Tag Archive - fast

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Top Posts of 2018 #9 “Are You the Type of Person that can Work at a Fast Growing Church”

So when I wrote this post I knew it wouldn’t make everyone happy, and I was right, it didn’t…but that’s not the point…I’m not trying to make everyone happy, I’m trying to shift people’s thinking about church leadership.

Not everyone gets to work at a fast-growing church. Yes, I know a list comes out every year that identifies America’s top 100 fastest growing churches and there’s a lot of staff members represented in those top 100 churches. But in context to the more than 400,000 churches in America that’s a pretty small percentage of church staff members.

In fact, most people in ministry will go their entire ministry career and not get the opportunity to be a part of a fast-growing church. That’s one reason, by the way, if you’re serving at a fast-growing church you should thank Jesus, soak it in, and enjoy it while you can. You’re sitting in a seat that few will ever get to.

There are all kinds of contributing factors to a church going through a period of fast growth, and at the top of the list is the Holy Spirit. In today’s booming market of church leadership and church growth strategy we would be making a mistake not to give credit where it is due. Jesus said He would be the one to build His Church.

That being said, I’ve had the unique blessing of serving at 3 very fast-growing churches. One went from 1,000 to more than 3,000, another went from 2,500 to 6,000 and the church I currently serve at I’ve had a front row seat to see it grow from 3,000 to 8,000.

While there are a lot of factors that contributed to those seasons of incredible growth one of the things I’ve observed in all of them is that the staff that work at fast-growing churches are different. Here’s what I mean…

1. Agile

They’re able to adapt to changing circumstances quickly and they don’t mind changing directions on projects. They become, “masters of midcourse corrections.” They love being on the team and they’re willing play different roles at different times based on what’s needed for the team to win. Ambiguity doesn’t bother them all that much because they trust and believe in the team and they know that together they’ll, “figure it out.”

2. Sober minded

They are self-aware enough to know what they’re good at and they play to their strengths and they play their part on the team. They’re also humble enough to do what’s best for the church and not for themselves or their career. They’re willing to change roles or have someone hired in over top of them so they don’t become the lid to growth.

3. Low Control

In a fast-growing church, you can’t have a staff member that is high control. There’s not time or bandwidth for micromanagement or perfectionism. In a fast-growing church, high control prevents you from generating new ideas and getting those ideas implemented and keeping up with the pace of growth because by the time the idea or new “product” is good enough to release you’ve missed the opportunity. Remember, the Gospel wasn’t meant to be controlled but unleashed.

4. Solution Oriented

Instead of focusing on problems and the past they’re focused on solutions and the future. Instead of talking to their supervisors about all of the reasons they can’t do something they’re bringing ideas of all the things they could do. They’re not as concerned about constraints as they are about what must be figured out. While there may be a lack of resources these team members are resourceful and they find a way.

5. Resilient

These church staff members have an unusually high pain tolerance. They’re typically leading through change and with change comes criticism. They know how to listen to the right people and ignore the rest. They’re laser focused on the vision of where they’re going and they’re willing to endure pain to get there, because it’s worth it to them.

6. Approach to Credit

These church staff members would rather the team win than worry about if they get any of the credit for it. They’re quick to accept responsibility and take credit when things go poorly and they’re equally quick to give away credit to others when they go well.

I’m sure there’s some characteristics that I’ve missed. If you’ve served in a fast-growing church what are some characteristics of the team members that made them different than other teams you’ve served on? Leave a comment!


Posted in Leadership

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10 Articles that will Help your Church Make Vision Real

So January is behind us…how are all those New Year’s Resolutions holding up after one month? If you’re like most people…not so well. At least January went well here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real! It’s always good 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!

10 Insider Focused Ministry Names

This post came out of a conversation I had with a Leadership Coaching Network that I was facilitating back in 2013. So I wrote this post 4 years ago and it continues to be one of my top posts of all-time. Hope it’s helpful!

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.

Why People Don’t Invite their Friends to your Church

If your church is serious about growing and reaching new people you’ve got to figure out what is keeping people from inviting their friends. While many church leaders blame their people for not inviting their friends because they’re not “spiritually mature enough” or don’t have a “deep burden” for the lost I’d suggest it may be less complicated than that. It may be your fault.

5 Core Issues that will Fuel Growth in your Church in 2018

This year your church can take a different approach. I’m not talking about trying harder, I’m talking about trying different. I’m also not talking about making some risk free small tweaks. If you want different results you’ve got to adopt a different strategy and employ different tactics.

