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10 Articles that will Help Your Church Make Vision Real

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Thank you for starting the year off great and making January another great month here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real! It’s fun 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!

Overcoming Leadership Lids of Competency and Character 

If you lead long enough, eventually you’re going to hit a leadership lid. It happens when you reach your capacity in a particular area. But what you do next has the potential to make or break your leadership future. Ignore it, deny it, make excuses about it, or refuse to acknowledge and deal with it and you’ll undermine your impact. Face reality and you’ll create a window of opportunity to grow and break through your leadership lid.

8 Keys to Changing your Church in 2017

Most church leaders I’ve talked with want things to change for the better, they want this year to be better than last year, but they don’t want to do anything different. People always want to change their circumstances, but they never want to change their lives. But everything gets better when we get better. Families get better when fathers and mothers get better. Students get better when educators get better. Organizations get better when leaders get better. And churches get better when church leaders get better. But change is painful. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. It’s always easier and more comfortable to stay where you are than to change and move forward.

Why I Love Working at Sun Valley Community Church

When I was a freshman in High School I prayed a prayer, begging God to let me to be a part of helping thousands of people meet Him. It’s crazy to think that all of these years later God is answering those prayers. Every year at Sun Valley Community Church we share wins from the previous year of ministry and I thought I’d share them with you. I hope this is encouraging to you, inspires you, and prompts you to pray for the ministry of Sun Valley.

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 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.

How to get People to Follow You

Leadership can be a funny thing. It’s more than just influence. And while anyone can learn leadership principles the Bible teaches us that leadership is a spiritual gift. The easiest way to tell if you have the spiritual gift of leadership is to look and see if people are following you. But how do you get people to follow you?

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.

When to Add Another Worship Service at your Church

Many churches are stuck in attendance simply because they haven’t maximized their current facilities and campus. Thinking about adding another worship service at your church? Here are five strategic concepts to consider before you do.

6 Keys to Selecting your Next Multisite Location

This past weekend Sun Valley Community Church (the church I have the honor of serving at) just launched their 5th location with over 2,000 people attending one of the three services! It was a successful initial launch but now the hard work begins. If your church is thinking about embracing a multisite strategy here are a few things you should consider when selecting your next location.

[Webinar Replay} Leading Change: 3 Shifts for Health and Growing Churches in 2017

Monday I had some fun hanging out with my friends Tony Morgan, as well as Carey Nieuwhof, and Gabe Kolstad from The Unstuck Group‘s consultant team, for a webinar about one of my favorite topics: leading change. We specifically dug into three big church changes that more than 600 pastors told us were the most important onesthey wanted to lead in 2017.

Photo Credit: justin fain via Compfight cc


Posted in Creative Arts, Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing, Testimonial, Volunteers

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Top Posts of 2015 #6: “5 Reasons People Don’t Sing at your Church”

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I was really excited that this post came in at #6 because it was a guest post written by a friend of mine! Check it out!

I’ve been hearing a lot of concern about the fact that people are singing less and not engaging in the corporate time of worship at church. Most of the talk I hear seems to be finger pointing and critiquing the current culture of American churches rather than providing solutions that are within our control.

We all want people engaging in worship, but what is really in our control and how can we help people connect through the music? Here is a list of factors that contribute to how people respond and engage during worship in our churches.

1. Personal

Where are they at spiritually? Obviously if they don’t know Jesus they won’t be led to worship Him. But, on the other end of the spectrum, Jesus said that the person who has been forgiven much will love much. It’s all too common for a church person to forget how much grace they have received.

What circumstances are currently affecting their mental, emotional and physical health? There could be a crisis in their life. They may have just gotten in fight with their spouse or kids or friend. They may harbor bitterness toward the church or someone on stage.

 What is their church background? Some people grow up in churches where raising hands is forbidden. Others speak in tongues and jump wave flags.

 How do they prefer to connect with God? God has crafted us uniquely with different passions and personalities. Not everyone connects to Jesus by standing and singing songs. See “Sacred Pathways” by Gary Thomas.

2. Environmental

Does the space they are gathered in help or hinder? So many of us react to our surroundings and allow them to influence our emotions and thoughts. The lighting, size, temperature and smell of the room can all be a factor in whether or not someone chooses to engage, be distracted, overwhelmed, claustrophobic or even disgusted.

