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My Top 10 Church Leadership Posts of All-Time

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More than six years ago I reluctantly began blogging. I started this journey kicking and screaming. I didn’t want to start a blog. After all what would I have to say? Who would listen? Did the Christian community really need another voice in a conversation that already seemed pretty loud to me?

What started as a couple of friends strongly encouraging me (badgering me may be a better way to say it) to share some notes from some leadership training I had done with some groups of leaders has somehow turned into literally hundreds of church leadership articles over the years.

I’m about to drop a secret on you about my blog. What keeps me going week in and week out is my personal discipline to continue to grow as a leader. This site acts as an accountability tool to keep me consistently thinking about, writing about, and testing my leadership thoughts and ideas. I don’t keep doing this for a platform, I keep doing this because I want to keep growing, so in essence you, the reader, get to have a sneak peak each week into my online, public, leadership journal. Over the years some posts have been more useful than others to readers. So I thought I’d share some of the most helpful articles over the last 6+ years with you. Happy reading!

#1 10 Insider Focused Ministry Names

This has always been an important topic to me. I’m convinced that words build worlds (culture) and that nothing betrays (reveals) the true culture of our churches more than how accessible (or inaccessible) our language is to outsiders.

#2 8 Reasons Why People Don’t Volunteer at your Church

I’ve had a bit of a self-admittedly outlier view on volunteerism in the church. I don’t believe that volunteer roles are slots to be filled or jobs in the church to be completed but that volunteering is discipleship and that you can’t follow Jesus and not volunteer. It’s bothers me that most churches just don’t get this.

#3 How Many People Should Your Church Have on Staff?

When I encourage churches to staff at a 1:100 ratio most of them look at me like I’m crazy. But not only is it doable but it’s a better model (for all kinds of reasons).

#4 When is it Right to Leave a Church?

People leave churches for all kinds of reasons. I’ve had friends of mine leave churches that I’ve been on staff at…that’s tough by the way. There are a couple of good reasons to leave a church, but most reasons people give are pretty weak stuff that they end up sprinkling a little “Jesus dust” on to make themselves feel good about it.

#5 6 Indicators You’re Leading an Insider Focused Church

I mentioned that this is an important topic to me & that I’ve written on it a bunch. After all the whole reason I thought the Church existed, like the whole reason God put the Church on the planet was for people who don’t yet know Jesus. What I’ve found is that most churches wouldn’t agree with me.

#6 10 Signs your Church is Headed for Decline

80% of churches in America are either plateaued or in decline. It’s possible to see the signs ahead of time and make changes before you experience decline.

#7 When to Add Another Worship Service at your Church

Many churches are stuck in attendance simply because they haven’t maximized their current facilities and campus. Thinking about adding another worship service at your church? Here are five strategic concepts to consider before you do.

#8 6 Things I Bet You Don’t Know About Your Pastor’s Wife

Every once in a while Lisa, my wife, will let me read my blog posts to her before I post them to get her feedback. Occasionally I’ll get real lucky and she’ll give me some of her insights to add…this one was gold.

#9 5 Core Behaviors of Churches that get Unstuck

One of the most rewarding things I’ve done the last 4 years has been consulting at the Unstuck Group. These core behaviors have come from observing and working with churches across America the last few years.

#10 Why Nice People Kill Churches

This post was written in an airport in Germany a couple of years ago. I was frustrated with people choosing politeness and people’s feelings over the mission of the church…and this is what came out of that frustration.


Posted in Leadership

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How to Change the Results at your Church Before they Happen

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Management expert Peter Drucker once said, “What gets measured gets improved.” In other words, if you can define how things have performed in the past and define your current reality then you should be able to make changes and improve future results. To a large extent this is true, but not always.

Churches measure what happened all the time. We measure what the attendance at last week’s worship services was, we measure what the offering was, we measure how many people were in groups last week, how many people served last week, and so on the list goes. The tough thing is you can’t change what just happened at your church last week.

Most of the key metrics we look at are all about what has already happened. But what if there were things that we could measure that were indicators of future performance?

1. Follow-Up Rate

Every week your church has guests (at least I hope you do). But do you know if they were followed up on and how quickly? Do you know if they were called, emailed, texted, if a letter was sent, etc. (whatever your follow-up process is)? Measuring the follow-up rate each week on the percentage of “closed” contacts will put a behavioral spotlight and emphasis not only on guests but also helping people get and stay connected at your church.

