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10 Articles that will Help your Church Make Vision Real

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Thank you for making February 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!

6 Keys to Motivating Millennial Church Leaders

Millennials can, will, and are doing some amazing ministry. Like it or not they are coming into their own in church leadership, and they’re the ones that are going to lead the church forward. So instead of complaining about them we might as well help them. Try these 6 approaches to motivate the millennial leaders on your church staff.

It’s Time to Grow the Multisite Capacity of your Church

If your church is considering going multisite or stuck somewhere along the way these articles will help you move in the right direction! I’ve been a part of and writing about the Multisite Movement for the past 5 years and I’ve compiled 20 of my most popular articles on Mutisite Church Leadership for you here.

Avoidance: The Silent Killer of a Team

Most teams aren’t great teams. Most teams don’t have the courage to be that honest with one another. Most teams would rather talk about one another than talk to one another. They avoid conflict, and in so doing, they quietly kill their team.

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.

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.

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.

Stop Paying People to Do Ministry

Paying people to “do” ministry instead of “lead” ministry is an expensive mistake that many churches fall into. Here are 3 principles that will help you focus the Staffing & Volunteer philosophy at your church.

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:

The Difference between a Shepherd and a Leader

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.

10 Principles to Building a Great Guest Experience at your Church

Do you know how to build a great guest experience at your church? Are you starting with the right building blocks? This top 10 list has been built from my experience of working with churches across the country the past couple of years with the Unstuck Group.

Photo Credit: justin fain via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing

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7 Things All Growing Churches Have in Common

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Once a month at Sun Valley Community Church (the church I have the privilege of serving at) we gather all of our staff from all of our campuses to have some fun, celebrate wins, keep everybody on the same page and often times do some leadership development training. Last week Chad Moore, who serves as the Lead Pastor at Sun Valley shared 7 Things that All Growing Churches have in Common…I thought these may be helpful to you in your local church context…

  • Church is not a building that you come to it’s a movement that you choose to be a part of to help people meet know and follow Jesus.
  • You can’t come to church because you are the church.
  • To get the right answers about church you have to ask the right questions.
  • The book of acts is all about how the early church acted

1. Passionate and Proficient leaders

The starting point for any movement is highly competent leaders who are deeply committed leaders to the cause. Without highly competent leaders the church will prematurely hit a leadership capacity lid. Without deeply committed leaders the church will be stunted due to leadership turnover when things get too difficult.

2. Clearly Defined Vision and Goals

Jesus gave the early Church a clear vision to get this movement going in Acts 1:8, we don’t have to make up the mission (why we exist) of the church. But we do get to lean into the vision (where we are going next) of the church. Most churches just say things like, “We are just going to follow the Spirit.” Which sounds really spiritual but is usually code for, “We don’t know where we’re going or what we’re doing.” Most churches forget that planning is spiritual, Proverbs is in the Bible too and God has a plan…He’s not just winging it. Hope is not a strategy; if you don’t have a target you’ll hit it every time.

3. Culture that Supports the Vision and Strategy

Culture is the soft squishy stuff that most organizations have a difficult time clearly defining. Culture is how the people in the organization think, feel, what they value, and how they actually behave. Regardless of what’s written on the wall, it’s what’s happening down the hall. Of all the things that a leader does the most important is what the leader does to protect and fuel the culture.

4. A Strong Communicating Leader (cultural architect)

The early church had Peter and Paul (among others). Contrary to popular belief in church-world; teaching on the weekends is not the most important thing we’re doing. The most important thing we’re doing is building culture and we’re using the Bible to reinforce and build this movement called the church. The primary purpose of the pulpit is not teaching, it’s leading.

5. Generous, Consistent Giving

When I first started giving I was nervous to do it, now I’m nervous not to do it. 2 common barriers that hold back the movement of the church are leaders and money. It is the leaders responsibility to not just develop leaders but also develop generosity in the heart of the church to fuel the vision.

