Tag Archive - decision


Launching Multisite Campuses is the Easy Part

Jim Tomberlin, a strategic partner of the Unstuck Group and the nations foremost leader in the multisite movement recently said to me that, “Launching multisite campuses is the easier part of multisiting. Managing the inter-campus relationships and the restructuring necessary to accommodate a growing multisite strategy is the more difficult part. Multisite is not for the faint-of-heart!”

He’s right. Every parent knows that the process of making a baby is fun, but once the kids arrive on the screen everything changes. It’s one thing to start a new campus or two. That’s the exciting part. But multisite changes everything. That’s why only a handful of multisite churches ever get past 2 additional campuses. In fact, in their research, Leadership Network discovered that:

“Only 15% of multisite churches get beyond 2 additional campuses.”

You can’t launch new campuses and expect everything to stay the same. It takes courage to restructure and adopt new systems to accommodate a growing multisite strategy. Successful multisite churches are willing to live with the tension between their campuses being both centralized and decentralized at the same time. Decentralization doesn’t mean complete autonomy, and centralization doesn’t mean complete control. It’s a both-and solution.

1. Decision Making

Effective multisite churches push strategic decisions up and implementation decisions down.

2. Accumulation & Transference of Organizational Knowledge

You’ve already paid the dumb tax of learning and leveraging your “ministry best practices.” Great multisite churches take the time to write them down and replicate them.

3. Efficiency

Multisite churches that get past 2 additional campuses learn how to cut out the redundancy in the organization and develop “central service teams” that serve all campuses (for example: one centralized business department, among other things).

4. Innovation

Multisite is an innovation rich undertaking. It’s a nimble and flexible approach to “new markets” where innovation can take place in the smaller risk embracing culture of a newer campus and then learning passed along to more established campuses.

Interested in learning more about multisite? Join the first Multisite Leadership Coaching Network that starts in April!

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Posted in Leadership


9 Big Decisions that will Change your Church

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to sit down with a group of Executive Pastors who are serving in churches of 5,000+ and during the conversation I heard them talk about some of the best decisions they’ve made over the recent history of their churches that have made the greatest impact. I thought I’d share some of those thoughts here with you and give you the opportunity to learn from some incredible leaders that are in the trenches! Could it be that one of these decisions is the one that will make all the difference this year at your church?

1. Define our Staff Culture

Many churches have cultural values but haven’t taken the time to define what they’re looking for in a leadership or staff culture. While you can spend a lot of time and energy on this, a simple place to start is to simply make a list of your top 10 employees (regardless of role or seniority) and why they’re your top-10. That’s the culture you’re looking for. This is a great exercise to do as a Senior Leadership Team.

2. Bust up Ministry Silos

Many churches are more like a collection of different ministries operating under one roof competing for building space, staffing, volunteers, and budget resources than they are a singularly focused team aligned to take on a God-sized vision. Trying to cut through the ministry silos at your church? This blog series from my friend and teammate at the Unstuck Group, Tony Morgan, will help.

3. Participate in the “Best Christian Workplace” Survey

The Best Christian Workplaces Institute started with a question: “What makes an exceptional place to work?” Mentioned by Bill Hybles at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, this survey will help you diagnose and improve the organizational health of your church.

4. Hire someone to Focus on Stewardship

Hire someone to put full-time attention on finances. Not a CFO but rather someone to develop revenue. Put them in charge of developing and implementing a holistic generosity strategy at your church. Chances are they’ll pay for themselves in the first 6 months – or less.

5. Move to a Teaching Team Model

Instead of relying on just one communicator develop a teaching team. This doesn’t mean using the weekend service to develop a young communicator or experiment on your people. There are plenty of other venues in the church to do that. When done well this allows your church to hear multiple voices, personalities, and approaches to the scriptures. When working together properly they strengthen the weekly message and one guy doesn’t have to shoulder the grind of hitting a home run every week!

