Tag Archive - future


Why your Church should Play more Freshmen

Some of you know that I have what some may say is a bit of an unhealthy obsession with College Football (really hoping the Gators can begin to turn things around this year). Right now teams around the country are practicing and preparing for the start of the season, and Coaches are watching the players on the practice field and identifying who their starters are going to be.

In light of that I recently heard Charlie Strong, the Head Coach of the Texas, Longhorns and former longtime Defensive Coordinator of the Florida, Gators say to the veteran players on the team that when it comes to position battles the tie is going to go to the freshmen. In other words, if a veteran (Sr. player and incumbent starter) is tied with a freshman when it comes to talent and performance the Freshman is going to play not the Sr.

Sound harsh? I think there’s a lot that the church can learn from Coach Strong when it comes to recruiting and developing young leaders. And the future of the church may depend on it.

1. Talent Development

Talent isn’t developed in the locker-room; it’s developed on the practice field. You don’t learn leadership is a classroom, you learn it through leading. Young leaders need to develop into experienced leaders, and the only way that is going to happen is if you take a risk and play them and coach them.

2. They ask “Why?”

Everyone knows that young talent isn’t experienced or seasoned talent. They’re not going to bring a wealth of experience and ideas to the table. But what they are going to bring is a new way of thinking. They don’t know why you do things the way you do things and so they’re going to challenge the way you do things and make you think differently about the way you do things (try saying that 5 times fast). When you begin to answer their challenges and talk through the way you do things, it’s going to naturally provide you the opportunity to improve upon how you do things.

3. Freshmen are the Future

This may sound harsh, but it’s true. Freshmen are about the future and what’s going to happen. Sr.’s are about the past and what already happened. Now we all know that great teams have both freshmen and Sr.’s but when there’s a tie do you defer to the incumbent player or the new player? Maybe it’s time to start deferring to the freshmen?

4. Recruiting new Talent

Your church, like a lot of churches, may be struggling with attracting and keeping young leaders. Here’s a simple solution (not an easy solution). New recruits want to go where they’re going to get the chance to get on the field and play early. If you show that you’re not afraid to allow young leaders to lead then guess what? You’ll attract more young leaders!

Posted in Leadership


5 Self-Inflicted Wounds that Keep Churches Stuck

Churches get stuck for all kinds of reasons. And while no church I’ve ever worked with has ever set out with the goal of being stuck, most eventually become stuck at some point along the way. Unfortunately the majority of churches that are stuck get that way not because of some insurmountable obstacle that is put in place by the enemy, but rather they become stuck due to self-inflicted wounds.  Bad decisions that seem right in the moment, but lead to the church being stuck. Here are a few common self-inflicted wounds I’ve seen happen to churches:

1. Blended Worship Services

In an effort to make everyone happy churches often attempt blend multiple in-congruent worship styles together into one service. The result? Instead of making everyone happy, everyone is frustrated because no one really gets what they want. This has failed over and over again, and yet I still see churches try to do blended services. They simply don’t work.

2. Quick Hires

Quick hires are usually hires based on convenience not mission. Every new hire you make either moves you closer to your mission or further away. It either helps you become more of who God wants you to be and further galvanizes your culture or erodes it. Sure, fire quickly. But hire slowly, because you put your culture at stake every time you make a new hire.

3. Departmentalizing Ministries

Occasionally I’ve been asked this question by a well-meaning church attender, “How much money does the church give to missions?” My reply is always the same, “100%., the whole thing is missions.” They quickly clarify that what they’re really asking, “Is how much money is sent overseas?” I could write a couple of posts on this subject, so I’ll spare you. Suffice to say, those of you who know me, understand how much the nations, not just our neighbors, mean to me. But ultimately that question leads to departmentalization. Churches get stuck when they create a missions department, discipleship department, or worship department etc. The whole thing is evangelism. The whole thing is discipleship. The whole thing is worship. This kind of thinking leads to silos and competing systems…and ultimately being stuck. Like I said…I can get rambling on that one.

4. Keeping Christians Happy

Many churches have a fundamental misunderstanding of what the church is for. Instead of being for people who have not yet said yes to following Jesus, many churches fall into the trap of believing they exist to provide nice safe programing for Christians for the purpose of biblical education. They eventually become insider focused and begin making decisions based on who they want to keep instead of who they want to reach. By the way I’m not sure God’s as interested in the happiness of his people as He is their holiness.

5. Feeding the Past

Ministry programs that experienced success in the past should be celebrated, just not fed. Everything drifts from the future to the past. Ministry that once reached outsiders eventually drifts towards impacting insiders and needs to be reinvented or it will ultimately become obsolete.

 Is your church stuck in one of these or another area? The Unstuck Group, the consulting firm I’m a part of specializes in helping church get unstuck. We’d be happy to help you move from where you are, to where God wants you to be. Let’s talk!

