0

Discovering the Leadership Culture at Your Church

target

While many churches may have a list of Core Values that they’ve built, very few churches that I’ve come across have taken the time to do the hard work of defining and clearly articulating their Staff Values or Leadership Culture that they’re trying to build at their church.

Culture is tough to define. It’s the elusive, soft stuff in the organization that’s more on the art side than the science side of leadership. It takes hard work to articulate it. But it’s a must for any church that wants to actually be intentional about building a particular staff leadership culture. A clearly defined culture allows you to make decisions, hires, and take any number of other steps at a faster pace. After all as Peter Drucker famously said…

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
Peter Drucker –

Interested in discovering the Staff Leadership Culture at your Church? Start here. Gather your Sr. Leadership Team together and spend some time wrestling with the following two questions and build some lists together.

We Love when our Staff: fill in the blank

What are the stories of the hero’s on your Staff? What are the behaviors that you wish everyone on your Staff portrayed? What are the moments that make you the most proud of your team?

We Cringe when our Staff: fill in the blank

What the the stories that you hope never get repeated? What attitudes have you seen your staff adopt, behaviors have you seen your staff engage in, or things you’ve heard them say that simply makes you cringe?

Photo Credit: Luigi Mengato via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

1

10 Signs your Church is Headed for Decline

sign

When I was young my Aunt purchased a brand new car. I didn’t have a car yet so even though it wasn’t red and it had 4 doors instead of 2 I thought it was really cool. And because she had a car and I didn’t she by default was cool too.

Everything was cool until she forgot to change the oil. Truth be told, she never changed the oil. From the day she drove the car off the lot to the day it died (which was much, much sooner than it should have), that car never experienced a single oil change. Routine maintenance wasn’t her strong suite. And most of us are just like her. We put off going to the doctor for our annual check-up, we postpone going to the dentist for our 6-month check up, and yes we put off routine maintenance on our automobiles.

We just keep going until it hurts enough that we are forced to stop and go in for a check up.

Unfortunately most church leadership teams operate the same way. They put off routine check ups and maintenance until it’s too late and decline starts to set in. What if there were early warning signs (flashing lights on the dashboard) that helped indicate that trouble was ahead? In my experience Coaching Church Leaders and Consulting with Churches across the country I’ve seen the following 10 indicators of an impending decline over and over again.

1. High Staff Turnover

When a church has trouble keeping staff, the church is in trouble. Some attrition is natural over time as the church grows, the staffing structures adjust, leaders hit lids, or vision shifts. But when turnover shifts from being a season to being the norm there is a cultural problem at play.

2. Fuzzy Vision

Without a doubt the single most life-threatening indicator that a church is in trouble is a lack of clarity. Clarity provides a church with the power to make decisions efficiently and align the organizational components of the church to move forward. If you don’t know where you’re going, and can’t state it clearly, you’ve got no chance to get there.

3. Complexity

When the church is growing it’s exciting! Staff members are hired, ministries are started, buildings are built and people are meeting Jesus! But it’s not as exciting when all of that growth and fun naturally lead to complexity. Growth naturally leads to complexity and complexity slows everything down.

4. Inward Focus

I’ve said this many times before, the most dangerous place a church can be in their life cycle is when the ministry they are doing is having a big impact with insiders (people who already know Jesus and are inside the church) but a low impact with outsiders (people who don’t know Jesus yet). It’s dangerous because it’s comfortable. It feels like things are going well and you have momentum because people are happy, they’re regularly attending, and they seem to be “all in” with what you’re doing. But if you aren’t reaching new people, your church or ministry is already moving towards unhealthiness and decline.

5. Defending the Past

When a church is busy defending the past instead of building the future it is headed for decline. When a church becomes risk averse and starts making choices based on who they are going to keep as opposed to who they are going to reach, the church is in trouble. The real danger in playing defense is that it becomes a cultural mindset that actually stands in opposition to the Gospel. You see the Gospel was never meant to be or does it need to be defended it’s intended to be unleashed.

6. No Strategic Plan

Strategy answers the question, “How are we going to get there?” It’s planning for tomorrow today. Little is more demoralizing to a church staff team than a bunch of empty inspirational talk that never materializes into real courageous action.

7. Leadership Void

There are a lot of challenges facing the modern church, but perhaps the greatest challenge is a leadership challenge. The modern church is simply an anti-leadership organization. It doesn’t attract, develop, or keep leaders. Leaders by their very nature are change agents. Because the unstated goal of most churches is to preserve the past, church leaders often times find themselves fighting the family instead of fighting the enemy.

8. No Spiritual Maturity Pathway

I’ve observed that some churches are stuck or declining not because they have a difficult time attracting or introducing new people to Jesus but because they have no plan in place to move people towards spiritual maturity or the plan they’re working is broken.

9. Policy Trumps People

Policies shrink the box of creativity. They set the standard for how we do what we do every time we do it. Policies tell everybody in the organization what they can’t do, and leaders are solution oriented not excuse or problem oriented. A church with a lot of policies will consistently find it difficult to attract and keep good leaders. It’s very possible to policy your way right into decline.

10. Volunteer Scarcity

One of the things we’ve learned through our research at the Unstuck Group is that the average church in America is mobilizing somewhere around 43% of their adult and student population in volunteer opportunities. The reason it is so critical for churches to address this and take steps to move their culture in the right direction is because volunteering is discipleship. It’s not about filling roles and getting ministry done through people. It’s not about what we want from people, but rather what we want for people. It is discipleship. Because volunteering and living an others first life is the very essence of what it means to live like Jesus.

