0

The 4 Phase Planning Process for Church Leaders

Few churches have a great planning process. Most don’t even have a good planning process, if they have a process at all.

I’m not sure why this isn’t a bigger priority. Planning is certainly biblical. I don’t find many pastors who would really take aim at that fact. You’d have to throw out a lot of Proverbs, if you decided to.

Everyone likes to talk about stewardship and the stewardship of Kingdom resources, which involves a lot of wisdom and planning. So, if I have to put it in this context, learning a great planning process is good stewardship of Kingdom resources.

At the Unstuck Group we’ve been helping churches with strategic planning for quite a few years now, and we’ve seen a lot of what works and what doesn’t. We believe in the process the team at The Unstuck Group uses. We believe it’s a great planning process because it incorporates four key elements.

The 4 Phase Planning Process

4 Phase Process

Wise planning should always include:

1) Assessment – Understanding where you are now.

You should start with a good understanding of where you are now. We believe an outside perspective is always going to give you the best result. (We even bring in an outside facilitator when we do strategic planning for The Unstuck Group.) It’s also important to look at key metrics and not just rely on your opinions about the health of your church. Your opinions are heavily influenced by tradition and emotion, whether you want to believe it or not.

2) Planning – Defining where you are going and how you will get there.

Your plans should clarify and focus your vision, blending together the strategic, operational and financial aspects of your ministry. Involving ministry leaders from all of your departments brings alignment and will help you prevent ministry silos. Everyone will get on the same page about what you’re trying to accomplish, and what the wins are.

3) Structure – Determining the right form for your organization.

With a clear vision in place and core strategies outlined, you can easily see gaps in your staff team. For your plans to be realized, you will need to have the right people in the right roles. You will need a structure that creates accountability and supports the development of your staff.

4) Action  – Monitoring how you are doing and identifying what needs to change.

Plans that never see action are worthless. Your planning process needs to incorporate timelines, deadlines and evaluation. It needs to be a living, breathing thing that gets refreshed regularly as God leads your church into the future.

With a great planning process, you should be making wise decisions based on honest evaluations. You should be building the right team based on your plan. You should be making budget decisions based on your plan. You should be providing accountability for the execution of your plan. You should be routinely identifying what’s working and what isn’t.

And you shouldn’t feel stuck.

The Unstuck Group’s process walks churches through all four of these phases. And we continually receive stories from pastors who have learned this process and are seeing breakthrough. We’d love to share more about how it works with you. Follow this link to learn more about how it works.


This post was originally published on Tony Morgan’s blog. Tony serves as the Chief Strategic Officer at the Unstuck Group.  You can keep up with Tony at his blog by following this link.


Posted in Leadership

1

Why Good Leaders Shoot Down New Ideas

idea

Ever had an idea that your boss shot down? Sure you have, I have too.

Remember when you were a young leader full of fresh new ideas and you were pretty sure that your idea was the best idea in the room? Remember how frustrated you were with your boss when they shot down that great idea? You were so sure that they just didn’t get it and they were passing on the next big thing.

There are countless examples of organizations and churches that fall in love with past success, become risk adverse over time, and refuse to change. But did you know that the most successful organizations and churches on the planet are just as adept at shooting down new ideas? Here’s why…

1. You Innovate for Impact

Many young leaders get enamored with new ideas. They want to challenge the status quo and do new things for the sake of doing new things; often times without fully understanding why current things are being done the way they are. What many young leaders miss out on is the goal of innovation. The goal of innovation is impact.

2. Is the Innovation a Significant Upgrade?

It’s not enough for the innovation to simply be better. The idea must lead to a significant upgrade, not just a tweak or subtle improvement. If a church or organization is going to invest the leadership capital, human capital, emotional energy, time, money, and so on it needs to be worth it. The return must significantly outweigh the investment.

3. Standardization is Innovations Best Friend

It may sound counter-intuitive but without standardization you can’t have impact. One little innovation in isolation can’t have much impact. But when there are standardized systems and process in place to preserve the culture, one innovation has the potential to be delivered throughout the entire organization or church and carry with it significant impact.


