Tag Archive - alignment

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Why Knowledge isn’t the Key to Team Leadership

You don’t have to be the best at everything to lead the best team. I’ve seen church leaders of the past lead based on titles, having the most experience and knowing the most on the team, having the right answers, and being an expert authority. Church leadership is changing, and I think it’s changing for the better. Church leadership of the future is based on the leader’s ability to build the right kind of team culture that attracts high capacity team members. It takes humility, trust and the ability to give leadership away, not just keep it to yourself and tell everyone what to do.

If you have to know everything or be the one with the greatest expert knowledge on the team then eventually you will become the lid to growth.

While you don’t have to know everything, if you’re the leader you still need to be able to provide your team with the following 4 keys that unlock team success.

Clarity

Great leaders provide clarity to the team so that everyone knows where they’re going and what the objective and deliverables are. Clarity and pace are directly linked to one another. The greater the clarity the faster the team can move.

Resources

It’s really difficult to do a job without the right tools. Great leaders give their teams the tools, time and resources needed for them to succeed at their jobs.

Alignment

Great church leaders provide alignment for their teams. They coordinate all of the individual working pieces of the team into one direction. They have the ability to focus the finances, staff, volunteer teams, ministry calendar, communications, weekend services, and the discipleship pathway to move the entire church in one direction.

Care

In church-world our work is unique. It’s not about the bottom line or shareholder value. It’s about life-change. It’s distinctly spiritual work. Great church leaders understand this and they care for their teams along the way. They invest in them, they don’t just use them to get stuff done.


Posted in Staffing

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Vision is a Destination not a Statement

Vision is a destination, not a statement. Many churches spend an incredible amount of time wordsmithing pithy vision statements instead of providing a clear picture of where they’re going. What a majority of churches view as their vision statement is usually a mission statement.

Mission Answers the Question: Why do we exist?

This is the timeless answer to why your church is on the planet in the first place. We don’t get to pick our mission Jesus did that for us. That’s the whole, “go and make disciples,” part. But we do get to pick language that contextualizes it for our culture.

Vision Answers the Question: Where are we going?

This is the next hill that needs to be taken. Vision typically changes every 3-5 years. Vision changes because once you get there and have taken then hill, there’s always the next hill to take.

Most church staff can’t articulate the next hill their church is taking. They don’t’ know the target on the wall they’re shooting for. One way to begin to bring clarity to the vision at your church is to simply ask the question,

“Where would we be in 3-5 years if our church faithfully lived out the mission Jesus has given us in the context of our community, unique culture of our church, gifting and passions of our Sr. Leadership, and resources that God has given us?”

Doing the serious work to answer this question will help you put a target on the wall to hit. Getting crystal clear on this will have a “trickle down” effect on every decision made in your church over the next 3-5 years. It will allow you to:

  1. Set goals and measure results.
  2. Determine how to allocate resources and budget.
  3. Help you understand how you need to structure your staffing model.
  4. Bring alignment to ministries.

Posted in Leadership

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Top 10 Reasons Churches get Stuck

For more than 18 years I’ve been working full-time in a local church setting. The last 13 of those have been in large mega-church and multi-site settings. I’ve had the unique opportunity to work with an incredible team of people at a the Unstuck Group a successful consulting firm specializing in helping churches get unstuck. Over this span of time I’ve seen churches get and stay stuck for all kinds of reasons but there are 10 catalysts for church stuckness that I see come up over and over again. Here they are in no particular order:

1. Insider Focus

Alright so I said these weren’t in any particular order, well that’s mostly true. All except for this one. The most common area where I see churches get stuck is this issue of being insider focused. And it’s rooted in this fundamental question, “What is the church for?” I feel like I write about this topic a lot so I won’t regurgitate it here, just search “insider focus” in the search bar to your right and you’ll get a grocery list of stuff. Bottom line is a majority of churches that are stuck get that way and stay that way because they’re focused on insiders instead of outsiders. They would resist that diagnosis and the label, but they’re practices, language, guest services (or lack thereof), and low number of annual conversations and baptisms tell a different story.

