Tag Archive - competition


Who is Your Church Competing With?

From the earliest days of the Jr. High lunchroom (as brutal as that can be) as young adolescents try to figure out the social pecking order it’s funny how little things seem to change even as we move well into adulthood and the workplace. It even shows up when you get a bunch of pastors in the same room. The first question that comes up? It may come out a bit more sophisticated than this but what they’re all thinking is, “How big is your church compared to my church?” It’s a question rooted in simple immature Jr. High insecurity. And it is derailing the Church from its mission. Competing with other churches only makes sense if you’re going after people who already know Jesus. And there is no shortage of people who don’t know Jesus. So how do you know if your church is competing with other churches?

1. Are you Genuinely Excited to see Other Churches in your Community Take Ground?

If you don’t feel like you’re winning when other churches in your community are winning and in fact become jealous when other churches win, you’re probably competing with other churches.

2. Do you Publicly (and Privately) Speak Well of other Churches in your Community?

If you speak poorly of other pastors and other churches then you’re probably competing with other churches.

3. Do you Learn from Other Successful Churches?

If you don’t think you have much to learn from other successful churches and they, “Don’t understand your church,” you’re probably competing with other churches.

4. Are you doing events for Christians?

If your first foot forward is to lead with events to attract Christians then you’re probably competing with other churches. By the way, that’s not growing the church; it’s what we call “Swapping Saints.”

5. Does the Language you use Create Clarity or Confusion for Outsiders?

If people outside of the faith need a “Beginners Guide to Understanding Church Language” to know what’s going on at your church then you’re probably competing with other churches. Click on the following link to discover if your church is Insider focused or Outsider focused.

Friends, other churches aren’t the Enemy. The Enemy is the Enemy. We’d do well to remember the words of the Apostle Paul…

“It’s true that some here preach Christ because with me out of the way, they think they’ll step right into the spotlight. But the others do it with the best heart in the world. One group is motivated by pure love, knowing that I am here defending the Message, wanting to help. The others, now that I’m out of the picture, are merely greedy, hoping to get something out of it for themselves. Their motives are bad. They see me as their competition, and so the worse it goes for me, the better—they think—for them.So how am I to respond? I’ve decided that I really don’t care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on!” Philippians 1:15-21 (The Message)

Posted in Leadership


Making Small Groups the Hub of your Ministry

This past week I had the opportunity to spend some time at NorthCoast Church with Larry Osborne and his team to talk about Leadership and Small Groups (I’ll post more take aways in the weeks to come). If you don’t know already, NorthCoast is an outlier when it comes to small groups and you need to get to know these guys. While the norm across the nation is hovering at about 50% of weekend worship attendance in groups, NorthCoast is shattering that norm and boasts just over 90% of their weekend worship attendance in groups. That was enough for us to get on a plane and spend some time learning from these guys. Here are a few of my take aways:

1. Cut the Competition

You’re doing ministry in a world where people will give you 2 time slots. Leaders will give you 3, and ministry animals will give you 4. Consistently across the nation, every time you see a higher percentage of people in groups you see less competition for groups. That means fewer classes and other programs (menu driven ministry) for people to choose among. Groups become the step, not a step.

2. Limit midweek Children’s Events

Midweek kids ministry will kill your small groups because parents will always choose their children first over their small group. See above.

3. Important People are in the Important Things

Simply put, if your top leaders are not in Small Groups then Small Groups are not important. If your Staff are not in a Small Group then Small Groups are not a big deal.

4. Count and Respond to the Facts

You can’t respond to reality if you don’t know what reality is. That’s why you need to keep attendance in your Small Groups. In churches we’re often guilty of counting numbers instead of faces. We may think that we grew by 100 people in groups last year but because we don’t count faces and only numbers we could have grown by 300 and lost 200 and never knew.

5. Measure Retention

The most important measure of organizational health is retention. This is why you need to measure not just the high water mark of sign ups but also the retention of volunteers, of Small Group participants, & leaders.

6. Talk Like Everyone is in a Group

It may sound counterintuitive but a constant drip is more powerful than the momentary splash of large-scale marketing. This is why you need to make a reference to Small Group homework & conversations somewhere in each of your weekend sermons. This is not an advertisement or announcement, but a normal part of the conversation. For example: “I don’t have the time to talk about this but you’re going to talk about this in your Small Groups this week.”

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation


It’s Not My Job

“It’s not my job,” is more than an excuse. It’s one of the most destructive cultural statements you’ll ever hear in any church or organization. Whenever you hear this phrase popping up you’re sure to find the following destructive behaviors lurking beneath the surface:

1. Turf wars and Competition

Competition can be healthy when it drives new ideas, innovation, improvement, and pushes the organization forward. But competition can go south when it turns into turf wars, jealousy and undermining the progress and overall good of the organization. Team members need to remember when one person or department wins the whole organization wins. It’s not my job.

2. Silos

When each ministry in the church is looking out for its own interests, you’ve got silos. They go beyond just a lack of communication and collaboration around a centralized vision. Silos show up most predominately in the approach ministries take to staffing, time allocation, ministry budgets, calendaring, communication strategies, and facility or resource usage. It’s not my job.

3. Politics

Organizational politics are at play when the vision and goals of a church or organization begin to take a back seat to the goals and agenda of an individual or particular department. This turns into manipulation, triangulation, end rounds, and all kinds of ugly destructive behaviors.  It’s not my job.

 4. Laziness

Often times this phrase is simply an excuse to get out of work. There’s a difficult conversation to be had or a difficult task to be accomplished. And instead of shouldering responsibility and getting things done many people shrink back and make excuses. It’s not my job.

5. Lack of Buy-in to the Vision

When you start to hear this phrase thrown around you can bet that you’ve got a team full of employees not owners, followers not leaders. At the end of the day if you’re the lowest level employee in an organization or the Sr. Leader in the organization your job is the vision. No job should be below you…or above you…because the vision is your job. It’s not my job.

“It’s not my job,” is a passive aggressive shift of responsibility that people make in a vain attempt to somehow protect themselves from consequences.

You’ll never hear the phrase, “It’s not my job,” come out of the mouth of a leader. Because the very nature of a leader is to run into the gap, into the fray, make things happen and get on the solution side of things. Leaders accept responsibility and move things forward.

Posted in Leadership
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