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Do you Care more about the Strategy or the Results?

If you’ve ever been a part of a fast-growing church, you know what chaos feels like. New people are showing up every week and space can quickly become an issue. You’re making adjustments on the fly, sometimes weekly. Finding room for kids, adding new worship service times, figuring out where you’re going to park everyone, on-boarding new staff members…searching for new staff members. It can feel a bit hectic to put it mildly. It’s exciting, it’s fun, but sometimes for those people who are strategy and structure oriented it can feel a bit out of control.

In seasons like these eventually someone comes along and says something like, “We can’t keep operating like we’ve been operating. It’s time to change and take a more strategic approach.” It’s usually someone from the Board, the Pastor, or a trusted senior level Staff Member. But eventually someone will say something like; “We need to stop living on momentum and start building a strategy to get us to the future.”

This is where things can go south, quick. While various strategies, structures, systems, and processes can be helpful; they’re not the goal, they’re not the reason. Here’s a quick refresher…

Mission answers the question: “Why do we exist?”
Vision answers the question: “Where are we going?”
Strategy answers the question: “How are we going to get there?”

The reason (mission) why Jesus put the Church on the planet is to reach people (all people) with the Gospel.

I appreciate strategically minded people in the Church, heck, I am one. And I think the Church is at a deficit when it comes to these kinds of people. But I’ve also seen people like me in the name of strategy and structure squelch growth and results instead of fueling them.

Mike Tyson, who was a great boxer (or puncher) in his day and among other things bit part of Evander Holyfield’s ear off in the ring, said that, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” That statement is a spin-off of an old military principle that states. “No plan survives contact with the enemy.”

In other words, people who win chase results more than they chase strategy. That’s not to say that they’re not strategic, it’s just that they are willing to adapt their strategy to fit the current situation.

Is your church winning? Are you experiencing great results? If not, it may be time to adapt your strategy. If you need help I’d recommend connecting with the Unstuck Group. There’s not a better Church Consulting Firm you could employ to help you get from where you are to where Jesus wants you to be. It’s what we do.


Posted in Leadership

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Leading an Unstuck Church Online Course

The last few years at the Unstuck Group we’ve served 100’s of churches and over that time we’ve been tracking the “Core Issues” that emerge during strategic planning—the things teams identify as the reasons they felt stuck.

There were 12 common challenges that kept coming up over and over again—things like finding the best ways to close the “back door,”  building a plan to develop more leadersincreasing volunteer engagementstaffing for growth, etc.

We started thinking, “We need to create something to equip more church leaders to win in these areas.”

So, we’ve been writing and shooting video and creating an online space for church leaders to learn and process next steps around those core issues together.

We’re calling it the Leading an Unstuck Church Course, and it’s available now!

This new resource, the Leading an Unstuck Church Course, challenges you with lessons, exercises and discussion that will grow your ability to lead an unstuck church. Whether you lead a large church, a small church or somewhere in between, my friend Tony Morgan equips you with biblical wisdom and practical know-how to lead your church towards sustained health.

Through this course you will gain the ability to help your church:

  • Find clarity around mission, vision, values and strategy
  • Discover practical ways to enhance the weekend services
  • Build a plan to develop more leaders
  • Learn to build teams & increase volunteer engagement
  • Learn how to staff for growth
  • Improve communications both internally and externally
  • Learn how to establish healthier finances
  • And more

That’s just a sample. Learn about all 12 lessons and enroll by clicking this link. The Leading an Unstuck Church Course will only be open for enrollment for a few weeks, since we want to keep the group small so we can engage personally and facilitate a strong community. We hope to see you there!


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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How to Lead and Keep “Big L” Leaders on your Team

big dog

Great parents know that you don’t parent every kid the same way. Great leaders understand this principle, and because of it they don’t treat everyone on their team the same way. “Big L” leaders are a different breed. Not only have they been gifted with a greater leadership capacity, but they’ve worked at perfecting their craft. You can’t lead these kinds of leaders the way you lead everyone else on your team. If you do, you won’t keep them on your team. They need something different.

Leadership

This may sound obvious, but you can’t keep these kinds of leaders on your team without offering them serious leadership. They will challenge your personal leadership capacity more than any other person on your team. These kinds of team members crave a compelling and clear direction. They respond to strong leadership because they’re strong leaders. You can shoot straight with them because they’re mission focused just like you.

Empowerment

Don’t try delegating tasks to these leaders. If you do they’ll feel micromanaged and leave you. They need the position and authority to go and make real decisions and execute to objectives. Don’t tell them what to do, tell them where you’re going, and then let them lead there.

Coaching

“Big L” leaders are personally secure, and they can accept coaching. In fact, reviewing the game tape and looking for opportunities to improve the next play doesn’t bother them at all. They want to get better.

Resource

These kinds of team members need to have the resources to do their job. Don’t give them a big challenge, point them in a clear direction and give them the authority to execute without resourcing them to accomplish the vision. If you don’t resource them they won’t take you seriously.

Challenge

These kinds of leaders aren’t afraid of being challenged. They’re need something big to chase. In fact if you don’t give “Big L” leaders a steady diet of fresh meat they’ll go hunting somewhere else.


