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What makes Emotionally Intelligent Church Leaders Different?

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The best church leaders don’t simply spend time learning new stuff about the bible, praying 24-7, discovering new management techniques or understanding organizational theory. They spend time on becoming better at the art of leading through relationships. After all relationships are both the glue and the grease that make work, happen.

And before you blow this post off and chalk it up to a bunch of business stuff being applied to church world…think again…this is all rooted in the Bible.

Emotionally Intelligent leaders are great at building effective interpersonal relationships with their team. Which is essentially the combination of being simultaneously self-aware and others focused.

But what are some things that these leaders actually do differently?

The Art of Timing

It’s a gift to say the right thing at the right time. The Bible puts it this way in Proverbs 15:23 “Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!”

Emotionally intelligent leaders are disciplined with their words and craft their words intentionally. Not in a manipulative manner but in a way that serves people well. They don’t always say everything they see or feel for that matter. They are wise about giving people what they can handle or need at the time to help them move in the right direction.

Others Focused

Emotionally intelligent leaders are others focused. Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul linked spiritual maturity to living an others-oriented life. Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

While Paul put it this way in Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Emotionally intelligent leaders don’t focus on themselves they focus on the team, because they know that the team out performs the individual every time.

Self-Awareness

The best leaders I’ve ever been around are quick to take personal responsibility when things go wrong. Instead of looking outward and shifting blame they choose to shoulder the blame themselves. This takes a tremendous amount of confidence and self-awareness. And of course, the enemy of self-awareness is self-deception. Self-deception can be a dangerous thing. It can make you believe more or less about yourself than you should. You can even fool yourself into thinking more or less about others than you should. Emotionally intelligent leaders are sober minded, they know who they are, and they know who they’re not, and they do what’s best for the team. They are quick to take personal ownership when things go south and give out praise when things go well.

Jeremiah 17-9-10 “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”


Posted in Leadership

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10 Articles that will Help your Church Make Vision Real

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Each month I curate the top 10 most popular blog posts I’ve shared recently. These are the articles that got had the greatest engagement in the past month. They were the most visited, shared, helpful or disagreed with. At any rate, thanks for staying in contact with me through engaging in the content on this site, I hope it’s been helpful to you! In case you missed any of them here they are all in one nice tidy place for you!

10 Insider Focused Ministry Names

I wrote this post 5 years ago. It came out of a conversation that I had with a Leadership Coaching Group I was facilitating for Church Staff and it’s remained a fan favorite.

How Many People should your Church have on Staff?

It’s a big question that most churches are asking. The answer may surprise you.

10 Principles to Building a Great Guest Experience at your Church

Do you know how to build a great guest experience at your church? Are you starting with the right building blocks? This top 10 list has been built from my experience of working with churches across the country the past couple of years with the Unstuck Group.

What Do I Do First?

If you are leading in a local church setting, chances are there are moments when you feel completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things that are screaming for your time and attention. There are staff to lead, volunteers to recruit and develop, a budget to manage, mission trips to plan, a building to take care of, people who are in crisis that need counseling, prayer and care, a board to meet with, people to get into groups and disciple, kids and students to invest in, and oh yea there is this thing called weekend worship service that comes every 7 days that you need to prepare an awesome message for all while being awesome at everything else. The list literally goes on and on. Most people in ministry that I talk to express that they feel like their job is never done. So, with so much screaming at you to get done, how do you know what to do first?

The Difference between a Shepherd and a Leader

I love helping churches and leaders get unstuck and make vision real. In fact out of all the stuff I get to do with churches and leaders one of the things I enjoy the most is Leadership Coaching. Recently I had the incredible opportunity to spend a day coaching a group of Pastors and Church Leaders from Australia (unfortunately their cool accent didn’t rub off). One of the topics we spent time digging into was the difference between shepherding and leading in relation to why some churches are stuck while others move forward. Here are couple of thoughts from the conversation.

What do you do when you Don’t Agree with your Pastor?

f you work on staff at a church, chances are at some point you’re going to disagree with your pastor. That’s okay, you’re human, it would be naive to think you’re always going to agree with your pastor. But what you do with that disagreement is where things can get really messy. Messy for you, and messy for the church.

8 Reasons Why People Don’t Volunteer at your Church

I’ve never worked with a church that has said they don’t need more volunteers. But I’ve worked with a bunch of churches that have trouble getting people to volunteer and stay engaged volunteering. This is a critical issue for churches to figure out. The reason why this has to be a front-burner issue is because at the heart of it, volunteering is an essential component of the discipleship process in someone’s life. Plainly put, volunteering is discipleship. Understanding that, here are 8 reasons people aren’t volunteering in your church…and subsequently aren’t growing in their relationship with God.

The Difference between Preparation and Planning

Do great organizations prepare for the future or do they plan for it? The answer is, “yes.” To be clear preparation and planning are not the same thing, and great organizations become great by doing both.

How Insider Language is Keeping Outsiders Away from Jesus

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, here are 3 big ones…obviously there are more (in fact I’d love to hear your thoughts and what you’ve seen in churches…leave a comment).

What is a Campus Pastor?

