Tag Archive - conflict

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4 Ways Good Shepherds Lead Differently

Never be afraid to ask people to follow Jesus. Whether it’s joining a volunteer team, going to marriage counseling, publicly being baptized, financially supporting the ministry of the church or a whole list of potential other steps someone could take to follow Jesus. Never be afraid to challenge people…because it’s for their good. When people follow Jesus, joy follows them. This is what it means to be a good shepherd. But good leaders know that you can’t lead everyone the same.

Lost Sheep

The painful truth for most shepherds to face is in order to lead them you’ve got to actually be around them. Do you have any relationships with lost sheep? Do you have any lost sheep in your life? If not, you’ll never be others oriented. Love them and be normal!

Stinky Sheep

Here’s the thing about stinky sheep, they complain about everything. That’s why they’re so stinky. Good shepherds never allow whiners to keep them from winning.

  • Are they ignorant? If they’re unaware then be kind and explain things to them in order to bring them along.
  • Are they obstinate? Some sheep don’t care about understanding, they just want things their way. These sheep may need you to listen but don’t bend.

Leadership by its very nature is confrontational. The leader is tasked with taking people somewhere they haven’t been. By its very nature it requires conflict and confrontation. When it comes to conflict and confrontation hired guns run. Owners pull the gun and take on the wolf.

Newly Found Sheep

New sheep are the momentum engine of your ministry. They bring life, fun and excitement. New sheep find other new sheep. But here’s the thing about new sheep. They’re messy. They don’t know the behavioral rhythms and norms of the flock yet. They need to be celebrated and then guided and led. They need to get connected to relationship and responsibility. The faster you can make people feel a part of it the faster they’ll be a part of it. 

Long-Time Sheep

Long-time sheep are the backbone of the ministry at your church and provide stability to the ministry of your church. These sheep need you to remind them what it was like to be a new sheep. They need you to put stories of new sheep in front of them over, and over, and over, and over again.

*Each month the Staff Team at all Sun Valley Community Church Campuses gather together for worship, fun, a meal and some training. The core content for this blog post came from one of those recent trainings by Chad Moore, the Lead Pastor at Sun Valley.


Posted in Leadership

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10 Articles that will Help your Church Make Vision Real

Each month I curate the top 10 most popular blog posts I’ve shared recently. These are the articles that got had the greatest engagement in the past month. They were the most visited, shared, helpful or disagreed with. At any rate, thanks for staying in contact with me through engaging in the content on this site, I hope it’s been helpful to you! In case you missed any of them here they are all in one nice tidy place for you!

#1 18 Churchy Things the Class of 2018 Won’t Get

This spring’s high school graduates were born in the year 2000. Here are some churchy things for which they have little to no context for…

#2 7 Ways Church Leaders Unknowingly Lead their Churches to be Stuck

While there are external reasons that churches begin to move the wrong direction the majority of time it’s much closer to home. Often “stuckness” is self-induced by intention or neglect on the part of the leaders of the church. So in no order, here are some things I’ve seen church leaders do to unknowingly lead their churches towards being stuck.

#3 What is a Campus Pastor?

In August, 2012, Leadership Network released a report stating that over 5,000 churches are now multi-site churches (churches that meet in more than one location for worship). It’s a growing trend that first began with mega-churches, but has now expanded to churches of all sizes. With this new trend a new staff role has emerged, that of “Campus Pastor.” While a lot churches are still trying to figure out this new role, here are 6 things that great Campus Pastors do:

#4 8Reasons Why People Don’t Volunteer at your Church 

I’ve never worked with a church that has said they don’t need more volunteers. But I’ve worked with a bunch of churches that have trouble getting people to volunteer and stay engaged volunteering.

#5 What do you do when you Don’t Agree with your Pastor?

If you work on staff at a church, chances are at some point you’re going to disagree with your pastor. That’s okay, you’re human, it would be naive to think you’re always going to agree with your pastor. But what you do with that disagreement is where things can get really messy. Messy for you, and messy for the church.

#6 The Difference between a Shepherd and a Leader

I love helping churches and leaders get unstuck and make vision real. In fact out of all the stuff I get to do with churches and leaders one of the things I enjoy the most is Leadership Coaching. Recently I had the incredible opportunity to spend a day coaching a group of Pastors and Church Leaders from Australia (unfortunately their cool accent didn’t rub off). One of the topics we spent time digging into was the difference between shepherding and leading in relation to why some churches are stuck while others move forward. Here are couple of thoughts from the conversation.

#7 5 Ways Successful Church Leaders Think Differently 

Successful church leaders naturally think differently than the majority of church leaders. It’s one of the things that set them apart. The good news is you can learn to think just like them.

#8 The Difference between Preparation and Planning

Do great organizations prepare for the future or do they plan for it? The answer is, “yes.” To be clear preparation and planning are not the same thing, and great organizations become great by doing both.

#9 How to Choose the Next Board Members at your Church

If you’ve led in a church for any length of time you can probably tell some stories of experiences you’ve had with dysfunctional Church Boards. Church Board become dysfunctional for a variety of reasons and there are some basic steps you can take to avoid a dysfunctional Board. The first step is to avoid inviting the wrong people to the Board. In writing this post I’m assuming that you’re already vetting potential Board Members based on the letters the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus about selecting church leaders. 

#10 10 Keys to Managing Change in a Church

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.


Posted in Leadership

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What do you do when you Don’t Agree with your Pastor?

If you work on staff at a church, chances are at some point you’re going to disagree with your pastor. That’s okay, you’re human, it would be naive to think you’re always going to agree with your pastor. But what you do with that disagreement is where things can get really messy. Messy for you, and messy for the church.

