Tag Archive - accessibility

2

5 Keys to Growing your Church in 2019

I’ve never met a church leader that didn’t want things at their church to to change for the better. They want more people to say yes to following Jesus, they want people to become better friends with God, and they want their churches to think more about people outside of the church than those already in it.

The trouble is while most church leaders want this year to be better than the last, they don’t want to do anything different.

I’ve said this many times before, people (including you…and me) always want to change their circumstances, but they never want to change their lives. But everything gets better when we get better. Families get better when fathers and mothers get better. Students get better when educators get better. Organizations get better when leaders get better. And churches get better when church leaders get better. But better doesn’t happen by trying harder, it happens by trying different. It happens through change…but change is painful. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. It’s always easier and more comfortable to stay where you are than to change and move forward. But if you want to grow at some point you’ve got to stop doing what’s easy and start doing what’s right.

So, to that end, here are a couple ideas that will help you create change this year at your church…and maybe even in you.

Create Accessibility

One of the greatest changes you can make in your church to get different results is to make Jesus and His teachings more accessible to people who don’t know Him. Another way to think about this is to ask yourself or your team, “How accessible is everything at your church to people who are unfamiliar with Jesus and the Church?” How accessible is your website, signage, language, parking lot, building, kids and student ministries, worship services, and teaching to people who are unfamiliar with Jesus and His Church? Most churches simply make it too hard for people to meet and follow Jesus. They don’t do it on purpose, they’ve just forgotten what it is like to be unfamiliar with Jesus. And guess what will happen when you create more accessibility to Jesus? More people will meet Jesus…and isn’t that kinda the point?

Lean into Constraints

You probably have a list of reasons (or excuses) why you can’t grow. Barriers to the future or anchors to the past that are keeping you from getting to the future. Make a list of your top 5 constraints and figure a way through them or around them. You constraints may even be the thing that help you innovate and come up with a solution you would have never otherwise come up with on your own. To that point, one of the top 3 reasons the church I serve at went multisite 6 years ago is because the original location was nearing a point where it would be fully maximized. Today we’re reaching more people for Jesus than ever because we had a facility constraint that forced us into a new solution (multisite) that is helping us reach new people for Jesus than we ever would have or could have at that one original location. Your biggest constraints may just turn out to be your best friend.

Allow Hope to Die

Stop hoping things are going to change at your church. Hope doesn’t change or produce new results at your church. Action does. Specifically, new action. Hope is not a strategy. Too many church boards and church leaders are sitting around praying and hoping that Jesus would do something new and powerful in their church this year when He already did something new and powerful 2,000 years ago on the cross. He’s simply waiting for those same church boards and church leaders to have the same kind of courage He did and lead things forward. 

Draft some new Players

If you want new results at your church, then it may be time to shake up the team a bit. New team members bring new experiences, expertise, ideas, and questions with them that aren’t currently on your team. You become who you hire and sometimes one or two new team members can help shift the entire locker room on a team.

Listen to Fresh Eyes

Sometimes you simply need fresh eyes, someone from the outside to help you see things differently. Sometimes you need an outside voice to say some things that you want to say but can’t. And sometimes you’re just stuck and need help. If that’s your church, then maybe the best step you can take to change things at your church is to engage the Unstuck Group. We help churches grow their impact through church consulting and coaching experiences designed to focus vision, strategy and action.

Taking new and different action will get you different results. And if you need a little help getting unstuck then connect with us at the Unstuck Group, we can help this next year be the best year of ministry you’ve ever experienced!


Posted in Leadership

2

How Insider Language is Keeping Outsiders Away from Jesus

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

3

10 Indicators You’re Leading an Outsider-Focused Church

There is a tension that exists in most churches in America, a tension between being outsider-focused and insider-focused. The majority of churches I’ve worked with would affirm in principle that the bible teaches us that the Church should be focused on what Jesus is focused on, and that’s people who are outside of the faith meeting and following Him. However in practice most churches focus the majority of their budgets, staffing, energy and efforts not on reaching outsiders but keeping insiders happy. This leads to churches being insider-focused and missing the mission that Jesus has called His Church to.

Not every church is insider-focused though. Some churches do a great job embracing the mission of Jesus and being outsider focused. In fact, here are 10 characteristics I’ve observed in churches that are outsider-focused.

1. Attenders aren’t Embarrassed to Invite Friends

Simple enough. Regular attenders know that if they bring their friends who are unfamiliar with Jesus and His Church that they’re going to have a great experience and that it’s going to be helpful to their everyday life. There is no cringe-factor that is preventing them from bringing their friends.

2. Guests are Showing Up

Guests are actually showing up and you know it when they show up because you’ve developed a system and strategy to make it easy for first time guests to self-identify and receive the help that they need to navigate your church for the first time.

3. Guests are Coming Back

This is big. Guests had such a good experience the first time that they came that they actually came back. You know they came back and you thank them for coming back.

4. New People are Saying Yes to Following Jesus

Again, seems simple enough. You know your church is outsider-focused if people who are outside the faith are meeting Jesus. This means you’re being intentional about presenting the Gospel and giving people the opportunity to respond.

5. New People are being Baptized

Healthy growing churches in America are baptizing 10% of their total weekend attendance. That means a healthy church that averages 500 people on the weekend this year will baptize 50 people. But of course you’d know that if your church has participated in the online version of the Health Assessment tool provided by the Unstuck Group and has bench-marked the health of your church.

6. New People are taking Next Steps

An unappreciated evidence of an outsider-focused church is that they have intentionally thought through next steps and people are moving forward in their spiritual development by getting into groups, volunteering, and giving.

7. Attendance is Increasing

May sound like a no-brainer here, but outsider-focused churches are growing churches. Is your church not growing? You may not be on mission with Jesus as much as you thought you were.

8. They make the Bible Accessible

Outsider-focused churches understand that people who are unfamiliar with Jesus and His Church are also unfamiliar with the Bible. And so they are very deliberate about making the language that they use and concepts that they talk about biblically accurate while remaining accessible and understandable to the culture they are in.

9. They work hard to be Simple not Simplistic

They create systems that make it clear, simple and intuitive to get into a group, or volunteer, or give financially to the church. Notice I didn’t say simplistic. The Apple iPhone is simple and intuitive to use, but it’s not simplistic.

10. They Embrace the “New”

Outsider-focused churches create a culture that embraces “the new.” They know that everything has a natural life-cycle so they become incessant tinkerers. They’re not afraid to start new things because they know new things attract new people. They are robust in their evaluation about their ministry environments and are candid about whether a ministry offering is reaching outsiders or developing insiders and if the answer is neither than they stop doing it.


Posted in Leadership