6 Simple Steps to Help your Church become more Generous

The Quest for Change

Generosity is not something that Jesus wants from you. It’s something He wants for you. Generous churches and church leaders who understand the generous nature of the God that we serve help the people in their churches become more generous.

1. Never use Guilt as a Motivator

People feel bad enough about themselves; they don’t need churches to make it worse. Attach giving to celebration, joy and obedience.

2. Say it Over, and Over, and Over Again

Clear is always better than clever or cute. Churches that consistently teach and say the same thing about money do a better job with this.

3. Stay Away from a Prosperity Gospel

Giving is not a tactic to manipulate or get something from God but rather give something to God.

4. Identity

Connect generosity to your identity. For example, “We are a serving/giving community.” “We are a multiplying/outreach church.” “We are here because the generation before us gave.”

5. Simple Clear Method

Make it easy for people to participate through online giving, text giving, and reoccurring automatic withdrawal.

6. Celebrate Life-Change

Lead with the mission and put life-change on display. This reminds people that it’s all about people meeting Jesus and their lives changing…not money.

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Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation


9 Big Decisions that will Change your Church


Earlier this year I had the opportunity to sit down with a group of Executive Pastors who are serving in churches of 5,000+ and during the conversation I heard them talk about some of the best decisions they’ve made over the recent history of their churches that have made the greatest impact. I thought I’d share some of those thoughts here with you and give you the opportunity to learn from some incredible leaders that are in the trenches! Could it be that one of these decisions is the one that will make all the difference this year at your church?

1. Define our Staff Culture

Many churches have cultural values but haven’t taken the time to define what they’re looking for in a leadership or staff culture. While you can spend a lot of time and energy on this, a simple place to start is to simply make a list of your top 10 employees (regardless of role or seniority) and why they’re your top-10. That’s the culture you’re looking for. This is a great exercise to do as a Senior Leadership Team.

2. Bust up Ministry Silos

Many churches are more like a collection of different ministries operating under one roof competing for building space, staffing, volunteers, and budget resources than they are a singularly focused team aligned to take on a God-sized vision. Trying to cut through the ministry silos at your church? This blog series from my friend and teammate at the Unstuck Group, Tony Morgan, will help.

3. Participate in the “Best Christian Workplace” Survey

The Best Christian Workplaces Institute started with a question: “What makes an exceptional place to work?” Mentioned by Bill Hybles at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, this survey will help you diagnose and improve the organizational health of your church.

4. Hire someone to Focus on Stewardship

Hire someone to put full-time attention on finances. Not a CFO but rather someone to develop revenue. Put them in charge of developing and implementing a holistic generosity strategy at your church. Chances are they’ll pay for themselves in the first 6 months – or less.

5. Move to a Teaching Team Model

Instead of relying on just one communicator develop a teaching team. This doesn’t mean using the weekend service to develop a young communicator or experiment on your people. There are plenty of other venues in the church to do that. When done well this allows your church to hear multiple voices, personalities, and approaches to the scriptures. When working together properly they strengthen the weekly message and one guy doesn’t have to shoulder the grind of hitting a home run every week!

6. Lean into the Lead Pastor

The Lead Pastor sets the culture, plain and simple. So as a Sr. Leadership Team take the time to figure out what makes the Lead Pastor tick. What’s most important to them, what’s least important to them? What’s their approach and style? Lean into that and build on it organizationally.

7. Expand the Sr. Leadership Team

Centralizing everything through one person slows things down. While someone has to lead the Sr. Leadership Team, a team needs to be built because you can’t know everything or make every decision – or you become the lid. But then again staffing models are only as good as the people that are on the team, the personalities that are at the top, and the culture of the church. Healthy churches hold onto their organizational structure loosely – because they’re growing and they know it’s going to require flexibility.

8. Develop a Residency Program

Great churches develop leaders. Intentionally charting out a clear path to develop future leaders including a volunteer leadership pipeline, an internship program, or residency. One church built a 2 year residency for degreed pastors in training to get the practical experience they need to lead a church. Not only do they send out equipped pastors but they get the opportunity to hire people who understand their culture because they’ve been in it for 2 years!

9. Hire a Consulting Firm

Having the fresh perspective of outside professionals who know what it means to lead in the trenches of the local church and bring years of experience of working with forward moving churches to the table is one of the best decisions a Sr. Leadership Team can make. I’m not biased or anything but I know a great Consulting Group that I’d recommend. Check out the Unstuck Group!

What’s the best decision you’ve made at your church this last year that’s made the greatest impact? What decision do you need to make this year that will make the greatest impact in the future? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment!

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Posted in Leadership


4 Reasons Short-Term Mission Trips Still Work


In recent years many churches have been backing away from sending teams of volunteers on short-term international mission trips. Some argue that such initiatives are ineffective, a waste of resources, and even hurtful to the advancement of the Gospel.

I on the other hand believe short-term mission trips still work. God used a project I went on right after my freshman year of college with an organization called the Navigators to Singapore and Indonesia to completely change my view of what God is doing in the world. I’ve had the opportunity to lead hundreds of people on more than 10 international projects throughout the years and I’ve seen first hand how projects like this can change the world, the world of the participant and the field. Here are 4 reasons why I believe short-term mission trips still work.