6. Lean into the Lead Pastor

The Lead Pastor sets the culture, plain and simple. So as a Sr. Leadership Team take the time to figure out what makes the Lead Pastor tick. What’s most important to them, what’s least important to them? What’s their approach and style? Lean into that and build on it organizationally.

7. Expand the Sr. Leadership Team

Centralizing everything through one person slows things down. While someone has to lead the Sr. Leadership Team, a team needs to be built because you can’t know everything or make every decision – or you become the lid. But then again staffing models are only as good as the people that are on the team, the personalities that are at the top, and the culture of the church. Healthy churches hold onto their organizational structure loosely – because they’re growing and they know it’s going to require flexibility.

8. Develop a Residency Program

Great churches develop leaders. Intentionally charting out a clear path to develop future leaders including a volunteer leadership pipeline, an internship program, or residency. One church built a 2 year residency for degreed pastors in training to get the practical experience they need to lead a church. Not only do they send out equipped pastors but they get the opportunity to hire people who understand their culture because they’ve been in it for 2 years!

9. Hire a Consulting Firm

Having the fresh perspective of outside professionals who know what it means to lead in the trenches of the local church and bring years of experience of working with forward moving churches to the table is one of the best decisions a Sr. Leadership Team can make. I’m not biased or anything but I know a great Consulting Group that I’d recommend. Check out the Unstuck Group!

What’s the best decision you’ve made at your church this last year that’s made the greatest impact? What decision do you need to make this year that will make the greatest impact in the future? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment!

Photo Credit: Rusty Clark via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership


10 Things You Lose when Your Church Grows

It’s impossible for your church to grow and everything to stay the same. I know it would be nice if everything could stay the same as the church grows, but it can’t. And the secret underlying truth is as your church grows you will lose some things along the way. But that’s kind of the point. You simply can’t move from here (current reality) to there (preferred future) and everything stay the way it is. If it did, you’d never get “there,” you’d just stay where you are. Understanding that, here are 10 things you lose when your church grows:

#1 People

This isn’t the goal of growth and no one “wants” to lose people, but it’s inevitable with growth. You are going to lose people. You’ll hear the age old complaint, “The church is changing and it’s not what it used to be.” But that’s kind of the point isn’t it? If every church stayed the way it was, no one new would enter the kingdom. And if every person stayed the way they were they’d never be conformed into the image of Christ. Change is required to walk with Jesus.

#2 Staff & Volunteers

The most difficult thing to lose as the church grows is not just people but key people. Particularly Staff and Volunteers. However the reality is the people that got you to where you are aren’t necessarily going to take you where you’re going. They had a particular personality, gifting, and skill-set to be the right person at the right time. But that also inevitably means that eventually everyone is the wrong person at some point as well.

#3 Your Parking Spot & Favorite Seat

Chances are if your church is going to grow it means there are going to be new people showing up, and unless you have your name on your parking stall and a sign on your seat eventually you’re going to head to church and have to find another place to park and another place to sit. If your church is going to grow it means you’re going to have to get used to change, and you’re going to have to give something up. Probably a lot of something.

#4 Relational Connections

When the church is smaller you can lean into and lead through key relational connections. In fact you can know everyone in the church when the church is smaller. Not so in a larger church. It doesn’t mean everyone can’t be known it just means you can’t know everyone.

#5 Segment Targeted Ministries

In a smaller church, moments like child dedications and high school graduations can be celebrated in the main worship service. As the church grows these celebrations will come to be limited to Segment Targeted Ministries such as Children’s or Student Ministries.

#6 Insider Focused Ministries

As your church grows you will begin to lose insider-focused ministries. You know, those ministries that keep the core long-term attenders happy but have no impact on people outside the faith. Time, finances, facility and people resources (which all have finite limitations) will naturally transition towards reaching outsiders. Sorry ladies, that quilting club might not make it.

