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[Repost] Leadership Lessons I Learned from my Mom


Back in 2012 I did a post about some leadership lessons that I learned from my mom. There’s 2 big reasons I want dust that off an and share it again with you today. First and most obvious, it’s Mother’s Day and I wanted to take a moment and give her some public credit. Second, and I’m not going to address this directly in this post, but I’ve been hearing from more and more female leaders in the Church that struggle with finding their place in ministry, a church that will validate their leadership gifts and other strong female leaders in the Church to look up to and learn from. So that being said, here are some leadership lessons I learned from my mom along the way. Thanks mom!

My mom has left an incredible legacy. She’s got two boys that are both married and following Jesus, a couple of great daughter in laws, and seven grandchildren. It’s a legacy that’s definitely worth reproducing. But it becomes more impressive when you understand where she came from. A single child born and raised on the west coast, tragedy struck young when both of her parents died at an early age. Raised by her grandparents she wasn’t exposed to the Gospel until her early 20’s when she followed Christ, married my father, and two unruly little boys entered her life. What follows are 5 leadership lessons that I learned along the way from my incredible mother…

1. The Art of a Unified Front

Mom & Dad were on the same team. As much as we tried, we couldn’t play them against each other. It’s okay for Senior Level Leadership Teams to disagree, in fact differing perspectives and ideas are healthy and beneficial to any organization…as long as it stays in the boardroom.

2. Hard Work is Worth it

When we went to school every day, mom went to work and I don’t know how she did it but she rushed home and made sure we ate dinner together every night as a family. From early in the morning until late at night, mom worked hard. Hard work seems to be a four-letter word in today’s world. Instead we talk about working smarter not harder, streamlining, process efficiency, and supply chain management. While I’m all for efficiency you can’t be afraid to simply roll up your sleeves and do some hard work.

3. Finish Strong

Mom didn’t do things half way. She didn’t leave things undone. She finished. Even if it meant staying up late or getting up early. Too many loose ends will do you in. Starting projects can be fun and exciting but people don’t pay for projects that get started, they pay for results.

4. People follow Leaders who have a Servants Heart

For years I actually thought my mom liked burnt toast. Moms always seem to be the last ones to get dressed, do her hair, eat dinner, and any other number of normal routines around the house. And it was usually due to taking care of everyone else! Young leaders in the workforce today want to know what you want for them, not from them. They want to follow someone who is authentic, vulnerable, and willing to serve. The moment you become too big to serve, you’re too big to lead.

5. Be Patient with Young Talent

Through all of the craziness of having two boys in the house that were…well…all boy. Mom was patient, kind and gentle through it all. Young talent needs time to develop, opportunities to stretch their leadership wings, and yes room to make mistakes like putting holes in walls and breaking things. They need to know that there is room to fail. If there isn’t, they’ll eventually rebel, or worse stop experimenting and stop dreaming all together.

Posted in Family, Leadership


20 Helpful Metrics for Measuring Church Health

Our team at the Unstuck Group is passionate about providing resources for church leaders to help them succeed.

Everyone has opinions, speculations and ideas around the current trends and why they are happening. But, it’s tough to defy numbers. When deciding to publish The Unstuck Church Report a few months back, our team felt strongly about taking common questions and producing an objective resource that church leaders can apply to their ministry. We find this so critical to church growth and health and we are excited to share the data we collect to give church leaders a snapshot of up-to-date church health trends.

The third edition of The Unstuck Church Report: Benchmarks & Trends in U.S. Churches is out! From attendance to leadership to giving, this report gives church leaders insight into the key metrics of church health, including Ministry ReachStaffing and LeadershipConnection, and Finances.

The Q2 2018 edition is available today. This 4-page PDF reviews 20 updated metrics in key areas of church health, with Tony Morgan sharing his take on the numbers.

Download your copy today. It’s free:

Get the Report

Here are a few insights you can expect to find:

  • One in five churches has gone multisite. Of the churches surveyed, 80% are in one location and 20% have committed to a multisite strategy and are meeting in multiple locations. That’s an increase from previous reporting periods of churches that are using a multisite strategy.
  • About 3 of every 5 adults and students participate in some kind of small group. Churches are seeing 58% of their adults and students participate in a group.
  • Giving is increasing for churches. The per capita giving was $46 per week. That’s up from $42 in prior reporting. To calculate this number, children’s attendance is removed so that per capita giving is measured against adult and student attendance.

Click to download the most up-to-date edition and opt-in to get each quarterly update for free.

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation


10 Articles that will Help your Church Make Vision Real


Each month I curate the top 10 most popular blog posts I’ve shared recently. These are the articles that got had the greatest engagement in the past month. They were the most visited, shared, helpful or disagreed with. At any rate, thanks for staying in contact with me through engaging in the content on this site, I hope it’s been helpful to you! In case you missed any of them here they are all in one nice tidy place for you!

