Tag Archive - capacity

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Why it’s Good for Ministry to be Difficult

Over the last couple of decades of full-time local church ministry, I’ve seen my fair share of difficult ministry moments. Like many of you I’ve experienced incredible wins and painful setbacks.

Anyone who’s been in local church ministry for more than 5 minutes knows that it’s not always rainbows and unicorns. Ministry can have incredibly difficult seasons and sometimes we can face what seems like insurmountable obstacles.

And that’s good…

Difficulties often force us to take a Different Direction:

When things become difficult in ministry sometimes the right thing to do is to push through and give more effort. But sometimes difficulties provide an opportunity to take a different approach and get different results. Either way, the best way to silence your critics is not to shout or fight back but to simply keep going and prove them wrong. So if you have to give more effort or take a different approach, either way, keep going!

Difficulties provide a Mirror for our Leadership:

When the lights come on and the whistle blows, and the game clock begins to tick it’s too late to practice and perfect your craft. Difficulties are a gauge for us to measure how we’re growing as a leader. Difficulties reveal our leadership capacity and effectiveness.

Difficulties help us Develop a Greater Capacity:

Often times you don’t know you can, until you do. One more mile, one more rep…one more. Everyone knows that overworking can lead to all kinds of unhealth and ultimately kill you. But people have a tendency to forget that underwork can lead to all kinds of unhealth and kill you just the same. Life change isn’t easy. The cross wasn’t easy. Difficulty is good for church leaders because it helps us develop our leadership muscle, mental toughness, and remind us to rely on the One we’re doing all of this for. Don’t give up just because it’s difficult. God can do more in you and through you than you think He can.


Posted in Leadership

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When to Invest in a Young Leader and When to Ignore Them

Like it or not, millennials are making their way into leadership roles in churches across America. As they take their newfound place in church leadership many of them are looking for someone to invest in them and help develop them as young emerging leaders.

Experienced leaders are always going to have more opportunities available to say yes to than capacity to meet them. This is true in leadership and this is true in developing young talent. You have to make a choice. So, choose wisely. How do you know who to invest in and who to ignore?

Young, naïve, and inexperienced talent doesn’t bother me. But young talent that is void of the following four intangibles scares me to death.

Talent

Skills can be trained but talent is developed. Talent is something you have or you don’t have. It’s something you’re born with or is gifted to you by the Holy Spirit. You get the gifts you’re given. For instance, if someone has been given the spiritual gift of leadership, it can be developed and that art can be perfected over time through study and practice. Others without the spiritual gift of leadership may learn leadership skills but they’ll never have the talent to lead at the same level as someone with a leadership gift. I’m looking for young leaders who are very talented.

Capacity

In a world where everyone gets a participation trophy and kids are taught that they can do anything and be anything they want to be in life; what I’m about to say isn’t going to be very popular. But it will be true. While different people may have similar talents, they may have different capacities. The Bible is clear that while many people may get similar or even the same gifts, that they are given in different measure. So, no you can’t be anything you want to be, but you can be the best you that you’re designed to be. That being said, I’m looking for young leaders who have a high capacity.

Teachable

In the book of James, he Bible teaches us that “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  You can’t give something to someone who doesn’t want to or isn’t ready to receive it. (both matter by the way). You can’t teach someone who isn’t teachable. I’m looking for young leaders who demonstrate a teachable spirit.

Effort

It’s okay for a young leader not to have an answer, but it’s not okay for that same young leader to not go find the answer. It’s okay for a young leader to fail and not get everything right the first time. It’s not okay for a young leader to not try as hard as they possibly can to succeed. I’m looking for young leaders who demonstrate tremendous effort.


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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What to do when you find yourself Doing Everything

Have you ever felt like you were working as hard as you possibly could and still at the end of the day were left with a pile of work that didn’t get done? Ever feel like everyone was coming to you for you to weigh in on every decision that needed to be made? Ever feel like what you thought was just going to be a busy season has turned into a normal way of work?

Pain points like this can be a gift because pain is an indicator that something is wrong and needs to change. The good news is things can change. When you experience this kind of pain it’s time to ask yourself the following questions:

Have I Hit a Capacity Lid?

The first question to ask is, “What am I doing that is contributing to this?” Great leaders always start with themselves, not others. They take personal ownership for where they are and how they got there. Is there a new skill you need to learn or a new approach you need to take? Do you need to increase your capacity and break through that lid?

What Needs to Change?

Do you need to learn to delegate more tasks to others? Do you need to empower others to make decisions and build strategies that get the team to designed outcomes? Are you doing too much as a high level generalist and it’s time to narrow your focus and allow other specialists to do a better job at what you were doing an okay job at? In other words, often times this kind of ongoing experience can be an indicator that it’s time for a growing church to restructure.

What Does the Church Need from Me?

Where do you bring the most value to the church? Where do your gifts, abilities, and experiences advance the vision the most? Are you contributing greatly in that area? The thing that most people don’t realize is that as the church grows the church actually needs something different from its leaders along the way, not all that dissimilar to parenting.

