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Why a Teaching Team is a Better Approach to Teaching at your Church

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Although the idea of a teaching team is not a new idea, I’m surprised at the amount of churches across the country that have not embraced this approach to preaching in their weekend worship services.

Don’t hear what I’m not saying:

  • I’m not advocating that you use the “main stage” to develop communicators. Don’t experiment on your church. Instead develop communicators in other ministry venues than the weekend worship services. There can’t be a big “drop off” in gifting from the primary preacher to others on the teaching team. Otherwise internally people are going to be saying, “oh no, not this guy again.”
  • I’m not advocating that you water down or muddy your unique culture. It’s not helpful to have preachers on the teaching team that have completely different styles or theological perspectives. Preaching is the primary way culture is built in a church so keep the same approach and same “voice.”
  • I’m not advocating that your main preacher speaks less than 35 weekends a year (+/-).
  • I’m not advocating that you have too many voices on stage, more than 3 can get confusing.

In today’s world communicators aren’t just compared to other preachers they’re compared to other communicators including comedians, late night show hosts, TED talks, and every other great preacher in the world that anyone can listen to on the internet. Developing a teaching team is simply a better approach to teaching.

It keeps Communicators Fresh

Preaching week in and week out, 52 weeks a year is a grind. Very, very, very few preachers on the planet can be great 52 weeks a year, year after year. A teaching team helps great preachers preach great sermons. Not only do they get time to work on their sermons and prepare better content, but they can work together on the content and delivery preparation.

It keeps Engagement Up

No matter how good of a communicator your pastor is, they only have so many stories. More voices on the stage keeps engagement up because your church body hears things different ways from different people. Also, if you do this well, you can engage a younger audience by having communicators on the team who are younger than the primary preacher.

It Teaches the Church it’s not all about One Person

Building a great teaching team teaches the church body that ministry isn’t just about or built around one superstar with a great teaching gift. Rather, the body, when it works together as a body and you lean into everyone’s unique gifting actually takes more ground and functions better. Remember, the team always outperforms the individual, this is also true in teaching teams.

It sets you up for Succession

Every pastor is an interim pastor. One day they will no longer be the leader or the preacher. Someday, somebody else will step in and pick up where you left off. A teaching team helps make this transition easier for the church to embrace.


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing

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Does your Church need to Sacrifice something Sacred?

sacredcow

Knowing when to end a ministry can be tough, taking the right approach to how to end it can be even more difficult. Starting a new ministry initiative at your church is usually fun, exciting and is often full of new engagement with new people and is typically coupled with momentum.

If your church has been around for a while you’ve probably started some new ministry initiatives over the years. The trouble is, everything you start you need to work to sustain. Then eventually that ministry runs its natural life-cycle and you’ve got to make a decision. Do you kill it or let it die a natural death?

Chances are your church has some “sacred cow” ministries that have been around for a long time, have a great history, have had a great impact in the past, but are on life support now. Does your church need to sacrifice some of these sacred cows?

The Danger Zone

The most dangerous ministry to continue to invest in at your church is a ministry that keeps insiders (people who already know Jesus) happy but doesn’t reach outsiders (new people). These ministries probably still have a lot of people engaged in them and at one point were full of new people and stories of life-change. As the ministry has reached “maturity” now the people engaged in them really enjoy the relationships they’ve built over time. They’re not necessarily bad, they just don’t reach new people. They may not have even started to show decline yet, but you know that they’ve effectually “jumped the shark.” That’s what’s so dangerous. These ministries need careful attention and skill applied to move them back over to the upward slope of the life-cycle or they’ll continue to drift towards decline and eventual death. 

Foolishness

It’s possible that your church is still investing heavily in some ministries that aren’t producing many results. If we’re following the plan Jesus laid out for His Church, the results we’re chasing are life-change. However, many churches are still investing resources like staffing, finances, time, communication horsepower, and emotional energy into ministries that are producing little life-change. The book of Proverbs would call that foolishness.

New Opportunities

If you’ve got new opportunities to help new people say yes to following Jesus but you can’t fuel those new ministry initiatives because you’re still investing heavily in ministries that aren’t producing much life-change it’s probably time to kill some sacred cows. It’s surprising how often church leaders forget that that pruning is a biblical concept. You can’t follow Jesus and stay where you are personally, so why would we think that our churches can follow Jesus and stay where they are at the same time? Something needs to change.

Kill it OR let it Die?

