Tag Archive - member

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How to Choose the Next Board Members at your Church

If you’ve led in a church for any length of time you can probably tell some stories of experiences you’ve had with dysfunctional Church Boards. Church Board become dysfunctional for a variety of reasons and there are some basic steps you can take to avoid a dysfunctional Board. The first step is to avoid inviting the wrong people to the Board. In writing this post I’m assuming that you’re already vetting potential Board Members based on the letters the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus about selecting church leaders. 

1. Timing

The best way to get to know potential new Board Members is up close and over time. Which means you’ve always got be “dragging the magnet through the sand” and developing people. If you’re a new church start up I wouldn’t recommend inviting people to a Board role until after the first 3 years. It takes at least that long to establish the vision, see who’s actually going to be with you, and start building a culture. Otherwise they’re just going to bring all of their ideas from their old church. This goes for people who are new to an established church as well…give them enough time to acculturate to your church. You can get yourself into trouble if you invite people to leadership too soon.

2. Volunteering

This one may seem like a no brainer, but if they’re not already a part of a volunteer team leading somewhere, not just volunteering, but leading somewhere then you need to pass.

3. Giving

If they’re not already generously supporting the ministry of the church financially then you need to pass on them. I know a lot of people are going to disagree with me on this one because church people get weird when the topic of money comes up, but trust me, if they’re not giving they’re not with you, and you don’t want someone on your Board that’s not with you.

4. Trust

If the Sr. Pastor doesn’t trust them then you’ve got to pass on them. That may seem shallow, but no Sr. Pastor wants people on their Board that they can’t or don’t trust.

5. Need

Have you stopped to ask, “What do we need on our Board right now?” With what we’re going through, where we’re going, the personalities on the Board currently, what’s needed in the next Board Member?

6. Protect

If they’re not going to help protect the staff, the vision, the doctrine, and build and protect the unique culture of your church, then they’re not the right next person to be on your Board.

7. Power

They’re not chasing a title, a role, or a seat of influence or power. They understand that power is given to serve others not push people around.

Follow this link to learn about the “4 Stages that Church Boards Go Through”

What else would you add to the list? Leave a comment!


Posted in Leadership

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Making the Assimilation Process Work at your Church

Stuckness is no respecter of the “brand” or “flavor” of a church. All kinds of churches across America are stuck. Large churches, small churches, old churches, new churches, Baptist churches, Methodist churches, Nazarene churches, Presbyterian church and even non-denominational churches are stuck. Lead long enough in a church and it will probably happen to you. Stuckness is such an epidemic in the American Church that 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.” Thom Rainer, Breakout Churches

And while there are a lot of reasons that churches get stuck and plateau or begin to decline the biggest culprit is that somewhere along the way new people stop getting connected or assimilated into the life of the church. It doesn’t have to be that way. Try giving the list below to the Sr. Leadership Team at your church to read and then come back and have an honest conversation about each point and identify opportunities to improve and islands of strength to build on.

Create an Engaging Guest Experience

I’ll admit that what I’m about to say may sound a little like heresy, but here goes. Instead of learning from other churches begin looking at other public spaces that people in your community enjoy going to. Visit resorts, restaurants, stores and other public venues that have a great guest experience and have people coming back for more. Take your teams, debrief, and build a list of what you can learn and principles and ideas that you can transfer to your local church.

Create Opportunities for People to Self-Identify

Guest parking, children’s check-in, a physical guest services location, and a communication card located in your church program or bulletin are all simple ways to create avenues for guests to self-identify. By a guest self-identifying they are essentially “opting-in” or giving you permission to speak with them. Instead of butting into people’s lives and spamming people are you engaging them in a dialogue with their permission.

Make it Personal

It’s a nice touch when I make reservations for my wife’s birthday and we show up at the restaurant to be greeted by a “Happy Birthday Mrs. Alexander,” (and I don’t mind the free dessert either). The more personal you can make it, the more memorable it will be. Instead of a cookie-cutter guest follow up letter, could you write a personal handwritten note? Could the person who greeted the guest and walked them around actually be the one writing it? How about a personal phone call to say, “Thank you for being our guest,” instead of trying to just get them to come back. Think: personal without intrusive.

Identify Next Steps for People

It can be frustrating going onto a church campus for the first time. It can seem like everyone else (insiders) already know where to go and what to do. It’s easy to feel like an outsider; in fact in can be plain intimidating. You can make it easier for people by thinking through a “what’s next” exercise with your team. Imagine a guest drives into your parking lot…what next? Imagine they find the right place to park…what’s next? Asking, “What’s next?” moving through the moment a guest arrives on your campus to the moment they leave will help you discover opportunities you have to make it easier for people to get connected at your church.

Make it Easy to Volunteer and get into a Group

People come to church for all kinds of reasons but they stay at a church because of relationship and responsibility. So instead of making it difficult to volunteer and get into a group make it easy. The best way to build a great assimilation process at your church is to focus on building a strong culture of volunteering and Bible Study Groups.

Create an Invitation Culture

When people come to church with people,assimilation becomes easy because there is already an existing relationship. In the same study conducted by LifeWay Research referenced above, they found the following to be true:

  • Most people come to church because of a personal invitation
  • 7 out of 10 unchurched people have never been invited to church
  • Only 2% of church members invite an unchurched person to church
  • 82% of the unchurched are at least somewhat likely to attend church if invited

This post is an excerpt from an article that I originally wrote for Converge Point Magazine.


Posted in Leadership

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Managing the Tension between Leadership and Vision

Believe it or not there is a tension between leadership and vision. Your ability to gain the hearts of people and get them to follow you to a desired future.

Here’s a tool that will help you begin to understand where your team members are at and at the same time help you identify your next steps in leading each of them.

It starts with asking 2 simple questions. But they’re two questions that a majority of leaders are too afraid to face an honest answer to.

#1 Has your team bought into you?
#2 Does your team believe in where you’re going?

Crew Leaders:

Crew Leaders are all in. They’ve bought into you, and they’ve bought into where you’re going. Not only will they go with you if you lead them, they have the potential to join you in leading others to go along with you.

Crew Members:

Crew Members are loyal. They believe in you, they’re just not sure about the direction the ship is sailing. Good leaders know how to leverage the trust that they’ve built over time with their crew and recast the vision.

Stowaways:

Stowaways want to go where you’re going, that is to say they believe in the vision. They’re just not sure you’re the one they want to follow there. The most important thing you can do with Stowaways is take the time to relate to them. As a leader you have to build trust with the people you’re leading because trust is the foundation of leadership. But be ware these are the most dangerous members on your team, because if they don’t buy into you as the leader you aren’t going anywhere.

Pirates:

Pirates don’t believe in where you’re going and they don’t want to go there with you. The best thing you can do with Pirates is counsel them out of your church. Or in Pirate lingo…have them walk the plank!

So do you have the courage to work through this exercise? Where do your team members plot out on this chart? More importantly, are you leading each team member they way they need you to?


Posted in Leadership