What Do I Want to Do?

Of all the things you find yourself doing right now, what do you want to keep doing? What would you give away to others to do if you could? Is what you’re doing right now moving you closer to the vision or further away? And do you want to go where that vision is leading you?


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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Breaking Through Your Capacity Lid

If you lead long enough eventually every leader and every organization will hit a leadership lid. You are going to outgrow your leadership skills and your organizational structures at some point. But what do you do when the lid at your church is a capacity lid? Capacity lids show up all over the place.

Facilities: If you build it they won’t always come.

  • Too many churches acquiesce to the pressure to build too soon and as a result they don’t maximize their current space. Instead of building try running multiple weekend services, try multiple venues on the same campus, park off campus, or move to a multisite strategy.

Volunteers: Volunteers are more important than the ministries.

  • Most churches run short on volunteers because they use volunteers to do the ministry instead of realizing that the volunteers are the ministry. Volunteering is discipleship. Take care of, invest in, and lead your volunteers and they’ll take care of the ministry.

Finances: Financial shortfalls can limit opportunities.

  • The two sides to finances in a church setting are building a culture of generosity in your church and then managing those finances so you position yourself to say yes to Jesus when He provides clear vision and opportunity. Immature organizations over extend themselves financially and self impose artificial lids as a result.

Staffing: The team outperforms the individual every time.

  • Scouting, attracting, developing and keeping talented team members are essentials to a growing church. But before you think paid staff think volunteer leaders. Paying people to do ministry should be the last resort.

Leadership: Leadership is a spiritual gift, but you can develop your leadership skills.

  • Leading a church of 100, 500, 1,000 and 10,000 are not the same thing. The higher you go you move from the science side of leadership to the art side of managing the momentum and emotion of the room. Get outside your tribe and start listening to and learning from successful people and organizations in other industries.

Character: Your talent can take you further than you character can sustain.

  • Character is the lowest leadership lid. No level of competency will ever make up for a fatal flaw in character because ministry and leadership run on trust. Character flaws erode trust every time.

Posted in Leadership

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Leadership Lessons I Wish I Understood as a Young Leader

Lately I’ve been thinking about some leadership lessons. You know…the “I wish I knew then what I know now” kind of stuff. See I’ve had a lot more time to think recently. That is, thanks to my wife for registering me for a triathlon this Fall. She said it was something that “we could do together.” She’s the one who races in the family. I’m the one who visited 5 different Starbucks cheering her on while she ran the Chicago Marathon. But it’s been interesting, as I’ve been training how many of my experiences have paralleled lessons that young leaders need to internalize and learn early, or risk potentially derailing their leadership journey before it really gets going.

So in no particular order here are 5 Leadership Lessons for Young Leaders based on my experiences training for a triathlon.

#1 Young Leaders have a Tendency to Overestimate their Capacity

When I started training for this triathlon I thought I’d pick it right up. After all I played varsity sports through out High School, have been pretty active as an adult, and heck I even lift weights pretty regularly. Well that was before I got in the pool and almost swallowed half of the water as I attempted to swim laps. Young Leaders are notorious for believing they can do more than they actually can. If you’re a young leader and ready to change the world, don’t be discouraged it may be in there; it just needs to be developed over time. You’re not nearly as good as you’re going to be if you keep working on it over time.

#2 Young Leaders Need to Learn Internal Fortitude is the Muscle of Leadership

I’ve got to be honest. There are days I don’t feel like training…I’d rather sleep. And there are moments when I’m running, or biking, or swimming that I’d rather just stop. But I don’t. And if you’re a young leader you need to soak this next statement in. The will to keep moving forward in the face of adversity, to find a way when there doesn’t seem to be a way; this is what separates “Big L” leaders from the weekend warriors. Not a lot of people will say this, this way, but there are a lot of ridiculously talented leaders out there (more talented than me) that fell by the wayside because they simply lacked the internal fortitude to take another step forward. They allowed their leadership muscle to atrophy.

#3 Young Leaders Need to be Given the Right Resources

I can’t believe all the gear that you “need” to run a triathlon, it’s a complete grocery list! Shorts that you can swim, bike and run in. Shoes that you can run in and another pair that clip into your bike. A helmet for your bike ride (we didn’t wear helmets when I was a kid…just saying). Oh yea, gotta have a bike, and I’m not talking about the BMX bike you had as a kid. A special watch for training where you can measure you distance, pace, calories spent and will probably tell you what time it is on Mars at any given moment. You get it. But why don’t young leaders get that there are real leadership skills that can be and need to be acquired and honed over time? If you’re a young leader and aren’t being developed where you are, then you need to take responsibility for your own growth. Listen, the majority of talented and experienced leaders out there aren’t going around looking for people to invest in. They’re up to their elbows creating the future! You’re going to need to find a leader who has what you want and chase them until they catch you. Remember leaders press into people who press into them.

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Posted in Leadership