6 Things I bet you Don’t know about your Pastor’s Wife

While leaders get all the attention and accolades their families and private lives are thought of very little by the public. In fact in a moment in church history where we are inundated with volumes of leadership ideas and training very little is written about pastor’s wives.

Are you the Type of Person that can Work in a Fast-Growing Church?

In fact, most people in ministry will go their entire ministry career and not get the opportunity to be a part of a fast-growing church. That’s one reason, by the way, if you’re serving at a fast-growing church you should thank Jesus, soak it in, and enjoy it while you can. You’re sitting in a seat that few will ever get to. While there are a lot of factors that contribute seasons of fast church growth one of the things I’ve observed in all of them is that the staff that work at fast-growing churches are different. Here’s what I mean…

Is your Church Designed to get Stuck?

Your church is perfectly designed to get the results you’re currently getting. You’ve probably heard that said before. That means if your church is stuck it’s probably because it’s been designed to be stuck. Now I know you didn’t do that on purpose, I know you want to reach as many people with the Gospel as you possibly can. But churches get stuck because they’re designed, by intention or neglect, to be stuck.

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.

What if Home Depot Functioned like a Church?

After spending half of the holiday season in the local Home Depot, I started thinking about how different Home Depot is from the majority of churches I’ve visited over the years, and what it would look like if Home Depot functioned like most churches in America.

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.


Posted in Family, Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing

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Are You the Type of Person that can Work at a Fast-Growing Church?

Not everyone gets to work at a fast-growing church. Yes, I know a list comes out every year that identifies America’s top 100 fastest growing churches and there’s a lot of staff members represented in those top 100 churches. But in context to the more than 400,000 churches in America that’s a pretty small percentage of church staff members.

In fact, most people in ministry will go their entire ministry career and not get the opportunity to be a part of a fast-growing church. That’s one reason, by the way, if you’re serving at a fast-growing church you should thank Jesus, soak it in, and enjoy it while you can. You’re sitting in a seat that few will ever get to.

There are all kinds of contributing factors to a church going through a period of fast growth, and at the top of the list is the Holy Spirit. In today’s booming market of church leadership and church growth strategy we would be making a mistake not to give credit where it is due. Jesus said He would be the one to build His Church.

That being said, I’ve had the unique blessing of serving at 3 very fast-growing churches. One went from 1,000 to more than 3,000, another went from 2,500 to 6,000 and the church I currently serve at I’ve had a front row seat to see it grow from 3,000 to 8,000.

While there are a lot of factors that contributed to those seasons of incredible growth one of the things I’ve observed in all of them is that the staff that work at fast-growing churches are different. Here’s what I mean…

1. Agile

They’re able to adapt to changing circumstances quickly and they don’t mind changing directions on projects. They become, “masters of midcourse corrections.” They love being on the team and they’re willing play different roles at different times based on what’s needed for the team to win. Ambiguity doesn’t bother them all that much because they trust and believe in the team and they know that together they’ll, “figure it out.”

2. Sober minded

They are self-aware enough to know what they’re good at and they play to their strengths and they play their part on the team. They’re also humble enough to do what’s best for the church and not for themselves or their career. They’re willing to change roles or have someone hired in over top of them so they don’t become the lid to growth.

3. Low Control

In a fast-growing church, you can’t have a staff member that is high control. There’s not time or bandwidth for micromanagement or perfectionism. In a fast-growing church, high control prevents you from generating new ideas and getting those ideas implemented and keeping up with the pace of growth because by the time the idea or new “product” is good enough to release you’ve missed the opportunity. Remember, the Gospel wasn’t meant to be controlled but unleashed.

4. Solution Oriented

Instead of focusing on problems and the past they’re focused on solutions and the future. Instead of talking to their supervisors about all of the reasons they can’t do something they’re bringing ideas of all the things they could do. They’re not as concerned about constraints as they are about what must be figured out. While there may be a lack of resources these team members are resourceful and they find a way.

5. Resilient

These church staff members have an unusually high pain tolerance. They’re typically leading through change and with change comes criticism. They know how to listen to the right people and ignore the rest. They’re laser focused on the vision of where they’re going and they’re willing to endure pain to get there, because it’s worth it to them.

6. Approach to Credit

These church staff members would rather the team win than worry about if they get any of the credit for it. They’re quick to accept responsibility and take credit when things go poorly and they’re equally quick to give away credit to others when they go well.