Posted in Staffing

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The Rules of Innovation

idea

One of the best ways to learn as a church leader is to get outside of the “church-world” and learn from other industries. That kind of exposure challenges your thinking in new ways. It exposes you to different problems that you aren’t facing as well as new solutions that churches aren’t even thinking about.

The other day I had the opportunity to learn from a friend of mine who works in a different industry than the church I serve in. He works for a fast growing, global, world class company that’s known for innovation.

As I listened to him describe his company’s approach to innovation there we some core concepts that were counter intuitive that really stood out to me.

First…Master the Standard

You don’t have the right to innovate until you’ve mastered the existing standard, because otherwise you degrade the standard. In order to innovate you have to begin with a baseline standard. That starting point allows you to begin to improve things, be creative and innovate. In a church you may have a standard way of doing things like checking in kids, new families, or following up on guests. You may have standard expectations in regard to the quality of the worship band, lighting, sound or even the percentage of attenders in a group or engaged in a volunteer team. Innovation in those instances would mean mastering the standard, whatever that is, and then trying new things to improve upon it.

Hyper Standardization AND a Free for All are both Bad for Innovation

Both over standardization and a wild west, no holds barred approach squelch innovation. Innovation for the sake of innovation is a waste of time. There’s plenty of opportunity to innovate against a problem. The best innovations are always for the sake of guests or customers and make things simpler not more complicated.

How it Really Works: 

1. Communicate BEFORE you Innovate
Before you start improving upon the standard always communicate up to your direct report. No boss likes to be surprised and you may find that your boss has different priorities for your time than what you want to innovate.

2. Define the Period of Time that you’ll Run the Test
Be clear about how long you’re going to test this new innovative idea as well as the potential scope of impact.

3. Evaluate Real Results
Conduct an autopsy on the test you ran. What were the net results? Look at both the data and the anecdotes. If it’s not significantly better than the standard, then ditch the idea…it’s not worth chasing.

4. Preserve what Worked and Pivot away from what didn’t
Simply put, have the courage to turn away from ideas that didn’t work, even if you liked the idea, even if it was a good idea. If it didn’t work, then don’t waste your time working it. Preserve what did work significantly better and either work to implement it everywhere or continue to improve upon it.


Posted in Leadership

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[Repost] Leadership Lessons I Learned from my Mom

mothersday

Back in 2012 I did a post about some leadership lessons that I learned from my mom. There’s 2 big reasons I want dust that off an and share it again with you today. First and most obvious, it’s Mother’s Day and I wanted to take a moment and give her some public credit. Second, and I’m not going to address this directly in this post, but I’ve been hearing from more and more female leaders in the Church that struggle with finding their place in ministry, a church that will validate their leadership gifts and other strong female leaders in the Church to look up to and learn from. So that being said, here are some leadership lessons I learned from my mom along the way. Thanks mom!

My mom has left an incredible legacy. She’s got two boys that are both married and following Jesus, a couple of great daughter in laws, and seven grandchildren. It’s a legacy that’s definitely worth reproducing. But it becomes more impressive when you understand where she came from. A single child born and raised on the west coast, tragedy struck young when both of her parents died at an early age. Raised by her grandparents she wasn’t exposed to the Gospel until her early 20’s when she followed Christ, married my father, and two unruly little boys entered her life. What follows are 5 leadership lessons that I learned along the way from my incredible mother…

1. The Art of a Unified Front

Mom & Dad were on the same team. As much as we tried, we couldn’t play them against each other. It’s okay for Senior Level Leadership Teams to disagree, in fact differing perspectives and ideas are healthy and beneficial to any organization…as long as it stays in the boardroom.

2. Hard Work is Worth it

When we went to school every day, mom went to work and I don’t know how she did it but she rushed home and made sure we ate dinner together every night as a family. From early in the morning until late at night, mom worked hard. Hard work seems to be a four-letter word in today’s world. Instead we talk about working smarter not harder, streamlining, process efficiency, and supply chain management. While I’m all for efficiency you can’t be afraid to simply roll up your sleeves and do some hard work.

3. Finish Strong

Mom didn’t do things half way. She didn’t leave things undone. She finished. Even if it meant staying up late or getting up early. Too many loose ends will do you in. Starting projects can be fun and exciting but people don’t pay for projects that get started, they pay for results.

4. People follow Leaders who have a Servants Heart

For years I actually thought my mom liked burnt toast. Moms always seem to be the last ones to get dressed, do her hair, eat dinner, and any other number of normal routines around the house. And it was usually due to taking care of everyone else! Young leaders in the workforce today want to know what you want for them, not from them. They want to follow someone who is authentic, vulnerable, and willing to serve. The moment you become too big to serve, you’re too big to lead.

5. Be Patient with Young Talent

Through all of the craziness of having two boys in the house that were…well…all boy. Mom was patient, kind and gentle through it all. Young talent needs time to develop, opportunities to stretch their leadership wings, and yes room to make mistakes like putting holes in walls and breaking things. They need to know that there is room to fail. If there isn’t, they’ll eventually rebel, or worse stop experimenting and stop dreaming all together.


Posted in Family, Leadership
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