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Why the Church isn’t to Blame for Ministry Burnout

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A quick Google search for “ministry burnout” will reveal a long list of articles that include bleak statistics and multiple lists that will help people in ministry avoid burnout.

While most perspectives out there are set to vilify the church for causing ministry burnout I’d like to throw out a less popular option to consider. I understand some will consider this harsh, but I’d encourage you to really think this next statement through before you dismiss it.

“Ministry burnout is self-induced.”

  • No one is responsible for how you spend your time but you
  • No one is responsible for the depth of your friendship with Jesus but you
  • No one is responsible for the rhythm of your rest and work but you
  • No one is responsible for how you respond to pressure but you
  • No one is responsible for how lonely you feel but you
  • No one is responsible to say “no” for you other than you

Taking personal responsibility for the health of your own soul and rhythm of your life may be the first and best step you can take to avoid ministry burnout.

Interested in learning more about Ministry Burnout? Check out these helpful articles:

  1. Soul Care and the Leader
  2. Heading Towards Burnout Part-1
  3. Heading Towards Burnout Part-2
  4. What your Pastor isn’t Telling You

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation

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3 Expectations that Young Church Leaders need to Change Today

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A lot has been written in recent years about the Millennial Generation and young leaders; most of it negative. At the risk of sounding like the old guy in the room, I’ll admit, it does seem like the expectations of young leaders are a little off the mark. In fact, here are three expectations in particular that I think young leaders need to change today if they want to be successful in the future.

1. Mentoring & Development

Most talented young leaders are looking for someone to invest in and develop them, and rightly so. The only problem is leaders aren’t walking around looking to invest in people. They’re too busy leading big stuff. If you’re a young leader looking for development then don’t wait for someone to come along and take you under their wing. Chase someone who has what you’re looking for until you catch them.

2. Timeline

Most young leaders expect to be placed into significant leadership positions with great influence very quickly. Unfortunately landing that dream job in the church is probably going to take you longer than you think. Yes, you’re probably talented, and yes the church could probably benefit from your leadership influence. But trust is built up close and over time. And trust is the fuel that leadership runs on. Build trust and you’ll accelerate your leadership timeline.

3. Work Ethic

Most young leaders underestimate the amount of sheer work it will take to get where they want to go. Church leadership is not for the faint of heart, or for the lazy. Successfully pastoring in a growing local church setting isn’t a 40-hour a week; punch the time clock kind of a gig. It’s going to take real work, hard work. You’ll have to endure moments of hurt and disappointment. And you’ll have to have the tenacity to not give in. And keep working.

Interested in learning more about leading young leaders in the church today? Check out these 10 Articles that will help your church develop young leaders.


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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How to keep Easter Guests Coming Back

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In a couple of days churches all across the country are going to be hosting guests at their Easter services, hoping they say yes to following Jesus, and hoping that they come back the next week and get connected in the life of their church. I hope that happens too. But hope is not a strategy.

Here’s a couple of ideas that should help you develop a strategy to keep those guests coming back well after Easter.

1. Help Guests Self-Identify

Instead of head hunting for guests, create simple ways for guests to let you know that they are there. Guest parking, children’s check-in, a physical guest services location, and a communication card located in your church program or bulletin are all simple ways to create avenues for guests to let you know they are there, when they’re ready to let you know.

2. Don’t Spam People

Please don’t show up on people’s doorstep or bombard them with multiple emails and letters the week following Easter. Many of the companies out there that are the best at guest services don’t overtly pursue guests. Rather they are available to guests and their needs when their guests engage them and express a need.

3. Make the Next Step Easy

People come to church on Easter for all kinds of reasons, but they’ll stay at a church because of relationships and responsibility. What is the one, clear, simple, and easy step you want all of your guests to take…and why should they take it? How are you going to get guests quickly and easily connected to relationships and responsibility at your church?

4. The More Personal the Better

Instead of sending the same generic follow up letter to everyone make it personal. If guests are giving you personal information such as their name and the names of their children, and if someone is personally greeting them and hosting them then reach out to them in the same personal manner. Why not have the person that greeted them and hosted them write a hand-written card thanking them for being a guest at your church and that they’re looking forward to seeing them again next week.


Posted in Leadership

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Managing the Tension between Culture and Control in a Multisite Church

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One of the greatest challenges of leading a Multisite Church is maintaining alignment across campuses. Regardless of how proven your ministry model may be, many campus leaders still desire space to make it their own. While this drive can be evidence of their leadership capacity, it can also create tension and disunity on your team. How can you keep a diverse group of leaders in different communities focused on the same mission and ministry wins?

When you break it down, there are only two core approaches to multisite alignment. You can either lead through culture or you can lead through control. Which approach is best for your multisite team? Understanding their five differences can help you decide:

1. Approach to Decision-Making

Culture: Campus leaders are developed to make decisions
Control: Centralized decisions are leveraged across campuses

In a multisite church that is led through culture, campus leaders understand how to make decisions. Values are clear and shared at every location. Each leader knows what should be considered important when they are at a decision point.

In a control-driven approach to alignment, everyone understands how decisions get made. Campus leaders regularly take issues and ideas to centralized leaders for approval.