Posted in Leadership


Why Churches Refuse to Change

In the “real world,” change is normal, it’s expected, and it’s even celebrated! When your team wins the Super Bowl no one ever looks around and complains about the stadium being too full. When your business takes ground and expands no one ever complains about experiencing success. When a new child is born into a family no grandparent complains about having to buy more Christmas presents. Change like this is celebrated. So much so, that we go around and show pictures of our new grandchild to everyone, we leverage the success of our business, and we buy t-shirts and other paraphernalia from the winning football team.

In the church it’s different. Even if it means growing, reaching more people, planting a new church, taking a risk, or even simply making the right change so that the church can be more effective with it’s mission; most churches avoid change like the plague. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Avoiding the Brutal Facts

Most churches would rather avoid reality by ignoring it, or explaining it away than dealing with it head on. Dealing with it would mean having to take ownership and responsibility.

2. Trapped by Past Practices

Many churches have been doing the same things methodologically for so long that people have fallen in love with methods instead of the message. What worked years ago in reaching people now works to keep people. And changing things up to reach new people creates fear in the hearts of many leaders about who they might lose instead of excitement about who they may reach.

3. Unclear about Next Steps

Some churches want to change. They want to move forward, they want to reach new people with the Gospel. They just don’t know what to do next. If this is you I’d like to encourage you to check out the Ministry Health Assessment that we offer at the Unstuck Group. We can help you understand your current reality and identify next steps.

4. Leadership Lacks Courage

The tough thing about leadership is that eventually you have to lead. It takes real courage to receive criticism (some of it fanatical) and keep moving in the direction the Lord has asked you to go.

5. The Weekend Happens…well…Every Weekend

It’s the tyranny of the urgent. It’s hard to rebuild a plane while it’s in flight. You can’t just shut the church down while you work on it. You’ve got to learn to be an incessant tinkerer. Consistently improving things as you go. While it’s difficult to take energy away from the weekend, you’ve got to figure out how to spend time working on your work (organizational health) and still get the weekends done.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about why churches refuse to change! Leave a comment!

Posted in Leadership


Early Warning Signs Your Church is in Trouble

Many churches have a tendency to measure attendance and money as their primary indicators for success, and not necessarily always in that order. There are a lot of other indicators that churches can measure to understand if they’re winning or not (baptisms, 1st time guests, and how many people are in bible studies just to name a few). Early indicators that a church is in trouble are often more difficult to detect however. Similar to the way many life threatening diseases behave a church can look healthy on the outside while wasting away on the inside. And like a life threatening disease it can be very difficult to detect. Here are a few early indicators your church should be paying attention to:

Fuzzy about the Future

Perhaps the single most life-threatening indicator that a church is in trouble is a lack of clarity. Clarity provides a church with the power to make decisions efficiently and align the organizational components of the church to move forward. If you don’t know where you’re going, and can’t state it clearly, you’ve got no chance to get there.

High Rate of Turnover

When a church has trouble keeping staff and volunteers, the church is in trouble. Turnover is not only an issue when it comes to the paid staff of the church but also the volunteers. When turnover becomes the norm there is a cultural problem at play.

Playing Defense

When a church becomes risk averse and starts making choices based on who they are going to keep as opposed to who they are going to reach, the church is in trouble. The real danger in playing defense is that it becomes a cultural mindset that actually stands in opposition to the Gospel. You see the Gospel was never meant to be or does it need to be defended it’s intended to be unleashed.

Inward Focus

When a church uses language that you have to be an educated Christian to understand, has a high giving-per-head ratio, is expecting nonbelievers to jump in on and participate in ministry programs that long-time believers participate in, have a poor guest experience and haven’t thought through way-finding…that church is in trouble. For more on being an insider focused church follow this link.

Think your church might be in trouble? The Unstuck Group can help! We help churches grow their impact through church consulting and coaching experiences designed to focus vision, strategy and action. Follow this link to learn more!

Posted in Leadership


Measure what Matters

I can remember as I was growing up my dad got this idea to build a barn (big enough to park a boat in). He drew the plans up himself and had in his mind that this was going to be one of those father-son bonding moments, a rite of passage into manhood so to speak. While some of us in the family look back at the moment more fondly than others (the barn was built and I don’t think a hurricane could take it out), I did take a valuable lesson out of the experience. “Measure twice, cut once.” Apparently accurate measurements can lead to a successful project, and a failure to measure accurately meant more time on the project, more money to buy more supplies, and a goofy looking barn that would probably come down in the first rainstorm.

As churches are in the middle of evaluating 2012 and planning for 2013 there are a couple of critical principles about measurement that we need to keep in mind…

Continue Reading…

Posted in Leadership
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