Archive - Spiritual Formation RSS Feed


10 Articles that will Help your Church Make Vision Real


So January is behind us…how are all those New Year’s Resolutions holding up after one month? If you’re like most people…not so well. At least January went well here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real! It’s always good staying 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!

10 Insider Focused Ministry Names

This post came out of a conversation I had with a Leadership Coaching Network that I was facilitating back in 2013. So I wrote this post 4 years ago and it continues to be one of my top posts of all-time. Hope it’s helpful!

How Many People should your Church have on Staff?

Before you buy into the idea that you need another staff person at your church, think again. That just may be the worst decision you make at your church this year.

Why People Don’t Invite their Friends to your Church

If your church is serious about growing and reaching new people you’ve got to figure out what is keeping people from inviting their friends. While many church leaders blame their people for not inviting their friends because they’re not “spiritually mature enough” or don’t have a “deep burden” for the lost I’d suggest it may be less complicated than that. It may be your fault.

5 Core Issues that will Fuel Growth in your Church in 2018

This year your church can take a different approach. I’m not talking about trying harder, I’m talking about trying different. I’m also not talking about making some risk free small tweaks. If you want different results you’ve got to adopt a different strategy and employ different tactics.

6 Things I bet you Don’t know about your Pastor’s Wife

While leaders get all the attention and accolades their families and private lives are thought of very little by the public. In fact in a moment in church history where we are inundated with volumes of leadership ideas and training very little is written about pastor’s wives.

Are you the Type of Person that can Work in a Fast-Growing Church?

In fact, most people in ministry will go their entire ministry career and not get the opportunity to be a part of a fast-growing church. That’s one reason, by the way, if you’re serving at a fast-growing church you should thank Jesus, soak it in, and enjoy it while you can. You’re sitting in a seat that few will ever get to. While there are a lot of factors that contribute seasons of fast church growth one of the things I’ve observed in all of them is that the staff that work at fast-growing churches are different. Here’s what I mean…

Is your Church Designed to get Stuck?

Your church is perfectly designed to get the results you’re currently getting. You’ve probably heard that said before. That means if your church is stuck it’s probably because it’s been designed to be stuck. Now I know you didn’t do that on purpose, I know you want to reach as many people with the Gospel as you possibly can. But churches get stuck because they’re designed, by intention or neglect, to be stuck.

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 if Home Depot Functioned like a Church?

After spending half of the holiday season in the local Home Depot, I started thinking about how different Home Depot is from the majority of churches I’ve visited over the years, and what it would look like if Home Depot functioned like most churches in America.

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.

Posted in Family, Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing


Take Someone With You


Take someone with you. It’s the most overlooked and easiest way to develop people.

I’ve never worked with or consulted with a church that believed they had enough leaders. In fact, most churches are looking for some off the shelf content or course they can take people through and then call them leaders. Content and concepts can be helpful to understanding leadership practices. But understanding leadership doesn’t make someone a leader. Leadership is best learned by leading and being around other good leaders.

It takes time to develop people. Great leaders are gifted to be great leaders, but they also develop that gift over time. One simple way that you can help young leaders develop their leadership gift is to give them access to you and to allow them to watch you lead up close and personal.

Take them with you.

Invite them into you Schedule

It doesn’t necessarily require a lot of extra time for you to invest in others if you invite them into your schedule. Seriously, just have them come with you wherever you go. It gives them access to meetings, conversations and decision making that they normally wouldn’t get the opportunity to see first-hand. Yes, even allow them to observe Sr. Leadership Team meetings, Board meetings, and coaching meetings you have with other team members. In those meetings just have them observe, literally don’t let them say a word. Just observe. Over time you can invite their input when it would be helpful to the conversation or helpful to them.

Debrief later

With all of that shadowing they’re doing, there’s going to be natural moments walking or driving from one thing to the next for you to debrief them. Simply ask them what they observed and coach them to observe and understand the right things. Take a moment to answer any questions that they have about what they observed.

I know this post may seem over simplified…you may be reading and thinking, “That’s it?” Well…yea…that’s it. You don’t have to over complicate what it means to develop other people. No, taking people with you isn’t the end all, be all method of people development. But based on my interaction with churches, if church leaders just took this step it would net much better results that what they’re getting.

