Tag Archive - challenge


How to Lead and Keep “Big L” Leaders on your Team

Great parents know that you don’t parent every kid the same way. Great leaders understand this principle, and because of it they don’t treat everyone on their team the same way. “Big L” leaders are a different breed. Not only have they been gifted with a greater leadership capacity, but they’ve worked at perfecting their craft. You can’t lead these kinds of leaders the way you lead everyone else on your team. If you do, you won’t keep them on your team. They need something different.


This may sound obvious, but you can’t keep these kinds of leaders on your team without offering them serious leadership. They will challenge your personal leadership capacity more than any other person on your team. These kinds of team members crave a compelling and clear direction. They respond to strong leadership because they’re strong leaders. You can shoot straight with them because they’re mission focused just like you.


Don’t try delegating tasks to these leaders. If you do they’ll feel micromanaged and leave you. They need the position and authority to go and make real decisions and execute to objectives. Don’t tell them what to do, tell them where you’re going, and then let them lead there.


“Big L” leaders are personally secure, and they can accept coaching. In fact, reviewing the game tape and looking for opportunities to improve the next play doesn’t bother them at all. They want to get better.


These kinds of team members need to have the resources to do their job. Don’t give them a big challenge, point them in a clear direction and give them the authority to execute without resourcing them to accomplish the vision. If you don’t resource them they won’t take you seriously.


These kinds of leaders aren’t afraid of being challenged. They’re need something big to chase. In fact if you don’t give “Big L” leaders a steady diet of fresh meat they’ll go hunting somewhere else.

Posted in Staffing


10 Keys to Managing Change in a Church

Leading through change can be difficult. Leading a church through change can be near impossible. Churches in particular have a tendency to resist change because they get trapped by the comfort of past success, practices and traditions. It takes an incredible amount of wisdom, the art of timing, and plain old courage and grit.

Many churches I talk with want different results; they actually want to see more people meet Jesus and follow Jesus this year than last year. Unfortunately, they just aren’t willing to change, let go of old tactics and take a different approach.

Recently I had a conversation with a church staff team that is courageously leading their church through change. Here are a couple of things that came out of the conversation.

1. No Change is Perfectly Executed

No matter how well-planned change is, how good it looks on paper, or how much sense it makes in your head it’s not going to go the way you think it’s going to go. There is going to be a surprise. Something is going to take more or less time, cost more or less money, or be more or less difficult than you planned. Point is, work hard, plan your work, work your plan and then be flexible.

2. Communication is Key

During change management, communicating the right message to the right audience at the right time is essential and can take a lot of time. There are multiple audiences to communicate with including the church staff, the church board, lay leadership, volunteers, and the congregation to name a few. Some churches due to their polity and structures have even more groups to get on board.

3. Everyone Carries 2 Buckets Around with Them

Everyone carries around 2 buckets with them, a bucket of water and a bucket of gasoline. One fuels change the other puts it out. Water fuels change because it douses the fire of resistance. Gasoline puts change out because it fuels the fire of resistance. Anytime your staff listens to complaining and says, “I understand how you would feel that way” without redirecting them it pours gasoline on the situation and validates the complaint.

4. What about Me?

Most people are fine with change as long as it doesn’t affect them. One thing you can do to get on the solution side of positively leading through change is simply think those thoughts ahead of time. What are people going to embrace or reject about the change you’re trying to implement based on how it’s going to affect them (real or perceived), then address those pressure points.

5. It isn’t Easy

You know all those church conferences, books and blogs you read full of stories about how some pastor just turned things around at their church, “Jesus just paved the way.” Yea, it’s never really that easy. Change is hard, it takes time, and requires grit and courage. It is not for the faint of heart. Anyone who tells you any different hasn’t actually had to lead through change before.

6. The Ripple Effect

Change has a ripple effect that you often don’t seen until much later. It’s almost like painting one wall of a house you move into. It leads to another wall and another. And of course, then you need to change the flooring, the faucets, the cabinets, etc. Then it’s time to start on the outside of the house…ugh. Bottom line…change has a ripple effect.

7. The Minority can have a Majority Voice

In a season of change a small group of people can have a loud voice and make it seem like everyone is against you. The silent majority is typically with you and those who are positive about it rarely say they’re positive about it. It’s the negative few that always bark the loudest.