2. Focus of Central Leaders

Culture: Driving the right questions
Control: Providing the right answers

In a culture-driven church, central leaders focus on communicating values and asking the right questions. They spend their time developing the organization’s mindset for ministry. For example, at NewPointe, I worked hard to focus campuses on one driving question: “What is the absolute best thing for the unchurched family in our community?” I knew if that was always in the minds of our leaders, we could trust them to move forward and make great decisions.

Control-driven central leaders focus more on policies and standards. They spend their time developing the right plans to get the results they desire across locations. They lead with answers more often than questions.

3. Leadership Empowerment

Culture: Empower growing leaders
Control: Equip new leaders

Culture-driven churches empower growing leaders to develop. As long as they operate within the mission, values, and strategies of the church, campuses have the opportunity to develop and implement plans. This gives them greater ownership and experiences for growth.

Control-driven churches equip new leaders with clear plans. They can more quickly involve younger ministry leaders, knowing they’ll be set up with proven approaches in every area.

4. Operational Pace

Culture: Requires slower pace
Control: Allows faster pace

Culture-driven churches require a slower pace. Because each leader has more flexibility, it takes them more time to develop and implement plans. Additionally, organization-wide decisions require greater input from campuses, leading to more conversations and meetings.

Control-driven organizations can move at a faster pace. With every campus utilizing the same plans, leaders do not spend time reinventing them. Campuses can also be launched at a faster rate because the approach is not being adjusted for each new location.

5. Rate of Innovation

Culture: Creativity at campuses
Control: Innovation at the top

Culture-driven organizations encourage creativity at the campus level. This widens the number of people trying new approaches and gives entrepreneurial leaders faster ground-level feedback. With that, innovation may take place at a faster rate.

In a control-driven church, innovation primarily takes place at the top. Central leaders develop new approaches for all campuses. This can decrease the number of new ideas and increase the amount of time it takes to get ground-level feedback. However, it also reduces the amount of staff required at each campus.

While each approach to alignment has advantages, it is critical to lean toward the one that supports your vision as well as the wisdom of the moment your church is in. If you’re trying to launch new campuses at a fast rate, control will often be required. If you’re more focused on developing your current locations, leading through culture will likely be a better fit. In either case, be clear with your campus and central leaders about how you are staying aligned. Otherwise, they will always be on different pages.


This is a guest post by Ryan Stigile. Ryan is the Director of Strategic Resources for The Unstuck Group. Previously, as Director of Expansion at NewPointe Community Church (NE Ohio), Ryan led the launch and development of new multisite campuses. With Mount Paran Church (Atlanta, GA), he guided the leadership team through a strategic change initiative to simplify and align its ministries. Ryan has a Master of Business Administration from Kennesaw State University and degrees in business administration and discipleship ministry from Lee University.

Photo Credit: kevin dooley via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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7 Articles that will Help Your Church become More Generous

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Building a generous culture in your church isn’t easy. In fact generosity goes against every natural bone in our bodies, because what comes natural to us is us. That’s why both Jesus and the Apostle Paul connect spiritual maturity with generosity and living an others oriented life. Money in particular is a tough topic for most pastors to talk about with their church. Over the years I’ve written a bit about building a generous culture in your church and below are some of the more popular posts. Enjoy and I hope they’re helpful!

20 Ways Church Leaders can Help their Churches become More Generous

I’ve been around very few church leaders that didn’t wish their people would become more generous. But very few church leaders have defined a strategy to help their people take steps to become more generous.

3 Reasons People don’t Give to your Church

Just like there are real actionable steps that churches can take to engage givers, there are also things that churches do to repel givers. More often than not they’re doing these things and they don’t even know it.

5 Characteristics of Generous Churches

Generosity stands in direct opposition to our sin nature. After all most of us don’t wake up thinking about someone else’s day…

Engaging the Givers in your Church

When it comes to engaging major givers in the church a majority pastors feel uncomfortable at best. Many pastors don’t know how to approach the subject and are afraid of saying the wrong thing. While churches have often built elaborate strategies to help people take steps in their spiritual journey and grow in their relationship with Jesus; they usually resort to a “just preach the Word and hope things work out” approach to giving. The problem is hope isn’t a strategy. It doesn’t have to be this way.

5 Indicators that your Church is Financially Overextended

Earlier this fall in a post entitled “Breaking Through your Capacity Lid,” I wrote that financial shortfalls at churches can limit opportunities. I suggested that there are two sides to finances in a church setting. One is building a culture of generosity in your church and then the other is managing that generosity so you position yourself organizationally to say yes to Jesus when He provides clear vision and opportunity. Immature organizations over extend themselves financially and self impose artificial lids as a result.

Why People don’t Financially Invest in your Church

I recently read Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate by Clif Christopher. It’s a quick read that you can get through in one sitting, but it’s full of principles that you’ll come back to over and over again. There are a lot of reasons why people don’t give to churches as much as they used to.

6 Simple Steps to Help your Church become More Generous

Generosity is not something that Jesus wants from you. It’s something He wants for you. Generous churches and church leaders who understand the generous nature of the God that we serve help the people in their churches become more generous.

 


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation
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