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The Difference between a Church Planter & a Campus Pastor

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I’ve written previously about the newest Staff role in church-world, the Campus Pastor. Ever since the multisite movement has begun to gain momentum, churches across the nation have been searching high and low to find their next Campus Pastor. I’ve heard some church leaders even blame the multisite movement for an apparent increased difficulty in finding Church Planters. Essentially stating that instead of Church Planting, up and coming church leaders are opting to become a Campus Pastor instead of planting a church.

I’m not really buying it though. When it comes to recruiting a Church Planter or a Campus Pastor you’re looking for two very different people with two different sets of gifts.

Campus Pastor:

1. Developer: They’re great at developing people. They know how to identify potential in people and enjoy spending their time investing in others. People respond to their coaching and their performance improves because of it.

2. Leader: They know how to lead from here to there. They can position the staff to succeed, meet goals, and integrate calendars, budgets, and the ministries on their Campus in a manner that moves the Campus towards the vision.

3. Implementer: Great Campus Pastors makes things happen. They may not come up with the idea, but they can execute the idea. They know how to see ideas through from concept to completion.

Church Planter:

1. Calling: Great Church Planters possess a distinct calling from God to go and start something new. It’s not merely a career opportunity but deep sense of spiritual direction from God that they tenaciously grab hold of.

2. Visionary: They’re not simply a dreamer. Yes, they can see a preferred future, but at the same time they are wise enough to leverage the current moment to move people towards that future.

3. Entrepreneur: They are wired up to start new things. They are opportunity oriented, embrace risk, and are comfortable with the amount of ambiguity that comes with starting something new.

What other unique differences have you observed when it comes to Campus Pastors and Church Planters?

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Posted in Leadership

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Why Volunteering is the Biggest Issue Facing the Church

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I’ve never coached a church leader or consulted with a church that said they had enough volunteers. In fact, most church leaders I speak with identify a shortage of volunteers and volunteer leaders as one of the top 5 issues holding their church back from reaching the vision that Jesus has given them. But contrary to the popular belief among many church staff, the issue isn’t a poor talent pool. Your church is full of talented volunteers. In fact the people who attend your church are so talented that companies actually hire them to do jobs everyday and they actually get paid for it (sarcasm indented). The real issue is that the church needs to change the scorecard. We need to shift the focus of paid-staff from ministry production and execution to volunteer and leadership development. The churches that do this understand the following 5 principles and the incredible results that accompany applying them.

1. Volunteering makes your Church “Sticky”

Want to figure out how to close the proverbial backdoor of your church and keep people from “leaving?” Then get people volunteering. People come to church for all kinds of reasons. But the top two reasons people stay at a church are “relationships” and “responsibility.” Volunteering checks both of those boxes!

2. Volunteering is a Pathway to Small Groups

Most churches used to buy into linear thinking that says people come to church, then get into a small group and then start volunteering. That’s actually backwards. It’s way less threatening to volunteer and serve than it is to jump into a small group bible study at some strangers’ house with a bunch of other strangers. And guess what happens as people volunteer? They begin to develop friendships with other people they’re volunteering with and then get into small group bible studies with friends instead of strangers.

3. Volunteers are more Generous

It’s negligent of me not to point this simple fact out. That is, people who volunteer are more likely to be generous financially towards your church. The fact that they are volunteering means they’re with you and on some level buy into the vision of where you’re going as a church because they’re wiling to put their time towards it. Jesus said it this way, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

4. Volunteering is Discipleship

I’ve written previously that many churches still view volunteering as roles that need to be filled instead of people that need to be developed. Most churches are missing the boat on this simple fact: that people grow spiritually through volunteering and tangibly learning to live an others oriented life. The first Sunday School Class I taught, the first Mission Trip I went on…etc. I grew and gained far more than I ever gave.

