Tag Archive - give


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


Top 5 Posts from March

Thank you for making the month of March a great month on Helping Churches Make Vision Real! You made these the top 5 Posts from this last month. If you missed out on any of them, here they are all in one nice tidy little spot for your convenience!

#1 3 Reasons People don’t Give to Your Church

A few months back I did a series of posts on 6 big ideas about “Engaging the Givers in your Church.” And just like there are real actionable steps that churches can take to engage givers, there are also things that churches do to repel givers. More often than not they’re doing these things and they don’t even know it. In this post I walked through three guaranteed generosity killers that are running rampant in churches today.

#2 6 Indicators You’re Leading an Insider Focused Church

How do you know if you’re leading an insider-focused church? In this article I shared 6 indicators that you and your team can use to evaluate your church and discover if you’re leading an insider-focused church.

#3 My Interview with Two Women about their Choice to have an Abortion

I don’t typically post talks that I give, but every once in a while there’s one worth sharing. In this post I share a recent incredible opportunity that I had to interview two very courageous women about their choice to have an abortion, their experience with “church people,” their journey towards healing, and the grace and forgiveness they’ve experienced in Jesus.

#4 4 Leadership Lessons I was Reminded of by the Birth of my 4th Child

Lisa and I were blessed in March with the addition of our 4th child! And I’m not biased or anything, but he’s absolutely incredible! While we’ve gone through this a time or three before I’m still surprised by the depth of amazement, excitement, awe, fear, and loss of control that all collide in my heart at the birth of each of my children. And while we’re playing zone defense and filling up the minivan there are four distinct leadership lessons that this experience has reminded me of…I share those in this post.

#5 4 Ways Leaders Build Culture

Culture is the squishy stuff in an organization that leaders talk about but usually have a hard time articulating. Even more difficult is identifying clear actionable steps to build and reinforce a desired culture. In this post I share four steps you can begin to implement this week to start building the desired culture in your church or organization.

Posted in Leadership


3 Reasons People don’t Give to your Church

A few months back I did a series of posts on 6 big ideas about “Engaging the Givers in your Church.” And just like there are real actionable steps that churches can take to engage givers, there are also things that churches do to repel givers. More often than not they’re doing these things and they don’t even know it. So below are three guaranteed generosity killers that are running rampant in churches today.

1. Ingratitude

You’d be surprised how infrequently churches take the time to say thank you to people who financially support the ministry. And you’d probably also be as equally surprised how far a simple thank you will go. Here are a few suggestions you can put into action this week to change that: 1) Make sure every time a person gives for the first time to the ministry of your church that they get a letter to acknowledge their gift and say thank you. 2) Each week send a handwritten personal note to each person who gives a generous gift to the ministry. 3) Say thank you from the stage and celebrate the generosity of your church when they’re generous. When you don’t say thank you what you’re saying is you don’t care.

2. Waste, or the Perception of Waste

When people feel that their financial gift and sacrifice is being used in a wasteful manner they will pull their funding in a heartbeat. What I’m not saying is that everything should be value engineered, that isn’t the highest goal. But when funds aren’t used in a strategic manner that clearly advances the mission, that’s wasteful. No doubt having the right tool for the job is important. But don’t confuse the fact that extravagance is not the same thing as excellence.

3. Duplicity

When you say you are going to use a particular offering for one need and then turn around and use it for something else you break trust. And trust is the foundation for leadership. Simply put, people don’t give to ministries that don’t have a high level of trust in.

What else have you seen churches do that discourage giving? What would you add to the list? Leave a comment!

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation


Engaging the Givers in your Church Part-2

Yesterday I posted the first three ideas and principles in this list to help you engage the givers at your church more effectively. Below are the next three as well as some recommended resources to help you along the way!

4. Personal Touch

Please hear me clearly; this conversation isn’t about wanting something from people. This is about wanting something for them. This is about investing yourself in people, and that doesn’t happen from a distance, but rather up close and personal. For a giver to trust a church with their money is a sacred thing. And people trust people before they trust an organization or a church. This is why you need to intentionally spend time with givers. Trust is built up close and over time. Simply put people trust someone they can touch more than someone they sit in a big room and listen to.

