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How to get a Promotion at your Church Staff Job

I’ve met a lot of young ministry staff members who have expressed interest in having more responsibility, more authority, and more influence in the churches they’re leading in. They think they’re ready for a promotion. If they don’t get the promotion that they think they deserve, it can become a catalyst to them leaving their church and trying to take their next step in leadership somewhere else.

But here’s the deal…some are ready…and some aren’t

While this list isn’t exhaustive, if you can tackle these 6 behaviors you’ll be well on your way to your next promotion!

Show Up Early

In an age where everyone gets a participation trophy and people think they deserve a raise or a promotion for simply doing the basic minimum at their job, showing up early is a simple but powerful tool in your arsenal. If you show up early and ready to roll you will stand out and be noticed.  Work ethic matters more than you think it does. Every employer is looking for team members that are personally motivated and ready to tackle the day ahead. These kinds of people stand out. Do you?

Do What You Said You Would Do

This one may seem blatantly obvious, but I’m pointing it out because it just isn’t anymore. If you want to get a promotion one day, then learn the art of follow through today. Develop the reputation of coming through and delivering on what you said you would deliver on, when you said it would be delivered. People who talk more than they get results don’t get promoted.

Approach Your Day with a Good Attitude

You can’t play a good game with a bad attitude. Your attitude is a small thing that makes a big difference in the way you approach your work and the way you affect the team you’re on. People who have bad attitudes rarely get promoted. Make the choice to have a better attitude today and you’ll take a step towards getting that promotion tomorrow.

Bring Solutions Instead of Problems

Your supervisor isn’t looking for you to bring them more problems. They have enough. If you bring them enough problems frequently enough they’ll quickly start asking themselves and you, “Why did I hire you if I have to do your job as well as my own?” Instead, when you run into a problem you need help with, identify the problem but then provide 3 viable solutions that your supervisor can offer input on. This will communicate that you are solution oriented, value their input, and you’ll begin to learn how your supervisor thinks and wants problems solved.

Master the Standard

You’re not going to be promoted if you can’t deliver the “industry average.” If the average growing church in America runs around 20% kids and 10% students but the kids or student ministry you are leading is lagging behind that, it’s going to be tough to warrant a promotion. Especially if the demographic of the community you’re in has plenty of kids, students and families in it. You can find “industry standard” metrics provided FREE by the Unstuck Group by following this link. Start by getting to average then grow from there. Remember, average performers rarely get promoted.

Learn to Develop Other People

One of the first things that I personally look for in ministry staff members who I’m looking to promote (after they master the standard), is their ability to develop other people. Do people want to follow them? Have they actually led people somewhere or do they just try to keep them happy? Do they just delegate tasks or do they actually empower them with authority? Are the people around them actually “getting better?” Have they demonstrated the ability to lead and coach difficult people? If you learn to actually develop other people you’re going to be well on your way to getting that promotion you’re after.


Posted in Leadership

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How to Build a Problem-Solving Culture at your Church

The best ideas don’t always come from where you think they come from.

In the Church we tend to hire professional pastors who are supposed have all of the answers. After all pastors go to seminary to learn theology and all kinds of good stuff about the Bible and how to teach it. The very nature of the structure lends itself to people thinking pastors have the answers. But guess what? We don’t. We may have some of the answers and even a few good ideas from time to time, but we don’t have all of the answers and we certainly don’t have the best ideas in the room.

The best ideas typically come from people who are closest to the problem.

So, for all of you who want to lead in a big church here’s one of the unfortunate implications of that statement. The larger the church is that you serve at and the more removed you are from day to day interaction with volunteers and people who attend your church, the more likely it is you have no idea what the best ideas are, in fact you probably don’t even know what the biggest problems are.

But your culture needs to allow ideas to flow up, input to be given and problems to be solved. Many churches never come to close to identifying or solving their biggest problems because their culture won’t allow it.

Here’s a few ideas about how you can start changing that.

1. Ask Good Questions

Asking instead of telling can quickly shift the culture of a team. Telling people what to do actually keeps them from learning to problem solve and think for themselves. Even if you have a strong opinion and you think your idea is the right idea, exercise restraint and start asking questions like, “What do you think we should do?,” “What do you think is best for our church?,” and “Is what we’re doing actually working?”

2. Push Decisions Down

If low level decisions consistently get escalated to high levels, then you’ve got a culture that is preventing you from solving problems. People are afraid to do the wrong thing, so they are escalating everything for input. Start to refuse to make decisions on things that you know others should be deciding on (otherwise you’ll train everyone to come to you for every decision). Do you have to make this decision?

3. Do Something About It

If you ask for input and then don’t actually do anything about it, you are training people not to answer you. If all you ever do is listen to problems, identify problems or talk about problems, the biggest problem you may have is a lack of courage to act.

4. Allow People to Make Mistakes

Each of my four kids can walk. I know that may not impress many of you, but there was a time when they were younger they could only crawl. When they got old enough and strong enough they would pull themselves up using a piece of furniture and attempt to take a step or two. They always failed. Every single one of them failed. There were some bumps and bruises and painful crash landings. But they’d get back up and try again. My wife and I would sit a few feed away from them and literally cheer them on. We’d tell them how proud of them we were for taking one lousy little step. You get where this is going. If you want to build a problem-solving culture in your church, you’ve got to cheer on little steps, little failures, and all of the moments they get back up and try again. Demeaning them won’t help them walk.