2. Staffing and Structure

There are very common growth barriers that churches hit and get stuck at. A start up church that is setting up and tearing down in rented space, the medium sized church, the megachurch and multisite church aren’t different in size or economies of scale. They are completely different organizations. To get through these barriers and stay past these barriers takes more than momentum it takes changing the staffing and organizational structure of the church, and often times the way the Church Board operates in relationship to the staff. Do you have a staffing plan to get you where you want to go? Do you know what structure best fits your size and strategies?

3. Misalignment

A majority of churches do not organize around a central vision. Many don’t have a clearly stated, meaningful, actionable, and relevant mission statement, vision statement, or organizational values. Or if they do they’re on a piece of paper in a drawer somewhere. It’s the rare church that actually organizes the staffing strategy, budgeting process, ministry calendar, weekend teaching schedule, and communication strategies to synergistically move the whole church in a particular direction. There is no clear plan to move from where they are to where God wants them to be. And a failure to plan is planning to fail.

4. Leadership

I love what Bill Hybles, the Sr. Pastor at Willow Creek has said about leadership, “Everyone gets better when the leader gets better.” A leader can be the lid on a church. In other words, sometimes churches get stuck because the leader is stuck. And it’s one thing to get stuck and a whole other thing to stay stuck. Leaders need to invest in their own leadership gifts and keep growing or they’ll end up being the reason the church gets stuck.

5. Teaching

So I may be about to get some speaking pastors a bit upset. But speaking/preaching is a gift. Not everyone has it. Right? The other truth is not everyone who has a preaching gift has that gift given in the same amount. There are some that are simply great preachers. And guess what. Mediocre teaching, even good solid teaching is a barrier to growth and can lead to stuckness if great teaching isn’t developed or hired. Your church may be stuck because the teaching is stuck.

6. Weekend Experience

A lot of ministry segment leaders aren’t going to like what I’m about to say here, but it’s true, even if you don’t like it. In North America, it’s all about the weekend experience. That total street to seat experience that people have when they come to your church. It’s why your children’s ministry is growing (kids don’t drive themselves to church because they like the crafts that much), it’s why people say things like, “I’m not sure what it is but there is something special going on here.” New people bring new people when the weekend experience is going well. But when it’s stuck, there are no new people.

7. Volunteers

I rarely come across a church that says they have all the volunteers they need. I also rarely come across a church that makes it easy for people to get connected and start volunteering and they view volunteering as a part of the discipleship process. Meaning that when you serve you are actually becoming more like Jesus. In most churches the same people are still doing everything that they’ve always done. And until things change, nothing is going to change.

8. Finances

Many churches are stuck because of finances. Some are over extended in debt with no clear plan to pay it off. Many don’t have and haven’t thought through a clear strategy to engage the givers in their churches. Few have a clear and effective budgeting process, much less know what financial health looks like in a church setting. Many don’t teach about generosity for fear of sounding like all they care about is money. Your church doesn’t have a generous culture and as a result the Kingdom isn’t taking the ground that it should be. If you don’t have a clear plan to manage today’s resources for tomorrow, your church is probably stuck financially.

9. The Past

I commonly see churches that are still enamored with past practices and ministry programs that worked years ago to connect new people to Jesus, but now only serve to keep the committed comfortable. Most churches don’t know how to gracefully put old ministry programs out to pasture. Unfortunately as a result those same churches continue to engage in ministry practices that were successful in the past but keep them from being successful in the future.

10. Next Steps

Many churches haven’t defined next steps for people who are attending their church. What is the next step coming out of a sermon? Now that I’ve attended for the first time as a guest, what do I do now? How do I get into a Bible Study? How do I get involved volunteering? How do I financially contribute? Has your church defined the win regarding spiritual maturity and what you hope people will look like, and have you clearly charted a road map to help them get there?

What are some other reasons you’ve seen churches get stuck? What would you add to the list?

Does this list resonate with you? Is your church stuck in one or more of these areas? It might be worth a conversation with the Unstuck Group, we specialize in helping churches get unstuck!