#1 18 Churchy Things the Class of 2018 Won’t Get

This spring’s high school graduates were born in the year 2000. Here are some churchy things for which they have little to no context for…

#2 7 Ways Church Leaders Unknowingly Lead their Churches to be Stuck

While there are external reasons that churches begin to move the wrong direction the majority of time it’s much closer to home. Often “stuckness” is self-induced by intention or neglect on the part of the leaders of the church. So in no order, here are some things I’ve seen church leaders do to unknowingly lead their churches towards being stuck.

#3 What is a Campus Pastor?

In August, 2012, Leadership Network released a report stating that over 5,000 churches are now multi-site churches (churches that meet in more than one location for worship). It’s a growing trend that first began with mega-churches, but has now expanded to churches of all sizes. With this new trend a new staff role has emerged, that of “Campus Pastor.” While a lot churches are still trying to figure out this new role, here are 6 things that great Campus Pastors do:

#4 8Reasons 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.

#5 What do you do when you Don’t Agree with your Pastor?

If you work on staff at a church, chances are at some point you’re going to disagree with your pastor. That’s okay, you’re human, it would be naive to think you’re always going to agree with your pastor. But what you do with that disagreement is where things can get really messy. Messy for you, and messy for the church.

#6 The Difference between a Shepherd and a Leader

I love helping churches and leaders get unstuck and make vision real. In fact out of all the stuff I get to do with churches and leaders one of the things I enjoy the most is Leadership Coaching. Recently I had the incredible opportunity to spend a day coaching a group of Pastors and Church Leaders from Australia (unfortunately their cool accent didn’t rub off). One of the topics we spent time digging into was the difference between shepherding and leading in relation to why some churches are stuck while others move forward. Here are couple of thoughts from the conversation.

#7 5 Ways Successful Church Leaders Think Differently 

Successful church leaders naturally think differently than the majority of church leaders. It’s one of the things that set them apart. The good news is you can learn to think just like them.

#8 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.

#9 How to Choose the Next Board Members at your Church

If you’ve led in a church for any length of time you can probably tell some stories of experiences you’ve had with dysfunctional Church Boards. Church Board become dysfunctional for a variety of reasons and there are some basic steps you can take to avoid a dysfunctional Board. The first step is to avoid inviting the wrong people to the Board. In writing this post I’m assuming that you’re already vetting potential Board Members based on the letters the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus about selecting church leaders. 

#10 10 Keys to Managing Change in a Church

Many churches I talk with want different results; they actually want to see more people meet Jesus and follow Jesus this year than last year. Unfortunately, they just aren’t willing to change, let go of old tactics and take a different approach. Recently I had a conversation with a church staff team that is courageously leading their church through change. Here are a couple of things that came out of the conversation.

Posted in Leadership


How to know when the Systems at your Church are Broken


The systems you build at your church can help move you towards your mission or keep you from it.

Building great systems in your church is the art of connecting the values, structures, strategies, goals, and vision to work in alignment that builds a culture that leans towards accomplishing the mission.

Systems are made up of complex independent parts that work together to perform a specific function. Think, for example, about the solar system, muscular system, or skeletal system.

In a church an example of a system is the weekend worship (all of the independent parts that work together to create a great weekend worship service), communications (all of the independent parts that work together to create a strong brand), or assimilation (all of the independent parts that work together to help people move from a guest to connected).

But sometimes systems don’t work, or you begin to outgrow them. Here’s a couple of indicators that may be happening at your church.

Work Arounds

When you staff team starts building their own work-arounds or implement their own supplemental solutions to your system the tendency is to believe that the staff is being obstinate. That may be the case. However, they may need more training, or the system you’re using may no longer work in your context.

Neat Freaks

The objective of a good system is not having a good system, it’s the mission. It’s possible to become hyper focused on a system instead of what the system is designed to do. If your system can’t tolerate a certain amount of chaos, then you’ve outgrown your system. A growing church has a certain level of chaos and mess to it and that’s okay.

Poor Returns

If things begin to slow down at your church one of the things you may want to look at are your systems. It’s possible for your systems to become a lid to growth.

Posted in Leadership


18 Churchy Things the Class of 2018 Won’t Get


Around this time of year, the mainstream media and Internet meme-machines like to remind us how old we are by telling us all of the things this year’s high school graduates won’t remember because, well, they weren’t even born yet.

That list is usually all pop culture, technology and political references. But what about church? I bet we can make a good list.

In church leadership, we have a looooong memory. And for some reason, we expect the new wine to clothe itself with old wineskins to learn and accept every moment of our history as part of their own personal story.

