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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


What do I do with that One Particular Person the Team?


I’ve talked to all kinds of church leaders serving in all kinds of churches across the country about building the right teams with the right people to make the unique vision that God has given them for their church become reality. Inevitably the conversation seems to always drift towards talking about this one particular person on their team. The question has come up so frequently that you probably have this person on your team as well.

The conversation usually goes something like this, “I’ve got this one person on the team. They’re really talented, they’ve produced some good results but there’s something about them.” Sometimes the church leader will be courageous enough to be really honest and say, “I’m not sure I even like them being on the team anymore. Sometimes I even find that I make excuses to myself and others for their behavior.”

They seem to do just enough to stay around. They’re dysfunctional but not overtly so. The fear of exiting them from the team is heightened often in a church because they have relationships with some important people and letting people go in a church setting seems to always be messy, sometimes even risky. Then there’s the energy and time that would be spent to find someone new and get them up to speed. Many church leaders in this situation end up feeling stuck.

Then the final question comes, “I’m not sure what to do with them. What do you think?” Well, you’re not alone, everybody has this person on their team…and I’m glad you asked. But one of the things that separates good teams from great teams is great teams deal with these people instead of letting them stay around forever and hold the team back.

The key indicator that you have this person on your team is that they don’t take personal responsibility when the conversation comes up.


When you’ve tried to talk about this with them in the past they just deny it. It’s not just that they see things differently than you do, they refuse to see what you see. Often in church world we do this to ourselves. We do a better job of letting stuff build up over time and not coach specifics in real-time so we’re left to discuss vague generalities instead of measurable specifics.


Another common response when the conversation comes up is deflection. They start rattling off a list of excuses that deflect responsibility of their behavior to their circumstances or other people around them. The tough thing is that if you listen to them long enough there is often a shade of truth in their deflection and some of their excuses begin to make sense. Which usually leads to them staying on the team a little longer.


Another way people respond poorly is by “shooting the messenger.” When confronted with feedback they aren’t ready to hear or are unable to accept it’s not uncommon for people react in a manner that is disproportionate to the conversation. That often comes out in anger.

Talking to this kind of person won’t help the situation. Many of you have tried and it hasn’t gotten you anywhere. You can’t coach this kind of person because they don’t want to receive any coaching. So, what do you do when you have this kind of person on your team?

Specific consequences

When dealing with these kinds of team members you’ve got to come to terms with what they actually need from you as their supervisor. They need you to provide clarity and specifics on what it is you expect them to change, as well as clarity and specifics on what is going to happen if they choose not to make those changes. They cannot be successful unless you provide that to them. That’s your job. There a number of natural consequences that they may experience including being placed on a 30-day performance improvement plan, a suspension, or it could even be as severe as losing their job.

Give them a choice

Once you provide them with options you’ve given them the power to make a choice. At that point, they get to choose whatever they want. That’s their part. They can change their approach and their behavior and avoid discipline or not. Whether they choose door #1 or door #2, it’s their choice, and you’ve given them the opportunity to be a part of the team or leave the team.

Follow Through

If they don’t follow through, you need to. Simply put, do what you said you were going to do. If they choose to continue their poor behavior and approach, they are communicating to you that they no longer want to be on the team. So, give them what they want.

Posted in Leadership, Staffing


Are You the Type of Person that can Work at a Fast-Growing Church?


Not everyone gets to work at a fast-growing church. Yes, I know a list comes out every year that identifies America’s top 100 fastest growing churches and there’s a lot of staff members represented in those top 100 churches. But in context to the more than 400,000 churches in America that’s a pretty small percentage of church staff members.

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.

There are all kinds of contributing factors to a church going through a period of fast growth, and at the top of the list is the Holy Spirit. In today’s booming market of church leadership and church growth strategy we would be making a mistake not to give credit where it is due. Jesus said He would be the one to build His Church.

That being said, I’ve had the unique blessing of serving at 3 very fast-growing churches. One went from 1,000 to more than 3,000, another went from 2,500 to 6,000 and the church I currently serve at I’ve had a front row seat to see it grow from 3,000 to 8,000.

While there are a lot of factors that contributed to those seasons of incredible 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…

1. Agile

They’re able to adapt to changing circumstances quickly and they don’t mind changing directions on projects. They become, “masters of midcourse corrections.” They love being on the team and they’re willing play different roles at different times based on what’s needed for the team to win. Ambiguity doesn’t bother them all that much because they trust and believe in the team and they know that together they’ll, “figure it out.”

2. Sober minded

They are self-aware enough to know what they’re good at and they play to their strengths and they play their part on the team. They’re also humble enough to do what’s best for the church and not for themselves or their career. They’re willing to change roles or have someone hired in over top of them so they don’t become the lid to growth.

3. Low Control

In a fast-growing church, you can’t have a staff member that is high control. There’s not time or bandwidth for micromanagement or perfectionism. In a fast-growing church, high control prevents you from generating new ideas and getting those ideas implemented and keeping up with the pace of growth because by the time the idea or new “product” is good enough to release you’ve missed the opportunity. Remember, the Gospel wasn’t meant to be controlled but unleashed.

4. Solution Oriented

Instead of focusing on problems and the past they’re focused on solutions and the future. Instead of talking to their supervisors about all of the reasons they can’t do something they’re bringing ideas of all the things they could do. They’re not as concerned about constraints as they are about what must be figured out. While there may be a lack of resources these team members are resourceful and they find a way.

5. Resilient

These church staff members have an unusually high pain tolerance. They’re typically leading through change and with change comes criticism. They know how to listen to the right people and ignore the rest. They’re laser focused on the vision of where they’re going and they’re willing to endure pain to get there, because it’s worth it to them.

6. Approach to Credit

These church staff members would rather the team win than worry about if they get any of the credit for it. They’re quick to accept responsibility and take credit when things go poorly and they’re equally quick to give away credit to others when they go well.

I’m sure there’s some characteristics that I’ve missed. If you’ve served in a fast-growing church what are some characteristics of the team members that made them different than other teams you’ve served on? Leave a comment!

Posted in Leadership, Staffing


Top Posts of 2017 #3 “5 Things that make Good Church Staff Member Leave your Church”


We’re now into the top 3 posts from 2017 and it’s no surprise that topic of building and keeping the right team comes in at number 3.

Good Church Staff Members leave churches for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes it’s because God has called them to something different. But more often than not it’s because of something very different.

1. You Stop Listening to Them

When you don’t listen to people they stop talking. And when you stop listening to good staff members they’ll go somewhere else where they feel heard.

2. They Don’t Feel Empowered

Nothing is worse than having responsibility for something with no authority to do anything about it. When you don’t empower staff members to make real decisions they’ll go somewhere they can.

3. An Unhealthy Staff Culture

Good team members don’t stay around on unhealthy teams very long. One of the best ways to attract and keep great team members is to build a health staff culture.

4. Lack of Vision

If you can’t provide clarity to your team about where you’re going next they’ll eventually grow frustrated, leave, and find that clarity somewhere else. And the irony is that those who have the greatest propensity to lead into the future will leave first.

5. Poor Strategy

If your team has a tendency to talk about ideas but has a difficult time executing them you probably don’t have a actionable strategy in place to move you toward a clear vision. Good Church Staff members don’t just want to talk about ideas, they want to execute them. If you can’t help them do that they’ll go somewhere else they can.

What are some other reasons you’ve see good Church Staff Members leave a church? Leave a comment.

Posted in Staffing
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