5. Volunteering is the Biblical Mandate for the Church

“Volunteer Development” can be described as the two-word long job description of every staff person who receives a paycheck at a church. The Apostle Paul put it this way…”And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…”

 


Posted in Volunteers

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The 5 Most Important Indicators of a Healthy Church

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Numbers can be overwhelming. I’ve seen churches keep numbers and measure all kinds of things. First time guests, returning guests, empty parking stalls during services, kids attendance, student attendance, short-term mission trip participation, first time givers, on and on the list goes…literally. None of these (or other categories not listed) are necessarily bad things to measure. In fact in totality they can help you gain understanding as to which direction things are moving at your church. The thing is, there are a lot of things you could measure, a lot of things you could pay attention to. But what are the most important things to pay attention to? I know some people will disagree with me, but based on my experience working with churches around the country, and being a guy that’s in the trenches day to day at a local church, the 5 most important numbers to keep a pulse on are the following.

1. Baptisms

You can measure first time guests and the number of people who say yes to following Jesus (and you should); but the most important number to measure in all of that is baptisms, because the other two numbers are wrapped up in the number of people being baptized at your church. And after all, this is the whole point of the church to help people follow Jesus, and a public declaration of that intent is a huge part of that process.

2. Volunteers

The number of unique volunteers you have serving at your church tells you two really important things. First it tells you who is with you. Who is bought into the vision of where you believe Jesus is uniquely leading your church. After all in today’s’ world it’s a lot easier to give some money than it is to give time. These are all-in people. It also helps you identify and develop potential leaders in your church, because volunteering is discipleship. You can’t follow Jesus without learning to live an others oriented life!

3. Groups

Simply put life-change happens best in groups…in the context of friendships, because after all what we are being discipled to when we follow Jesus, is friendship with Jesus. This is where people “work out” their belief system and begin to change their thinking. This number gives you an indicator of the number of people who are being discipled and moving towards what Jesus wants them to become.

4. Giving

You cannot follow Jesus without giving and serving. Giving is an indicator of the level of buy-in people have in the direction you’re moving as a church. Healthy churches have a strategy to help their people become more generous. Not because they want something from them, but because they want something for them. They want them to look and live like Jesus. They aren’t simply teaching or telling their people to give, there is a holistic strategy to help them move towards becoming generous like Jesus.

5. Attendance

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? It may be simple but attendance numbers matter. Numbers count because people count. Every number has a name and every name has a story. The goal of the Gospel movement, called the Church, that Jesus started was not that it would get smaller and less influential, but rather that it would become a movement that would go to the ends of the Earth!

Interested in discovering how healthy your church is? Take the step to engage the Unstuck Group in a comprehensive Ministry Health Assessment of your church!

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Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Volunteers

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Building an Effective Central Services Team in a Multisite Church Model

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If you’re leading in a multisite church or if you’re thinking about becoming a multisite church, at some point you’re going to have to make some big decisions about the role of your Central Service Team. Somewhere along the way you’re going to be faced with building a Central Service Team, Ministry Development Team or All Campus Staff Team…different churches attach a different label to it. But essentially it’s a centralized team of people tasked with supporting decentralized campuses that are geographically separated. Think of it as a matrix leadership model. The Central Service Team influences each campus while the Campus Pastors are responsible for the ministry on each of their respective campuses. Through learning from other great friends in the multisite world and facing this personally in the context I lead in, there are four (4) healthy perspectives of a great Central Services Team that I’ve discovered.

1. Content:

This team ensures that content is the same across campuses. This includes teaching on the stage during the weekend services, as well as content for Children’s Ministry, Student Ministry, Small Groups and so on. One of the powerful benefits of a multisite model is that great teaching can be delivered to each campus no matter their size or location. Instead of taking time to “recreate the wheel,” specific campus staff can focus their attention on leading volunteers, developing the ministries, and shepherding the congregation.

2. Consistency:

The Central Service Team is also tasked with working to make sure that ministry best practices are consistent on each campus. One of the other great strengths of a multisite model is the opportunity it brings to replicate learnings from innovation. As you launch new campuses in new communities you’re going to face unforeseen obstacles. Those obstacles will force you to innovate, and every campus will have the opportunity to benefit from it. Consistent ministry practice will allow you to ramp up efficiency, drive down cost, and allow newer campuses to learn from the mistakes of others who have gone before them.

