Tag Archive - lose

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4 Big Reasons Why Church Teams Win or Lose

Not all church staff teams are created equal. Not only are different people gifted differently, but they’re gifted with a different measure or capacity of each gift they have. Some teams are built skillfully and intentionally to reach a particular vision while others are a collection of talented people, others still end up being a gathering of players that may love Jesus a lot and are good at caring for His Church but may not be put together and assembled to win. And friends, make no mistake about it, we are in a high stakes game where there are winners and losers and eternity hangs in the balance. There’s too much at stake to take a passive care taker approach to “church.” There are a lot of reasons why teams win or lose, but there are four reasons that consistently stand out when it comes to church staff teams.

Ability and Gifting

Spiritual gifts are given by God through the Holy Spirit. Abilities and skills however can be taught. For example, the Bible describes leadership as a spiritual gift, however anyone can learn and develop leadership skills. However, no amount of training can make up for a lack of gifting. Great teams are built with people who are gifted by Jesus and then work to develop those gifts.

Strategy

Strategy answers the question, “How are we going to accomplish the vision?” Great churches don’t just have big dreams and catchy vision phrases, they have a clear strategy to accomplish that vision. They know how they’re going to get it done…and they do.

Mentality

How does the church think? What is the mindset of the staff team? Are they aggressive problem solvers or do they default to taking care of and protecting what Jesus has entrusted to them. Do they leave the 99 to go after the 1?

Culture

Culture is that squishy stuff in a church that’s hard to get your hands around and define. It’s reflected in the language of the church, the way people who are a part of the church dress, the filter they use to make decisions and so on. Culture can be defined as the sum total of the attitude, values and behaviors of a church. Culture trumps intention, ideas or plans because it becomes the gravitational pull of the church.

Average teams excel in 1-2 areas.
Great teams excel in 2-3 areas.
Championship teams excel in 3-4 areas.

What kind of team are you building? What kind of team are you on?


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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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

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10 Articles that will Help Your Church Make Vision Real

Thank you for making May another great month here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real! It’s great staying connected with you through social media and hearing that these articles have been helpful. So, thank you for connecting with me through the content on this blog! You made these the top posts from this last month. If you missed out on any of them, here they are all in one place for your convenience!

How Many People should your Church have on Staff?

Before you buy into the idea that you need another staff person at your church, think again. That just may be the worst decision you make at your church this year.

How to get Guests to Come Back to your Church

Why is it that the one organization on the planet that should care the most about people, the church, seems to get a bad rap for the way it treats people?

How to Clear Up the Vision at your Church

In my experience working with churches “vision” seems to be one of the most talked about and least understood concepts in church leadership. Most church leaders have a tendency to over-complicate or over-spiritualize vision.

Insider Focuses Ministry Names

The language we choose to use is important because it both reflects and builds culture at the same time. And one of the most obvious ways to tell if a church is insider focused or outsider focused is the language that they choose to use. It either says that the church is “inclusive” or “exclusive.”

Why Good Leaders Shut Down New Ideas

There are countless examples of organizations and churches that fall in love with past success, become risk adverse over time, and refuse to change. But did you know that the most successful organizations and churches on the planet are just as adept at shooting down new ideas? Here’s why…

How to Leave your Church

No matter what style or size of church you serve in, no matter what title you have behind your name, there is one thing that every person in ministry has in common. At some point in the near or distant future, you will leave your current ministry position.

The 4-Phase Planning Process for Church Leaders

Few churches have a great planning process. Most don’t even have a good planning process, if they have a process at all. I’m not sure why this isn’t a bigger priority. Planning is certainly biblical. I don’t find many pastors who would really take aim at that fact. You’d have to throw out a lot of Proverbs, if you decided to.

Why some churches Win but most Lose

There are a lot of reasons why 80% of churches in America aren’t winning and there’s no “silver bullet” fix. But there are a couple of things that winning churches consistently do that losing churches don’t.

is your church Over-Thinking Discipleship?

At the Unstuck Group we’ve discovered an alarming trend in churches across America. When we lead a church through our strategic planning process we help them discover several “core issues” that that are holding them back from being the church that God has called them to be. In a study that we conducted more than any other issue churches identified creating a solid discipleship strategy as the most pressing issue they are facing.

10 Signs your church is Headed for Decline

What if there were early warning signs (flashing lights on the dashboard) that helped indicate that trouble was ahead? In my experience Coaching Church Leaders and Consulting with Churches across the country I’ve seen the following 10 indicators of an impending decline over and over again.

Photo Credit: justin fain via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership

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Why Some Churches Win But Most Lose

Not every church is winning. In fact Thom Rainer, President and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources has stated in his research that: “Eight out of ten of the approximately 400,000 churches in the United States are declining or have plateaued.”

There are a lot of reasons why 80% of churches in America aren’t winning and there’s no “silver bullet” fix. But there are a couple of things that winning churches consistently do that losing churches don’t.

1. They make Decisions based on Who they are trying to Reach Instead of Who they are trying to Keep

The primary filter for winning churches is “What can we do (short of sin) to reach people who are far from Jesus?” You may think that all these churches care about is evangelism and helping people meet Jesus (Is that so bad?), and that leads to the church being a mile wide and an inch deep. But surprisingly these churches are usually very sensitive to helping people who have recently said yes to following Jesus take their next steps in their spiritual journey with Him. If a church isn’t reaching new people then it’s already dying, it just hasn’t shown up yet.

2. They Embrace Change

Winning churches embrace change. They change their staff and organizational structure. They change their worship style. They change their strategies. They change what ministries they offer. They are incessantly tinkering to try and improve what they do to reach new people with the Gospel. They take big risks because they have a big God and they trust Him for big results. They are not afraid to try new things. They’re not afraid to fail.