8. Lead Different with Different People

Remember what you read above? That communication is key in a season of change? Well it’s also key to remember that you don’t communicate to and lead every group of the same way. Anyone who has more than 1 kid knows you don’t parent every kid the same way…so why would you try to lead every group the same way?

9. Small Change can Reveal Big Issues

One small seemingly harmless change can tell you something about your church. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen church leaders try to change something that seemed small and innocent to them not to realize that they were stepping on a landmine that blew up. Make sure you truly understand not just what you’re changing things to become or how you’re going to change them but what it is your actually changing and why.

10. Training vs Challenging

Sometimes people don’t have the right information and they don’t understand why they should get on board with the change. Other times people don’t want to jump on board with the change because they have their own agenda.  Either way it can appear that people are digging their heals in and fighting you on the change you’re trying to make. What you’ve got to do as the leader is find out if they’re fighting due to ignorance or obstinace. You train ignorance and you challenge obstinance.

Interested in learning more about leading through change at your church? Check out these helpful articles.

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing, Testimonial


Inviting You to Take the Unstuck Challenge

While most pastors are preparing for Christmas Eve services, wise pastors know there’s another big day right around the corner:

January 1, 2017.

The start of a new year in which to make new changes, build new ministries, and ultimately reach new people.

I’d venture to bet there’s a list of changes you’ve wanted to make at your church for a while.

Perhaps you’ve known your worship services need to be updated. Maybe your discipleship “pathway” really feels more like a ministry maze. It could be that you’re looking to add another service — or eliminate one. To engage more leaders — or develop the ones on your team.

If you’re like most pastors, you knew these changes were needed a while back.

Maybe you’ve known this entire year but couldn’t quite get the ball rolling. Thankfully, a new year comes with a new opportunity…

2017 could be the year when everything…starting with the right thing…changes.

The difference will be in how you start.

This January, we’re inviting pastors from around the world to join us for The Unstuck Change Challenge.

It’s a 15-day journey to kickstart the ministry year you’ve been dreaming about. We’ll help you clarify what you need to change and why, get the right people around the table, and develop a real plan for communication and action. Oh, and it’s completely free.

By taking the challenge, you’ll receive daily emails full of the following:

  • Inspirational videos on the 5 aspects of leading change
  • Planning frameworks to help you make better and faster decisions
  • Frequent reminders that it’s time to take action — because we all need an occasional kick in the pants!

“So, you’re really not going to charge me for this?”

I’ve seen new year kick-off programs cost anywhere from $30 to $300. But here’s my opinion: The real cost of change is the time you put into creating it. If you’re willing to invest your time, I don’t want anything else to get in the way.

But first, I should warn you…

This challenge is not for the complacent or comfortable. I’m not willing to sit idle while churches maintain status quo. My aim is to challenge and inspire you toward real action that makes real impact. There’s too much at stake in your community to not start the year right.

If you’re a church leader who has been thinking about making real change — the kind of change that helps more people meet Jesus — sign up below and high-five the closest person nearby. Because 2017 just became the year when everything…starting with the right thing…changes.

So follow this link to get start 2017 off right with the Unstuck Challenge!

Posted in Leadership


5 Steps Young Leaders can take to Advance their Leadership

Most churches struggle to attract and develop young leaders. There are a lot of reasons for that. But instead of writing a blog post encouraging the church to take ground in this area (like I’ve done before) I wanted to take a different angle and speak to the young leaders who might be reading this. Not sure this is actually going to be super popular with younger leaders but if you take this advice to heart I promise you it will help you get where you want to go. So at the risk of sounding like a grumpy old codger (not sure that’s really a word) here are a couple of things that will help young leaders advance in their leadership.

#1 Come to Work on Time

This may sound a little elementary, but I’m telling you, if you show up on time or better yet, get into work before your supervisor gets there things will go well for you.

#2 Follow Through

Again this isn’t rocket science. But if you do what you say you’re going to do you, when you say you will do it, you’ll stand out. Consistency and follow through are rare in the workforce among young leaders and this will differentiate you from your peers.

#3 Over Deliver

The old adage is still true today, “Under promise and over deliver.” Do this, and you’ll turn heads. People will begin to learn that they can count on you to get stuff done.

#4 Learn New Things

Don’t be afraid to ask your supervisors for help or input. Offer to take other more experienced leaders in your organization out for coffee or lunch (on your dime) and ask them good questions about what they’ve learned over the years (write the questions you want answered down ahead of time).

