Tag Archive - deep

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10 Articles that will Help Your Church Make More Disciples

No matter what label you put on it “Discipleship,” “Spiritual Maturity,” or “Spiritual Formation” it’s one of the most argued over and misunderstood issues in the church today. After all just because you know a lot about Jesus doesn’t make you a disciple and on the other hand being in a Small Group or “Biblical Community” doesn’t necessarily make you a disciple either. Over the years I’ve actually written quite a bit on the topic. Below are some of my more popular posts on discipleship.

Choosing the Right Small Group Model for your Church

There are pros and cons to every groups models, but the goal of all of this group stuff in churches is to simply make disciples. Check out these different group models and choose the best model that fits the unique personality of your church.

6 Keys to Successful Small Groups

In a conversation Chris Surratt who runs SmallGroup.com and serves as a Ministry Consultant with the Unstuck Group he mentioned 6 great questions that churches should be talking about if they want to have a successful small group ministry.

How to Convince your Sr. Pastor to Join a Small Group

One of the most common points of frustration I hear from church leaders around the country is, “My Senior Pastor wants Small Groups to be a big deal at our church, but they won’t be in a Small Group themselves.” And the natural follow up question that’s asked right after that statement, “How do I get my Senior Pastor to be in a Small Group?” In an attempt to answer that question, here are a couple of steps you can take to help convince your Sr. Pastor that they need to be in a Small Group.

Who is Responsible for the Spiritual Maturity of the Church?

I hear complaints by church attenders across North America that their church is not, “deep enough.” Essentially they’re saying that they’re hungry. And you want to know the first thought that passes through my mind when I hear comments like these? “If you’re hungry, eat. You know where the food is.”

Making Small Groups the Hub of your Ministry

NorthCoast Church 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:

Why the Church Wins when the Church Staff are in a Small Group

You’re as lonely as you want to be. Yes, relationships are risky. Any time you entrust your heart with others there’s a chance that it won’t be handled well. And I understand that church leaders often feel pressure to perform and live up to unrealistic expectations of perfection. But if the church staff chooses to shrink back from vulnerability and authenticity in relationship with others then you’ll build a culture of superficial pretending in your church. That’s why when the church staff takes the risk and jumps into a small group bible study the whole church wins!

Your Church isn’t Deep Enough

In my work consulting with churches and coaching church leaders this, “it’s not deep enough” phrase is becoming more common. And honestly it concerns me. Not because the majority of churches aren’t deep enough, but rather that a majority of people who are trying to follow Jesus misunderstand what spiritual depth really looks like.

5 Ways to Help your Small Groups be Successful

Whether you are starting from scratch at a brand-new church plant or blowing up a large system at an existing church, there are some principles that can help set up your new plan for success down the road. Here are five guidelines to think through.

Why Churches Don’t Grow #3: No Spiritual Maturity Pathway

Many churches are stuck or declining not because they have a difficult time attracting or introducing new people to Jesus but because they have no plan in place to move people towards spiritual maturity or the plan they’re working is broken. Here are a couple of indicators that there is a breakdown somewhere in your spiritual maturity pathway:

A Couple of Statements about Spiritual Maturity that will Mess with You Part-1

Simply put…these ideas will challenge your thinking on what spiritual maturity looks like and acts like. Happy reading! Bonus: here’s Part-2 of that post.


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation

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10 Articles that will Help Your Church Make Vision Real

Thank you for making March a great month here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real! It’s great staying connected with you through social media and hearing that these articles have been helpful. So, thank you for connecting with me through the content on this blog! You made these the top posts from this last month. If you missed out on any of them, here they are all in one place for your convenience!

How to Keep Easter Guests Coming Back

Recently churches all across the country hosted guests at their Easter services, hoping they say yes to following Jesus, and hoping that they come back the next week and get connected in the life of their church. I hope that happens too. But hope is not a strategy.

Here’s a couple of ideas that should help you develop a strategy to keep those guests coming back well after Easter.

