to begin new campuses.

#2 Are there people in that new location already engaged in our mission?

Beyond attendance and “brand recognition,” do you have people in that area who are “all in” with you? People who will transfer your culture to the next location and who can lead not just attend? A great place to start is to determine who lives in that area that is already in a small group, they’re financially contributing to the church, they’re on a volunteer team, or they’re leading other volunteers.

#3 Is the new location 20-30 minutes from our existing location?

This is still the sweet spot nationally on drive time between campuses. Obviously, there are variations between urban, suburban and rural communities. There are also emotional barriers at play with drive times. Mountains, lakes, rivers, rail road tracks, highways and the like can all be mental barriers in communities to people attending a new campus or driving to a location…and those just may be a reason to put a new campus on the other side of that barrier.

#4 Does the location reflect who we are trying to reach?

All churches idealistically want to reach all people, I understand that sentiment. But your church is naturally built by intention or neglect to reach a certain kind of person. Your style and approach to ministry is designed to work with certain people and not with others. Don’t fight it. It’s a biblical approach. It’s called contextualization and it’s what the Apostle Paul did in the early stages of the Church.

#5 Are there available facilities with the right parking and seating capacities that are also in the right location?

It still holds true. Location, location, location…just ask any realtor. Does the location you’re considering meet your seating, kids space, and parking needs? Are you going to buy land and build ground up? Is it a popular area that has a lot of drive by traffic? Is it an area that people drive to or drive from?

#6 Are there already churches with a similar mission and style in the new area we’re looking at?

Other churches aren’t the enemy. The enemy (Satan) is the enemy. We are not in competition with other churches. If there is another church like you in that area and the population density wouldn’t work for more churches like that, then move on to another location.

#7 Is the potential location experiencing growth or development?

Are new people moving to the area? Is the area growing and experiencing new development? New people get involved in new churches and take new steps. New is a huge potential for success. 

Need help with your multisite model or expansion? The Unstuck Group has a proven process to help you go multisite for the first time or develop your multisite model for future expansion! Follow this link to start a conversation!


Posted in Leadership
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