Posted in Leadership

0

How to Leave your Church

leave

No matter what style or size of church you serve in, no matter what title you have behind your name, there is one thing that every person in ministry has in common. At some point in the near or distant future, you will leave your current ministry position.

Unfortunately these leadership transitions often result in unnecessary damage to both the ministry staff person and the church because there was no plan in place when it came time for the leader to leave. I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember any class in Bible College or the latest ministry conference I attended that helped prepare ministry leaders to leave well.

I think we would all quickly agree that leaving well saves a lot of heartache for all involved. What we might not consider is that the way we leave affects the place we are going just as much as the place we are leaving. If you supervise staff, the same principle applies. How ministry staff exit your team affects the ministry they are going to just as much as it effects your ministry.

I recently had coffee with a long time leader in college ministry named Mike who shared about his upcoming retirement and his organization’s plan for helping him leave his position well. At its heart, the strategy is about leverage leaving for a greater future impact. There are four steps.

1. Release

The first step is to prepare to release responsibility and relationships in your current position. The ministry leaders I know, give 110% and devote themselves to the people they serve. This makes releasing especially difficult when it comes time to transition. Before exiting the position, prepare yourself or your staff member to let go and not be surprised at the very normal loss that comes with the change in roles. There is also a normal desire to want to protect that ministry, which may cause a leader to hold on too tightly or stay involved too long. If you are leaving a position but not leaving the church, releasing will mean being strategically uninvolved in that particular ministry area until new leadership is established. Fully letting go of the responsibilities and authority of that position will also help you have both hands free to grab hold of what God wants next for you.

2. Rest

The second step is to rest. When moving from one position to the next, sometimes we don’t leave any cushion between past and future. Typically, we have some room to negotiate when it comes to start dates as we move into a new position. Strategically schedule time to rest and refresh during the transition. You need it. When you schedule time to rest, really rest. We’re only fooling ourselves if we take a week off, but use that time to read the latest book on church growth while sketching out a strategic plan for the next 90 days of ministry. Those are actually good things, but not rest. Do things that fill your tank and give you energy. If you are in a supervisory role and you can do it, give your staff member that is exiting financial support as they take time to rest.

3. Refocus

The third step is to refocus. It’s important to ask good questions during the transition. What are my areas of strength and God given talent? What do I love doing? What changes have occurred in me during the last stretch of ministry that have taught me about my unique call to ministry? If you are married, ask your spouse, “What do you think I am best suited for in ministry?” Schedule time to pray, journal and get counsel from those you trust. I believe God wants to give us the gift of insight when we leave a ministry position. This is true whether you are leaving because of your decision or the church’s decision. Take advantage of it. Also, if it has been a painful leave, there are many retreat centers across the nation to help ministry leaders gain clarity and healing as they begin the next chapter. Practically speaking, this could also be a time to invest in some personality or leadership style assessments, get needed training and put more tools in your ministry tool belt.

4. Reengage

Finally, move forward and reengage. This starts by reengaging with the people in your new area of ministry. If you had great friends in your previous setting it can be hard to do the work of establishing new relationships. The reason you had close relationships in the previous church is probably not because they were more loving and nicer people. It’s probably because you did the hard work to connect, get to know them and have shared experiences. Take the bull by the horns on this one and start building new relationships. This is key to leading well. You cannot lead well if you don’t love well. You also have to reengage when it comes to the culture and systems of your new environment. You can’t just bring everything you did in the previous church and apply it to this new setting. A good leader learns the culture and contextualizes leadership in that culture. Here is a quick tip. Principles transfer much more effectively than programs. Principles about people and leadership are typically universal.

If you are transitioning into a new position, leverage leaving for greater future impact. Release. Rest. Refocus. Reengage. Everyone involved will be healthier for it.


This is a guest post by Brian LaMew who serves as the Pastor of Campus Development at Sun Valley Community Church where he provides leadership to Sun Valley’s Campus Pastors. You can keep up with Brian on Twitter or Facebook.