1. Spiritual Maturity

I’ve never met a pastor who didn’t want the people in their church to grow spiritually. Short-term mission trips are an engine for spiritual growth. People grow spiritually when they put themselves in a position to grow spiritually. While we as pastors can’t make people grow spiritually, short-term mission trips create the right environment for spiritual growth to take place.

2. Leadership Development

I’ve never met a pastor who didn’t think they need more leaders in their church. Short-term mission trips are an engine for leadership development. Leaders learn to lead by leading not in a classroom. Short-term mission trips provide an environment for developing leaders to experiment with their leadership gifts.

3. Outsider Focus

I’ve never met a pastor who didn’t want to see people outside of the faith meet Jesus. Short-term mission trips are an engine for building an outsider focused culture in your church. When people participate in a short-term mission trip, begin to personally wrestle with the contextualization of the Gospel in a different culture, and see people meet Jesus on the field; they are compelled to see people meet Jesus in their own workplace, neighborhood, and city.

4. Advance the Mission of the Field

I’ve never met a pastor who didn’t think that people all over the world need to know Jesus. When great partnerships take place between local stateside churches and the field, short-term mission trips can create an infusion of momentum and be catalytic to advancing the strategies of what missionaries on the field are doing to reach people with the Gospel in their context.

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Posted in Spiritual Formation


6 Things Your Church Should Know about Core Values


Left to themselves organizations…including churches, drift. It can happen to the best of us if we’re not careful. As organizations and churches grow they naturally become more complex. There are more assets to allocate, more people to manage, decisions seem to have greater consequences than did when you were smaller and more nimble, and those decisions seem to just keep coming faster and faster. It is easy to become consumed with the business of running the church. But just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re taking ground.

Core Values are the guardrails of any organization or church that is taking ground. They are the core beliefs that drive how the people in the church interact with one another and the church as a whole behaves towards others outside of the church. They are the grid that filters our behavior to ensure that our activity is actually getting us where we believe God wants us to go.

So here are 6 things your church should know about core values.

1. Values aren’t real until they’re lived out in the church

There’s a big difference in most churches between what they say they value and how they behave. You can write anything you want to on a sheet of paper, you can train the staff and volunteers on it, you can distribute it on a slick promotional piece to the church body, you can even teach about it in the weekend services. But until it’s lived out it’s not a value, it’s an aspiration.

2. Keep the List of Values Short

If you value everything then you don’t value anything. There must be a few nonnegotiable hills that you’re willing to die on that drive the behaviors you’re looking to create. For a lot of reasons, I encourage churches to try to keep the list of values to be no more than 5.

3. Don’t Copy Values

Unless you want to be a clone, don’t copy values from other churches. Take the time to discover the unique personality of your church and what God has uniquely put in your heart as the leader. Copying values from other churches simply doesn’t work. You have to be you.

4. Hire and Fire (Staff & Volunteers) based on your Values

When team members or key volunteers demonstrate values that are contradictory to the values of the church either coach them up or lead them out. As you recruit volunteers and staff to join you allow your values to drive the recruitment. Because, you become who you recruit.

5. Articulate your Values

You’ve got to do the hard work of wrestling these ideas to the ground in such a fashion that they can be articulated in a clear, concise, and compelling manner. If your value statements can’t be sent out using twitter then they’re too long. If it doesn’t inspire or move people towards action it’s too dry.

6. Prayer and Doctrine aren’t Values

Prayer, evangelism, discipleship, outreach, core doctrines of the faith and the like aren’t values. They’re assumptions. If anything they’re permission to play values. Those basic values that allow you access to the room. I’ve listened as church leadership teams say they value outreach. Outreach doesn’t make a church unique, it’s the common behavior of any person or church that is following Jesus. Values are core and compact identity issues that make your church distinct from others.

 So what else would you add to the list? Leave a comment I’d love to hear your input!

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Posted in Leadership


10 Findings from New Research on Church Communications

Recently, The Unstuck Group released its latest research report: Say What?! Key Research on Church Communications. We paused to ask 186 churches about the ways in which they communicate. Here are the 10 most interesting findings from that research:

  1. Smaller churches (1-499 attendees) have significantly higher levels of social media engagement on all major platforms.
  2. Churches are most engaging on Facebook.
  3. Study resources are one of the least offered components online.
  4. More churches communicate their beliefs than their vision online.
  5. Smaller churches (1-499 attendees) engage more volunteers per capita in the area of communications.
  6. Larger churches (500+ attendees) keep communications more focused on church-wide programs than individual ministries.
  7. The average church bulletin includes 7 announcements. (In our experience, that is too many to be effective.)
  8. The average church service includes over 4 stage announcements. (In our experience, 1-2 is most effective.)
  9. Most churches do not have a style guide to communicate with consistency.
  10. Nearly half of churches with a style guide do not use it consistently.

This is definitely the short list of everything contained in this report on church communications. In it, you’ll discover key findings that could enhance the way you communicate in five critical areas. You will also find suggested action steps to get unstuck along with a Communications Scorecard to see how well you’re really doing.

Best of all, this report comes at no cost to you! We simply want to resource your team to get unstuck. So take a moment and download your copy of Say What?! Key Research on Church Communications from The Unstuck Group.

Posted in Creative Arts, Leadership
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