Tag Archive - action

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5 Characteristics of Churches that Change

Over the past 7 years working with the Unstuck Group I’ve consulted with all kinds of churches. Small churches, large churches, single site churches and multisite churches, churches that are denominationally entrenched and non-denominational churches, urban churches, rural churches and yes suburban churches.

Many of those churches have gone on to get unstuck and produce all kinds of great fruit, seeing many people meet Jesus and experiencing a reinvigorated season of ministry.

Unfortunately, not every church gets unstuck, but for those that do there are some common characteristics that I’ve observed.

Personal Ownership

Churches that change and get unstuck take personal ownership. They don’t blame previous leaders, they don’t blame the economy, they don’t blame what’s happening in their community, they don’t blame the people attending the church, and they don’t even blame the devil. Churches that change get to the point where they stop making excuses for not growing and reaching new people for Jesus. These churches don’t play the role of a victim. These church leaders intuitively know that you can’t change what you can’t control…and they know you can’t control much…but you can control your attitude, your effort, and your approach. These churches are willing to change all three of those things.

Justice Oriented

Somewhere along the line the leaders of churches that experience real genuine change acquire a holy discontent with the status quo. They begin to see that staying where they are and doing things the way they’ve been doing them would actually be wrong. Maybe even sinful. A sense of justice rises up in them prompting them forward to a new future with a different approach that produces different results.

Courage

Churches that actually change understand that change is going to be difficult. They know that it’s going to be painful. They know that not everyone is going to go with them on this new journey to reach people far from Jesus. They often times even admit that it’s going to be a bit scary. They simply have the courage to do it anyway.

Action Oriented

Often times these churches have gotten stuck because they’ve been risk adverse or more oriented towards keeping people they already have happy as opposed to doing new things to reach new people. Every church that I’ve seen change and get unstuck has adopted a new approach that has required them to take new action.

Strong Point Leadership

Something that I consistently see in churches that get unstuck and change is that they’re led by strong Sr. Pastors. Now don’t hear what I’m not saying. They’re not all led by dynamic communicators or incredibly gifted leaders. But they are led by Sr. Pastors who are strong and are willing to leverage whatever gifts God has given them to move the ball forward. Often times that simply means that they’ve accumulated relational trust over a long period of time and they’re willing to cash that trust in to move the church forward. Instead of riding off quietly into the sunset they’re willing to go out with their guns blazing so to speak.


Posted in Leadership

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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

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The Art of Execution

August kicks off a new ministry year at Sun Valley, the church I have the privilege of serving at, and that means it’s time to get the team in the room and talk about the new year. Through out the ministry year we get the entire staff team from all campuses together once a month to worship together, celebrate wins, communicate stuff that everyone needs to know and provide leadership training. This month Chad Moore, who serves as the Lead Pastor at Sun Valley, shared about bridging the gap between vision and reality. The art of execution. Here are some of the best highlights.

  • Leadership is one of the most talked about and least understood spiritual gifts in the Bible.
  • David submitted to the vision God had for his life not the vision he had for his life (the calling on David’s life wasn’t to build the temple, but to defeat the enemies of God).
  • Solomon didn’t dream up the idea he executed the idea and the idea wasn’t general or generic it was VERY VERY VERY specific.
  • Vision isn’t mystical it’s specific, it’s a dream with a deadline “build the temple.”
  • Define reality, Dream a preferred future, and Design a pathway to get there.
  • Any time you are serving God it is going to involve serving people.
  • Inspiration and motivation don’t actually make anything happen, discipline does.
  • People who actually do the least get celebrated the most (public figures).
  • You make touchdowns yard by yard, down by down as you move down the field.
  • Discipline is the missing art of leadership.
  • The only way to hike the Grand Canyon is to go do the bleachers again, and again, and again.
  • You don’t follow Jesus in the spotlight but in the everyday mundane stuff that nobody sees.
  • The more specific the plan the better the plan.
  • The “science side” of the plan = what is written down, budget, etc.
  • You have to “embrace the stupid” if you’re going to learn and grow…i.e. “I don’t want to look stupid to do something new I’ve never done or learned before.”
  • Effort = “Work as hard as we can”
  • Excellence = “Work as well as we can”

Posted in Leadership

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The 4 Phase Planning Process for Church Leaders

Few churches have a great planning process. Most don’t even have a good planning process, if they have a process at all.

I’m not sure why this isn’t a bigger priority. Planning is certainly biblical. I don’t find many pastors who would really take aim at that fact. You’d have to throw out a lot of Proverbs, if you decided to.

Everyone likes to talk about stewardship and the stewardship of Kingdom resources, which involves a lot of wisdom and planning. So, if I have to put it in this context, learning a great planning process is good stewardship of Kingdom resources.

At the Unstuck Group we’ve been helping churches with strategic planning for quite a few years now, and we’ve seen a lot of what works and what doesn’t. We believe in the process the team at The Unstuck Group uses. We believe it’s a great planning process because it incorporates four key elements.

The 4 Phase Planning Process

4 Phase Process

Wise planning should always include:

1) Assessment – Understanding where you are now.

You should start with a good understanding of where you are now. We believe an outside perspective is always going to give you the best result. (We even bring in an outside facilitator when we do strategic planning for The Unstuck Group.) It’s also important to look at key metrics and not just rely on your opinions about the health of your church. Your opinions are heavily influenced by tradition and emotion, whether you want to believe it or not.

2) Planning – Defining where you are going and how you will get there.

Your plans should clarify and focus your vision, blending together the strategic, operational and financial aspects of your ministry. Involving ministry leaders from all of your departments brings alignment and will help you prevent ministry silos. Everyone will get on the same page about what you’re trying to accomplish, and what the wins are.

3) Structure – Determining the right form for your organization.

With a clear vision in place and core strategies outlined, you can easily see gaps in your staff team. For your plans to be realized, you will need to have the right people in the right roles. You will need a structure that creates accountability and supports the development of your staff.

4) Action  – Monitoring how you are doing and identifying what needs to change.

Plans that never see action are worthless. Your planning process needs to incorporate timelines, deadlines and evaluation. It needs to be a living, breathing thing that gets refreshed regularly as God leads your church into the future.

With a great planning process, you should be making wise decisions based on honest evaluations. You should be building the right team based on your plan. You should be making budget decisions based on your plan. You should be providing accountability for the execution of your plan. You should be routinely identifying what’s working and what isn’t.

And you shouldn’t feel stuck.

The Unstuck Group’s process walks churches through all four of these phases. And we continually receive stories from pastors who have learned this process and are seeing breakthrough. We’d love to share more about how it works with you. Follow this link to learn more about how it works.


This post was originally published on Tony Morgan’s blog. Tony serves as the Chief Strategic Officer at the Unstuck Group.  You can keep up with Tony at his blog by following this link.


Posted in Leadership