0

The Unstuck Church: An Interview with Tony Morgan

UnstuckBookInterview from Paul Alexander on Vimeo.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Tony Morgan, the Founder and Lead Strategist at the Unstuck Group, to talk about his new book The Unstuck Church.

In the conversation we discussed:

  • The 7 Phases of a Church Life-Cycle
  • Do all churches go through all 7 phases?
  • What does it take for a church to reach “Sustained Health?”
  • What are some early warning signs that a church has entered into the “Maintenance Phase” and is getting ready to decline?
  • It it possible for a church to get stuck in the “Momentum Growth,” or “Strategic Growth,” phases, and what does that look like?
  • Is it possible for a church to recover once its entered the “Preservation,” or “Life Support” phases?

Follow this link to pick up your own copy of The Unstuck Church!

Tony is founder and chief strategic officer of The Unstuck Group, a company that helps churches get unstuck through consulting and coaching experiences designed to focus vision, strategy and action. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church in Dallas, Georgia, NewSpring Church in South Carolina, and Granger Community Church in Indiana. He’s written several books, as well as articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com. He writes about leadership regularly at tonymorganlive.com. His next book, The Unstuck Church: Equipping Churches to Experience Sustained Health, from Thomas Nelson is now available.


Posted in Leadership

3

6 Signs that You’re Leading a Healthy Church

growth

Jesus is into results. I know I’m going to lose a lot of readers at those 4 little words. But I really believe it’s true. Read the scriptures and Jesus actually has a plan that He’s working to make everything new and fix what we broke. Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul talk about it in terms of producing “fruit.” That’s the Biblical language ascribed to producing results.

Healthy churches produce results and you can know if your church is healthy by the results it’s producing. And while I’d quickly admit that none of the items on this list guarantee a healthy church, you probably can’t lead a healthy church without these things.

1. Baptisms

The Church isn’t a building that you come to, it’s a movement you chose to be a part of. The whole point of this thing called the Church is to join God in His mission to reach everyone on the planet with the Good News of Jesus. Healthy churches aren’t simply growing churches, they help new people meet Jesus and follow Him. The lead indicator of that is post-conversion baptism.

2. Divorce Rate

Is the divorce rate of the people in your church lower than that of the community your church is located in? Jesus said His people would be known by the quality of their relationships (love for one another). This is a simple and tangible way to get to the everyday effectiveness of your church.

3. Financial Strength

This is not just a question about the amount of money you have in savings, although I’m a big fan of churches having reserves and margin (I think the book of Proverbs is a big fan of that too). An often-overlooked indicator of financial strength in a church is its capacity to respond to opportunities that Jesus provides. Essentially healthy churches put themselves in a financial position to say yes to Jesus when He asks them to do something. The Scriptures clearly connect financial generosity to spiritual maturity.

4. Span of Care

It’s well documented that the best C-suite Executives of Fortune 500 Companies (i.e. some of the best leaders on the planet) manage around 7 direct reports. What’s the span of care at your church? If your staff team is directly managing more volunteers than that, you’re probably just filling volunteer spots, not developing people. Your span of care is a lead indicator of how well you’re doing as a church at developing people, not just using people.

5. Staff Restructures

You may have never thought of this before but staff promotions and restructures can be an indicator of a healthy church. Are the staff at your church growing in their roles and responsibility? Growing churches have to restructure their staff team to both respond to and catalyze healthy growth. Staff promotions are an indication of churches investing in, developing, and recognizing the growth of their staff team members. Churches that are plateaued or dying restructure to accommodate layoffs and decline.

6. Numerical Growth

So, I saved this one for last. But I couldn’t leave it off the list. Healthy things grow. But so does cancer, and nobody wants that. Just because it’s growing doesn’t mean it’s healthy, but…if it’s healthy it will grow.

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


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing

1

10 Keys to Managing Change in a Church

Change1

Leading through change can be difficult. Leading a church through change can be near impossible. Churches in particular have a tendency to resist change because they get trapped by the comfort of past success, practices and traditions. It takes an incredible amount of wisdom, the art of timing, and plain old courage and grit.

