Tag Archive - organizational


5 Core Behaviors of Churches that get Unstuck

Churches all 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. Stuckness is no respecter of the “brand” or “flavor” of the church. It happens to all kinds of churches. Lead long enough in a church and it will happen to you.  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.”

Churches get stuck for all kinds of reasons but there are a handful of core behaviors that I see over and over again in churches get unstuck.

1. They’re Outsider Focused

They’re consumed with the idea that the need for the Gospel in their community is greater than their capacity to meet it. And so they’re willing to go to extraordinary measures to bring people far from Jesus close to Him. So much so that their posture is towards those outside of the faith rather than those inside of the faith. They consistently make choices based on who they’re going to reach rather than who they’re going to keep.

2. They have a Strong Organizational Culture

They are clear about their vision, they know where they’re going. But it’s not just that they have some aspirational idea about where they think God wants them to be one day they actually have a clear plan to get where they’re going and they methodically work the plan. They’ve done the hard work of defining their leadership culture, and values, and aligning every ministry of the church to move in one singular direction.

3. They Develop People

They don’t pay everyone in the church to do ministry, instead they typically have a pretty lean staff (a ratio of 1:100+) and pay those staff to invest in and develop volunteers. They identify young leaders and give them real responsibility to make real decisions and own the ministry. Actually be the church instead of just come to church.

4. They view Spiritual Maturity Differently than most

They don’t view spiritual maturity as something that happens in a classroom. It’s not about content but rather your behavior. In other words it’s not so much what you know, it’s what you do with what you know. Ironically enough, that’s the same way Jesus defined it. They’ve also mapped out a clear pathway for people to run on. The moment they say yes to following Jesus there is a series of clear next steps for them to take to move forward with Jesus.

5. They’re Courageously Humble

The posture of their leadership is a humble confidence. They’re life long learners and incessant tinkerers. Willing to learn from anyone from any industry and any size organization. They’re not afraid to ask for help, even outsiders. They lead in their area of brilliance and submit in areas of weakness. They’re willing to confront the brutal facts and listen to the truth, even when it’s not pretty.

Does your church need help getting unstuck in 2015?  The Unstuck Group can help, follow this link to learn how.

Photo Credit: Lachlan Hardy via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership


6 Things Your Church Should Know about Core Values

Left to themselves organizations…including churches, drift. It can happen to the best of us if we’re not careful. As organizations and churches grow they naturally become more complex. There are more assets to allocate, more people to manage, decisions seem to have greater consequences than did when you were smaller and more nimble, and those decisions seem to just keep coming faster and faster. It is easy to become consumed with the business of running the church. But just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re taking ground.

Core Values are the guardrails of any organization or church that is taking ground. They are the core beliefs that drive how the people in the church interact with one another and the church as a whole behaves towards others outside of the church. They are the grid that filters our behavior to ensure that our activity is actually getting us where we believe God wants us to go.

So here are 6 things your church should know about core values.

1. Values aren’t real until they’re lived out in the church

There’s a big difference in most churches between what they say they value and how they behave. You can write anything you want to on a sheet of paper, you can train the staff and volunteers on it, you can distribute it on a slick promotional piece to the church body, you can even teach about it in the weekend services. But until it’s lived out it’s not a value, it’s an aspiration.

2. Keep the List of Values Short

If you value everything then you don’t value anything. There must be a few nonnegotiable hills that you’re willing to die on that drive the behaviors you’re looking to create. For a lot of reasons, I encourage churches to try to keep the list of values to be no more than 5.

3. Don’t Copy Values

Unless you want to be a clone, don’t copy values from other churches. Take the time to discover the unique personality of your church and what God has uniquely put in your heart as the leader. Copying values from other churches simply doesn’t work. You have to be you.

4. Hire and Fire (Staff & Volunteers) based on your Values

When team members or key volunteers demonstrate values that are contradictory to the values of the church either coach them up or lead them out. As you recruit volunteers and staff to join you allow your values to drive the recruitment. Because, you become who you recruit.

5. Articulate your Values

You’ve got to do the hard work of wrestling these ideas to the ground in such a fashion that they can be articulated in a clear, concise, and compelling manner. If your value statements can’t be sent out using twitter then they’re too long. If it doesn’t inspire or move people towards action it’s too dry.

6. Prayer and Doctrine aren’t Values

Prayer, evangelism, discipleship, outreach, core doctrines of the faith and the like aren’t values. They’re assumptions. If anything they’re permission to play values. Those basic values that allow you access to the room. I’ve listened as church leadership teams say they value outreach. Outreach doesn’t make a church unique, it’s the common behavior of any person or church that is following Jesus. Values are core and compact identity issues that make your church distinct from others.

 So what else would you add to the list? Leave a comment I’d love to hear your input!