6. Passionate and Proficient Next Step Leaders

Growing churches must have people on the team who are great at helping people take their next step with Jesus. The ministry of Jesus can be broken down into 4 categories:

  • Come & See: The woman at the well (John 4)…”come and see a man who knew all about me, could He be the Messiah”
  • Follow Me: This is a line in the sand (John 6)…you’re either going to follow Jesus or you’re not
  • Be with Me: Up close and over time…this is Jesus and the disciples
  • Remain in Me: This person knows the Bible, can read it and apply it on his or her own and lead others (John 15)

Preaching can only do the first two. Next Steps are the next two. The first two are message and mission. The last two are relationship and responsibility.

7. Unapologetic Focus on Evangelism

At the end of the day the church is all about helping people meet Jesus. Growing churches make decisions based on whom they are trying to reach, not whom they are trying to keep.


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation

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Leadership can’t be Taught in a Classroom

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I’ve never worked with a church that said they didn’t need more leaders. No, many churches, even healthy growing churches I’ve worked with mention two big hurdles that they feel are holding them back from accomplishing the vision God has given them; leaders and money. In fact I’ve been surprised to hear in recent conversations the amount of churches searching for an off the shelf solution that they can plug and play in their church in a hope that they will develop more leaders.

There is probably more accessible, solid leadership content available to the church leaders today than ever before. But even with the wealth of legitimately excellent leadership content available at their fingertips, it doesn’t seem like churches are producing any more leaders than they have before. One reason that is the case is that churches continue to buy into a couple of fundamental flaws when it comes to thinking about leadership development.

Leadership isn’t Information

Leadership isn’t learned in a classroom, by reading books, or by sitting around drinking coffee or whatever your beverage of choice is and pontificating about leadership ideas and principles or worse, arm chair quarterbacking other leaders. Leadership is learned by leading. It’s something you simply can’t understand until you do it, you have to exercise that muscle to develop and strengthen it. The Bible teaches us that, “knowledge puffs up while love builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). If information was the same thing as maturity then the most mature people walking around when Jesus was walking the Earth were the Pharisees. They knew more about the Scriptures than anyone and they ended up having Jesus crucified. Not very mature huh? Leadership is a lot like love. You can’t say you love someone and not act on it…it has to show up at some point. Or you don’t love them.

Leadership isn’t a Program

Leadership can’t be developed using an off the shelf curriculum or program that you plug and play at your church. You are the leadership development program at your church. Leaders don’t build followers they build leaders. Stop using leadership programs as a crutch and excuse because you don’t have time to do this. If you’re the leader then lead…and build other leaders.

Leadership Skills can be Acquired

Even if you don’t have a leadership gift you can develop, practice, and perfect leadership skills. You can acquire new skills…even leadership skills.

A Leadership Gift can be Developed

According to the Bible, leadership is actually a spiritual gift (Romans 12:6-8). A gift not given to everyone, and to those it is given to, it’s not given in equal measure. But that gift no matter how great or small can be developed and grown.


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing

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6 Keys to Motivating Millennial Church Leaders

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If you have any millennials on your church staff you know that they’re different. And while many traditional church leaders are quick to equate a different approach with being a wrong approach, wise leaders know that different just means different. Not necessary wrong. In fact it could even be better. Millennials can, will, and are doing some amazing ministry. Like it or not they are coming into their own in church leadership, and they’re the ones that are going to lead the church forward. So instead of complaining about them we might as well help them. Try these 6 approaches to motivate the millennial leaders on your church staff.

1. Help me Avoid Boredom

Millennials have grown up with the constant interruption of smart phones and sound bites. This has conditioned them to be great at multitasking. So don’t expect them to sit down and work the way you did with tremendous focus on one thing for an extended period of time. Help them avoid that monotony and dabble with multiple things at one time. They’ll have more fun and produce more results.

2. Help me Join a Cause

Everyone knows that millennials are cause oriented. But what most churches haven’t come to grips with yet is that one of the key reasons so many millennials are leaving the church is they don’t view the church as a cause worth giving their life to. Is your church an institution or a movement? Have you turned the Gospel into something to be dissected and intellectually understood or something that is powerful and mysterious? Help them see the church as a cause worth giving their life to.

