Tag Archive - gospel


3 Big Reasons Why Missions Pastors are an Endangered Species

I can remember the first international mission trip that I ever went on. A young up and coming ministry leader with a parachurch organization called the Navigators invited me to spend some time in Singapore and Indonesia with him. My life and friendship with Jesus would never be the same.

Most people go on a trip like this hoping to change the world and the world that ends up getting changed is their own. And this is the greatest value in short term mission trips, discipleship. Short term mission trips have the potential to be one of the greatest catalysts of spiritual growth, leadership development and developing an outsider focused culture in your church.

The problem? More and more churches are dropping the role of mission pastors like hot potatoes.

Come & See Mentality

Instead of a go and tell approach to ministry many churches are adopting a come and see mentality. In more and more churches ministry is something that happens at the church not in community.

It’s easier to send Money than People

It’s a lot easier and safer to just sent money than it is to send people. Mobilizing a team of people to go requires time, energy and leadership.

They Keep Going instead of Sending

Often times people who feel called to “international missions” see more value in going than sending and as a result leave a leadership void in the local church. While there can be impact in going that impact can be magnified exponentially by sending.

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing


Tearing Down Imaginary Fences

Have you ever thought to yourself or even said out loud, “we could never do that,” at our church? Maybe you don’t think your denomination would allow it, or your pastor wouldn’t allow it, or your church board wouldn’t allow it. Maybe you feel as though there are too many road blocks to change and you feel helpless or hopeless.

What I’ve found is that many church leaders are living within imaginary fences that they’ve constructed in their minds through either assuming the worst or building an entire reality in their minds based on one (or a couple) of bad experiences.

The truth is, you probably have more leeway to implement change at your church than you think. Here’s how…

Find the Yes

Stop looking for the no…find the yes. It’s easy to go negative and keep your eyes and mind on everything you can’t do. Anyone can to that, it takes no work, energy or leadership. Being solution oriented on the other hand is rare. I guess that’s why real leadership is rare too. You’ll find what you’re looking for.

Focus on Growth Not Change

Every change you make is a criticism of the past, and no one likes to be criticized. So, focusing on or even talk about change in an anti-change environment is a recipe for disaster. Instead focus on growth, helping people spiritually grow and join Jesus on His mission to help people know Him and follow Him. You cannot follow Jesus and stay where you are. This is true personally and organizationally. So focus on growth and change will happen.

Assume the Best and Clarify

What if instead of assuming the worst about your denomination, your pastor or your church board you assumed the best and then clarified? What if you changed all of that self-talk and chose to believe that these were all people who cared about people meeting Jesus and following Jesus?

Stop talking about what’s Wrong

Words create worlds. Language builds culture. You may have a negative culture on your church team because you’ve been speaking negatively about your denomination, pastor or church board. Take personal ownership for your attitude and your words, and how they’ve contributed to the problem. And…you actually may have some sin to confess in there somewhere.

Promote the Gospel not a Method

Stop worrying about a particular ministry program, method or approach you want to take and start focusing on the Gospel. Your ministry program or method isn’t going to change the world, Jesus will. And all of us know that methods come and go. That method you love today is going to be stale in the future and someone is going to feel the same way about it that you do about old methods you’re trying to change.

Want to learn more about changing your church? Here’s a couple of posts will help you:

Posted in Leadership


Reaching and Leading Millennials

When The Unstuck Group is helping churches with strategic planning, one of the most common concerns and priorities that churches identify is attracting Millennials and young families.

Truth is, Millennials get a bad rap. We hear leaders complain that they don’t follow through, they get bored too easily and are too self-absorbed. Beneath the specific complaints, however, we hear an honest frustration at the fact that what was working to reach this age group in the past isn’t working any longer. Millennials were born into a very different world, and it is essential that they learn to live out their faith differently than their parents’ generation. What worked to connect with 18 to 34-year-olds in the 2,000’s won’t be the same things that work to connect with the same age group in the next decade.

Reaching Millennials is not about building even better facilities, flashier stage designs and Disney-esque children’s programs. It’s about discovering what really matters to this generation, and presenting the truth of the Gospel in a way they can hear and understand.

As church leaders we can cover our eyes and ignore the fact that our churches are not connecting with the younger generations they desperately need to reach, or we can do something about it.

With this in mind, we at the Unstuck Group have an early Christmas gift for you — a new eBook comprised of practical chapters to help you think through some of the most important aspects of reaching and leading Millennials.

