Tag Archive - energy


How to Shorten your Leadership Recovery Time

Leadership requires a tremendous amount of energy. When things go poorly it’s easy to become discouraged and emotionally drained. When things are going well the momentum of winning can mask the amount of personal leadership fuel that you’re burning through. In both good times and bad times, high times and low times leadership requires a tremendous amount of energy.

That’s why you need a plan to shorten your leadership recovery time.

Think “Energy” not “Effort”

Effort is too simple a way to look at things. If you’re a successful leader then of course you’re going to give a good effort. You need to think more about managing your energy than your time or effort. Make a list of what (or who) gives you energy and what takes it away and respond accordingly with your schedule. It’s possible to work hard and give a great deal of effort and time to something and afterward feel great because you gained energy from doing it.

Determine your “Finish Line”

Every day set a finish line for yourself. It may be different each day but set a finish line. It may be after a project, a particular meeting, a particular time or an end of the day routine you have. It’s a moment where you’re going to set it down, push it aside and turn it off. A moment where your family and those you care about the most get your attention instead of your work. Win the day by getting to your finish line each day.

Take Personal Ownership

The quickest way to recover from a leadership misstep or failure is to take personal ownership. Don’t shift blame or point fingers. Simply shoulder the responsibility for what went wrong. Even if it was someone else downline that made a mistake, you’re the one who put them in that situation by hiring them, training them, resourcing them and communicating to them about the initiative. The first-place great leaders always look when things go wrong is to themselves and what they could have done differently to make thing more successful. This also shortens their recover time dramatically because they aren’t shifting and searching for someone to blame and they get on the solution side of things quickly.

What’s your Personal Replenishment Cycle?

Once you’ve determined what gives you energy the next step is to calendar it. The two most spiritual documents in the world are the Bible and your calendar.  The Bible is where you learn about what God wants for you and your calendar is where you put it into action. What are the 3 – 5 things that you are going to calendar weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly to replenish yourself? After all the Church is not responsible for church staff burnout the church staff are.

Talk “With People” not “About Them”

Nothing creates more sideways emotional energy in organizations and churches than talking about people instead of talking to them. You can’t do anything about a problem that’s not in the room.

Posted in Leadership


10 Things that Require Zero Talent

“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”

That’s a statement I talk to my son about all the time. He’s only 9 years old, but I want him to grow up to have a great work ethic and a positive attitude. I don’t expect him to be the great at everything he attempts, but I do expect him to give a great effort. There’s a lot of things he can’t control in life, but he’ll always be able to control his effort and his attitude.

This advice has greater implications than just a father to a son. There are some huge church leadership implications to this. In fact, the other day when I was working with a client that the Unstuck Group is coaching through a church merger I saw a note posted on the door of one of the staff members that was so good, I thought I’d share it with you. It was a list of 10 things that require zero talent…

#1 Being on Time: My girls learned this simple lesson when they were learning the game of golf when they were little. If you’re early you’re on time, if you’re on time you’re late, and if you’re late your disqualified. Great advice that works in golf and in life.

#2 Work Ethic: You may not be the boss and have the ability to control what kind of work you get assigned but you can control how you go about your work.

#3 Effort: You may not be great at it…but try hard anyway.

#4 Body Language: You say more with your body language than the words that actually come out of your mouth.

#5 Energy: You choose your energy level.

#6 Attitude: Your attitude is a choice and no one can fix it but you.

#7 Focus: You move towards what you focus on and you get to choose what gets your attention.

#8 Being Coachable: You can learn from anyone, but you have to choose to.

#9 Doing Extra: If someone asks you to go a mile and you do it they might remember that. But if you go the extra mile it’ll make a lasting impression.

#10 Being Prepared: When your opportunity comes along it’s too late to get ready and prepare yourself. Start preparing today for the opportunity that will come your way tomorrow.

Posted in Leadership


How to Stop doing Ministry

Most church leaders know that there’s a big difference between doing ministry and leading ministry. And most church leaders are quick to affirm that their calling is to lead ministry, not do ministry (equip the saints to do the work of the ministryEphesians 4:11-13). But most church leaders I talk to admit to really struggling with rising above the day-to-day grind of doing ministry.

So how do church leaders make time to work on their ministry and not get stuck working in the ministry? What are you going to do different this week that will actually help you move the ministry forward and not just get stuck in the daily grind of keeping it going? Here are a few practical ideas that will help you break up the mundane treadmill of the daily grind of ministry and help you shift your thinking

Change your Physical Environment

Go work outside, in a coffee shop, your favorite restaurant or any other space that inspires you or you enjoy. A change in scenery really can do you good. Break up the routine and turn on different parts of your brain!

Listen to Different Voices

Read authors you don’t always agree with, listen to podcasts, get around people who don’t know Jesus. Learn to listen to different voices. It will help you shift your thinking, challenge your views, and ignite new ideas.

Calendar it

A calendar is a simple tool that has the power to pull ideas out of the clouds and put them into real life. No one is in charge of your calendar but you. You either run your day or your day will run you.

Manage your Energy

Manage your energy not just your time. Think about what you spend time on that energizes you and what depletes you. Who gives you energy and who drains energy from you?


Exercise, manage your sleep, and watch what you eat. You’ll be shocked how much better you think when you take care of yourself!

What else have you found helpful to get off the treadmill of doing ministry and actually start working on your ministry instead of getting stuck working in the ministry? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear your ideas!

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing


How to Gain and Sustain Momentum at your Church

There is one resource that every organization needs and smart leaders seek out. It is a resource that cannot be purchased, borrowed or copied from someone else. Churches and organizations that have it, experience far greater wins than those that do not. Teams that have it perform at their best, without it they almost always flounder. It is a key determining factor in whether a church or ministry thrives or dies. It’s a single word. Momentum. Momentum is the force of your organization’s forward movement toward fulfilling its mission. Take a few seconds and rate your current organizational momentum in the ministry or church you lead?

