Tag Archive - fun

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Top Posts of 2018 #1 “Why People Don’t Invite their Friends to Your Church”

Welp, here it is…you made this the most read and most shared post on my blog in 2018. Thank you for going along on this countdown, and thank you for engaging with me through the content here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real! If you missed out on the countdown, no worries, I’ll post them all in one succinct list for you in a week or so.

There are a lot of reasons people go and check out a church for the first time. Maybe someone they know gets married and they go to celebrate their wedding or someone they know passes away and they go for the funeral. It may be that they already go to church on a regular basis and they move to a new area and are looking for a new church, or they decide to leave their old church for any number of reasons and are trying to find a new one. It may be that they saw some clever marketing from your church and decided to try it out or there is some crisis going on in their life and they think they might find some answers at church. Like I said, there are a lot of reasons people check out a church for the first time.

For all of those possibilities, the number one reason people attend a church for the first time is still because a friend personally invites them.

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.

#1 Quality Matters…a lot

I know churches don’t like to talk about this but it’s an unavoidable truth if you really want to reach and introduce new people to Jesus. I’ve been in too many churches whose facilities have not been maintained, they’re fresh out of 1978 and it’s not on par with other public space in their community. I’ve seen too many churches with someone leading worship on stage that just can’t sing. I’ve also been to too many churches who claim to be friendly but if you’re not an insider no one ever talks to you. I don’t think any of those churches intended to push away guests, but they did. Where did we get this idea that intent supersedes experience? I think we’ve misread the Scriptures that teach us that while man looks on the outside that God looks on the heart. The fact that God looks at the heart should challenge us and the fact that man looks on the outside should also challenge us! I don’t think that scripture in particular is a judgement statement in so much as it is a simple observation and fact. I could go on, but I think you get my point.

Question: Is what we are offering our guests quality? Are people not inviting their friends because they’re embarrassed to? How could we do less but do it with greater quality?

#2 New People bring New People

In John chapter 4 an entire village of people meets Jesus. Not because a missionary or pastor went to them or someone went through an evangelism training course but because of a simple invitation. A woman who had known Jesus for all of a couple of minutes invited everyone she knew to meet Him too. She was “new to Jesus.” New to Jesus people don’t need to be sequestered from their friends who don’t know Jesus and placed into some training program and then “sent” back out. They need to be encouraged to simply invite their friend to Jesus. Most people in our churches who have been around Jesus the longest invite the fewest people to Him (seems a little wrong if you ask me…but what do I know). This usually happens because over time they hang out with less and less people who are unfamiliar with Jesus. They wake up one day and all of their friends are Christians.

Question: Do we have new people at our church, and are we investing more in new people or in people who have been around for a while?

#3 Guest Comfort Level

Now I’m getting really shallow. I know. But like it or not if guests aren’t comfortable they aren’t going to be a lot of them at your church. There are a lot of things that can make a guest feel uncomfortable at your church. I’ve been to churches that don’t ever mention guests in their services. I’ve been to some churches that had really poor signage and I had no idea how to navigate the facility. I’ve been to churches that ask guests to remain seated during the service so regular attenders can come say hello (yea, there is no way I’m doing that). I’ve been to churches that tell people if they want to get into a small group to go see Cindi and I’ve thought to myself, “Who’s Cindi and where am I supposed to meet her if I want to get into a Small Group?” Churches are notorious for making outsiders feel like, well…outsiders. And then they wonder why guests don’t come back.

Question: What insider behaviors and language do we use that makes it difficult for outsiders to gain access to Jesus?

#4 Fun

Now I’ve probably finally gone off the deep end with this one. But if your church isn’t fun, if people don’t laugh, they simply aren’t going to invite their friends. No one invites their friends to stuff that isn’t fun. If kids don’t have a good experience at your church, you might be doing it wrong. If people don’t laugh at some point you might be doing it wrong. Jesus was actually really funny by the way. Jim Rayburn the founder of Young Life said, ”It’s a sin to bore a kid.” If that’s true then a lot of our churches might be in risk of sinning. Hmmmm… (yes I said people may not invite their friends to your church because it’s boring)

Question: Do people have fun when they come to our church? What can we do to help church be a fun experience?

If you’re a courageous church leader it may be worth your time to get your Sr. Leadership Team together to discuss where in your community people invite their friends to go with them to. Seriously, make a real list on a white board or something. Then make another list of all the reasons people invite their friends to go there with them. Then finally compare that to your church…you may be onto something at that point.


Posted in Leadership

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Building a Winning Culture at your Church

In a day where everyone gets participation trophies the idea of winning or losing when it comes to church has become a foreign concept. In fact, I think most churches have become afraid to win. I’m not talking about a game. Church isn’t a game. It’s about something far bigger than that. Much more is on the line. It’s about heaven and hell. The fact is people are dying and going to hell and that’s simply unacceptable.

This why churches must develop a winning culture, it’s simply unacceptable for them not to. Too much is at stake.

While there are a lot of factors that go into building a winning culture at your church here are 6 big differences between winning and losing church team cultures.

1. Fun

Fun may be one of the most underestimated factors to building a winning culture. People are attracted to teams that are fun, they stay on teams that are fun, and they perform better on teams that are fun. You cannot have a bad attitude and play a good game or produce great results.

2. Drive

It takes a certain dogged determination to build a winning culture. There has to be a drive to win. Winning doesn’t just happen by magic or luck, but the will to practice hard…over and over and over again and not give up. 

3. Flexibility

Winning cultures don’t happen on accident. There’s a great deal of planning, strategy and intentionality to it. But there’s also a certain malleability to it all. These teams are willing to adjust strategy mid-stream in order to accomplish the vision. They understand that no plan really survives contact with the enemy.

4. Ridiculous Commitment

These kinds of churches have a serious, borderline ridiculous, commitment to their staff cultural distinctives. They use these cultural makers to hire, fire and coach. They’re so zealous about them that you’ll even hear them say things like, “You’re going to hate working here if you don’t really embrace these things and we’ll probably hate working with you.”

5. Clarity

Winning church teams understand what a win actually looks like. They define what a first down looks like and they keep score. This kind of clarity provides freedom to move at fast pace because everyone knows how to make decisions in view of the win.

6. Throw a Party

What you celebrate gets repeated. Great church teams celebrate wins! They throw parties and they reward team members for great results!


Posted in Leadership

4

Why People Don’t Invite their Friends to your Church

There are a lot of reasons people go and check out a church for the first time. Maybe someone they know gets married and they go to celebrate their wedding or someone they know passes away and they go for the funeral. It may be that they already go to church on a regular basis and they move to a new area and are looking for a new church, or they decide to leave their old church for any number of reasons and are trying to find a new one. It may be that they saw some clever marketing from your church and decided to try it out or there is some crisis going on in their life and they think they might find some answers at church. Like I said, there are a lot of reasons people check out a church for the first time.

For all of those possibilities, the number one reason people attend a church for the first time is still because a friend personally invites them.

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.

#1 Quality Matters…a lot

I know churches don’t like to talk about this but it’s an unavoidable truth if you really want to reach and introduce new people to Jesus. I’ve been in too many churches whose facilities have not been maintained, they’re fresh out of 1978 and it’s not on par with other public space in their community. I’ve seen too many churches with someone leading worship on stage that just can’t sing. I’ve also been to too many churches who claim to be friendly but if you’re not an insider no one ever talks to you. I don’t think any of those churches intended to push away guests, but they did. Where did we get this idea that intent supersedes experience? I think we’ve misread the Scriptures that teach us that while man looks on the outside that God looks on the heart. The fact that God looks at the heart should challenge us and the fact that man looks on the outside should also challenge us! I don’t think that scripture in particular is a judgement statement in so much as it is a simple observation and fact. I could go on, but I think you get my point.

Question: Is what we are offering our guests quality? Are people not inviting their friends because they’re embarrassed to? How could we do less but do it with greater quality?

#2 New People bring New People

In John chapter 4 an entire village of people meets Jesus. Not because a missionary or pastor went to them or someone went through an evangelism training course but because of a simple invitation. A woman who had known Jesus for all of a couple of minutes invited everyone she knew to meet Him too. She was “new to Jesus.” New to Jesus people don’t need to be sequestered from their friends who don’t know Jesus and placed into some training program and then “sent” back out. They need to be encouraged to simply invite their friend to Jesus. Most people in our churches who have been around Jesus the longest invite the fewest people to Him (seems a little wrong if you ask me…but what do I know). This usually happens because over time they hang out with less and less people who are unfamiliar with Jesus. They wake up one day and all of their friends are Christians.

Question: Do we have new people at our church, and are we investing more in new people or in people who have been around for a while?

#3 Guest Comfort Level

Now I’m getting really shallow. I know. But like it or not if guests aren’t comfortable they aren’t going to be a lot of them at your church. There are a lot of things that can make a guest feel uncomfortable at your church. I’ve been to churches that don’t ever mention guests in their services. I’ve been to some churches that had really poor signage and I had no idea how to navigate the facility. I’ve been to churches that ask guests to remain seated during the service so regular attenders can come say hello (yea, there is no way I’m doing that). I’ve been to churches that tell people if they want to get into a small group to go see Cindi and I’ve thought to myself, “Who’s Cindi and where am I supposed to meet her if I want to get into a Small Group?” Churches are notorious for making outsiders feel like, well…outsiders. And then they wonder why guests don’t come back.

Question: What insider behaviors and language do we use that makes it difficult for outsiders to gain access to Jesus?

#4 Fun

Now I’ve probably finally gone off the deep end with this one. But if your church isn’t fun, if people don’t laugh, they simply aren’t going to invite their friends. No one invites their friends to stuff that isn’t fun. If kids don’t have a good experience at your church, you might be doing it wrong. If people don’t laugh at some point you might be doing it wrong. Jesus was actually really funny by the way. Jim Rayburn the founder of Young Life said, ”It’s a sin to bore a kid.” If that’s true then a lot of our churches might be in risk of sinning. Hmmmm… (yes I said people may not invite their friends to your church because it’s boring)

Question: Do people have fun when they come to our church? What can we do to help church be a fun experience?

If you’re a courageous church leader it may be worth your time to get your Sr. Leadership Team together to discuss where in your community people invite their friends to go with them to. Seriously, make a real list on a white board or something. Then make another list of all the reasons people invite their friends to go there with them. Then finally compare that to your church…you may be onto something at that point.


Posted in Leadership

0

How to Build a Strong Volunteer Culture in your Church

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve never coached a church leader or consulted with a church that said they had enough volunteers. In fact, most church leaders I speak with identify a shortage of volunteers and volunteer leaders as one of the top 5 issues holding their church back from reaching the vision that Jesus has given them. It doesn’t have to be this way. You can build a strong volunteer culture at your church by implementing the following 8 principles.

#1 Celebrate Volunteers

You’ve probably heard me say that what you celebrate gets repeated. Ask any parent who’s potty training their kid and they get this principle. I’m pretty sure that’s why God invented M&M’s. That same psychology follows us through life. What get’s celebrated gets repeated. Want a strong volunteer culture at your church, then celebrate volunteers and the great stuff they do. You know what? They’ll do it again and more people will want in on it, because it feels good to be celebrated.

#2 Connect Volunteering to Discipleship

You’ve probably heard me tell the story about the time I was asked to lead a Jr. High Small Group. I was scared to death. Not because they were Jr. Highers, but because I had to be prepared, I had to be further down the road than them and know what I was talking about. I grew so much by leading that Small Group. I think we forget how much spiritual growth takes place as a result of volunteering. Instead of viewing volunteering as roles to be filled to run a church, volunteering should be viewed as a part of the spiritual pathway of our churches. It’s a subtle yet significant shift that needs to be made in our thinking for the sake of the spiritual formation of the people that have been entrusted to us. When you start viewing volunteering as discipleship the way you treat your volunteers changes quickly.

#3 Don’t Hire too Many Staff Members

At the Unstuck Group we’ve discovered that there is a direct connection between the amount of money a church invests in staffing and the number of people who volunteer. What we’ve found in our research is that the as a church increases its spending on staffing the number of people volunteering decreases. Translation = if you want more people to volunteer at your church hire less staff members.

#4 Make it Simple

Most churches make it more difficult to volunteer than most employers make it to get a job. Get rid of the multipage applications, the class that you make people attend, the spiritual gift tests, and the long interviews. Instead let people start volunteering. The leaders will naturally rise to the top. People will gravitate towards areas of ministry they’re passionate about and gifted for. When someone asks, “Can I volunteer?” the answer should always be, “Yes!” Then tell them where and when to meet you to start volunteering. Disclaimer: it’s always wise to background check anyone working with minors or money in any capacity.

#5 Make it Fun

Is it fun to volunteer at your church? People want to be a part of fun stuff. Fun is underestimated and undervalued in most churches. And yet fun can change people’s attitudes, it makes teams contagious, and it keeps people coming back for more. If it’s not fun to volunteer at your church you might be doing it wrong.

#6 Pay your Staff to “Lead People” not “Do Ministry”

Stop paying your Church Staff to do ministry. Instead pay them to lead people. As a Church Staff Member no job should be beneath you, but you shouldn’t do every job either. Unless they’re in a very specialized and technical role, Church Staff should be evaluated on how many volunteers they’re enlisting and how many leaders they’re developing. It’s amazing to me how many times people in ministry forget the basic principles that the Scriptures teach; for instance that the job of the Church Staff is to, “prepare God’s people for works of service” (Ephesians 4:11-13).

#7 Connect Volunteering to Life-Change:

The unspoken expectation of people who volunteer in a church is that they want to see people’s lives changed. They’re life has been changed by the love of Jesus and they want to be a part of that for others. When you celebrate life-change in your church always try and connect it to people who volunteer. This will help people in your church connect the dots between life-change and volunteering and people will want in on that.


Posted in Leadership, Volunteers

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You Can’t Lead in a Hurry

As a leader it is possible to be busy and have peace. A leader can carry a lot of responsibility and the natural pressure that comes as a result of that responsibility and still have peace. It’s possible to have a full schedule and a long “to-do list,” and still have peace. The future that a leader is tasked to lead through can be daunting and yet it is possible for that leader to still have peace.

But it’s impossible to be hurried and have peace. You can’t lead in a hurry. You can spin plates in a hurry, rushing from one task to the next, but you can’t lead in a hurry. You can make decisions at a fast pace but you can’t lead in a hurry. Being hurried as a leader is not about pace, volume of work, or the gravity of responsibility. It’s something that happens inside of a leader. When the leader gets hurried bad things happen…

1. Staffing

When you are hurried as a leader your team becomes an expendable commodity to get you where you want to go instead of people to be invested in.

2. Metrics

When you become hurried as a leader metrics and goals become burdens to bear as opposed to benchmarks to celebrate.

3. Fun

When you are hurried as a leader the excitement, passion, belief, and simple fun that you used to have becomes substituted by anxiety.

4. Inner-Life

When you are a hurried as a leader you trade peace for anxiety, anger, disappointment, and bitterness. When this happens the leader is not only a danger to themselves but to the whole organization. Leaders know the longer you lead somewhere the more the organization begins to look like and take on the “personality” of the leader. Their “inner-life” begins to naturally be put on display throughout the behavior of the organization. Everyone suffers when the leader suffers.

So if you were honest with yourself today, are you a busy leader or a hurried leader? What are you willing to do about it? What would change this week if instead of calendaring for what you need to get done you calendared for what kind of person you want to become?

Photo Credit: RobSheppard via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation
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