It would probably be worth some time discussing this list with the Sr. Leadership Team at your church and evaluate where your church measures up in each of these 10 areas of health.

What can we do about it? Engage the Unstuck Group in a Ministry Health Assessment. Discover islands of strength to build on and areas of opportunity to work on before they become serious and decline sets in.

By the way…leave a comment; I’d love to hear about what you’d add to the list!


Posted in Leadership

0

Does Your Church Have Ministry Silos?

Ministry silos are one of the most common dysfunctions in churches across our country, and they hinder ministry health and growth.

If you’ve ever been in a church with ministry silos you know it. People and ministries share the same roof but do nearly everything in isolation. Outside of Sundays, they rarely combine their efforts. Like members of a dysfunctional family, most church staff members know their team isn’t healthy, but they’ve learned to cope and get by, living separate lives within the same house.

My friend Tony Morgan at the Unstuck Group has just released a new eBook on this topic — 7 Warnings Signs Your Church Has Ministry Silos: Triggers and Symptoms of a Divided House. It’s available today on Amazon or from the TonyMorganLive.com store. The launch of this book has been so successful that it hit the Top 5 Christian Leadership Book List on Amazon!

It’s not hard to tell when a church has silos. The difficult part is discovering and eliminating their true causes. This eBook explores the triggers and symptoms of a “divided house” so you can identify the steps your church needs to take towards greater unity. Download it today!


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

1

7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Church Leaders

mistake

It’s much easier to identify poor leadership in others than it is in yourself. We have a tendency to judge our leadership based on our intentions and the leadership of other based on the results.

An old Russian Proverb says it this way, “The eye cannot see the eye.”

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to observe all kinds of different Church Leaders who are leading in different sizes and “flavors,” churches. No matter the size or the flavor of the church I’ve seen the following 7 habits come up over and over again. So in no particular order, here are 7 common bad habits I’ve seen in Church Leaders over the years:

1. Crosstalk and Triangulation

I’ve seen far too many times where the dynamics of the church staff are such that staff talk about one another instead of to one another. Usually this is because it’s allowed and even modeled by the Lead Pastor. Biblically (Matthew 18) the scriptures would teach us that if you have an issue with your brother then you go to them, not someone about them. One path is a leadership path, the other is a political path.

2. Dictatorship

We have a saying at the Unstuck Team: “The Team Outperforms the Individual Every Time!” When the Lead Pastor takes a dictatorial approach to decision making and the direction of the church everyone loses. The young Staff lose out because no one delegates tasks that give them the opportunity to learn to lead, the Sr. Staff lose out because they’re not empowered to make decisions which will ultimately result in losing your best team members, and the whole church loses out because no Lead Pastor is as good alone as they are with a great team, no matter how much of a superstar they are.

3. Unclear Expectations

When expectations are unclear it always leads to frustration, disappointment, and let down. It’s true in our more important relationships and it’s true in leadership. Lead Pastors can set their teams up for success by drawing a clear target on the wall and agreeing to and writing down clear, attainable and measurable goals.

4. Micromanagement

Some Lead Pastors are so insecure that they’re incapable of trusting their teams. They feel as though they have to control every aspect of what’s going on in the church, no matter how small. This kind of leader ends up building a team that is incapable of thinking for themselves, which will become a huge barrier to the movement of the Gospel! The first step in combating micromanagement is delegation and the next is empowerment.

5. Hiring Friends

I’ve seen teams go south because a Lead Pastor hires friends instead of the best-qualified candidate for the role. When the vision is trumped by the convenience of friendship it begins to erode trust on the team and trust is the fuel that leadership runs on.

6. Lack of Moral Authority

Nothing is more demoralizing for a staff team than when the Lead Pastor takes a, “Do as I say not do as I do” approach. A simple example of this is when a Pastor says it’s important for everyone to be in a small group but won’t be in a group themselves.

7. Unresolved Conflict

When the Lead Pastor doesn’t keep short accounts and instead allows unresolved conflict to exist it can lead to serious dysfunction on a team. Small gaps between Sr. Leaders at the top appear as huge chasms the further down you get from the Sr. Leadership Team.

What other habits of ineffective Church Leaders have you observed? What would you add to the list? Leave a comment!


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

0

5 Articles that will Help Your Church Make Vision Real

viewfinder

Thank you for making May 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 5 Posts from this last month. If you missed out on any of them, here they are all in one place for your convenience!

#1 New Staff Search: A Large Church in Phoenix is looking for a new Lead Pastor

I’m pleased to announce a new Staff Search! I’m helping Harvest Community Church as they begin the search for their new Lead Pastor. Harvest was planted in August of 2009 and originally met in a movie theater. They later moved to Skyline High School for a period of time before settling into a permanent facility in 2012. Today, just 5 years in existence, they average more than 650 people in weekend attendance! Located just one mile north of a new large residential community and a mile off of the 202 highway, Harvest is positioned for growth!

#2 The 5 Most Important Indicators of a Healthy Church

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.

#3 Why Volunteering is the Biggest Issue Facing the Church

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.

#4 Building an Effective Central Services Team in a Multisite Church Model

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.

#5 3 Organizational Changes that Multisite Churches Experience

Multisite changes everything. If you’re leading in a multisite church you know this first hand. The way decisions are made, how the Staff are structured, how resource are utilized, how budgets are created and managed, and more all change along the way. It all changes. But knowing how things change can help you prepare for the next step. Here are three phases of change I’ve seen in multisite churches around the country.

Photo Credit: justin fain via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership
Page 3 of 119«12345»102030...Last »