Many churches I talk with want different results; they actually want to see more people meet Jesus and follow Jesus this year than last year. Unfortunately, they just aren’t willing to change, let go of old tactics and take a different approach.

Recently I had a conversation with a church staff team that is courageously leading their church through change. Here are a couple of things that came out of the conversation.

1. No Change is Perfectly Executed

No matter how well-planned change is, how good it looks on paper, or how much sense it makes in your head it’s not going to go the way you think it’s going to go. There is going to be a surprise. Something is going to take more or less time, cost more or less money, or be more or less difficult than you planned. Point is, work hard, plan your work, work your plan and then be flexible.

2. Communication is Key

During change management, communicating the right message to the right audience at the right time is essential and can take a lot of time. There are multiple audiences to communicate with including the church staff, the church board, lay leadership, volunteers, and the congregation to name a few. Some churches due to their polity and structures have even more groups to get on board.

3. Everyone Carries 2 Buckets Around with Them

Everyone carries around 2 buckets with them, a bucket of water and a bucket of gasoline. One fuels change the other puts it out. Water fuels change because it douses the fire of resistance. Gasoline puts change out because it fuels the fire of resistance. Anytime your staff listens to complaining and says, “I understand how you would feel that way” without redirecting them it pours gasoline on the situation and validates the complaint.

4. What about Me?

Most people are fine with change as long as it doesn’t affect them. One thing you can do to get on the solution side of positively leading through change is simply think those thoughts ahead of time. What are people going to embrace or reject about the change you’re trying to implement based on how it’s going to affect them (real or perceived), then address those pressure points.

5. It isn’t Easy

You know all those church conferences, books and blogs you read full of stories about how some pastor just turned things around at their church, “Jesus just paved the way.” Yea, it’s never really that easy. Change is hard, it takes time, and requires grit and courage. It is not for the faint of heart. Anyone who tells you any different hasn’t actually had to lead through change before.

6. The Ripple Effect

Change has a ripple effect that you often don’t seen until much later. It’s almost like painting one wall of a house you move into. It leads to another wall and another. And of course, then you need to change the flooring, the faucets, the cabinets, etc. Then it’s time to start on the outside of the house…ugh. Bottom line…change has a ripple effect.

7. The Minority can have a Majority Voice

In a season of change a small group of people can have a loud voice and make it seem like everyone is against you. The silent majority is typically with you and those who are positive about it rarely say they’re positive about it. It’s the negative few that always bark the loudest.

8. Lead Different with Different People

Remember what you read above? That communication is key in a season of change? Well it’s also key to remember that you don’t communicate to and lead every group of the same way. Anyone who has more than 1 kid knows you don’t parent every kid the same way…so why would you try to lead every group the same way?

9. Small Change can Reveal Big Issues

One small seemingly harmless change can tell you something about your church. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen church leaders try to change something that seemed small and innocent to them not to realize that they were stepping on a landmine that blew up. Make sure you truly understand not just what you’re changing things to become or how you’re going to change them but what it is your actually changing and why.

10. Training vs Challenging

Sometimes people don’t have the right information and they don’t understand why they should get on board with the change. Other times people don’t want to jump on board with the change because they have their own agenda.  Either way it can appear that people are digging their heals in and fighting you on the change you’re trying to make. What you’ve got to do as the leader is find out if they’re fighting due to ignorance or obstinace. You train ignorance and you challenge obstinance.

Interested in learning more about leading through change at your church? Check out these helpful articles.


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing, Testimonial

1

4 Reasons Why Multisite Costs More Than Church Planting

It would be easy to think that a multisite church is more cost-efficient than church planting. However, there’s more to consider than meets the eye. For the past 6 years I’ve had the opportunity to serve at Sun Valley Community Church in Arizona and see the church grow from one site to five during that time. As we’ve gotten those campuses launched and running, one of the things that I’ve learned is that multisite is usually the more costly option of the two.