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Are you Interested in Church Health and Growth Data?

Church Trends from the Q2 2019 edition of The Unstuck Church Report

The more we work with churches, the more we notice the need for data to help church leaders get perspective.

At the Unstuck Group, we recently launched the Q2 2019 edition of The Unstuck Church Report.

It’s a 6-page PDF that highlights 20 updated metrics in key areas of church health. And this quarter, we included a new section that specifically shows significant changes over the past year.

We release an updated report each quarter with new insights and highlighting new trends. If you want in, you can sign up below (we’ll deliver it to your inbox for free :-))

In ministry, we’ve learned that perspective goes a long way. We talk about it a lot, but we’ve seen stuckness linger because leaders lack perspective. Looking at something from a different angle with more insight can bring powerful awareness. This report is a good place to start.

If you’re interested in checking out the data, download it here.


Posted in Leadership

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3 Big Reasons Why People are Leaving your Church

Do you know why people are leaving your church? Every church in America is going to experience people leave this year. You guys are smart, you and your leadership team could probably brain storm a long and reasonable list of reasons why people may leave a church. But do you know why people are leaving your church? It may not be for the reasons you’re thinking.

I recently had a conversation with some really smart folks who are doing really good work on why people leave churches and all of the research seems to be pointing to the same big three answers.

It’s Not the Church for them

They’ve tried it and it’s just not for them. Something about it just doesn’t fit with them. It may be the worship style, the preaching style, the theological beliefs, the approach to ministries like kids, students or groups, it could be the age demographic of the church or even the ethnic make-up of the church. They’ve tried and decided it’s just not the right fit for them. Okay, I can live with that.

An Unfulfilled Promise

Many people leave churches because their experience doesn’t match what was promised to them. They were told that life change happens best in circles not rows. They want friends and have tried to get into a group but can’t find a group that they click with. They were told that they can make a difference with their life by joining a volunteer team, but it wasn’t fun to serve, and they felt like they were being used to fill a spot instead of developed to be more of what Jesus wanted them to be. The list could go on…and it does. If we’re honest this one should really bother us. It bothers me.

There’s a Crisis in their Life

This one was a bit more surprising for me…but the data seems to back it up. You’d think when people hit a crisis that the church would be the place they’d run to for support. What’s being discovered is that many people go through a crisis like the death of a loved one, a serious sickness, a job loss, or a myriad of other life challenges and no one at the church even knows about it. As they naturally begin to spend more time focusing on solving their crisis they spend less time at church and church attendance fades until they no longer attend at all. Of all three of these reasons, I think this one in particular is a tremendous opportunity for churches to take ground in.


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5 Ingredients to Cooking Up a Great Church Website

I am not a web designer and I’ve never played one on TV. I don’t write code, I’m not a graphic artist and I’m not in marketing or sales. But I have visited literally hundreds of church websites.

One of the things we do at the Unstuck Group when a church goes through a Health Assessment with us is we take some time to research their website before we ever actually get onsite with that church. You can learn a lot about a church by spending some time clicking around on their website.

There’s a lot of work that goes into building a great church website. Just like churches, their websites come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. But there is a list of required ingredients that I’d encourage every church to start with.

Design it for the Guest

The best church websites are designed for the person who has never been to your church. Is it intuitive and easy for people who are unfamiliar with Jesus and churchy language to navigate? Unless you want to build a church for church people don’t design a website designed for church people. Stay away from “churchy” language and “cool ministry” names that people outside of the church have no clue what they mean or what they are. Can guests navigate the site easily without having to scroll or click too many times from the main landing page?

Give People what They’re Looking For

When guests check out your website they’re looking for a few things. In no particular order guests to your website are looking for where and when you gather. Do you have a google maps link on your site that makes it easy for guests to get there? Guests are also looking for what the experience will be like when they arrive. Videos and pictures can help with this, so can a brief description of the experience so people know what they’re getting themselves into. Guests also typically look for what the kids’ ministry is like if they have kids. They check out the staff page to see if there are “people like them” on staff (would they fit in). They may also check out your story…especially if it’s presented in a compelling manner…why do you exist, how did you get where you are, what are you like, what you’re trying to get done right now and why people should jump in and be a part of it.

Look and Feel

There are going to be a lot of opinions about the look and feel of your church website. It’s like a sermon or the volume of the worship music at your church…it’s on display for everyone to see…some people will think “it’s too loud” and some people will think “it’s not loud enough.” Wherever you land make sure the look and feel represents the true identity and personality of your church. You can do this through videos, images, stories, even the language you use. All of it should represent your culture well so people know what they’re getting. There’s nothing worse than checking out a church website that sets your expectations in a particular direction only to have those expectations undermined once you actually get there. Likewise, don’t hide a great church behind a poor website.

Measure what Works

This may a bit of a no brainer, but I’ve discovered that few churches actually track their clicks, page views, and metrics on their website. If something is not working on your site, don’t be afraid to change it or take it down off of your site.

Nuts and Bolts

These may go without saying but make sure your site is mobile friendly. More people access websites through mobile devices than desktop devices these days. Also make sure your site is secure so search engines like Google don’t burry it.


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