#7 Ambiguity

Clarity is king when growth takes place. If your church is going to grow it means you are going to leave ambiguity behind. You are going to have to get crystal clear on vision, roles, action, cultural behaviors and what the next hill is. In fact that speed at which you are able to move forward hinges on your ability to shed ambiguity.

#8 Winging It

If your church is going to grow, those days of just winging it are going to come to a close. The days of just walking in and using a room, or taking some tables and chairs for a family reunion are over. It will take a coordinated effort to integrate the ministry calendar, budget resources, and people. You’ll need to learn to plan your work and work your plan, because you get what you plan for.

#9 Ministry Preferences

As the church grows you lose your ministry preferences as the leader, unless you’re a micro-manager, but if that’s the case then there is already a lid on the growth of your church. As the leader you’re not going design ministry the way you once did. Your attention will need to be elsewhere. And not everything is going to do things the way you would. Don’t freak out. If they’re doing it at 80% of how you would do it, let it go. If it’s under that threshold then coach them.

#10 The Power to make Decisions

Guess what. As the church grows something counter-intuitive happens. Instead of gaining decision making, as the leader you actually lose out on making decisions. You’ll make less day-to-day decisions but the decisions you’ll make will be heavier and affect everyone.

Photo Credit: smkybear via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership


chic-fil-a leadercast patrick lencioni

This is the last of my notes from the Chic-fil-A Leadercast. Hope they were helpful! In the final session Patrick Lencioni, founder and president of The Table Group and author of 9 best selling books, killed it! Enjoy the notes.

The single greatest opportunity for improvement and competitive advantage is free, accessible, and untapped

Why we resist simple change:

  1. Sophistication bias: the solution is not complex or sophisticated enough
  2. Adrenalin bias: we need it to be a quick fix now
  3. Quantification bias: because I can’t quantify how important organizational health is, I won’t do it

Organizational Health =

  1. Minimal politics and confusion
  2. High degree of moral
  3. Good people rarely leave healthy organizations

It is impossible in this day and age to build a competitive advantage based on knowledge. But you can build a competitive advantage by building a healthy organization. Every team has a enough experience, talent, and industry knowledge…what they don’t have is a healthy organization.

Building a healthy organization

#1 Build a Cohesive Leadership Team:

Great leaders are vulnerable and this is how you establish trust, predictive trust is different than vulnerability based trust / if a leader on the team can’t be vulnerable first he won’t have a culture of vulnerability and trust on his team / when you’re a leader people see you sweat first

#2 Create Clarity:

6 questions to align around: (bummer I didn’t get them all) why do we exist, how do we behave, what’s the most important thing for us to do right now, who around this table needs to do what next / great organizations define what the 2 or 3 things are that drive them and then they’re relentless about them.

#3 Over-Communicate Clarity:

People have to hear it 7 times before they remember it, great leaders never get tired of repeating themselves, if you’re people can’t do a good impression of you when you’re not around then you’re not saying it enough, if you want to be cool then don’t be a leader

#4 Reinforce Clarity:

Put structure and process in place to support this, how you hire, fire, reward people, institutionalize your culture without bureaucratizing it. How do you hire/filter to fit your culture?

Posted in Leadership


chic-fil-a leadercast dr. sheena iyengar

If you missed the Chic-fil-A Leadercast I hope these notes that I’ve been posting this week have been helpful for you. Just two more posts left. These are my notes from Dr. Sheena Iyengar, author of The Art of Choosing and Professor of Business in the Management Division of the Columbia Business School.

 What makes a leader?

Is it Fate, Chance, or Choice?

Tip #1 We are the sum of our choices

Tip #2 Effective Leaders see choices through the eyes of others

  • People are overwhelmed by choice
  • People are more attracted to choice and options but are more likely to make a choice with fewer options
  • The more choices we have the more we delay making a choice, the worse choices we make, the less satisfied we are with our choices
  • On-line Resource: Choosing Exercise
  • Effective Leaders are choosy about choosing
  • Choosing is an art
  • A Leader is someone who can live with nothing, yet have everything

Posted in Leadership
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