3. Relational

Do people feel welcomed and accepted? If I think the people around me are going to judge me based on how I respond in worship then my focus isn’t on God and I’ll play it safe.

Are others engaged? Nobody wants to be the only person with their hands up or singing at the top of their lungs. Most of us would rather fit in and do what everyone else is doing.

4. Musical

How well do they know the songs? If every song in the worship set is brand new then it’s likely the congregation won’t engage. If the average person attends church once or twice a month it’s likely they won’t know a lot of the music even if it isn’t new.

How much do they like the songs? Musical tastes vary. It’s subjective. Not every person that attends our church on a regular basis would choose to listen to the music we play on a weekend.

Is it excellent? This is about the musicianship, volume, mix, EQ, etc.

Do the lyrics make sense? If I have to consult with a theologian or English professor about the meaning of lyrics then I’m not singing. If the lyrics are too mushy or romanticized then most dudes won’t sing.

5. Visual

Are the worship leaders engaged? This is huge. Authenticity is as important as excellence. If the people on stage look like they’re not into what they’re doing then how do we encourage the people in the seats to engage?

Are there any distractions? Lights, moving graphics, people, lyrics being incorrect, camera angles, etc.

I don’t think this list is exhaustive. The point is this: there are many factors to whether or not someone will engage in the corporate worship music we sing at church on a weekend. Some of them we can control – the environment, the culture and the production. We are responsible as church leaders, not just the worship leaders, to create an environment where people can see Jesus and let their guard down; then we trust God to do what only He can do.


 

This is a guest post by Matt Thompson who serves as the Creative Arts Pastor at Fountain Springs Church. To keep up with Matt you can connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.


Posted in Creative Arts, Leadership

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10 Ways Your Church Can Leverage Periscope

Ever since my wife and I went to the U2 show in Phoenix a couple of weeks ago and saw Periscope used on screen during the concert I’ve been experimenting a little bit with this new social media tool. Surprisingly I’ve found that there are some great applications for the local church.

1. Put your Staff Culture on Display

Do a quick scope of a Staff Meeting, Strategy Session, Teaching Team meeting, or walk around the church office and interview various team members about why they love working at the church.

2. Celebrate Volunteerism

Everybody knows that what you celebrate gets repeated. So why not do a quick scope each week of the “Volunteer of the Week?” Show them live in action and do a quick interview about the ministry they volunteer with and what they love about volunteering at your church.

3. Offer a Sneak Peak into a Small Group

Sometimes joining a Small Group can be a big step, even intimidating. Do a quick scope of a group live in action in someone’s home. Take the intimidation factor away by allowing people to see what’s it’s like before they go.

4. Communicate with Leaders

You can do a private scope and include the leaders you want to in the conversation. This is way better than a group text (I hate group texting)! Bonus: it stays up & available for 24 hours for those who missed it!

5. Humanize your Church Staff

Interview your Church Staff about them and their story. Not about leadership, not about the church, but their story.

6. Preview the Weekend Worship Services

Show a bit of the weekend rehearsal so people know what to expect, what they’re inviting their friends to, and why they don’t want to miss out.

7. Devotion

The church I serve at does a daily written devotion on our church app. But a church could just as easily do a scope of a daily devotional thought that’s available for 24 hours for everyone to check out.

8. Introduce People to the Church Facility

Give people a quick tour of the campus so guests know what to expect before they come. Where should they park, where should they check in their kids, how do they navigate the facility for the first time?

9. Promotion

You can use a quick scope to promote what’s going on at the church that week. It’s a quick, easy, culturally relevant way for people to opt in to communication and not get spam in their email inbox.

10. Have Fun!

Show the crazy antics that happen backstage with the band during the service, or the office pranks that happen in the workplace, or just the fun stuff you do as a staff team together. If you don’t have fun together as a team…well…this can be an excuse to start having some fun together! People want to be a part of something that’s fun!

There are probably more applications for churches to use Periscope than this, but this is what came to mind. What else would you add to the list? Leave a comment!


Posted in Creative Arts, Leadership

6

5 Reasons People don’t Sing at your Church

Worshipmusic

I’ve been hearing a lot of concern about the fact that people are singing less and not engaging in the corporate time of worship at church. Most of the talk I hear seems to be finger pointing and critiquing the current culture of American churches rather than providing solutions that are within our control.