A lot of churches are still trying to get their hands around this new role in the modern church. This post will help.


Posted in Leadership

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Stop Starting New Stuff at your Church

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Some churches and church leaders I’ve met are addicted to new. I get it, I like new stuff too. In fact, I can get bored quick when it comes to maintenance and routine. Like a lot of church leaders, I need fresh new challenges routinely.

New can be fun, it can be catalytic to momentum and it can attract and involve new people. New can be great! But pacing with new stuff matters…like, a lot.

Starting a new multisite campus, launching a new worship service time, beginning a new ministry approach, or hiring a new staff member may be the next right thing for your church, but then again it may be the worst thing you could do.

Don’t Reach to Grow…Reach because you’re Growing

Overreaching and overextending yourself past your capacity to keep up with your reach will lead to decline and death not growth and life. When beginning something new be sure to be sober minded about overreaching past your financial, staff, volunteer, facility or a number of other limiting factors.

The Best Reason to do something New is because you Have To

If you don’t’ get anything else from this post…make sure you write that thought down and give it some serious thought. The best reason to start a new worship service is because you are growing, and you need to create more space. The best reason to hire more staff is because you have to in order to keep up with growth. The best reason to start a new multisite campus is to respond to demand and reach that community.

Everything you Start you have to Sustain

While starting new stuff may be fun, keeping that new stuff going can be a drag. Remember everything new that you start you need to keep in motion. It’s going to take time, money, volunteers, and other resources that will have to be diverted from other things you already have going on.

Starting New Stuff won’t cover up a Fatal Flaw for long

Churches are notorious for starting a myriad of new things when the momentum of the church begins to wane. It’s a desperate attempt to prop things up and keep things moving in the right direction and growing. While that may mask a loss of momentum for a little while it won’t address the fatal flaws of why things are slowing down. In fact it will make things worse because it will cause you to overextend yourself instead of deal with root issues.


Posted in Leadership

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What Do I Do First?

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If you are leading in a local church setting, chances are there are moments when you feel completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things that are screaming for your time and attention.

There are staff to lead, volunteers to recruit and develop, a budget to manage, mission trips to plan, a building to take care of, people who are in crisis that need counseling, prayer and care, a board to meet with, people to get into groups and disciple, kids and students to invest in, and oh yea there is this thing called weekend worship service that comes every 7 days that you need to prepare an awesome message for all while being awesome at everything else. The list literally goes on and on. Most people in ministry that I talk to express that they feel like their job is never done.

So, with so much screaming at you to get done, how do you know what to do first?

What’s the worst thing that would happen if it didn’t get done?

I mean really. What would happen if you decided that you simply weren’t going to give attention to that thing that’s screaming at you for attention? What if you just said, “No, I’m not going to do that right now?”

Are you doing something that someone else could or should be doing?

Is it possible that everything is coming back to you to do because you’ve unknowingly adopted some poor behaviors? Are you pushing decisions down (letting others make decisions) or pulling decisions up (taking away decision making responsibility from others). Are you delegating tasks to others and empowering them to make their own decisions within the framework of the direction your moving and the values of the team?

Realize you can’t do everything at once

This may sound elementary, but you’ve got to come to the realization that you simply can’t do everything. You can’t be everything to everyone. You aren’t Jesus. Jesus is Jesus. Learn to evaluate the highest priority problem and then come up with a plan to solve it. Involve others in the solution and provide direction to them. Then move on to the next problem and repeat. While doing this you can learn to solve multiple problems at the same time through teams of other people all while seeing the big picture.


Posted in Leadership

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How Insider Language is Keeping Outsiders Away from Jesus

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My wife recently hosted a baby shower for some friends of ours that ended up upsetting our youngest son. Wyatt is 5 years old, he’s the youngest of 4, and has 2 older sisters who dote all over him. He was really excited about the baby shower. Until he discovered about half way into it that he wasn’t going to be able to bring the baby upstairs and give the baby its first bath.

He mistakenly thought that a baby shower was a party to celebrate giving a new baby their first bath. Cute, funny, and at the same time I can see how the mind of a 5-year-old can come to that confusing conclusion.

What’s not so cute or funny is that churches confuse people who are unfamiliar with Jesus and His Church all the time by the words and language that they use. What’s really sad is that the point of this whole thing is to make the Gospel clear not confusing.

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, here are 3 big ones…obviously there are more (in fact I’d love to hear your thoughts and what you’ve seen in churches…leave a comment).

Preaching

Preaching as though everyone already knows Jesus and comes to the room with basic Bible knowledge. They don’t. Unless you’re just doing church for church people (which isn’t really Church). Most people don’t even know the books of the bible or what the big numbers and little numbers mean.

Branding

Coming up with “cool names and brands” for ministries that mean nothing to people outside the church. You can find a list of real life funny but sad examples if you follow this link.

Announcements

Stuff like mentioning people from stage by name without explaining who they are. For instance, I’ve been to a church where an announcement was made to go see “Jim” to join a small group. I’m thinking to myself if I don’t know Jesus and am unfamiliar with church world…who’s Jim, how do I find him…and what the heck is a small group?

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.


Posted in Leadership
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