Photo Credit: tricky (rick harrison) via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership

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Top Posts of 2013 #8: “What is a Campus Pastor?”

As we continue to count down the top 10 posts of the year on Helping Churches Make Vision Real, this post about defining the role of a Campus Pastor generated a lot of interest. After all this emerging role in the church is beginning to redefine the church landscape in North America.

In August, 2012, Leadership Network released a report stating that over 5,000 churches are now multi-site churches (churches that meet in more than one location for worship). It’s a growing trend that first began with mega-churches, but has now expanded to churches of all sizes. With this new trend a new staff role has emerged, that of “Campus Pastor.” While a lot churches are still trying to figure out this new role, here are 6 things that great Campus Pastors do:

1. Reproduce Culture

In a multi-site setting you’re not building culture as so much as you are reproducing it. Somewhere along the line there was a decision made that the church had a culture worth replicating. That’s a big reason you’re multi-siting in the first place. Great Campus Pastors know how to reproduce culture in the context of the community of the new campus location.

2. Build Organizational Alignment

A Campus Pastor doesn’t have to come up with the mission, vision, values, spiritual maturity pathway, leadership distinctives, campus constants, and doctrinal statement. Again, those things probably already exist. But they do need to know how to build alignment around them and through them.

3. Big “I” Implementer

A great Campus Pastor makes things happen. They know how to see ideas through from concept to completion. They know how to set the staff up to succeed in the implementation of the goals, calendars and budgets of all ministries on their Campus in a manner that moves the campus towards the vision.

4. Cooperation

Great Campus Pastors know how to work with others. They know how to work with “Central Services” such as a centralized Business or Creative Arts Department to get the right things done.

5. Build a Leadership Culture

They know how to recruit, train, coach and mentor a Staff Team. They provide leadership and oversight to the Campus Staff and in so doing create a healthy staff team environment and leadership culture.

6. Shepherd the Congregation

At the end of the day great Campus Pastors love the local church. They have a shepherding gift and care about people becoming what God has dreamed up for them to look like. They know how to problem solve and shepherd through congregational matters.


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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3 Reasons Big Churches Keep Getting Bigger

Recently Leadership Network published an article in which they shared the following research about megachurches (a Protestant congregation with 2,000 or more weekly attendees – both adults and children):

  • In 1970 there were less than 25 megachurches in all of North America
  • In 1983 there were less than 100 megachurches in the United States
  • Today there are more than 1,650 megachurches in North America (roughly 1,625 in the United States and 25 in Canada)

All of that means this past weekend of those who went to a Protestant Church in North America, 1 out of 10 went to a megachurch. The megachurch phenomenon of recent history doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. In fact it seems to be growing, even outside of North America big churches are getting bigger. But why?

1. Directional Leadership

There is a shift in thinking that is happening. No longer are pastors simply seen as someone who cares for the flock through providing counseling, marrying, burying, and preaching nice messages that educate people. Rather, more than any time in the history of the church, pastors are beginning to view themselves as directional leaders tasked to move the people of God (the church) from where they are, to where they need to be. Large churches have a tendency to be Staff-led as opposed to Committee-led. They also view leadership as a spiritual gift and build a culture to develop and nurture that gift in others.

2. Organizational Alignment

The larger the church, generally speaking the more focused it is. They know what they do well and what they don’t do well and they play to their strengths. They’ve actually clarified their purpose and as a result they’ve been able to simplify their processes and organize their staffing, budgeting, calendaring, ministries, discipleship strategies, and behaviors around that purpose.

3. Outsider Focused

Large churches fundamentally believe they exist to reach people outside of the faith. They don’t believe the church is for Christians, but the church is Christians and they exist for people who are not here yet. As a result everything they do from style in the worship services and other ministry environments to language that is chosen, guest services and way finding is done with the outsider in mind. They consistently make choices based on who they are going to reach, not who they are going to keep.

What are some other reasons you think large churches keep getting larger? And what keeps small churches small? I’d love to hear your thoughts…leave a comment!


Posted in Leadership
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