3. Help me Manage my Heart

Feelings are more important than facts to millennials. While it might not make sense to some previous generations they think more with their heart than their head. That’s not to say they aren’t brilliant it’s just to say their motivation is more centered around the question, “Does this feel right?” Church leaders can help millennials by increasing their emotional intelligence and being more thoughtful about how their actions may be perceived and how they may affect the feelings of others rather than just give way to simple facts and plans.

4. Help me See the Win

Millennials have grown up in a world of instant gratification, access, and results. Anybody who has been in ministry for any length of time knows that’s not how it really works. Life just doesn’t work that way. So we’ve got to help celebrate the small wins of life change that happen along the way. Help them celebrate the first downs along the way and help them make the connection between their day-to-day ministry and the vision.

5. Help me be True to Myself

Millennials aren’t going to follow someone or be a part of something that feels inauthentic to them. The best gift that church leaders can give millennials is to exercise real leadership and stop leading through position, title, or power and learn to lead with humility and personhood. They won’t simply respect you for your position but instead for who you are and the value you add. In this way millennials are a gift to challenge many church leaders to lead in a way that they may have forgotten.

6. Help me Understand “Why”

In recent years Simon Sinek made the phrase, “start with why” famous. Millennials don’t just want to know your plan. They don’t want to simply know what you want them to do, they want to know the why behind it. They need to buy into the reason behind the plan of action. Help them buy into the why.


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing

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10 Articles that will Help your Church Lead Through Change

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In the “real world,” change is normal, it’s expected, and it’s even celebrated! When your team wins the Super Bowl no one ever looks around and complains about the stadium being too full. When your business takes ground and expands no one ever complains about experiencing success. When a new child is born into a family no grandparent complains about having to buy more Christmas presents. Change like this is celebrated. So much so, that we go around and show pictures of our new grandchild to everyone, we leverage the success of our business, and we buy t-shirts and other paraphernalia from the winning football team. But in the church…change doesn’t work that way. Here are 10 church leadership articles that will help you church lead through change.

8 Keys to Changing your Church

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.

Why Churches Don’t Change

Churches don’t change. In fact most churches avoid changing at all cost, even if it means not growing. It’s so bad that I’ve seen churches choose to close their doors over choosing to change. Below are 6 common reasons I’ve observed why churches choose not to change. One of these might be why your church won’t change.

10 Ways to Change the “We’ve Always Done it That Way” Mindset

In a church it’s particularly difficult to change methods because every change you make is a criticism of the past. So here are 10 approaches you can take when you’re trying to change the, “We’ve always done it that way,” mindset.

Why Church Staff Change Churches

Like many pastors I’ve made a couple of moves along the way from one church to another. In reflecting about this at one point, my heart was stirred about why Church Staff change churches. And while this isn’t an exhaustive list, I thought it was a great place to start. So in no particular order, here is my top 10 list of “Why Church Staff Change Churches:”

Why Churches Refuse to Change

In the church is difficult. Even if it means growing, reaching more people, planting a new church, taking a risk, or even simply making the right change so that the church can be more effective with it’s mission; most churches avoid change like the plague. Here are a few reasons why:

Leading Through Change: What Game is your Church Playing?

On a regular basis at Sun Valley Community Church (the church I have the honor of serving at) we get the staff together from all three campuses for leadership development and training. This past week one of our Lead Pastors, Chad Moore, shared about the different games that churches play. I thought I’d share with you some of the key take-aways and learnings.

4 Strategies that will Change your Church

You’ll be surprised by how small degrees of change that you make in your trajectory today can pay dividends in the future.

Does your Team need to Change?

Churches get stuck for all kinds of reasons. But a common reason Churches get stuck is that the Sr. Leadership Team gets stuck. Last week I had the opportunity to sit in the room with Sr. Leaders from some of the nations leading mega-churches and talk through this issue. Here are a couple of the thoughts I captured about Sr. Leadership Teams from that conversation.

9 Big Decisions that will Change your Church

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?

4 Reasons Why People don’t Change

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. But if you want to grow at some point you’ve got to stop doing what’s easy and start doing what’s right.


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing
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