It takes just as much skill and courage to end a ministry as it does to start one, sometimes even more. When a ministry is nearing its end, you’ve got a decision to make, do you kill it or let it die a natural death. The answer is it depends. Is it a barrier to launching and investing in the new ministry initiative you feel led to begin? Is it creating organizational drag? Are you and your team investing a disproportioned amount of time, money, volunteers, and emotional energy into it? If so, it may be time to kill it. If not, then why create unnecessary pain for yourself and everyone else, just let it die a natural death.


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation

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A Sneaky way to Change the Culture of your Church Staff Team

missions

The church staff at Sun Valley Community Church (the church I have the pleasure of serving at) just did something really unique. It wasn’t complicated or particularly flashy and it didn’t make a big public impact on the church. In fact the church body doesn’t really even know about it. But I believe it will have a tremendous influence on the trajectory of the church.

Due to our unique location being in the southwest, we were able to pile up our church staff in a convoy of vans and drive across the border to Mexico to spend a day serving with one of our ministry partners.

Like I said…not particularly flashy…but how many churches do you know of who take the time and pay for all of their staff to do a 2-day mission trip to Mexico? It’s a simple thing that I believe can make a really big difference…and here’s a couple of reasons why:

#1 Speed of the Team, Speed of the Church

The church always, always, always takes on the culture of the church staff. If you want a church body that cares about reaching people with the Gospel but your church staff doesn’t model that you can forget about it. If you want a church that cares about the nations you need to have a staff that cares about the nations. I want to serve on a church staff team that cares about what Jesus cares about.

#2 Discipleship/Development doesn’t happen in a Classroom

The first time I went on an international mission trip my life changed. It changed the way I viewed people, the way I read God’s word, my friendship with Jesus and the way I viewed myself and call upon my life. I want to put the team I’m responsible for in environments where their life can be changed by Jesus!

#3 Time Together

Like your church staff, most of the time our church staff spends together is related to work. Rarely do we set aside a significant amount of time designed to move us towards one another relationally and spiritually. A shared experience like serving together can begin to change the relational dynamics on a team.


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing

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The Difference between Credibility and Ability

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There’s a big difference between ability and credibility. I’ve had conversations with many young leaders who think they should get a shot at an opportunity or they deserve be promoted because of their ability. But what many young leaders fail to understand is that real leadership is recognized not appointed.

This is not about “paying your dues,” but rather figuring out 3 big leadership lessons…

  • Learning to be Patient: the art of timing is essential in leadership
  • Submitting to Authority: you can’t be in authority without learning to be under authority
  • Delivering Consistently Over Time: building the credibility to lead, not just having the ability to

Ability is an unrealized ceiling that you have based on your potential.

Just because you have the ability to doing something doesn’t mean you have done it or that you will do it. You have an upside because someone sees something in you. You have the potential to deliver, but you haven’t delivered yet…at least not consistently over an extended period of time. You’ve shown flashes of greatness but can you deliver that day in and day out?

Credibility is what you have when you demonstrate ability over time.

What makes you credible is the fact that you’ve delivered consistently over time. People know what to expect from you. You show up over and over and over again. You are consistent with what you deliver over and over and over again. You know it and everyone else knows it. People know you can do a job, because you’ve proven it.


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing

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3 Big Reasons Why Missions Pastors are an Endangered Species

missions

I can remember the first international mission trip that I ever went on. A young up and coming ministry leader with a parachurch organization called the Navigators invited me to spend some time in Singapore and Indonesia with him. My life and friendship with Jesus would never be the same.

Most people go on a trip like this hoping to change the world and the world that ends up getting changed is their own. And this is the greatest value in short term mission trips, discipleship. Short term mission trips have the potential to be one of the greatest catalysts of spiritual growth, leadership development and developing an outsider focused culture in your church.

The problem? More and more churches are dropping the role of mission pastors like hot potatoes.

Come & See Mentality

Instead of a go and tell approach to ministry many churches are adopting a come and see mentality. In more and more churches ministry is something that happens at the church not in community.

It’s easier to send Money than People

It’s a lot easier and safer to just sent money than it is to send people. Mobilizing a team of people to go requires time, energy and leadership.

They Keep Going instead of Sending

Often times people who feel called to “international missions” see more value in going than sending and as a result leave a leadership void in the local church. While there can be impact in going that impact can be magnified exponentially by sending.


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing
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