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Why going Multisite won’t Fix your Church

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The last stats I saw showed that there are more than 8,000 multisite churches across America and more than 1,600 mega churches (churches of more than 2,000 people in weekly attendance). While both are growing, the multisite church movement has outpaced the mega church movement in America. What was once seen as only a Band-Aid strategy for space issues at mega churches has become a vehicle for growth in local churches of all kinds and all sizes (the average size a church goes multisite is around 850-1200). “Multi” doesn’t mean “Mega” anymore.

I’m excited about this trend, because I’m excited about churches growing and reaching new people with the Gospel. But one trend I’ve observed about the multisite movement concerns me. 80% of churches in America are stuck or in decline and a growing number of them are looking to multisite as the silver bullet to fix their “stuckness.” Here’s why I’m concerned…

1. There is no Silver Bullet Fix for your Church

I’ve never seen a church (or a business, relationship, or anything else in life for that matter) where there was a silver bullet fix. For churches that are stuck or in decline, please don’t multisite. Trust me, you’ll only make it worse. Master the standard and then innovate.

2. Don’t go Multisite until you have to

Don’t go multisite until you have to. Sounds simple enough right? What that means is if you don’t have momentum don’t try to manufacture it through going multisite. It will backfire on you. If you’re already doing multiple services, if you’re already growing and reaching new people with the Gospel, if you already have momentum, if you already have the leadership and organizational bandwidth to do it then by all means, please, go multisite.

3. Don’t replicate Complexity

It’s near impossible to replicate complexity and let’s face it most churches in America are complex. If you have a menu approach to ministry where you pride yourself on having something for everyone it’s going to be difficult to replicate that at a new campus.

4. Going Multisite shines a light on your Strengths AND your Weaknesses

While your church may have some islands of strength to build on (just about every church does), it also has some weakness (again just about every church does). Multisite may amplify your strengths but it will do the same to your weaknesses, the ones you know about, and the ones you don’t.

5. Overextending yourself always Leads to Decline

One of my greatest concerns I see in churches going multisite before they’re ready is that they have a tendency to overextend themselves when it comes to staff, volunteers, finances, and so on. Over reaching always leads to decline and if you’re already stuck or declining multisite isn’t going to help.

Photo Credit: kevin dooley via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership

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Are you a Perfectionist or a Leader?

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There’s a big difference between a perfectionist and a leader. One draws people to a cause and the other repels them. While perfectionists may be adept at pointing out opportunities for improvement few people will want to join them in the process of improving things. I’m sure you don’t know any perfectionistic church leaders and I know you’re not one. But just in-case you ever come across one, here’s a few thoughts that may be helpful.

  • When you lead with handing out instructions you don’t put yourself in a position to be instructed.
  • If no one can do it as good as you then no one will be doing it but you. Perfectionism is lonely and is a lid to organizational growth.
  • You know who listens to a know-it-all? No one.
  • Perfectionism is the enemy of innovation.
  • You can’t play it safe and follow Jesus. The very essence of following Jesus is going somewhere you’ve never been before.
  • High control leads to low trust. By the way, you know control is an illusion right? The only thing you can really control is your effort and your attitude.
  • If you wait for the perfect plan you’ll never get out of the gate.
  • Good enough is good enough for good leaders.
  • Leaders care too much about results and progress to be paralyzed by waiting on the perfect next step (or first step).
  • Perfectionism is the low road and the easy way out. Leadership requires developing others, and allowing others to do it differently than you (maybe even fail, yikes!). It’s way harder!
  • Imagine if Jesus acted like a perfectionist with you. He doesn’t criticize you when you don’t do it perfectly. He really could do it better than you and He still invites you to join Him in shepherding His church.

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation

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When is the Right Time to Restructure your Church Staff?

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One of the most common lids to growth in a church is structure. It can free you up to move toward the vision that God has given your church or it can chain you to the past. Either way, it’s your choice. But how do you know if a restructure is in your future? These helpful tips below will help you get going in the right direction.

1. You’re Perfectly Structured to get the Results your Getting

So here’s the good news. You’re perfectly structured to get the results you’re getting today. Don’t like the results you’re getting? It might be time to change your structure.

2. Ride what you’ve got as Long as you can

Before you get too antsy to change your structure (structure changes don’t solve everything) ride the structure you have as far as you can.