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing


Top Posts of 2017 #2 “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.

1. They’re Flexible

When you’re in ministry, you’re constantly “on.” Ministry doesn’t always abide by the family schedule. Crisis doesn’t always happen in people’s lives and the church according to plan.

2. They’re Comfortable being Independent

Ministry is a calling (profession) that requires long hours at times, especially during holidays that are traditionally family moments. Finding someone that understands the importance of having you around the kids and the family but is also able to run the household while you’re not available is essential.

3. They Embrace the Church you work at

Great ministry spouses believe in you and they believe in what you’re doing. It’s more than a job to them too. They don’t want to just see you succeed they want to see the church you’re leading succeed. They find creative ways to be involved in the church you’re leading that fit their personality and reach out to the staff and volunteers. They’re an extension of you.

4. They’re Your Biggest Fan

Ministry can really knock the wind out of you at times. Great ministry spouses know how to shoulder your burdens and comfort you in the low moments, and they’re the first ones to celebrate you in the good moments.

5. They’re Assertive with Boundaries

While being supportive they also have the ability to be firm, be honest and clear about what they need from you, and know when it’s time to call an audible for a date night or vacation. They make you want to be “better,” they bring out the best in you, and call you on your stuff.

6. They’re Safe

Even though you’re not going to share everything with them about your job, you’re going to share most things with them. Great ministry spouses are trustworthy, hold sensitive information to themselves well, and act as a stabilizing voice in your life.

7. They Understand the Pressure of Ministry

Ministry carries with it unique spiritual, emotional, time, and social pressures. Great ministry spouses “get it.” They help you carry and even diffuse that pressure.

Posted in Family, Leadership, Spiritual Formation


Top Posts of 2017 #6 “6 Keys to Motivating Millennial Church Leaders”


As I already mentioned in this countdown, millennials were a popular topic on my blog this year. This is the second post in this year’s countdown that had to do with millennial church leaders.

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


Top Posts of 2017 #8 “When to Invest in a Young Leader and when to Ignore them”


A lot of people in church world are trying to figure out millennials. How do reach them, motivate them, develop them, and of course how do we hand of leadership of the Church to them? So it’s no surprise that this topic was a popular one on my blog this year.

Like it or not, millennials are making their way into leadership roles in churches across America. As they take their newfound place in church leadership many of them are looking for someone to invest in them and help develop them as young emerging leaders.

Experienced leaders are always going to have more opportunities available to say yes to than capacity to meet them. This is true in leadership and this is true in developing young talent. You have to make a choice. So, choose wisely. How do you know who to invest in and who to ignore?

Young, naïve, and inexperienced talent doesn’t bother me. But young talent that is void of the following four intangibles scares me to death.


Skills can be trained but talent is developed. Talent is something you have or you don’t have. It’s something you’re born with or is gifted to you by the Holy Spirit. You get the gifts you’re given. For instance, if someone has been given the spiritual gift of leadership, it can be developed and that art can be perfected over time through study and practice. Others without the spiritual gift of leadership may learn leadership skills but they’ll never have the talent to lead at the same level as someone with a leadership gift. I’m looking for young leaders who are very talented.


In a world where everyone gets a participation trophy and kids are taught that they can do anything and be anything they want to be in life; what I’m about to say isn’t going to be very popular. But it will be true. While different people may have similar talents, they may have different capacities. The Bible is clear that while many people may get similar or even the same gifts, that they are given in different measure. So, no you can’t be anything you want to be, but you can be the best you that you’re designed to be. That being said, I’m looking for young leaders who have a high capacity.


In the book of James, he Bible teaches us that “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  You can’t give something to someone who doesn’t want to or isn’t ready to receive it. (both matter by the way). You can’t teach someone who isn’t teachable. I’m looking for young leaders who demonstrate a teachable spirit.


It’s okay for a young leader not to have an answer, but it’s not okay for that same young leader to not go find the answer. It’s okay for a young leader to fail and not get everything right the first time. It’s not okay for a young leader to not try as hard as they possibly can to succeed. I’m looking for young leaders who demonstrate tremendous effort.

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing
Page 1 of 3912345»102030...Last »