3. Communication:

As you have more and more campuses, communication will have the tendency to become more and more difficult. That’s where your Central Service Team comes into play. They have the opportunity to develop the processes to keep everyone on the same page. Whether it’s the business department, the weekend worship team, kids ministry, small group, or missions. This team uses cascading communication strategies to help everyone stay on the same page, moving the same direction.

4. Consultant & Coach:

There are a couple of characteristics you’re looking for in a Central Services Team Member. But one of the most valuable to me is the ability to take on the posture of a coach or a consultant and to know when to do which. A consultant offers expert outside input and allows the individual to choose to implement or not. The consultant is not responsible for the implementation. Great coaches can see things the player can’t see while they’re on the field and they help the player break down game film and get better. It’s more hands on than consulting. Either way great consultants get invited back and recommended to others while players keep coming back to great coaches for input on their game. That’s what I’m looking for. People whose input and presence are welcomed by campus staff.

Photo Credit: kevin dooley via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership

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7 Articles that will Help your Church Make Vision Real

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Thank you for making April an incredible month here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real! It’s great 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 7 Posts from this last month. If you missed out on any of them, here they are all in one place for your convenience!

#1 5 Reasons Churches don’t Grow

Thom Rainer, President and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources has stated in his research that: “Eight out of ten of the approximately 400,000 churches in the United States are declining or have plateaued.” While there are all kinds of reasons that churches end up stuck, at the Unstuck Group we’ve identified 5 key contributors that lead to churches being stuck. Through working with churches across America we’ve observed these contributors over and over and over again. You can click on the headings in this post to learn more about each of the 5 key reasons that churches get stuck.

#2 A Large Multisite Church in Phoenix is Hiring a Children’s Pastor

I’m pleased to announce a new Staff Search. Sun Valley Community Church, the church I have the honor of serving at, is beginning a national search for a Children’s Pastor to serve on our Tempe Campus.

#3 5 Mistakes that Fast Growing Churches Make

If you’ve been in ministry for any length of time you know that momentum won’t always be on your side, growth won’t always be taking place, and things won’t always be up and to the right. Often momentum is lost when things are at their best because churches don’t know how to behave when things are going well. In fact below are the 5 biggest mistakes I’ve seen fast growing churches make.

#4 Why Structure is Not the Goal

If you’ve ever experienced a season of ministry like this you know how fun it can be. Churches during this phase of growth often hear people say things like, “There’s just something about this place.” They’re experiencing success, they’re just not exactly sure why. Even staff members sit back and watch it at moments hoping to ride the wave of momentum and not get in the way and mess it up.

Inevitably someone comes along and identifies the fact that we can’t operate like a “Mom & Pop” organization anymore. It could be the Board, the Pastor, or a trusted senior level Staff Member. But eventually someone will say something like; “We need to set up the proper structures to help us move past the chaos and into the future.”

#5 10 Insider Focused Ministry Names

The language we choose to use is important because it both reflects and builds culture at the same time. And one of the most obvious ways 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.”

#6 Stop Paying People to do Ministry

As they grow, many churches eagerly anticipate the moment when they’re finally big enough that they can afford to hire more staff and offer more ministry options for people. For example I’ve heard churches say they can’t wait to hire a Men’s Ministry Pastor. Nothing against Men’s Ministry per se, but that’s an expensive model. If you run it out to its logical end you’re going to have a lot of people on your payroll. Paying people to “do” ministry instead of “lead” ministry is an expensive mistake that many churches fall into. Here are 3 principles that will help you focus the Staffing & Volunteer philosophy at your church.

#7 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. It’s not uncommon in churches that I work with to hear them say, “We need to add more staff.” After all if there are problems or areas where the church is stuck then throwing staff at that problem will surely fix it…right? Well, not always. In fact the opposite may be true. In fact the most effective churches that I see have a tendency to hire fewer staff not more staff. They hire more competent team members who have the ability to turn attenders into volunteers, volunteers into leaders, and build teams. Instead of paying people to do ministry they pay people to lead others to do ministry.

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Posted in Leadership
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