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

0

How to get Guests to Come Back to your Church

locked door

Quick, name the top 5 churches you know that do a great job with guest services. Not so easy? Now try this, name the top 5 companies or organizations you know that do a great job with guest services. A little easier huh?

Why is it that the one organization on the planet that should care the most about people, the church, seems to get a bad rap for the way it treats people?

The other day I had the opportunity to spend a half-day with the staff at Sun Valley Community Church (the church I have the privilege of serving at) learning from the good folks over at Marriott about building a great guest service experience. If you want to be great at something you need to learn from people who do great things. Too bad there wasn’t church providing world-class service in this area we could learn from. Here’s a couple of take aways from our time together.

Nothing makes a guest feel more stupid than using internal language and jargon.

In other words stop using insider language. The most obvious way to tell if a church is insider focused or outsider focused is the language that they choose to use. It either says that the church is “inclusive” or “exclusive.” And it’s important because words build worlds. There are all kinds of ways this goes wrong in churches. Preaching as though everyone already knows Jesus and comes to the room with basic Bible knowledge, coming up with cool names and brands for ministries that mean nothing to people outside the church, and mentioning people from stage by name without explaining who they are just a couple of them. Two big principles to keep in mind when it comes to the language you choose to use in your church are: clear always trumps cute or cool and you’re always better off just calling things what they are. No one outside of your church understands what CR, Awana, FPU, or Re-Engage, means…sorry for the rant.

G.U.E.S.T.
G.reet the Guest

Be well kept, make eye contact, wear a smile, and have an open welcoming posture. A simple, “Welcome, we’re glad you’re here with us today,” will do. Don’t ask how people are doing unless you have time to stop and hear how they’re actually doing. Don’t ask unless you actually care to know. And by all means make sure your guest services volunteers are not huddled around talking with each other, instead ensure that they’re prepared and attentive to guests.

U.se the Guests Name

When possible use the guests name. It’s not as difficult as you may think to acquire a guest’s name at church. If they’re checking in their children for the first time, you’re obviously going to get their name. And you can always introduce yourself and ask their name…then use it. A name is the most important thing a person owns.

E.stablish the Guests Needs

Take time to understand what the guest needs. Are they looking around like they’ve never been there before? Are they looking for a restroom? Are they having a difficult time getting all of their kids into church? Don’t ask guests if they need help (men will always turn you down). Instead ask, “What can I help you find?” or “Let me help you.”

S.how Interest in the Guest

Think about how you can build a connection with a guest. Are they wearing sports paraphernalia? Is a child coming from a soccer game (wearing their uniform)? If it’s their first time attending, are they new to the area? Engage them in personal, yet unobtrusive, conversation.

T.hank the Guest

When people leave after service simply be polite, and thank them for being with you that weekend. Instead of spamming people a simple thank you email and invitation to their next step if they’re ready to take it is kind. Drop them a personal handwritten note thanking them for attending.


Posted in Leadership

0

3 Secrets of an Effective Church Staffing Structure

Let’s be honest: There’s no shortage of resources out there on building church staff teams. Where churches really struggle is putting what they’ve learned into action.

Later this month my friend Tony Morgan with the Unstuck Group is partnering up with William Vanderbloemen with Vanderbloemen Search Group to tackle this topic. William and Tony work with hundreds of churches of across the country; they witness firsthand where and why churches are stuck in this area.

This free webinar will break this topic down into three priority components and offer you clear next steps to start building a healthier, more effective team.

The health and effectiveness of your church starts with its leadership. This webinar will help you:

  • Get your structure and roles right.
  • Hire the right people (and know when it’s time to let them go).
  • Build a culture of leadership development.
  • Identify practical next steps you can use to circle up with your team and start leading the changes you need to make.

Thursday, May 26 at 1pm EST
Space is limited! Register now.


Posted in Leadership, Staffing
Page 3 of 142«12345»102030...Last »