I’m sure there’s some characteristics that I’ve missed. If you’ve served in a fast-growing church what are some characteristics of the team members that made them different than other teams you’ve served on? Leave a comment!


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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5 Mistakes that Fast Growing Churches Make

If you’ve ever been a part of a fast growing church you know how much fun it can be. New people who are unfamiliar with Jesus begin attending, friends are bringing friends, you’re adding new staff members, you’re building buildings, you’re starting new ministries, and most important of all people are meeting Jesus and being baptized. Often times in a fast growing church it can feel as though you have so much momentum that as long as you don’t do anything drastically wrong you’ll ride that wave of momentum forever.

Over the past 19 years of full-time ministry I’ve been fortunate to personally work at some fast growing churches. And now in the past few years working with the Unstuck Group I’ve had the privileged to watch churches take courageous steps to get unstuck and begin experiencing significant growth for the first time in years.

If you’ve been in ministry for any length of time you know that momentum won’t always be on your side, growth won’t always be taking place, and things won’t always be up and to the right. Often momentum is lost when things are at their best because churches don’t know how to behave when things are going well. In fact below are the 5 biggest mistakes I’ve seen fast growing churches make.

1. They Implement too many Policies

To borrow an idea from another post I wrote called “Why Policies are Bad for your Church…” Policies are rules that shrink the box of creativity, problem solving, and big ideas. Policies set the standard for how we do what we do every time we do it. And that’s fine if we’re on an assembly line making cars. You want consistency in that situation. But disciple making is not the same thing as making cars. Too many policies will stall the growth of any organization, including your church.

2. They Fail to Prepare for Lean Moments

During seasons of fast growth churches are notorious for living “hand to mouth,” and leveraging every dollar in an attempt to ride the wave of momentum and keep things going. Not only is this thinking naïve, it’s an unbiblical approach to finances. Take a quick read of Proverbs and you’ll find plenty of encouragement from Solomon (the wisest & wealthiest man to ever walk the planet) to save for a rainy day.

3. They Overreach

Bill Gates the Co-Founder of Microsoft once said that, “Success is a lousy teacher. It reduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” Winning can be addicting and it lulls you into thinking that you can’t lose. As a result many fast growing churches overreach. They extend further than they can support and bite off more than they can chew. As a result of their lack of discipline they unknowingly undermine their own growth.

4. They think the Staff Team will Continue to keep pace with the Growth

While it would be great (and romantic) to keep the same staff team that got you where you are, unfortunately it’s not always realistic. It’s not strange that a particular staff person is exactly what’s needed during a certain season or stage of growth. But it is a rare thing that those same team members are able or willing to go through the necessary personal changes to continue to lead as the ministry becomes more complex as the church grows.

5. They don’t know Why they’re Growing

If you don’t know why you’re growing right now you won’t know what to do when the growth begins to slow, or worse it just flat out stalls or begins to decline. You’ll begin to grasp at straws, mimicking others methods that have experienced success instead of leaning in the core cultural identity and vision that God has given you.

Photo Credit: Alec Macias via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership

0

How to Raise the Speed Limit at Your Church

Everyone is going to spend eternity somewhere. And there is a moment coming when you and I will no longer have the opportunity to affect change on the world. Jesus will come back and set everything wrong…right. Until then we’ve been given a window of opportunity to join Jesus in a sacred mission of reconciling the people of the planet to the purposes of God. That’s why it’s rare that I ever meet a church leader that wants to slow down. Most have a white hot passion to see people far from Jesus come near to him. While as church leaders we can’t control the movement of the Holy Spirit there are things we can do organizationally to set the sail.

1. The Speed Limit goes Up as Clarity goes Up

The clearer you can be with the vision that God has given you the easier it is for people on your team to make decisions to organize behaviors, strategies and ministries to get you there. In fact the decision rate of people is directly related to vision clarity and defining the playing field for your team.

2. The Speed Limit goes Up as Trust goes Up

As trust on the team goes deeper the speed limit goes higher. The more trust that exists on a team the faster that team has the ability to go. Trust is the fuel that leadership runs on. Everyone wants to be a part of a winning team and when the team believes in where it’s going that pace goes up.

3. The Speed Limit goes Up as Development goes Up

The more people you develop to grow into assuming responsibility and leadership roles the faster your church can move. When you delegate, empower, and provide young leaders with the opportunity to exercise their leadership gift the pace increases because you are no longer leading alone. Your ministry impact is directly related to the amount of leaders you develop.

Photo Credit: Lucas Stanley via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership