Tag Archive - missions


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


5 Questions Stuck Churches Commonly Ask

You’ve probably heard me say before that “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. 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.”

That’s 80% if you’re doing the math. In my work consulting with churches and coaching church leaders there are 5 common questions or values that I see come up over and over again in churches that are stuck, but sometimes don’t know it yet. Could this be your church?

1. How do we make change and keep people from leaving the church?

The simple answer is, you don’t. The good news is people are always going to leave your church. You get to choose who leaves by the decisions you make and the way you lead. Churches who are making decisions based on who they are going to keep instead of who they are going to reach are stuck.

2. How do we get more people in our discipleship class?

If your primary method of discipleship is a class, your church may be educating people but they’re not building disciples. Christian education is not the same thing as disciple making. If you don’t have a clear pathway for people who say yes to Jesus to move towards knowing Him and following Him then your church is moving towards being stuck.

3. How can we hire more staff to run more ministries?

When your church is hiring people to do ministry instead of lead people to do ministry your church is stuck. Church that are rapidly moving towards providing more “ministry services” for more people to attend and participate in instead of investing those same resources into developing volunteers are often stuck and don’t know it yet. Ministry participation is not the same thing as people development.

4. How can we protect our kids and students from the world?

Churches that adopt a protection-oriented mindset instead of a preparation-oriented mindset often end up stuck because that thinking permeates the entire culture of the church. These churches are often risk-averse and talk about defending the Gospel. The Gospel doesn’t need to be defended from outsiders it needs to be unleashed. These churches often choose to curse the darkness instead of proclaiming the light.

5. How can we continue to increase our missions giving?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for missions. But when a church begins to take pride in supporting a long list of missionaries across an ocean instead of doing anything short of sin to reach people in their neighborhood with the Gospel they are stuck.

Need help getting your church unstuck? The Strategic Operating Process that we lead churches through at the Unstuck Group will help your church clarify your mission, vision, and core strategies—and then realize it through prioritized action initiatives.

Posted in Leadership


Church Budgeting Survey

In working with churches across the country one of the reoccurring points of tension that comes up is church budgeting. “How do we build our budget in a manner that is fiscally responsible and at the same time helps us move towards our vision?” “What are standard benchmarks in church world regarding building a healthy church budget?” The truth is while you can find a lot of principles out there about church budgeting there’s not a lot of hard data that is easily accessible for the average church. That’s why I’m conducting some informal research on church budgeting, and I’m hoping that you may be able to help. The responses from this survey will allow me to share valuable information such as:

  • What percentage of our budget should go towards Staffing, Operations, Ministry, and Missions?
  • How much debt do churches of similar size carry?
  • Do these percentages change as the size of our church changes over time?
  • How do different churches go about building their annual budget?

The more churches who participate, the more specific comparisons can be provided.

Click Here To Take The Survey

Benefits of participating: For those who participate, you’ll receive the results in an executive summary before the findings of the survey are made public! And, you’ll be provided with a copy of the data. No worries, the data will be sanitized to remove possible church-identifiers for anonymity. All for free. Thanks ahead of time for participating in the survey and for helping churches make vision real!

Posted in Leadership



For the past 17 years I’ve been traveling all over the world on short-term mission trips. I’ve had the privilege of leading literally hundreds of people on trips exposing them to what God is doing, and can do through them, around the globe. Last week was a dream come true for me. I was able to take my wife and two oldest girls (ages 6 & 7) on our first “family mission trip” to Guatemala. Serving with the Radford family, some friends of ours who are missionaries, at an orphanage that they work at was an incredible experience for my family. But surprisingly what captured my attention and has my heart still stirring was a movie that Lee and Angel showed Lisa and I one evening after the girls were in bed.

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Posted in Family, Spiritual Formation


why i’m taking my 6 & 7 year old to guatemala

In just a little over a month school will be out and my wife and I will be climbing onto a plane with our 6 and 7 year old daughters to take them on their first international mission trip to Guatemala! After spending time on mission trips together all over the world, Lisa and I are excited that we finally get to expose our children to something that has been such an important part of our lives, marriage, and ministry. We are thrilled about the opportunity to be working with some friends of ours (Lee & Angel Radford) who help run an orphanage in Guatemala and who have children at similar ages to ours. We’ve been waiting for this day, and below are 10 reasons why.

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Posted in Family, Spiritual Formation
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