Photo Credit: krissen via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership


3 Reasons Big Churches Keep Getting Bigger

Recently Leadership Network published an article in which they shared the following research about megachurches (a Protestant congregation with 2,000 or more weekly attendees – both adults and children):

  • In 1970 there were less than 25 megachurches in all of North America
  • In 1983 there were less than 100 megachurches in the United States
  • Today there are more than 1,650 megachurches in North America (roughly 1,625 in the United States and 25 in Canada)

All of that means this past weekend of those who went to a Protestant Church in North America, 1 out of 10 went to a megachurch. The megachurch phenomenon of recent history doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. In fact it seems to be growing, even outside of North America big churches are getting bigger. But why?

1. Directional Leadership

There is a shift in thinking that is happening. No longer are pastors simply seen as someone who cares for the flock through providing counseling, marrying, burying, and preaching nice messages that educate people. Rather, more than any time in the history of the church, pastors are beginning to view themselves as directional leaders tasked to move the people of God (the church) from where they are, to where they need to be. Large churches have a tendency to be Staff-led as opposed to Committee-led. They also view leadership as a spiritual gift and build a culture to develop and nurture that gift in others.

2. Organizational Alignment

The larger the church, generally speaking the more focused it is. They know what they do well and what they don’t do well and they play to their strengths. They’ve actually clarified their purpose and as a result they’ve been able to simplify their processes and organize their staffing, budgeting, calendaring, ministries, discipleship strategies, and behaviors around that purpose.

3. Outsider Focused

Large churches fundamentally believe they exist to reach people outside of the faith. They don’t believe the church is for Christians, but the church is Christians and they exist for people who are not here yet. As a result everything they do from style in the worship services and other ministry environments to language that is chosen, guest services and way finding is done with the outsider in mind. They consistently make choices based on who they are going to reach, not who they are going to keep.

What are some other reasons you think large churches keep getting larger? And what keeps small churches small? I’d love to hear your thoughts…leave a comment!

Posted in Leadership


Catalyst One Day 2013

If you missed any of my notes from the 2013 Catalyst One Day with Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel no worries! Now you’ve got all the notes to every session right here at your fingertips for free! These guys did an incredible job of tackling what Patrick Lencioni has called, “The single greatest opportunity for improvement and competitive advantage” Building a healthy organizational culture. Truth is my notes can’t relay all the great stuff shared by these guys so I’d encourage you to check out the Catalyst One Day website and watch for a One Day coming soon to a city near you this year! Hope you enjoy!

1. Introduction by Andy Stanley

5 incredible insights about organizational culture and building a healthy culture on your team.

2. Session 1: Values by Craig Groeschel

A healthy organizational culture never happens on accident but by intentionally fleshing out clear values.

3. Session 2: Staffing by Andy Stanley

Driving this principle of mutual submission through your organization can make your church an extraordinary place to work. And you’ll have an extraordinary team because extraordinary people will want to work there.

4. Session 3: Creating a Culture of Self Awareness by Craig Groeschel

As leaders we have a limitless capacity for self deception. And to boot, the higher we rise in an organization the more difficult it is to get people to tell you the truth, because the more perceived power that you have the more people are going to tell you what they think you want to hear.

5. Session 4: Programming by Andy Stanley

Andy talked about creating a culture around and through your programming by unpacking 3 irreducible minimums for irresistible ministry environments.

6. Bonus Material: Andy Stanley interviews Judah Smith

Two pastors kids talking through ministry transitions and leading through change. Incredible stuff!

Posted in Leadership


Catalyst One Day Bonus: Andy Stanley’s interview with Judah Smith

I’ve enjoyed sharing my notes and take aways from Catalyst One Day with you this week. My hope is they’ve been helpful. Truth is my notes can’t relay all the great stuff shared by these guys so I’d encourage you to check out the Catalyst One Day website and watch for One Day coming soon to a city near you this year! Here are ideas some I wrote down from an interview that Andy Stanley did with Judah Smith who hosted the Seattle One Day.

  • When you go on vacation don’t go to church. That’s not a family vacation that’s a ministry trip to look at other churches.
  • Leadership is acknowledged not appointed. So try out young leaders. Give them something and see what they can do with it.
  • Acknowledge leadership in young leaders who have a proper view of authority and demonstrate a teachable spirit
  • The test of any church is how it responds when the lead personality is gone
  • Adjustment and progress are better words than change
  • If past leadership is trusted you’ll have the opportunity to be trusted
  • Every change a new leader makes is a critique of the past
  • Remember everything is where it is
  • It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to just get in line with the picture you have of the future and where you’re going
  • Expect tears and pain in change
  • Demonstrate extraordinary empathy to the past and the value of all that has come before you
  • Work through powerbrokers and influencers. Each influencer receives honor differently and there are keys to everyone’s heart so don’t approach them all or treat them all the same.
  • Don’t play with false humility
  • Honor is convenient when everyone is on the same page but real honor comes in a moment of conflict and conviction and when you have to put personal agenda aside and do what is best for the people
  • People want Jesus and the Gospel works!

This is your last chance to grab more Catalyst Resources for yourself and your team for free! I’m giving away a brand new copy of “The Power of Momentum” a 4-part video teaching series from Andy and Craig. Just sign up here and I’ll let everyone know who the winner is next week!

Posted in Leadership
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