Choose to Love Them

You don’t have to agree with someone in order to love them. I choose to love people I don’t agree with all the time. If I didn’t I wouldn’t be married. This may seem like a simple step but it’s an important step, and it’s the first step. Even if you don’t agree with them, your pastor isn’t the enemy. The enemy (Satan) is the enemy, not your pastor.

Take Personal Ownership

The best place to start when you don’t agree with your pastor is not with the question, “What do they need to change?” but rather, “What do I need to change?” Do I need to change my belief, assumptions, attitude, approach, or actions? This is an important step, because while you can’t change another person, you can change you.

Submit to Them

God has given a unique seat to the leader you’re following, and it’s important to remember that He’s chosen to give that seat to them…not you. Make sure you measure your attitude and keep your heart in check. It’s important to tell yourself the truth. Speaking poorly of your leader or creating disunity not only hurts the church and the movement of the Gospel, but the Bible talks about those things as sin. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to remember and read up on the way David submitted to Saul. Oh yea…and remember, even if you don’t like it, for some reason God has allowed the leadership at your church to be in authority at this time. God could be using this time in your life to teach you lessons like: “learning how to be under authority before you’re in authority,” or “the art of timing.”

Leave Them

If you’ve lost respect for your pastor and you can no longer in good conscience follow them, it may be time to leave. If you can’t submit to the leadership of your pastor or by you staying it will create disunity it may be time to leave. Here’s a couple of articles that will help you begin to understand if it’s time for you to leave your church:


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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Avoidance: The Silent Killer of a Team

Great teams keep short accounts and normalize feedback, which allow them to make small degrees of change along the way. These behaviors allow great teams to create feedback loops, innovate, and test new solutions quickly.

The problem? Most teams aren’t great teams. Most teams don’t have the courage to be that honest with one another. Most teams would rather talk about one another than talk to one another. They avoid conflict, and in so doing, they quietly kill their team.

I don’t blame them; it’s easier to avoid conflict than it is to run towards it. It’s easier to tell people what they want to hear than tell them what they need to hear. It’s easier to tell people a shade of or portion of the truth instead of the full truth. It’s not always easy to speak the truth…even if it’s true. When avoidance runs rampant on a team you’ll typically find symptoms of defensiveness, combativeness, excuses and fear.

Jesus modeled a different, more courageous brand of leadership without taking a harsh or rude approach.

  • In Matthew chapter 5 Jesus encourages us that even if we are at the altar offering a sacrifice and remember that there is something between us and someone else, we are to leave what we’re doing and go make that right.
  • In Matthew 18 Jesus teaches us that if there is an issue between us and another person we are to go directly to that person to resolve it first.
  • Jesus doesn’t avoid speaking the truth to the woman at the well in John chapter 4 who had a string of broken marriages and He doesn’t avoid it with the woman caught in the act of adultery in John chapter 8.

Yes, timing matters and your approach matters. You may not do it well at first but don’t let that stop you from flexing a new muscle and building a new discipline. Don’t sit back and do nothing. Don’t let avoidance kill your team.


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Church Leaders

It’s much easier to identify poor leadership in others than it is in yourself. We have a tendency to judge our leadership based on our intentions and the leadership of other based on the results.

An old Russian Proverb says it this way, “The eye cannot see the eye.”

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to observe all kinds of different Church Leaders who are leading in different sizes and “flavors,” churches. No matter the size or the flavor of the church I’ve seen the following 7 habits come up over and over again. So in no particular order, here are 7 common bad habits I’ve seen in Church Leaders over the years:

1. Crosstalk and Triangulation

I’ve seen far too many times where the dynamics of the church staff are such that staff talk about one another instead of to one another. Usually this is because it’s allowed and even modeled by the Lead Pastor. Biblically (Matthew 18) the scriptures would teach us that if you have an issue with your brother then you go to them, not someone about them. One path is a leadership path, the other is a political path.

2. Dictatorship

We have a saying at the Unstuck Team: “The Team Outperforms the Individual Every Time!” When the Lead Pastor takes a dictatorial approach to decision making and the direction of the church everyone loses. The young Staff lose out because no one delegates tasks that give them the opportunity to learn to lead, the Sr. Staff lose out because they’re not empowered to make decisions which will ultimately result in losing your best team members, and the whole church loses out because no Lead Pastor is as good alone as they are with a great team, no matter how much of a superstar they are.

3. Unclear Expectations

When expectations are unclear it always leads to frustration, disappointment, and let down. It’s true in our more important relationships and it’s true in leadership. Lead Pastors can set their teams up for success by drawing a clear target on the wall and agreeing to and writing down clear, attainable and measurable goals.

4. Micromanagement

Some Lead Pastors are so insecure that they’re incapable of trusting their teams. They feel as though they have to control every aspect of what’s going on in the church, no matter how small. This kind of leader ends up building a team that is incapable of thinking for themselves, which will become a huge barrier to the movement of the Gospel! The first step in combating micromanagement is delegation and the next is empowerment.

5. Hiring Friends

I’ve seen teams go south because a Lead Pastor hires friends instead of the best-qualified candidate for the role. When the vision is trumped by the convenience of friendship it begins to erode trust on the team and trust is the fuel that leadership runs on.

6. Lack of Moral Authority

Nothing is more demoralizing for a staff team than when the Lead Pastor takes a, “Do as I say not do as I do” approach. A simple example of this is when a Pastor says it’s important for everyone to be in a small group but won’t be in a group themselves.

7. Unresolved Conflict

When the Lead Pastor doesn’t keep short accounts and instead allows unresolved conflict to exist it can lead to serious dysfunction on a team. Small gaps between Sr. Leaders at the top appear as huge chasms the further down you get from the Sr. Leadership Team.

What other habits of ineffective Church Leaders have you observed? What would you add to the list? Leave a comment!


Posted in Leadership, Staffing
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