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The Power of Showing Up

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There is incredible power in simply showing up. This is true in parenting, it’s true in coaching, it’s true in teaching, and it’s true in leadership. Over the years I’ve observed many church leaders who overestimate the potential of a pivotal moment and underestimate the power of faithfully showing up every day. When you show up daily, your leadership ends up showing up over time.

While there are some moments in leadership that matter more than others, one of the things that separates good leaders from great leaders is that they show up and approach every moment with the same vigor. So here are 5 principles of how great leaders show up every day:

Moments are more important than a Moment

Your most meaningful relationships, trust, culture, and influence. While all of them can be destroyed in a moment, none of them are built in a moment but in a series of moments over an extended period of time.

Follow Through

Never underestimate the power of following through and doing what you said you were going to do. Delivering on time and on target on mundane everyday deliverables will take you further than you think.

Missed Opportunities

Leadership can be a lot like sports and life; you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Most opportunities are missed in life because people don’t show up and take them.

The Next Right Thing

Sometimes you need to stop worrying about the next big thing and just do the next right thing. It may be less glamorous, it may seem like it won’t get you as far as fast as you want to go, but it will help you build the necessary character, discipline, and practices that will get you there.

Faithfulness

Be faithful with what you’ve been given and you’ll probably be given more. If you’re familiar with the Bible you’re probably familiar with this principle. Don’t underestimate the power and faithfulness that comes from showing up every day.


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing

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10 Articles that will Help your Church Make Vision Real

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Thank you for making May 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!

By the way…if you look closely you’ll notice that 3 out of the 10 most popular posts this month have to do with volunteering…hopefully churches are catching onto the fact that volunteering is their “leadership development program” at their church.

What Volunteers Want from your Church

If you’ve ever read anything I’ve written on developing effective volunteer teams at your church then you’ve probably heard me say that I’ve never met a church leader who said that they had enough volunteers. In fact, the opposite is typically true. Having too few volunteers is one of the most frequent complaints and pressure points I hear from church leaders. Most of the time it’s not due to a lack of effort or trying. It’s usually due to taking the wrong approach with volunteerism in the church.

2 Big Leadership Questions you Probably Aren’t Asking

…I was once asked to work for the Under Secretary of The Navy for Research and Development for a few months in order to help with the work load. While there I worked for the Deputy Under Secretary, Rear Admiral Dave Oliver. My first assignment was to give a briefing about our lab facilities on the west coast to the new Under Secretary who was a new appointee under the Clinton Administration…

6 Signs that you’re Leading a Healthy Church

Jesus is into results. I know I’m going to lose a lot of readers at those 4 little words. But I really believe it’s true. Read the scriptures and Jesus actually has a plan that He’s working to make everything new and fix what we broke. Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul talk about it in terms of producing “fruit.” That’s the Biblical language ascribed to producing results. Healthy churches produce results and you can know if your church is healthy by the results it’s producing. And while I’d quickly admit that none of the items on this list guarantee a healthy church, you probably can’t lead a healthy church without these things.

Why Your Church is Thinking about Volunteers the Wrong Way

  • Most churches think they need more volunteers to accomplish the ministry…they don’t.
  • Most churches think they need more talented and experienced volunteers to accomplish the ministry…they don’t.
  • Most churches think they need volunteers to do the tasks of the ministry so the church staff can lead the ministry…they don’t.

10 Keys to Managing Change in a Church

Leading through change can be difficult. Leading a church through change can be near impossible. Churches in particular have a tendency to resist change because they get trapped by the comfort of past success, practices and traditions. It takes an incredible amount of wisdom, the art of timing, and plain old courage and grit. 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.

3 Pressure Points Millennial Church Leaders are Facing

I recently had the opportunity to spend some significant time with 10 talented young millennial church leaders and had a blast! If these leaders are any indication of what the future leaders of the church look like then rest assured, the church is in great hands. That being said there were a couple of pressure points that came up over and over again in the conversations from different angles.

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.

What Growing Churches do Differently

It’s not faith, it’s not luck, and it’s not some leadership secret. Growing churches are actually doing something differently than the other 80% of churches in America that are stuck or declining. At the Unstuck Group we work with 100’s of churches every year and we’ve discovered that growing churches are actually doing some very tangible things differently than other churches. Below are just a few of them.

4 Reasons Why Multisite Costs More Than Church Planting

It would be easy to think that a multisite church is more cost-efficient than church planting. However, there’s more to consider than meets the eye. For the past 6 years I’ve had the opportunity to serve at Sun Valley Community Church in Arizona and see the church grow from one site to five during that time. As we’ve gotten those campuses launched and running, one of the things that I’ve learned is that multisite is usually the more costly option of the two.