5. Give them Specific Projects to give to

People who have the ability to give significant financial gifts to advance the ministry of your church are looking for a return on their investment, and rightfully so. In every other area of their professional lives they are making wise and strategic decisions about where to invest their resources. Rarely do they blindly give money hoping for a good return without investigating how it is going to be used or what it is going to be spent on. Give them the opportunity to give to specific and strategic projects that advance the mission of the church where they will see the result and return on their investment. People don’t give to general pleas, but specific projects.

6. Remember Giving is a Gift

In the church we often have plans to develop and help place people in an area where they can use their gifting to advance the ministry of building the Kingdom. An obvious example would be utilizing someone who has a teaching gift in a teaching role. The Scriptures teach us that giving is actually a gift. In Romans 12:6-8 the Apostle Paul writes the following:

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

This means that there are some people who have this gift in your church, and some who don’t. I’m not saying every believer shouldn’t be generous. For example: just because your gift isn’t evangelism doesn’t mean as a believer you shouldn’t share your faith. The point is how are you identifying, developing, and putting people with this gift in your church in a position to use and be successful advancing the mission of the church with their gift of giving?

Looking for resources to help you engage givers more effectively at your church? Here are two great organizations that partner with churches to help build a culture of generosity and two great books that every church leader should read about generosity.

Generis Generis is a team of experienced guides who walk with churches and ministries of all shapes, sizes and personalities to develop generosity – a generosity that permeates the culture. They have been guides for churches and Kingdom focused non-profits in matters of stewardship, generosity and fundraising since 1989 (which means they have some success and experience behind them).

Giving Rocket Giving Rocket helps churches have more money for ministry by increasing church giving. They help you fund your vision, not with guilt built into the worship service, campaigns that take over the calendar or fundraisers that act like Band-Aids. They are all about increasing regular church offering – the kind of giving that makes ministry happen every week. Check out their site for great resources, consulting, and coaching opportunities.

And now the Amazon links (what would we do without Amazon?) for the two books I mentioned: Funded and Free and Contagious Generosity


Posted in Leadership


Engaging the Givers in your Church Part-1

When it comes to engaging major givers in the church a majority pastors feel uncomfortable at best. Many pastors don’t know how to approach the subject and are afraid of saying the wrong thing. While churches have often built elaborate strategies to help people take steps in their spiritual journey and grow in their relationship with Jesus; they usually resort to a “just preach the Word and hope things work out” approach to giving. The problem is hope isn’t a strategy. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Here are first 3 of 6 ideas and principles to keep in mind when engaging the givers in your church.

1. Keep Track of Givers

I’ve heard it said in churches that the pastor shouldn’t know who is giving what. After all, didn’t Jesus say in Matthew 6:3, When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” Well yes He did…but it had more to do with the motive of the giver than anything else. What we have a tendency to forget is Jesus also clearly observed (along with everyone else), and went so far as to point out the actual dollar amount that a widow gave in Mark chapter 12. Now I’m not saying we should parade givers in front of the church to let everyone know what everyone else is giving but someone should know. After all if you don’t know who is giving, then it’s going to be pretty difficult to engage them at any level.

2. Say Thank You

You’d be surprised how far a simple thank you will get you, and sadly how few churches ever say it. A simple way for pastors to engage the givers in their church is to have a list of givers generated each week and write a hand written thank you note. The list can be of the top 10 or 20 givers that week, the top 20% each week, or simply set a dollar amount and each person who gives over that amount gets a note.

3. Give them Inside Information

Another simple way to engage givers at your church is to occasionally do small, intimate, invite only gatherings. Moments like this give you the opportunity to share wins and success stories (stories like this build culture by the way), have personal face-to-face conversations, share vision, and share inside information about steps that are being taken in the near future to accomplish the vision.

I’ll post the other 3 ideas tomorrow. In the meantime I’d love to hear your thoughts and experience with engaging the givers at your church. Leave a comment!

Posted in Leadership
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