#5 Push Yourself

Jump into the deep end of the pool. The best way to learn to lead isn’t in a classroom but by leading. Sink your teeth into something big and see what you can do. Don’t be afraid to fail. Ask your supervisor for extra work and side projects that you can help with.

At the end of the day as a young leader you’ve got to build trust with those in authority over you. Do these five things and you’ll be well on your way!

Interested in learning more about developing young leaders in the church? Check out these “10 Articles that will Help Your Church Develop Young Leaders.”

Posted in Leadership, Staffing


Top Posts of 2014 #1: “6 Things I Bet You Don’t Know about Your Pastor’s Wife”

This past week I’ve been counting down the top 10 posts of the year and I’m happy to share with you the #1 post of the year! I’m especially glad to share this post with you because my wife, Lisa, actually helped me write it…hmmm…maybe she should write more often on my blog.

One of the least thought about people in the church today is a Pastor’s wife. While leaders get all the attention and accolades their families and private lives are thought of very little by the public. In fact in a moment in church history where we are inundated with volumes of leadership ideas and training very little is written about pastor’s wives. I recently sat down with Lisa, my wife, and asked her about her experience being married to a full-time pastor for the past 18+ years. Here is some of what she had to say…

1. Every Criticism of the Church is a Criticism of my Husband

Whenever people complain about the church, I feel like they’re complaining about my husband. After all every criticism of leadership is ultimately a criticism of my husband. It could be a sermon series they don’t like, a new building project they don’t agree with, services times, parking, the music being too loud, Children’s Ministry, a staff member they don’t like…on and on the list can go.

2. I wish my Kids were treated like Every other Kid at Church

I wish my kids were treated with the same love, grace and enthusiasm that every other kid was treated with at church. It goes both ways. They either receive preferential treatment because they’re the pastor’s kid or they’re overly criticized for every peep they make in church. They deserve to have the same experience that every other kid who walks in those doors has. I want my kids to grow up to love Jesus and the church not feel criticized by it.

3. Sundays are the most Difficult Day of the Week

I wake up and get the kids ready alone. We go to church alone. I check my kids into children’s ministry alone. I sit in church alone. I come home alone. And when my husband comes home from church, he’s tired because he’s given his all to serve the church that day. It’s tough, because my kids are off from school 2 days a week, and one of those days is a workday for dad.

4. I don’t Always want to be in a Bible Study

There’s this unspoken (and sometimes spoken) expectation that if you’re a pastor’s wife that every time the church is open you should be there and leading in some capacity. Sometimes I just want to volunteer in my kids school and in the community and be outside the 4 walls of the church around people who are far from Jesus. Don’t’ get me wrong, we’re in a small group with other Believers and love it. It’s just sometimes I don’t want to be around Christians, I want to be around people who are far from Jesus, because that’s who Jesus came for

5. Holidays are Lonely

In other words Christmas and Easter. They’re Super Bowl moments for the church. They’re 2 of the most likely times when people will come to church each year. So when everyone else is hanging with family and celebrating holidays together, my husband is at church. We don’t get to travel and be with family. We don’t get to be together on Christmas Eve.

6. I’m not Married to Jesus, my Husband is Human

Believe it or not my husband is not always the same guy that everyone sees on stage. There’s times he’s grumpy, tired, impatient with the kids, and selfish. He has bad days just like everyone else. And he’s not walking around spouting off scripture all hours of the day. We have arguments just like every other couple. Contrary to popular belief he’s human just like every other guy.

Before you think I hate being a Pastor’s Wife: Every wife has things she likes and dislikes about her husbands job, no matter what he does for a career. But it seems like a lot of people think that a pastor’s job is a cakewalk, and that he only works on Sundays. No, he’s not traveling 40% of the nights each month like a lot of men in business world. No he doesn’t commute an hour to work each way, and he doesn’t work 3rd shift. Even though being married to a pastor is not as easy as you may think, it does however have it’s own unique set of blessings. It’s an incredible privilege to be a small part of leading a church. It’s no small thing that people would trust me and that I would have the opportunity to help shepherd and care for people, and see people take ground in their relationship with Jesus. And there is a real sense that I have a huge extended family in the body of Christ. There really are some really sweet people in the church that help take care of my family and me. They minister to us as much as we minister to them. It may not always be easy, but it’s worth it.

Photo Credit: swirlingthoughts via Compfight cc

Posted in Family, Leadership
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