2. Engagement Rate

Again, you probably already know the metrics on group involvement, volunteers, giving, and other steps people take in their discipleship process at your church. But do you know how long it takes for the average person at your church to move from a guest (the first time you knew they were there), to when they joined a group, started volunteering, or gave for the first time? Measuring those rates will help you become much more proactive and change the score before it happens.

What else could you measure at your church that would be an indicator of future success and what is going to happen instead of simply measuring what has already happened? I’d love to hear your input, leave a comment!


Posted in Leadership

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Leadership Summit 2016: Wilfredo De Jesus

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Wilfredo De Jesus, who serves as the Senior Pastor at New Life Covenant Church wrapped up Leadership Summit this year with a spiritual challenge.

  • A leader who stops learning, stops leading
  • No one drifts upstream or towards holiness
  • It takes effort and determination
  • A map offers many routes to get to the same place but a compass doesn’t give alternate directions

How people respond to a cultural drift:

  1. Accommodate it: embrace it and go along with it. // lose truth
  2. Oppose it: they’re afraid that their way of life will be taken away and only listen to people who reinforce their ideas and fuel their anger. // lose their sense of grace
  3. Withdrawal from it: They think they are powerless to affect change and the issues are too complicated and so they shrink back from the culture. // lose their opportunity to represent Jesus
  4. Engage it: too many Christians value their position on issues rather than God’s command to walk in love

So what do we do about it?

  1. Know who we are: define ourselves the way Jesus defines us
  2. Watch the undercurrent: anything that goes opposite to the word of God
  3. Keep coming back: we need to keep making mid course corrections to stay on course. Making corrections are good and necessary to stay on track.
  • A person who never repents is a person who thinks they can never be wrong. Repentance requires humility.
  • A scared world needs a fearless church

Posted in Leadership

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Leadership Summit 2016: Horst Schulze

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CEO of the Capella Hotel Group and the Founding President of the Ritz Carlton, Horst Schulze was back at Leadership Summit talking about putting the customer first.

  • There is confusion about the difference between leadership and management
  • To be successful in business you have to be more sufficient to the market you serve than your competition, but to do that you have to know what your customer wants. You also have to be more efficient than your competition.
  • The Customer wants:
    1. No defect in the product
    2. Timely delivery
    3. To be treated well
  • It doesn’t matter what kind of store or product you have, if you deliver great hospitality you will win, because you are showing people that they matter.
  • This is accomplished by great leaders who have great management skills
  • Mass production led to the rise of management skills
  • Managers think…employees do
  • Management should manage process and products
  • Leadership cares and involves people
  • Leadership align people and take people to a destination
  • Don’t hire people for functions, hire them to be a part of thought, a purpose, or a dream and they have to know what that is on the first day.
  • Human beings cannot relate to orders and directions they relate to motive and objectives
  • Giving people more than they want isn’t efficient
  • There are 56,000 mistakes in 1 mill transactions of the average business
  • Efficiency is not cutting costs. Efficiency is cutting unnecessary work.
  • Removing defects is the greatest opportunity for efficiency

Posted in Leadership

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Leadership Summit 2016: Danielle Strickland

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Danielle Strickland who serves as an Officer in the Salvation Army, an Advocate and author provided Summit attenders an incredible challenge to provide spiritual leadership to followers not just leadership skills that you’ve picked up along the way.

There’s a difference between spiritual leadership and good regular leadership

  • “True peace is not the absence of conflict it’s the presence of justice” Martin Luther King Jr.
  • The world is crying out for “rightness” for all of the wrong things to be made right
  • Draw a horizontal line – label it “true humility” – one end of that line is insecurity the other end is arrogance
  • True humility = agreeing with God about who you are
  • Go in the strength you already have – you already are who you are – the leader’s job is to call people into who they already are
  • God wants you for who you are
  • Draw a vertical line – label it “true dependency” – the top is self sufficiency the bottom is co-dependency
  • This is agreeing with God about who He is
  • Most of us live our lives in such a self-sufficient manner that we don’t need God to show up except for a good parking space
  • Agree with God about who you are and who He is and take that peace you find into all the world

Posted in Leadership
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