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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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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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7 Lessons from a Sr. Pastor Succession Plan that Worked

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In 2014, I had a front row seat to the handoff of senior leadership of a multi-mega church from one Lead Pastor to another. Serving on the Executive Team at that time I had the privilege of having a behind the scenes view to the whole thing, start to finish.

Scott Ridout, who now serves as the President of Converge Worldwide a movement of over 1,300 churches that have joined together to start and strengthen churches, served in leadership at Sun Valley Community Church for 16 years before handing it off to Chad Moore who now serves as the Lead Pastor.

Both are fantastic leaders and even better men. Now a couple of years removed from leading through that transition with them there are a few things that stand out to me that made the transition successful. If your church will be going through a leadership transition in the future you may want to keep these principles in mind.

Hired from the Inside

Chad had joined the staff at Sun Valley back in 2004 and had already been on the team for 10 years when this transition happened. When you like the culture that you have you hire from the inside, when you want to change the culture you hire from the outside.

Public and Private Trust

As a result of leading together up close and over time trust had been built with 4 unique and important audiences. The church body, the staff, the board, and of course trust had been built between Chad and Scott. That public buy-in and private trust provided a foundation for the transition to succeed.

Reflection of our Culture

Due to his tenure at Sun Valley, Chad embodied the culture we were trying to create. If we had hired someone from the outside it would have marked a change in culture and with it a period of turmoil.

A High Capacity Leader is Essential

While both men are fantastic leaders, they are different leaders. But they are both high capacity leaders. While gifted uniquely they both have a high capacity. When there’s a new leader you don’t want people hoping that they’ll grow into the role. We didn’t have to worry about that in this case.

The Right Timing

The best time to make a baton handoff is at full speed. The best time to make change in a church is when you have momentum. Sun Valley had just gone multisite 3 years prior to this succession and was (and still is today) experiencing new growth.

A Clear Next Step for the Exiting Pastor

Scott had a very clear calling in all of this to become the next President of Converge. Without a clear next step for the exiting Sr. Pastor this would have gone completely different.

Humility

I could have easily led with this one. Humility was the chief characteristic that provided the right environment for the transition to be as successful as it was. Both men chose to do what was best for the church at every juncture in the process rather than grasp for power, prestige, preference or position.

If you want to learn more about succession planning for Sr. Pastors or need help with one at your church, I’d recommend my friend William Vanderbloemen to you. To learn more you can check out an interview I did with him about his book Next: Pastoral Succession that Works


Posted in Leadership, Staffing
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