We all want people engaging in worship, but what is really in our control and how can we help people connect through the music? Here is a list of factors that contribute to how people respond and engage during worship in our churches.

1. Personal

Where are they at spiritually? Obviously if they don’t know Jesus they won’t be led to worship Him. But, on the other end of the spectrum, Jesus said that the person who has been forgiven much will love much. It’s all too common for a church person to forget how much grace they have received.

What circumstances are currently affecting their mental, emotional and physical health? There could be a crisis in their life. They may have just gotten in fight with their spouse or kids or friend. They may harbor bitterness toward the church or someone on stage.

 What is their church background? Some people grow up in churches where raising hands is forbidden. Others speak in tongues and jump wave flags.

 How do they prefer to connect with God? God has crafted us uniquely with different passions and personalities. Not everyone connects to Jesus by standing and singing songs. See “Sacred Pathways” by Gary Thomas.

2. Environmental

Does the space they are gathered in help or hinder? So many of us react to our surroundings and allow them to influence our emotions and thoughts. The lighting, size, temperature and smell of the room can all be a factor in whether or not someone chooses to engage, be distracted, overwhelmed, claustrophobic or even disgusted.

3. Relational

Do people feel welcomed and accepted? If I think the people around me are going to judge me based on how I respond in worship then my focus isn’t on God and I’ll play it safe.

Are others engaged? Nobody wants to be the only person with their hands up or singing at the top of their lungs. Most of us would rather fit in and do what everyone else is doing.

4. Musical

How well do they know the songs? If every song in the worship set is brand new then it’s likely the congregation won’t engage. If the average person attends church once or twice a month it’s likely they won’t know a lot of the music even if it isn’t new.

How much do they like the songs? Musical tastes vary. It’s subjective. Not every person that attends our church on a regular basis would choose to listen to the music we play on a weekend.

Is it excellent? This is about the musicianship, volume, mix, EQ, etc.

Do the lyrics make sense? If I have to consult with a theologian or English professor about the meaning of lyrics then I’m not singing. If the lyrics are too mushy or romanticized then most dudes won’t sing.

5. Visual

Are the worship leaders engaged? This is huge. Authenticity is as important as excellence. If the people on stage look like they’re not into what they’re doing then how do we encourage the people in the seats to engage?

Are there any distractions? Lights, moving graphics, people, lyrics being incorrect, camera angles, etc.

I don’t think this list is exhaustive. The point is this: there are many factors to whether or not someone will engage in the corporate worship music we sing at church on a weekend. Some of them we can control – the environment, the culture and the production. We are responsible as church leaders, not just the worship leaders, to create an environment where people can see Jesus and let their guard down; then we trust God to do what only He can do.

 


 

This is a guest post by Matt Thompson who serves as a Worship Leader at Sun Valley Community Church. To keep up with Matt you can connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.


Posted in Creative Arts, Leadership

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Church Shopping: Find What You’re Looking For

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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.

Worship Style

One of the first things people check out when they come to your church is the music. “Does it give me the goose bumps or make me want to cringe?” But we need to be asking less about the music style and more about what the music is moving people towards. Now I’m not saying that quality doesn’t matter, rather the direction the music moves people matters more. Is it moving people towards Jesus or liking your church? They’re not always the same thing.

Mission & Vision

Most people are looking for a church that cares about what they care about. In other words, will the church support their vision and what they’re passionate about pursuing in life? When church shopping check your vision at the door and see if you can buy into and support the vision of the church first.

Kids & Student Ministries

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard church shoppers make a decision on a church based on the kids or student ministries. Your kids are important and they should be considered in any decision like this. But how often do you allow your kids to lead and make major decisions for the family?

Teaching

Teaching is a big deal when it comes to church shopping. Did I like the pastor, did I like their presentation, their approach, are they likeable, and so on. Teaching isn’t just about entertainment. Albeit entertainment matters and so does likeability, it’s just a starting point though. The right question to ask: “Is the teaching helpful?” Does it help you move towards Jesus and following Him more closely? Or is it just entertaining?

Photo Credit: yuisotozaki via Compfight cc


Posted in Creative Arts, Leadership
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