Momentum Scale

  1. Stuck—No momentum
  2. Losing Speed
  3. Maintaining
  4. Gaining Speed
  5. Advancing (Unstoppable)

If you are 3 or below, your church or ministry needs a boost of momentum. If you ranked yourself a 4 or 5, momentum is present but you need to be sure you know how to sustain momentum. Creating and sustaining momentum requires understanding what gets people moving. Take a look at this definition.

Momentum is sustained motivation over time. There is a very real relationship between organizational momentum and personal motivation. As personal motivation goes up and to the right so does momentum. As motivation diminishes in your team, among your attenders or even within yourself, momentum loss is inevitable. It’s motivation that gets you moving. Now rate the motivation level of your team. Where do they fall on the scale below? Rate yourself? People will rarely be more motivated than their leader. How do you rank?

Motivation Scale

  1. Discouraged
  2. Losing motivation
  3. Maintaining
  4. Gaining Motivation
  5. Driven

How do your momentum and motivation scales compare? If your team is like most teams, high momentum scores go hand in hand with high motivation scores. The reverse is true as well.

So, what does it take to be motivated or to motivate someone else? There are two necessary ingredients: clarity and energy. Here is another way to say it. Motivation requires clarity of vision and energy to make it reality.


Clear motives create real motivation. If there is confusion among your team they will be less motivated to get moving. When the vision is fuzzy few people follow. If momentum seems low, ask yourself these questions.

  • Have I been crystal clear about my expectations?
  • Have I given those I am leading really clear short term and long-term goals?
  • Are my values clear enough to define the behaviors of my team?
  • Can my team imagine and articulate your organizations preferred future?
  • Have I clearly defined our strategy and trained the best practices for ministry?


The other necessary ingredient of motivation is energy. You may see clearly where you want to go, but without energy you will never get there. Ask yourself what fuels your team members and what drains your team members. Become an expert in what energizes them. Here is a quick list of energy boosters.

  • Trust: People are energized when they follow a leader who is trustworthy, consistent, caring and competent.
  • Fun: Laughter lifts the spirit. Game nights, outings and fun surprises fill the tank.
  • Rest: How much time is your team getting to refresh? Challenge them to get real rest not just vegging out in front of the television. Model it.
  • Exercise: There is a clear link between physical exertion and motivation. The more motivated they are to be physically healthy the more likely they are to be motivated in other areas of life.
  • Relationships: Meaningful relationships in our life fill the tank. Create ways to build relationships among the staff or volunteers.
  • Faith: Provide opportunities for your team to grow spiritually. Coach them on how to cultivate a personal devotional life with Jesus. Again, model it.

Ask yourself this question? What can I do this month to focus and fuel my team? How do I give clarity and energy to my ministry leaders? The best way to start is to simply ask these two questions. What is currently unclear or confusing? What gives you energy?

Motivation is not created overnight, but with intentionality it will grow and so will the momentum of your organization or team.

This is a guest post by Brian LaMew who serves as the Campus Pastor at the Tempe Campus of Sun Valley Community Church. You can keep up with Brian on Twitter or Facebook.

Posted in Leadership


3 Ways Leaders Lead at their Best

Over the last 15 years I’ve been blessed to lead worship with many talented musicians and singers. I’ve led at camps and retreats. I’ve led for different generation, for different gatherings, for different churches. I’ve led in large venues and small venues. And through it all I’ve discovered three principles that allow me to lead at my best…truth is, these principles apply to anyone who leads a team.

1. Trust Your Teammates

If I’m focused on whether or not the drummer is staying on time or if the bass player is playing the right notes then I’m not focused on leading the church and engaging the crowd. As leaders we need to equip and empower our teams and then trust them to do what only they can do so we can do what we’re called to do.

Key Question: Do you have confidence in the people you lead with?

In worship ministry, we audition. Then we train and equip. I provide whatever the musician needs in order to set them up for success. When they feel confident I feel confident and I can set my attention to leading the crowds.

2. Like Your Teammates

I’ve noticed that when there are people leading with me that I genuinely like to be around it is more fun to lead the church. When it’s fun I do better. There are certain people that I connect with more so than others. These are the people I want to do ministry with. Chemistry is a must in order for me to be at my best. This sometimes means I’d rather lead with less talented people in order to lead with people I like.

Key Question: Do you look forward to leading with the people who are on your team?

When working with volunteers this doesn’t always happen. There are certain roles to fill and we can’t always fill them with people we instantly connect with. But, when possible I try to have someone I consider a friend on every team I lead.

This leads me to the third principle…

3. Know What Gives You Energy

In order to lead with people you like you can’t surround yourself with people that drain you of your energy. I don’t care how talented they are.

In addition, like most artists I’m an introvert. Standing around making small talk with strangers sucks the life out of me. If I do that right before I go on stage I might not have the energy I need to lead worship. This is why artists have “green rooms.” It is being intentional about preserving energy for when it is needed the most.

A green room should be stocked with food, coffee and anything else that combats the early call times and the energy drainers. It is a safe haven that needs to be protected.

Key Question: Do you have a plan for gaining and maintaining energy?

When all three of these principles are aligned I know I’m getting the best out of me and that usually means a great experience for everyone else. As goes the leader, so goes the team.

Photo Credit: alexcoitus via Compfight cc



This is a guest post by Matt Thompson who serves as the Worship Pastor at the Tempe Campus of Sun Valley Community Church. To keep up with Matt you can connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

Posted in Creative Arts, Leadership