This spring’s high school graduates were born in the year 2000. Here are some churchy things for which they have little to no context for…

  1. “Shout to the Lord”
    That was 1994, folks.
  2. When Worship Bands Were Edgy
    Carey Nieuwhof wrote about this very well in his article “The Impending Death of Cool Church.”
  3. Billy Graham Crusades 
    His last was in 2005. They were five years old.
  4. Televangelists Committing Fraud and Conspiracy
    More on why that should influence how your church talks about money in Tony Morgan’s article “It’s Not the ‘80s Anymore.”
  5. Giving Cash at Church
    The Unstuck Group’s intern this semester specifically mentioned “offering plates of all varieties… the strangest ones I’ve seen were velvet bags with wooden handles. Very retro.” Tony also said his church doesn’t take an offering in services anymore. And there are no “giving boxes” either.
  6. Why “See You at the Pole” Is a Thing
    Prayer at school is not a part of their collective consciousness.
  7. “I Can Only Imagine”
    Aka Contemporary Christian Music as an influential genre.
  8. Overhead Transparencies for Song Lyrics / Reading Songs from a Hymnal
    They have no idea why older people in your church don’t like projectors and screens.
  9. I Kissed Dating Goodbye
    But, that doesn’t mean they are dating—at least not in real life. (Ask a few teenage girls when was the last time a boy actually asked them out. You’ll get some eye-rolling.)
  10. Multisite as a New Thing
    In late 2005, there were already more than 1,500 multisite churches in the United States.
  11. The Charismatic Movement / The Word “Charismatic” Used in Spiritual Context
    Whether you’re for it or against it, they don’t understand why.
  12. WWJD Bracelets
    Ah, the ‘90s.
  13. Drama Teams
    Aka video clips without the magic of editing.
  14. Church Directories
    If you still have one of these, let me guess the average age of the people listed.
  15. Wearing Your Sunday Best
    See #2. It’s been mostly acceptable to wear jeans to work, and church, since before they were born.
  16. CD Recordings of the Sermon
    Where would they even play a CD? If it’s not digital, they aren’t listening to it.
  17. Tent Revival Meetings
    Similarly to Billy Graham Crusades, without the historical context, these make no strategic sense. Why would you set up a tent beside your building and have service every night? An 18-year-old probably won’t even bother to ask why. They’ll just chock it up to weird religious stuff.
  18. What You Mean by “Traditional” or “Contemporary” Services Style
    “Contemporary” isn’t a thing. The 1990s started almost 30 years ago. If you’re trying to reach Gen Z and Millennials, and you think you have a “contemporary” service that will reach them, there’s a good chance you’re trying to connect with them using a style that emerged before they were born. The literal definition of contemporary is “belonging to or occurring in the present.” Oh, that we would own that definition. The Holy Spirit belongs to and occurs in the present, just as much as he did when the past was the present. As for “traditional” services, I can’t say it any better than Amy Anderson, The Unstuck Group’s Director of Consulting, recently did: If you have a service you’re calling “traditional,” it’s probably not reaching new people for Christ.

Bonus, Unchurchy List

These things make all of the real lists, but churches still ignore these facts. This year’s college graduates don’t remember…

    1. Life Before Mobile
      The iPhone came out when they were 7 years old. We can’t close our eyes and pretend like we can still connect with them without a native mobile strategy.
    2. Having to Call Anywhere for Information
      You need a digital destination for any action you want them to take.
    3. Life Before Everyone Shared Their Whole Lives on Social Media 
      They were 4 years old when MySpace was a hit, and the social media landscape exploded as they grew up. If you’re just tacking on Facebook to your real evangelism and discipleship strategy, you’re going to miss them.
    4. Not Being Able to Google It
      Specifically when it comes to preaching, if you make claims about Jesus, God, the Bible, etc. that they don’t understand, they’re going to Google it. Be prepared for that.
    5. Not Being Able to Connect with You
      They expect to be able to follow you on Instagram or Twitter. They expect to be able to figure you out a bit by how you present yourself online, not just what you say on the platform.

I challenge you to invite some high school grads to join you and your staff for a conversation about what you’re doing that they don’t understand. Let’s not be so hyper-focused on reaching Millennials that we wake up one day realizing we’ve already lost Gen Z.

A big thank you to Tiffany Deluccia for the guest post! Tiffany is Director of Marketing & Communications at The Unstuck Group. She graduated from Clemson University, and before joining The Unstuck Team, worked in public relations with major national retail brands, nonprofits and churches on content creation, strategic planning, communication consulting, social media and media relations. She also founded and writes for, a devotional blog for young women.

Posted in Leadership
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