3 Expectations that Young Church Leaders need to Change Today

A lot has been written in recent years about the Millennial Generation and young leaders; most of it negative. At the risk of sounding like the old guy in the room, I’ll admit, it does seem like the expectations of young leaders are a little off the mark. In fact, here are three expectations in particular that I think young leaders need to change today if they want to be successful in the future.

Why the Church isn’t to Blame for Ministry Burnout

While most perspectives out there are set to vilify the church for causing ministry burnout I’d like to throw out a less popular option to consider. I understand some will consider this harsh, but I’d encourage you to really think this next statement through before you dismiss it. “Ministry burnout is self-induced.”

How many People should your Church have on Staff?

Before you buy into the idea that you need another staff person at your church, think again. That just may be the worst decision you make at your church this year.

Your Church isn’t Deep Enough

In my work consulting with churches and coaching church leaders this, “it’s not deep enough” phrase is becoming more common. And honestly it concerns me. Not because the majority of churches aren’t deep enough, but rather that a majority of people who are trying to follow Jesus misunderstand what spiritual depth really looks like.

10 Keys to Making Church Mergers Work

There are a lot of things that can go right…and wrong in a church merger. But if your church is considering a merger in the future make sure the Sr. Leadership Teams from both churches consider and discuss the following 10 potential deal breakers, and get on the same page before bringing the idea to your individual churches.

8 Reasons 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. This is a critical issue for churches to figure out. The reason why this has to be a front-burner issue is because at the heart of it, volunteering is an essential component of the discipleship process in someone’s life. Plainly put, volunteering is discipleship. Understanding that, here are 8 reasons people aren’t volunteering in your church…and subsequently aren’t growing in their relationship with God.

Is your Church like Walmart?

I recently read an article in Forbes that suggested despite all of their success the future looks bleak for Walmart. Past wins don’t necessitate future success. Here are a few highlights that made me think about churches that have experienced success in the past but are on the verge of of painful future. Most of them, like Walmart, will never see it coming. Will you?

Recent thoughts about Church Planting from Ed Stetzer

Last week Sun Valley Community Church (the church I have the privilege of serving at) hosted Ignite, the national church planting conference for Converge, which is one of the most successful church planting movements in the country. While there Ed Stetzer, who among other things serves as the Executive Director of LifeWay Research had the following to say about church planting.

When a Volunteer should become a Staff Member at your Church

In growing churches it’s not uncommon for high capacity volunteers to serve as and function like paid ministry staff members. Instead of paid staff members I’ve seen volunteers oversee entire ministry segments in a church even attending weekly staff meetings and staff retreats. But when is the right time to hire that person and move them from a volunteer to a paid staff member?

Photo Credit: justin fain via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership

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Your Church isn’t Deep Enough

If you’ve led in a church setting for any length of time you know that people will eventually leave your church. People leave churches for all kinds of reasons. Some get new jobs and move away, some disagree with a leadership decision and leave, some don’t like a change in worship music style, some go to another church because that’s where their friends go, some fall into sin and walk away while others leave because it’s not deep enough for them anymore.

In my work consulting with churches and coaching church leaders this, “it’s not deep enough” phrase is becoming more common. And honestly it concerns me. Not because the majority of churches aren’t deep enough, but rather that a majority of people who are trying to follow Jesus misunderstand what spiritual depth really looks like. In fact I’ve already written a couple of posts about this that you can check out:

I’ve heard a lot of Pastors get frustrated with this, “it’s not deep enough” phrase being flippantly thrown around. Now I get that it’s easy to take that statement a bit personally if you’re a Pastor. Yes, some of these people are consumers and need to “grow up” but some of them are genuinely interested in learning more about the Bible and what it teaches and simply don’t know how to express that without saying they’re leaving because your church isn’t deep enough. But people need to be led to greater clarity on what spiritual maturity looks like.

It might be that our content-centric model of church has taught people that content equals spiritual maturity. In other words, the way we are doing church may be contributing to the problem.

It’s not the first time in history that people got upset in a church because it wasn’t deep enough. People have been spouting this complaint since the moment the church started. The Apostle Paul actually addressed this same issue in a letter he wrote to the church at Galatia (it’s called the Book of Galatians). A group of people called Gnostics were telling these young Galatian gentile converts that their version of Christianity wasn’t “deep enough” and they needed to, in addition to the Gospel, observe Jewish law, in particular, they needed to be circumcised. Personally, I could see how that could be a bit of a deterrent to the spread of the Gospel and more people, especially guys, following Jesus.