Thinking about launching a multisite church? Here are some things you should consider:

1. Technology:

The quality of the teaching is what brought your church the ability to go multisite; now, it is important to deliver that same quality experience – this time through video. Video teaching technology is more expensive than the typical cost outlay that a church plant would incur. Additionally, the replication of the worship service with lights, sound, musicians and more calls for a larger investment than that of a church plant.

2. Branding:

For a church to experience the amount of growth needed to go multisite, it has likely been operating for a couple of decades. This provides many years to build the brand, figure the dos and donts, your audience and your quirks. As you go multisite, it is important to maintain the same personality and culture. Simply, this calls for a higher financial investment to provide the same experience as a church that has functioned for a number of years.

3. Staffing:

In most church plants, the staff is required to raise support for the first one to three years. In multisite, the financial model must pay the salary of the staff members, in addition to the public launch of the church. The initial costs for one year of multisite operations could easily range in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

4. Consistency:

In a church plant, everything begins from scratch. It is a fresh beginning. However, in multisite, environmental consistency needs to be replicated. After all, you have created a culture worth replicating.

Most church plants have the support of a partner church or denomination over a certain scope of time. In multisite, once you birth it you’re on the hook for the operations, staffing, technology, etc. until that new campus can become financially self sustaining.


Wondering if you’re ready for multisite? There’s more than cost to consider. Follow this link to learn about the Unstuck Group’s multisite consulting process and get our 9 Multisite Readiness Checkpoints guide for free.


Posted in Leadership

0

What Volunteers Want From Your Church

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you’ve ever read anything I’ve written on developing effective volunteer teams at your church then you’ve probably heard me say that I’ve never met a church leader who said that they had enough volunteers. In fact, the opposite is typically true. Having too few volunteers is one of the most frequent complaints and pressure points I hear from church leaders. Most of the time it’s not due to a lack of effort or trying. It’s usually due to taking the wrong approach with volunteerism in the church.

That being said, below are 5 things that the people who volunteer at your church expect from you. They may say it or not, but they want it. And if they don’t get it, it will probably keep them from volunteering at your church.

1. Easy Process

Joining a volunteer team should be easy, but unfortunately at most churches you have to jump through a bunch of hoops to serve. Have you said yes to following Jesus? Have you been baptized? Are you a member of the church? Have you filled out a volunteer application? Have you been through a volunteer interview? Have you been through training first? Sounds exhausting…not very easy. While you probably need to know Jesus to lead, you don’t need to know Jesus to serve. Develop an easy process for people at your church to serve and I bet you’ll end up enlisting more volunteers and developing more leaders.

2. Clear Communication

This one doesn’t have to be that difficult but you wouldn’t know that by the way many churches behave. Following up with people in a timely manner isn’t a strategy, it’s simply polite and the right way to treat people. Let volunteers know where they need to go the first time they serve, what time they need to be there, who will meet them, what to expect their first time and then thank them afterwards and ask the about how their experience was.

3. Meaningful Ministry

Joining a volunteer team gives people the opportunity to do something meaningful with their lives! Most people don’t volunteer because they dream of managing administrative details but because they want to make a difference in people’s lives. Do the administration for them so they have a great experience ministering to people!

4. Be a Part of the Team

Everyone wants to be a part of a team where they feel valued and have friends. Volunteering is quickly becoming one of the first steps that people take at a church. It’s so much less intimidating to join a volunteer team than it is to show up to a stranger’s house and talk about your feelings and the bible. Volunteer teams are a great way to help new people get connected to your church and build new meaningful relationships!

5. Resources and Training

No one likes to be put in a position where they feel like they don’t know what they’re doing. One of the easiest ways you can build trust with volunteers is to give them basic training and resources to help them be fantastic at what they’re doing.


Posted in Leadership, Volunteers
Page 4 of 168« First...«23456»102030...Last »