3. They don’t just Shepherd People well they Lead People

While the staff at winning churches care deeply about people, they don’t view themselves as simply caretakers and they don’t view their role as simply taking care of people. They view themselves as leaders and feel a responsibility to lead people where Jesus wants them to go even if that means it’s going to be uncomfortable. After all, when was following Jesus ever comfortable?

4. They Help People take Steps not get into a Class

Most winning churches I’ve been around aren’t as interested in biblically educating people as they are challenging people to become obedient to the biblical knowledge they already have. They view discipleship as obedience not information. Winning churches have a clear plan to move people from guests to fully involved and people that say yes to Jesus to following Jesus. Their goal isn’t to simply get people into a class.


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing

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Top 10 Posts from 2014

Thank you for making this past year a great year here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real! I recently finished counting down my Top 10 most popular blog posts from 2014 and if you missed any of them, here they are all in one nice tidy little place for you! Happy reading! And I hope these posts help you make vision real!

#1 “6 Things I bet you don’t know about your Pastors’ Wife”

One of the least thought about people in the church today is a Pastor’s wife. While leaders get all the attention and accolades their families and private lives are thought of very little by the public. In fact in a moment in church history where we are inundated with volumes of leadership ideas and training very little is written about pastor’s wives. I recently sat down with Lisa, my wife, and asked her about her experience being married to a full-time pastor for the past 18+ years. Here is some of what she had to say…

#2 “When to Add Another Worship Service at your Church”

Many churches are stuck in attendance simply because they haven’t maximized their current facilities and campus. Thinking about adding another worship service at your church? Here are five strategic concepts to consider before you do.

#3 “How Much Should Your Church Pay Your Pastor?”

The 2014 Large Church Salary Report conducted by Leadership Network in partnership with the Vanderbloemen Executive Search Firm has just been released to the public. The largest survey of its kind ever conducted, 727 churches of over 1,000 people in attendance from 42 states and Canada participated to provide more information and more specific information than ever before available. Follow this link to get your hands on a copy of the survey results! Here are a couple of facts that caught my eye along with the top 10 findings info-graphic below.

#4 “The 4 Stages of a Church-Staff Team”

If you’ve ever been a part of a growing church you know that growth changes everything. Especially the relational, organizational and working dynamics of the staff team. Larry Osborne, Lead Pastor at North Coast Church writes the following in his book Sticky Teams:

“Never forget growth changes everything. A storefront church, a midsized church, a large church, and a mega-church aren’t simply bigger versions of the same thing. They are completely different animals. They have little in common, especially relationally, organizationally, and structurally.”

Fortunately I’ve had the opportunity to sit down with Larry and hear him expound on this idea and talk about what he describes as, “The Four Stages of a Team.”

#5 “Ministry Trends for 2014”

Recently Carey Nieuwof, who serves as the Lead Pastor at Connexus Church north of Toronto, Canada, released this info-graphic about trends he’s seeing in ministry as we head into 2014. With his permission, I’m happy to share this here with you. Carey speaks to leaders and audiences across North American and around the world on leadership, change, parenting and personal renewal. You can follow this link to keep up with Carey at his blog!

#6 “4 Indispensable Truths about the Art of Planning”

All of us have been in planning meetings before with a team that seemed to have had a break through moment. You know, that moment when everyone says, “Yes! That’s exactly the direction we need to move, and that’s exactly how we need to get there from here!” There was energy, excitement and unity as everyone left the meeting. But the more time that passed after the meeting dismissed the more that energy that was there faded and the less movement towards actualizing the plan took place. In fact a large majority of planning meetings don’t actually provoke much real change in most churches and organizations. Here are 4 reasons why many of your plans aren’t really getting you anywhere:

#7 “4 Reasons Why Churches become Insider Focused”

It’s rare that I ever come across a church that started off as an insider focused church. Most churches start with a desire to reach new people with the Gospel. In those early stages of a church plant they have to reach new people or they die due to a lack of viability. So how does a church that’s eager to help people outside of the faith follow Jesus drift towards becoming insider focused and spending all of it’s energy taking care of people who are already convinced? Here are the four most common reasons why churches become insider focused:

#8 “How 2nd Chair Leaders Lead Up”

In working with leaders around the country one of the most frequently asked questions that I hear is, “How do I lead up?” In other words, second chair leaders are asking, “How do I support my leader while influencing them at the same time?” Below are six methods that the best second chair leaders I’ve met utilize to “lead up.”

#9 “10 Things you Lose when your Church Grows”

It’s impossible for your church to grow and everything to stay the same. I know it would be nice if everything could stay the same as the church grows, but it can’t. And the secret underlying truth is as your church grows you will lose some things along the way. But that’s kind of the point. You simply can’t move from here (current reality) to there (preferred future) and everything stay the way it is. If it did, you’d never get “there,” you’d just stay where you are. Understanding that, here are 10 things you lose when your church grows:

#10 “What if Home Depot Functioned like a Church?”

For the last month we’ve been getting ready for Christmas at my house and that means multiple trips to Home Depot. The first trip to pick up the Christmas tree and then back again to get more lights because the ones from last year don’t work this year. Then yet another trip for a new Christmas tree stand because the stand from last year doesn’t work. Oh, and I need a new pack of staples for the staple gun to put up the Christmas lights. And so on. You get the idea.

After spending half of the holiday season in the local Home Depot, I started thinking about how different Home Depot is from the majority of churches I’ve visited over the years, and what it would look like if Home Depot functioned like most churches in America.

Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing, Uncategorized
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