Tag Archive - bible

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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

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Why there is no Leadership without Loss

The leadership secret that no one is telling you about? There is no leadership without loss. It may not be popular, but it is absolutely take it to the bank true. Most people mistakenly believe that gaining leadership is all about gaining more power, gaining a more influential position, and gaining more prestige and popularity. But leaders who lead at the highest levels know there is no going up, without giving up. And the higher you go in leadership, the more you have to be willing to lose. In fact here are 3 big things that leaders lose the higher they go in leadership.

#1 Preference

The best leaders I’ve been around ask what’s best for the organization, not what’s best for themselves. And then they defer their preference for the performance of the organization.

#2 Rights

The best leaders willingly give up their rights in exchange for responsibility.

#3 Control

Great leaders are able to recruit and keep other incredible leaders at the table because they’re willing to give up control. They’re willing to share leadership and allow others to lead in their area of brilliance.

Jesus put it this way: If you want to gain your life, you have to lose itif you want to be first, you have to be last.

What else would you add to the list? Leave a comment!

Want to learn more about the connection between loss and leadership? Check out 10 Things you Lose when your Church Grows

Photo Credit: Jan Tik via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership

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New Staff Search: A Church in Phoenix is Searching for a Youth Pastor

I’m pleased to announce a new Staff Search. I’m helping Desert Springs Bible Church as they begin the search for their new Student Ministries Pastor. Desert Springs Bible Church was planted in the 1970’s to reach the growing North Phoenix community and grew to as many as 800 in regular attendance. Currently, at 600 in attendance, Desert Springs has gone through a period of renewing their mission, vision, values, and transitioning the worship style to appeal to a new demographic of 30-somethings with kids, which better reflects the personality of the community. Desert Springs has a history of a Student Ministry that “out performs” the national average of 10% of the weekend attendance! Poised to move forward, Desert Springs is looking for the right person to join the team and help lead into the future!

Desert Springs Bible Church is located in Paradise Valley Village, just northeast of Phoenix, Arizona. A middle-upper class community, the area boasts beautiful outdoor living at the Phoenix Mountain Preserve System including biking, hiking, equestrian trails and other outdoor recreational activities. The community is also convenient to shopping, golfing, and resorts. With it’s proximity to Phoenix, Paradise Valley Village provides all the benefits of small town living with the appeal and amenities that come from being close to a major city.

Position Summary:

The Student Ministry Pastor will recruit, build and empower teams of volunteers to develop intentional ministry to teens and their families. He will develop systems and structures in alignment with the church’s mission, vision, values, spiritual maturity pathway, and philosophy. He will be a team player with the rest of the Desert Springs Staff Team. He will develop a ministry that builds environments in which students who don’t know Jesus are reached with the Gospel, help them get connected in small groups and grow in their faith, and develop them to reach their peers. He will be a model of integrity, living out biblical truth and demonstrate the Core Values of Desert Springs Bible Church.

Interested in learning more? Continue reading below:

Continue Reading…


Posted in Staffing

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Is All Scripture Equally Important?

It’s a commonly held belief among Evangelicals that all Scripture is God-breathed. After all, the Apostle Paul puts it this way in 2 Timothy 3:16…

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

But, is all Scripture equally important? Before you write me off as a heretic, really take a moment and consider that question. Is all Scripture really equally important?

I mean, you get one shot at sharing the Gospel with a thousand people…are you really going to lead with Leviticus? No? Why not? All right then, what’s the most important verse or two for them to hear in that moment? You could ask the same question about 100+ other scenarios and in each case you would be making judgment calls about what portions of scripture are more important than another.

I’m not saying that not all Scripture is not God-breathed. That would be heresy. What I am saying is that maybe it’s not equally important in preaching.

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Posted in Spiritual Formation