3. Structure can be a Lid or a Pathway to Growth

Structure can keep your church stuck. So a proactive structure change can help you plan and prepare for growth. If you’re not ready for growth, you’re not going to get it.

4. Span of Care

Typically C-level staff can manage 5-10 direct reports. When your span of care goes beyond that, it’s time to change things. Want to read more? Check out this article by Harvard Business Review “How Many Direct Reports?”

5. Lines of Communication

When internal communication begins to slow down and information doesn’t flow quickly between departments or layers of the organization it may be time to restructure.

6. Streamlined Decision Making

Often structure can be a significant lid to decision-making and the growth of a church. When you have to check with multiple committees, teams, stakeholders, and then recheck again before taking a vote it might be time to restructure.

Need help figuring out how to restructure your church staff? Check out the Staffing and Structure Review that the Unstuck Group helps churches work through. We love helping a church position its staff team to best fit both the ministry and the individuals involved. Our Staffing & Structure Review does just that. From org charts, to job descriptions, to governance and leadership development, this process will help your church staff to its vision.


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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4 Bad Habits that Young Church Leaders Need to Break

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Before you read this, please understand that I love and am for young leaders. After all, I was one once. But there are some really bad habits that young church leaders are exhibiting that need to be broken if they have any hope or chance of having the deep and broad Kingdom impact that they’re dreaming of.

#1 Discover v Develop

Stop waiting around for some big church somewhere to discover you and give you the big stage opportunity that you think you deserve. Instead earnestly begin developing the ministry that the Lord has entrusted to you where you are right now and you may be surprised to see how the Lord begins to develop you.

#2 Talent v Character

Stop relying on how talented you think you are. Instead learn to rely on Jesus, enjoy the talent He’s given you, develop it, and learn to leverage it well for the Kingdom. Talent might just get you somewhere but character will keep you there.

#3 Critical Spirit v Critical Thinking

Stop being critical of everything that is wrong with the church and the leader you’re following and learn to get on the solution side of things. Start learning how to think for yourself. Don’t just copy methods or ideas you heard at a conference, but dig deep into why things are the way they are and how real lasting change takes place.

#4 Lead with Statements v Lead with Questions

Stop talking so much. Stop leading with pithy statements you saw on social media, read in a book, or heard from a popular speaker. Instead of blurting out, talking first, and following the urge to tell everyone everything that you know and arguing about why you’re right lead with questions and learn to be interested in others ideas as well. Remember, the team outperforms the individual every time.

Want to learn more about leading young church leaders? Check out these 10 Articles that will Help Your Church Develop Young Leaders.

Note: A big shout out to the Sr. Leaders from Sun Valley Community Church for the conversation that led to this blog post! Keep investing in the next generation of church leaders!


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation

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Why Crisis is a Leaders Best Friend

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If you lead in a church long enough eventually you’re going to face a crisis. It may be a staff crisis, a financial crisis, a moral crisis, a personal crisis or even a crisis of faith. One of the differences between good church leaders and great church leaders is that while good church leaders manage through crisis a great church leader never lets a serious crisis go to waste.

1. Crisis is an Opportunity for Change

Crisis is neither good or bad, it’s simply an opportunity to change things. In fact the best leaders know how to create healthy crisis in order to build a sense of urgency within people and the organization that can lead to change and forward movement.

2. Crisis Defines Reality

Crisis is a barometer. It helps you understand where you are, what your strengths and weaknesses are as a church, a staff team, and a leader. But you have to be willing to see it. You have to be willing to avoid deflecting blame, criticism, and begin to listen and take personal responsibility. Crisis will show you what you’re really made of, and it will show you what your team and the organization you lead is made of as well.

3. Crisis puts a Spotlight on Leadership

When crisis hits, all eyes are on the leader. Crisis is an incredible opportunity for leaders to build trust by delivering results and following through.

4. Crisis is a Catalyst for Innovation

Crisis creates opportunity for innovation. New ideas thrive in crisis. Problem solvers come alive when pressure is applied and they’re faced with daunting circumstances.

5. Crisis Infuses Courage

Comfort is the enemy of courage. When things are going smoothly and everything is routine it takes very little courage (faith) to lead a church. Crisis jump starts the kind of courage it takes to lead a church.

Change doesn’t happen in a church that’s stuck simply because the leader says things must change. A crisis, or a perceived crisis, has to be great enough to provide enough pressure that will help everyone be ready for change.


Posted in Leadership
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