7 Indicators that you’ve Found the Ideal Ministry Spouse

In ministry your spouse can make you or break you. It may be cliché but it’s true, behind every great Ministry Staff Member is a great ministry spouse…and you can’t have one without the other. So whether you’re already married or you’re still searching for the right person, here are a couple traits you should be looking for in the ideal ministry spouse.

Photo Credit: justin fain via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Volunteers

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6 Signs that You’re Leading a Healthy Church

growth

Jesus is into results. I know I’m going to lose a lot of readers at those 4 little words. But I really believe it’s true. Read the scriptures and Jesus actually has a plan that He’s working to make everything new and fix what we broke. Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul talk about it in terms of producing “fruit.” That’s the Biblical language ascribed to producing results.

Healthy churches produce results and you can know if your church is healthy by the results it’s producing. And while I’d quickly admit that none of the items on this list guarantee a healthy church, you probably can’t lead a healthy church without these things.

1. Baptisms

The Church isn’t a building that you come to, it’s a movement you chose to be a part of. The whole point of this thing called the Church is to join God in His mission to reach everyone on the planet with the Good News of Jesus. Healthy churches aren’t simply growing churches, they help new people meet Jesus and follow Him. The lead indicator of that is post-conversion baptism.

2. Divorce Rate

Is the divorce rate of the people in your church lower than that of the community your church is located in? Jesus said His people would be known by the quality of their relationships (love for one another). This is a simple and tangible way to get to the everyday effectiveness of your church.

3. Financial Strength

This is not just a question about the amount of money you have in savings, although I’m a big fan of churches having reserves and margin (I think the book of Proverbs is a big fan of that too). An often-overlooked indicator of financial strength in a church is its capacity to respond to opportunities that Jesus provides. Essentially healthy churches put themselves in a financial position to say yes to Jesus when He asks them to do something. The Scriptures clearly connect financial generosity to spiritual maturity.

4. Span of Care

It’s well documented that the best C-suite Executives of Fortune 500 Companies (i.e. some of the best leaders on the planet) manage around 7 direct reports. What’s the span of care at your church? If your staff team is directly managing more volunteers than that, you’re probably just filling volunteer spots, not developing people. Your span of care is a lead indicator of how well you’re doing as a church at developing people, not just using people.

5. Staff Restructures

You may have never thought of this before but staff promotions and restructures can be an indicator of a healthy church. Are the staff at your church growing in their roles and responsibility? Growing churches have to restructure their staff team to both respond to and catalyze healthy growth. Staff promotions are an indication of churches investing in, developing, and recognizing the growth of their staff team members. Churches that are plateaued or dying restructure to accommodate layoffs and decline.

6. Numerical Growth

So, I saved this one for last. But I couldn’t leave it off the list. Healthy things grow. But so does cancer, and nobody wants that. Just because it’s growing doesn’t mean it’s healthy, but…if it’s healthy it will grow.

Interested in discovering how healthy your church is? Take the step and engage the Unstuck Group in a comprehensive Ministry Health Assessment of your church!


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing

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10 Keys to Managing Change in a Church

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Leading through change can be difficult. Leading a church through change can be near impossible. Churches in particular have a tendency to resist change because they get trapped by the comfort of past success, practices and traditions. It takes an incredible amount of wisdom, the art of timing, and plain old courage and grit.

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.

1. No Change is Perfectly Executed

No matter how well-planned change is, how good it looks on paper, or how much sense it makes in your head it’s not going to go the way you think it’s going to go. There is going to be a surprise. Something is going to take more or less time, cost more or less money, or be more or less difficult than you planned. Point is, work hard, plan your work, work your plan and then be flexible.

2. Communication is Key

During change management, communicating the right message to the right audience at the right time is essential and can take a lot of time. There are multiple audiences to communicate with including the church staff, the church board, lay leadership, volunteers, and the congregation to name a few. Some churches due to their polity and structures have even more groups to get on board.

3. Everyone Carries 2 Buckets Around with Them

Everyone carries around 2 buckets with them, a bucket of water and a bucket of gasoline. One fuels change the other puts it out. Water fuels change because it douses the fire of resistance. Gasoline puts change out because it fuels the fire of resistance. Anytime your staff listens to complaining and says, “I understand how you would feel that way” without redirecting them it pours gasoline on the situation and validates the complaint.

4. What about Me?

Most people are fine with change as long as it doesn’t affect them. One thing you can do to get on the solution side of positively leading through change is simply think those thoughts ahead of time. What are people going to embrace or reject about the change you’re trying to implement based on how it’s going to affect them (real or perceived), then address those pressure points.

