Tag Archive - listen

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How to Change things up and get your Church Growing Again

When momentum fades and growth begins to slow down at your church it can be tough to know exactly how to get things going in the right direction again. When plateau and stagnation set in it can be even more difficult to know what to do next.

Many church leaders I’ve talked to become paralyzed by the tension of wanting to keep long term people in the church around and engaged while also trying to reach new people by using old methods and approaches in an attempt to keep those long term people happy (wow that sentence is a mouthful). Change in this kind of a situation isn’t simple. If it were, every church that is plateaued or declining would turn around. While there are certainly some commonality in plateaued and declining churches there is not a “one size fits all” solution.

Most churches in this situation tend to adopt a measured approach to make incremental changes over time. While there are times when the wise approach is to make incremental changes over time, when things are stuck or declining it may take more courageous measures, because incremental change gets you incremental results.

“Incremental Change gets you Incremental Results”

If you’ve been leading in a church that is stuck or declining then you most likely already know what is getting you the results you’re currently getting, because you’re already doing it…it may be time to really do something different and take a different approach to get different results. Here’s a few things you can do right now to begin to change the trajectory of your church.

Listen to Different Voices

If you keep listening to the same people that you’ve always listened to you’re not going to generate any new ideas. Find some new voices. Instead of inviting the same old people to the meeting who have the same old ideas, change up the invite list. Bring in people from a different generation, background, or layer of the organization. I guarantee you’ll walk away with different ideas. Or make your next couple of hires from the outside. They’ll bring new ideas, different experiences and a new perspective to things.

Stop Learning from Other Churches

The Church is the only organization or people on the planet that has been entrusted with the Gospel and mission to share the Gospel with everyone on the Earth. But the Church does not have a corner on the market when it comes to innovation, organizational design, or leadership. So get outside of the Church and visit leaders from different industries and learn what principles can be transferred back into the area you’re leading in. A Chick-fil-A Executive once told me that they don’t look at other fast food companies to learn from, they go outside their tribe to other global industry leaders to learn from.

Fire Yourselves

This exercise will help you…I promise: Imagine that your entire leadership team has been removed and a new team is going to start. Before you pack up your boxes and move everything out, take a moment to write down the key issues you’ve never tackled and the changes you wanted to make. Help the new leadership understand what’s working, what’s broken, and what’s missing. Communicate the new initiatives they need to tackle and the things the ministry needs to stop doing. Once the departing team has confirmed that new direction, become the new leadership team. Start over, but this time follow through with everything you just agreed to do when you were out of a job. The reason this exercise is so helpful is that it helps to remove the emotions connected with core issues and new initiatives. It also eliminates the investment in ministries or strategies you’ve engaged in the past that aren’t working. A new leadership team wouldn’t have those attachments. They would start fresh. That’s what you need to do too.

Get some Outside Eyes

Bringing in an outside experienced professional with fresh eyes and different questions is a great way to help you begin to think differently. I know some great consultants at The Unstuck Group (the consulting group I’m involved with) that love the local church and want to see you win. We’ve literally helped hundreds of churches get unstuck!


Posted in Leadership

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3 Things that will Prevent you from Being a Learner

The most likely cause that you’ll hit a lid in your leadership growth will be self-imposed. It’s possible that you can be the lid to your own growth. Every good leader knows that if you want to be a leader you have to be a learner. But you can’t be a learner if you:

1. You Can’t be a Learner if you Miss Opportunities

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. You can’t be a learner if you don’t try. Experience can be your best teacher if you’ll choose to learn from it. But without attempting new things and putting yourself in a position to learn you never will.

2. You Can’t be a Learner if you Refuse to Listen

Every great learner is a great listener. Learners ask for feedback and then they listen. Anyone who refuses to listen to feedback is doomed to fail and will prevent themselves from being a learner.

3. You Can’t be a Learner if you don’t Evaluate

If you don’t learn to conduct an autopsy without blame, you’ll prevent yourself from being a learner. What do you need to continue, change, clarify or create? What do you need to preserve and what do you need to pivot away from? Learners are constantly evaluating and improving.


Posted in Leadership

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How to keep Big Dog Leaders on your Church Staff

There are all kinds of different leaders, but big dog leaders are a different breed altogether. And they need to be treated differently. On the team I lead there are multiple team members who have served as Executive Pastors at other large churches, on Sr. Leadership Teams of large churches, and even as a Sr. Pastor of a church of 1,000 in weekly attendance. So how do you keep that many strong leaders working together on one team?

1. Give them a Seat at the Big Kids Table

Big dog leaders need a seat on the Sr. Leadership Team. They need to be able to influence the direction of the organization not just a segment of the ministry. They need to be given real responsibility and the resources needed to produce real results. Big dog leaders want to get stuff done.

2. Big Vision

Vision answers the question, “Where are we going?” If the next hill you’re taking isn’t big enough and compelling enough to give their life to, big dog leaders will go somewhere else. Big dog leaders only hang around for big vision.

3. Provide Clarity

Clarity isn’t everything, but it changes everything. Big dog leaders don’t stay around in churches where there is confusion, because confusion creates drag on the entire organization and slows things down. If you don’t clear up confusion, big dog leaders will go somewhere else.

4. Turn them Loose

At the end of the day the best way to keep big dog leaders around is to turn them loose and let them lead. They were made to lead and when you don’t let them, they’ll go somewhere else where they can.

5. Listen to Them

Big dog leaders don’t want to just be given tasks and be told what to do. They have ideas that they need to express and they need their voice to be heard. To lead big dog leaders you have to actually believe that you don’t have all the answers. You have to believe in your team, and you have to listen to them. Because, if you don’t listen to them someone else will.

6. Pay Them

This may sound shallow, but if you don’t pay big dog leaders what they’re worth, someone else will. That’s just reality.


Posted in Leadership, Staffing