Tag Archive - clarity


How Insider Language is Keeping Outsiders Away from Jesus

My wife recently hosted a baby shower for some friends of ours that ended up upsetting our youngest son. Wyatt is 5 years old, he’s the youngest of 4, and has 2 older sisters who dote all over him. He was really excited about the baby shower. Until he discovered about half way into it that he wasn’t going to be able to bring the baby upstairs and give the baby its first bath.

He mistakenly thought that a baby shower was a party to celebrate giving a new baby their first bath. Cute, funny, and at the same time I can see how the mind of a 5-year-old can come to that confusing conclusion.

What’s not so cute or funny is that churches confuse people who are unfamiliar with Jesus and His Church all the time by the words and language that they use. What’s really sad is that the point of this whole thing is to make the Gospel clear not confusing.

The most obvious way to tell if a church is insider focused or outsider focused is the language that they choose to use. It either says that the church is “inclusive” or “exclusive.” And it’s important because words build worlds. There are all kinds of ways this goes wrong in churches, here are 3 big ones…obviously there are more (in fact I’d love to hear your thoughts and what you’ve seen in churches…leave a comment).


Preaching as though everyone already knows Jesus and comes to the room with basic Bible knowledge. They don’t. Unless you’re just doing church for church people (which isn’t really Church). Most people don’t even know the books of the bible or what the big numbers and little numbers mean.


Coming up with “cool names and brands” for ministries that mean nothing to people outside the church. You can find a list of real life funny but sad examples if you follow this link.


Stuff like mentioning people from stage by name without explaining who they are. For instance, I’ve been to a church where an announcement was made to go see “Jim” to join a small group. I’m thinking to myself if I don’t know Jesus and am unfamiliar with church world…who’s Jim, how do I find him…and what the heck is a small group?

Two big principles to keep in mind when it comes to the language you choose to use in your church are: clear always trumps cute or cool and you’re always better off just calling things what they are.

Posted in Leadership


4 Keys to Great Church Staff Coaching

Just because coaching doesn’t come natural or easy to everyone doesn’t mean your team shouldn’t receive good coaching. You can get better results out of your team by giving them better coaching. Here are 4 steps you can take over the next 30 days to get better results out of your team!

#1 Stay Positive

People you’re coaching need hope. I’ve never gotten a better performance or better results from someone in the work place by yelling at them, but encouragement on the other hand has produced all kinds of great results. Sometimes people just need someone to believe in them and be given an opportunity.

#2 Be Consistent

Consistency in coaching is key. Coach ahead of time by giving them as many “game like reps” as possible, encourage them while they’re “playing the game,” and review and break down “game tape,” afterwards.

#3 Be Clear

When coaching be specific and include as much detail as you believe is helpful. Eliminate information overload and confusion.

#4 Don’t Say Everything You See

Don’t be afraid to say the hard things. But say them in increments that people can receive them in. Prescribe in doses that they can digest and act on. Get them moving in the right direction. Don’t’ worry about solving everything at once.

Posted in Leadership


Building a Winning Culture at your Church

In a day where everyone gets participation trophies the idea of winning or losing when it comes to church has become a foreign concept. In fact, I think most churches have become afraid to win. I’m not talking about a game. Church isn’t a game. It’s about something far bigger than that. Much more is on the line. It’s about heaven and hell. The fact is people are dying and going to hell and that’s simply unacceptable.

This why churches must develop a winning culture, it’s simply unacceptable for them not to. Too much is at stake.

While there are a lot of factors that go into building a winning culture at your church here are 6 big differences between winning and losing church team cultures.

1. Fun

Fun may be one of the most underestimated factors to building a winning culture. People are attracted to teams that are fun, they stay on teams that are fun, and they perform better on teams that are fun. You cannot have a bad attitude and play a good game or produce great results.

2. Drive

It takes a certain dogged determination to build a winning culture. There has to be a drive to win. Winning doesn’t just happen by magic or luck, but the will to practice hard…over and over and over again and not give up. 

3. Flexibility

Winning cultures don’t happen on accident. There’s a great deal of planning, strategy and intentionality to it. But there’s also a certain malleability to it all. These teams are willing to adjust strategy mid-stream in order to accomplish the vision. They understand that no plan really survives contact with the enemy.

4. Ridiculous Commitment

These kinds of churches have a serious, borderline ridiculous, commitment to their staff cultural distinctives. They use these cultural makers to hire, fire and coach. They’re so zealous about them that you’ll even hear them say things like, “You’re going to hate working here if you don’t really embrace these things and we’ll probably hate working with you.”

5. Clarity

Winning church teams understand what a win actually looks like. They define what a first down looks like and they keep score. This kind of clarity provides freedom to move at fast pace because everyone knows how to make decisions in view of the win.

6. Throw a Party

What you celebrate gets repeated. Great church teams celebrate wins! They throw parties and they reward team members for great results!

Posted in Leadership


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


Tearing Down Imaginary Fences

Have you ever thought to yourself or even said out loud, “we could never do that,” at our church? Maybe you don’t think your denomination would allow it, or your pastor wouldn’t allow it, or your church board wouldn’t allow it. Maybe you feel as though there are too many road blocks to change and you feel helpless or hopeless.

What I’ve found is that many church leaders are living within imaginary fences that they’ve constructed in their minds through either assuming the worst or building an entire reality in their minds based on one (or a couple) of bad experiences.

The truth is, you probably have more leeway to implement change at your church than you think. Here’s how…

Find the Yes

Stop looking for the no…find the yes. It’s easy to go negative and keep your eyes and mind on everything you can’t do. Anyone can to that, it takes no work, energy or leadership. Being solution oriented on the other hand is rare. I guess that’s why real leadership is rare too. You’ll find what you’re looking for.

Focus on Growth Not Change

Every change you make is a criticism of the past, and no one likes to be criticized. So, focusing on or even talk about change in an anti-change environment is a recipe for disaster. Instead focus on growth, helping people spiritually grow and join Jesus on His mission to help people know Him and follow Him. You cannot follow Jesus and stay where you are. This is true personally and organizationally. So focus on growth and change will happen.

Assume the Best and Clarify

What if instead of assuming the worst about your denomination, your pastor or your church board you assumed the best and then clarified? What if you changed all of that self-talk and chose to believe that these were all people who cared about people meeting Jesus and following Jesus?

Stop talking about what’s Wrong

Words create worlds. Language builds culture. You may have a negative culture on your church team because you’ve been speaking negatively about your denomination, pastor or church board. Take personal ownership for your attitude and your words, and how they’ve contributed to the problem. And…you actually may have some sin to confess in there somewhere.

Promote the Gospel not a Method

Stop worrying about a particular ministry program, method or approach you want to take and start focusing on the Gospel. Your ministry program or method isn’t going to change the world, Jesus will. And all of us know that methods come and go. That method you love today is going to be stale in the future and someone is going to feel the same way about it that you do about old methods you’re trying to change.

Want to learn more about changing your church? Here’s a couple of posts will help you:

Posted in Leadership
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