There is nothing “deeper” than the Gospel. As Christians we’re invited to start with the Gospel and stay with the Gospel. Nothing needs to be added to the Gospel, it is complete in and to itself. There is no deeper teaching in the entire Bible or for that matter in all of history than the Gospel. Trying to add to the Gospel is what got the early Church in trouble and it’s one of the ways that Satan continues to attack the Church today.

So the next time you hear someone say that their church isn’t deep enough it might be worth asking them what they mean by “deep.” They may be trying to add to the Gospel without realizing it.


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation

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Why Churches Don’t Grow: #3 No Spiritual Maturity Pathway

Today we’re continuing this series of blog posts about the 5 key contributors that lead to 80% of churches in America being stuck or in decline. These key contributors have been observed repeatedly in our work with churches at the Unstuck Group. While churches get stuck and decline for all kinds of reasons, these 5 key contributors are the consistent culprits.

Many churches are stuck or declining not because they have a difficult time attracting or introducing new people to Jesus but because they have no plan in place to move people towards spiritual maturity or the plan they’re working is broken. Here are a couple of indicators that there is a breakdown somewhere in your spiritual maturity pathway:

1. Content is Mistaken for the Solution

Neither Jesus nor the Apostle Paul defined spiritual maturity as knowledge. Content is not the solution. It’s not what you know; it’s what you do with what you know. It’s an issue of obedience and application. Is your church actually helping people apply the Bible to their everyday life or are you just teaching bible classes?

2. There are Too Many Steps

If the road map to spiritual maturity has been defined at your church and it’s too long or has too many steps it simply won’t work. People will quit on you. Then you will have the tendency to think the few people you end up with at the end of the arduous process you’ve build are the spiritual elite. Meanwhile many people who could have been brought along with you have been left by the wayside to figure it out on their own. Jesus only spent 3 years with His disciples and then turned them loose to change the world. Most churches today would never let the disciples serve in a leadership role, much less lead the church because they hadn’t “walked with Jesus long enough.” We’re not building Fords, we’re building disciples. Disciplemaking is not an assembly line.

3. There is No Clear Next Step

When someone says yes to following Jesus have you defined the next step for them to take? Then what happens next? Is the process working? Each step in the process needs to be clear, natural and intuitive. Has your church taken the time to map out and answer the question of “What’s my next step?” Then ask that question over and over again until you’ve arrived at some point of “spiritual maturity.”

4. People aren’t Giving or Serving

You’re never more like Jesus than when you give or when you serve; because giving and serving are the very essence of what it means to live like Jesus. Does your church treat volunteering as discipleship? Does your church not only provide opportunities for people to give and serve but train them how to do both well?

Photo Credit: boegh via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation

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Who is Resposible for the Spiritual Maturity of the Church?

I can remember when my kids were finally old enough to go downstairs, get their own cereal, and turn on the television to watch Saturday morning cartoons. I remember because Lisa and I finally got to sleep in! Every parent understands what an incredibly glorious moment this is. And if you haven’t experienced this yet, well, you have much to look forward to.

This is kinda the whole point of parenting right? That our kids would grow up and move towards autonomy. That, among other things, they would learn how to feed themselves.

The same is true as new Christians begin to grow up and mature. The hope is that they would, among other things, learn to feed themselves.

And yet frequently I hear complaints by church attenders across North America that their church is not, “deep enough.” Essentially they’re saying that they’re hungry. And you want to know the first thought that passes through my mind when I hear comments like these? “If you’re hungry, eat. You know where the food is.”

You see at the end of the day each person is responsible for their own spiritual development, not their pastor. God is going to hold each unique individual accountable for his or her own thoughts, words, and actions. Not their pastor.

So the next time you hear someone complaining about how their church isn’t “deep enough” encourage them to take some personal ownership for their own relationship with Jesus and go get their own bowl of Cheerios.


Posted in Spiritual Formation
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