5. It isn’t Easy

You know all those church conferences, books and blogs you read full of stories about how some pastor just turned things around at their church, “Jesus just paved the way.” Yea, it’s never really that easy. Change is hard, it takes time, and requires grit and courage. It is not for the faint of heart. Anyone who tells you any different hasn’t actually had to lead through change before.

6. The Ripple Effect

Change has a ripple effect that you often don’t seen until much later. It’s almost like painting one wall of a house you move into. It leads to another wall and another. And of course, then you need to change the flooring, the faucets, the cabinets, etc. Then it’s time to start on the outside of the house…ugh. Bottom line…change has a ripple effect.

7. The Minority can have a Majority Voice

In a season of change a small group of people can have a loud voice and make it seem like everyone is against you. The silent majority is typically with you and those who are positive about it rarely say they’re positive about it. It’s the negative few that always bark the loudest.

8. Lead Different with Different People

Remember what you read above? That communication is key in a season of change? Well it’s also key to remember that you don’t communicate to and lead every group of the same way. Anyone who has more than 1 kid knows you don’t parent every kid the same way…so why would you try to lead every group the same way?

9. Small Change can Reveal Big Issues

One small seemingly harmless change can tell you something about your church. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen church leaders try to change something that seemed small and innocent to them not to realize that they were stepping on a landmine that blew up. Make sure you truly understand not just what you’re changing things to become or how you’re going to change them but what it is your actually changing and why.

10. Training vs Challenging

Sometimes people don’t have the right information and they don’t understand why they should get on board with the change. Other times people don’t want to jump on board with the change because they have their own agenda.  Either way it can appear that people are digging their heals in and fighting you on the change you’re trying to make. What you’ve got to do as the leader is find out if they’re fighting due to ignorance or obstinace. You train ignorance and you challenge obstinance.

Interested in learning more about leading through change at your church? Check out these helpful articles.


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing, Testimonial

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Why your Church is Thinking about Volunteers the Wrong Way

volunteer

I’ve never met a church leader who said that they had enough volunteers. In fact, the opposite is typically true. Having too few volunteers is one of the most frequent complaints and pressure points I hear from church leaders. Most of the time it’s not due to a lack of effort or trying. It’s usually due to thinking the wrong way about volunteerism in the church.

  • Most churches think they need more volunteers to accomplish the ministry…they don’t.
  • Most churches think they need more talented and experienced volunteers to accomplish the ministry…they don’t.
  • Most churches think they need volunteers to do the tasks of the ministry so the church staff can lead the ministry…they don’t.

“Volunteering is the Ministry”

Jesus said, “I did not come to be served but to serve.” Serving others is both the pathway to and pinnacle of spiritual maturity. Volunteering is not a means to an end (getting the ministry accomplished) …it is the end, because volunteers are not roles to be filled but people to be developed. When ministry staff members say things like, “We need more volunteers to make ministry happen” they begin using people instead of ministering to people. Volunteering is discipleship!

“I See Something in You”

Twenty-five years ago, the pastor of a small conservative Baptist church said he saw something in me. Something that I didn’t see in myself. And he invited me to start teaching a Jr. High Sunday School class. I’m not sure what he was thinking. I was scared to death. But I said yes. I wasn’t really all that much older than those Jr. High Students, and I really didn’t know all that more about the Bible or knowing Jesus than them. But I studied those lessons and did the best that I could. That’s where leading church ministry really began for me. All because someone saw something in me. Church leaders need to start seeing “something” in the people around them. Start seeing them for what they could be in and through Jesus, not just as they are. Start speaking those life-giving words into them and inviting them to take a risk and use their gifting for the sake of the Gospel and the Kingdom. And by the way. When I began volunteering, I began growing in my friendship with Jesus in way that I had never done before.

“Join a Team”

The way you talk about something reflects the value you ascribe to it. Words create worlds and so the way you talk about volunteers and volunteerism at your church will either build or erode the volunteer culture you’re trying to create. Unless you tell them differently people are going to think they’re just helpers…just a volunteer. You’ve got to help them see that they’re not just a volunteer but when they volunteer they are actually no longer coming to church they are being the Church. Stop asking people to volunteer and perform a function, get tasks done, or fill a role. Invite them to join a team and make a difference with their life. Help them see volunteering in the church as what it really is…joining a movement to help people meet, know, and follow Jesus.

A big shout out to Brian LaMew who serves as the Pastor of Campus Development and leads the Campus Pastor Team at Sun Valley Community Church who shared these principles in a Sun Valley all staff gathering recently. Keep up the great work Brian!


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Volunteers
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