Follow this link to download this new eBook,
and get your copy for free by using coupon code “christmas15”

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation


4 Reasons Short-Term Mission Trips Still Work

In recent years many churches have been backing away from sending teams of volunteers on short-term international mission trips. Some argue that such initiatives are ineffective, a waste of resources, and even hurtful to the advancement of the Gospel.

I on the other hand believe short-term mission trips still work. God used a project I went on right after my freshman year of college with an organization called the Navigators to Singapore and Indonesia to completely change my view of what God is doing in the world. I’ve had the opportunity to lead hundreds of people on more than 10 international projects throughout the years and I’ve seen first hand how projects like this can change the world, the world of the participant and the field. Here are 4 reasons why I believe short-term mission trips still work.

1. Spiritual Maturity

I’ve never met a pastor who didn’t want the people in their church to grow spiritually. Short-term mission trips are an engine for spiritual growth. People grow spiritually when they put themselves in a position to grow spiritually. While we as pastors can’t make people grow spiritually, short-term mission trips create the right environment for spiritual growth to take place.

2. Leadership Development

I’ve never met a pastor who didn’t think they need more leaders in their church. Short-term mission trips are an engine for leadership development. Leaders learn to lead by leading not in a classroom. Short-term mission trips provide an environment for developing leaders to experiment with their leadership gifts.

3. Outsider Focus

I’ve never met a pastor who didn’t want to see people outside of the faith meet Jesus. Short-term mission trips are an engine for building an outsider focused culture in your church. When people participate in a short-term mission trip, begin to personally wrestle with the contextualization of the Gospel in a different culture, and see people meet Jesus on the field; they are compelled to see people meet Jesus in their own workplace, neighborhood, and city.

4. Advance the Mission of the Field

I’ve never met a pastor who didn’t think that people all over the world need to know Jesus. When great partnerships take place between local stateside churches and the field, short-term mission trips can create an infusion of momentum and be catalytic to advancing the strategies of what missionaries on the field are doing to reach people with the Gospel in their context.

Photo Credit: VinothChandar via Compfight cc

Posted in Spiritual Formation


How Centralizing Ministry is Crippling Your Church

Many churches are enamored with the idea of centralization. Internally you’ll even hear churches talk about ideas like efficiencies, being streamlined or getting rid of redundancies.

In many multisite churches it’s even common to hear the term “Central Services” thrown around, a workgroup that is essentially designed to do away with redundancies and duplication of efforts between campuses. For instance, having one business department instead of staffing a business department or function on every campus. Seems smart right?

While at first pass centralization may seem like an efficient approach to greater ministry impact and moving further faster, it’s not always the best thing for the advancement of the mission of the church. In fact here are 6 ways well intentioned churches are unknowingly crippling their ministry impact for the sake of centralization.

1. Slows Decision Making

In a centralized system decisions get pushed up in the organization instead of down. It forces high-level staff members to deal with low-level problems. And it takes decision making away from those on the front line who are closest to the problem and probably know the most about it. Whenever Sr. level leaders are dealing with the wrong issues it slows the pace of any church or organization

2. Makes Communication Cumbersome

When communication has to be filtered through one person (the gatekeeper), or funneled through a chain of people you’ve got problem on your hands. Layers of bureaucracy, policy, and multistep communication chains slow progress towards the mission. And it creates more opportunities for miscommunication, misrepresentation, and misinterpretation of decision-making and actions to be taken.

3. Creates an “Us vs. Them “ Mentality

Whenever “we” have to wait for “them” to make a decision, and “they” don’t understand what “we” are dealing with on the frontline because “they” are somewhere back at a centralized headquarters it creates an “Us vs. Them” mentality.

4. Undermines Innovation

In any organization or church one of the most important sources for innovation and creative problem solving is the frontline employee or volunteer. Centralization takes away power from that individual to creatively solve their own problems and as a result people don’t learn how to think, rather they’re trained to just take orders. As a result creativity and innovation begin to dry up.

5. Requires very little Trust

When someone doesn’t need to be trusted to think and act through the filter of the culture of the church or organization it’s demoralizing. Conversely it’s an empowering thing to know that one is trusted, it boosts one’s spirit and often encourages them to rise to the occasion and actually increase the level of their game. Trust is the fuel that the best leaders and churches run on and if you’re not careful centralization can begin to erode trust and damage your culture.

6. The Gospel was Never meant to be Controlled

Ultimately the dance that church leaders do regarding centralization vs. decentralization comes down to an issue of control. And the Gospel was never meant to be controlled or managed it was meant to be unleashed.

Photo Credit: JustinJensen via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership
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