Tag Archive - outreach


10 Articles that will Help Your Church Make Vision Real

Thank you for making September another great month here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real! It’s fun to stay 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!

10 Insider Focused 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.”

What Growing Churches do Differently

It’s not faith, it’s not luck, and it’s not some leadership secret. Growing churches are actually doing something differently than the other 80% of churches in America that are stuck or declining. At the Unstuck Group we work with 100’s of churches every year and we’ve discovered that growing churches are actually doing some very tangible things differently than other churches. Below are just a few of them.

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.

8 Reasons Why People Don’t Volunteer at your Church

I’ve never worked with a church that has said they don’t need more volunteers. But I’ve worked with a bunch of churches that have trouble getting people to volunteer and stay engaged volunteering.

Stop Blaming your Team for Underperforming 

If you’ve ever managed a team you know how easy it is to grow frustrated when individuals on the team don’t perform well and the team doesn’t get the results you’re looking for. Unfortunately when things go wrong, the first place most leaders and managers look to place blame is on the team. Don’t hear what I’m not saying. Sometimes someone on the team doesn’t do their job and things fail. But the team should be the last place you look to place blame. The first place you should look to place blame is on yourself. When things go wrong on your team, keep the following principles in mind:

Hope is Not a Strategy

Hoping things will get better at your church won’t help things actually get better at your church. In fact the opposite may actually be true.

Church Leadership and the Illusion of Control

Church leaders are supposed to be the best kind of leaders, right? Caring, humble, courageous, strong, and selfless. The term controlling probably wouldn’t make a top-10-list of attributes to describe the ideal church leader. Now I know you’re not a control freak, I mean you’re way to godly for that. But if you’re on a church staff I’m sure you’ve served with a control freak at some point. And control freaks are dangerous, especially in the church.

Why More People Don’t Meet Jesus at your Church

One of the things we’ve learned through our experience and research at theUnstuck Group is that churches in America are only baptizing around 5% of their weekend attendance on average annually. In other words a church of 500 is seeing an average of 25 people take the step to be publicly baptized on an annual basis. We can do better than that. We must do better than that. But it is going to take facing down these big 5 issues that prevent more people from meeting Jesus at your church.

Tearing Down Leadership Idols in the Church

A quick Google search on “Church Leadership” will turn up literally over 170 million links. That’s a lot of content to dig into on church leadership. For all of the talk about church leadership out there today it sure seems that the church is pretty leadership poor. I know some folks down in Texas that would say that churches have a bad case of “big hat, no cattle.” Another way to say it would be that churches are all talk and no action when it comes to leadership.

How your Church can Produce More Leaders

Leadership scarcity is one of the most significant lids that prevent growth in churches today. While many churches are providing great leadership content and training in the form of conferences, classes, or coaching groups few are actually producing more leaders. There is more to developing leaders than providing good leadership content. It doesn’t happen without these 5 key underpinnings. 

Photo Credit: justin fain via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing, Volunteers


Why More People Don’t Meet Jesus at your Church

Did you know that the majority of churches in America are either plateaued or in decline? In fact 80% of churches in America fall into one of these two categories. Regardless of size, denomination, style, or geographic location; the majority of churches in America simply aren’t moving the right direction when it comes to growth.

One of the key drivers behind these statistics is that few churches are actually helping new people meet Jesus. One of the things we’ve learned through our experience and research at the Unstuck Group is that churches in America are only baptizing around 5% of their weekend attendance on average annually. In other words a church of 500 is seeing an average of 25 people take the step to be publicly baptized on an annual basis.

We can do better than that. We must do better than that. But it is going to take facing down these big 5 issues that prevent more people from meeting Jesus at your church.

1. Churches are Insider Focused

Most churches in America make decisions based on who they are trying to keep, instead of who they are trying to reach. They’re insider-focused. Churches are not only generally change resistant but their practices, ministries they offer, language they use, way finding, guest service experience (or lack thereof), and even the way they spend their money demonstrate that they care more about people who are already in the church as opposed to people who have not yet met Jesus.

2. Lack of Invitation

Sadly, many people never say yes to following Jesus because they aren’t given the opportunity to. Even in most churches. While a majority of churches talk about Jesus and the Gospel may even be clearly preached, fewer and fewer churches are intentionally sharing the Gospel and giving people the opportunity to say yes to following Jesus. I know that I may sound old school in this but I said yes to Jesus at a church service where the “preacher” gave people the opportunity to come forward and say yes to following Jesus. Yes, I know that sounds like an old school “alter call” but it worked for me…and guess what, stuff like that still works today. People just don’t know its old school because they haven’t been exposed to it. My hunch is that the more often you share the Gospel and the more opportunities you give for people to respond the more people will respond and say yes to following Jesus. Try it.

3. Church has become Uninspiring

Unfortunately the majority of churches have taken the most incredible, inspiring, and life changing news about Jesus and the hope of freedom, acceptance and redemption and turned it into a boring academic conversation. While many churches may be biblically educational they’re not very inspirational. Facts don’t change people’s lives. If they did those Surgeon General’s warning labels on the side of a pack of cigarettes would curb smoking and we all know how that’s working out. People want to be a part of something that means something and has real every day power in their life.

4. People are Embarrassed to Invite their Friends

Most people are embarrassed to invite their friends to attend church with them. They’re embarrassed that the facility looks like it’s fresh from the 1980’s (or worse). They’re embarrassed that their friend will be treated poorly and have a bad experience. They’re embarrassed that the worship service is good enough for people who are already in, but not for their friend. They’re rightfully worried that the singing will be subpar or the sermon will be boring.

5. The Church has Forgotten what it’s For

Simply put, the Church in America has forgotten what on Earth it’s here for. It’s forgotten that the Church isn’t for Christians. It doesn’t exist for people inside the Church. The Church exists for people who don’t yet know Jesus. You can’t come to Church because if you’ve said yes to following Jesus you are the Church. The Church is a movement you choose to be a part of to help people meet, know, and follow Jesus.

Photo Credit: Daniel Kulinski via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation


Creating an Outsider Focused Culture in your Church

Becoming Insider Focused is Natural: It’s natural to be insider focused, because what comes natural to us is us. It is not natural to let other people go before us, think about what others prefer before our own preferences, or meet the needs of others before meeting our own needs first. We are naturally self oriented as people so it’s no surprise that businesses, organizations, or even churches tend to be so as well. That’s why in their teaching Jesus and the Apostle Paul directly connect spiritual maturity to becoming others oriented.

This past week I taught a breakout session at Converge Ignite 2013 a conference designed for churches that are committed to advancing the Gospel through various Church Planting and Multsite models. If you were at the breakout and want to share the notes or would simply like to see some of what you missed just click the link below to download the notes FOR FREE! By the way there’s a great tool in there that you can use to work through as a team to evaluate the focus of your church!

Session Notes: Creating an Outsider Focused Culture in your Church

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation


2012 in the Rearview Mirror

When you’re in the middle of the fray it’s often difficult to see what kind of progress you’re making. That’s why it’s helpful from time to time to take a step back and review the ground you’ve taken and celebrate the wins! After all what gets celebrated, gets repeated! So here are some of the ministry highlights that I experienced in 2012!

1. Multisite & Merger

Being a part of leading through the transition from one campus to three campuses and a church merger has been one of the most exciting opportunities I’ve ever had to lead through. To read more about it follow this link.

2. Fast Growth

It was an honor to have Sun Valley Community Church recognized by Outreach Magazine as one of the top 10 fastest growing churches in America this year!

3. Baptisms

We baptized 382 people this year on the Gilbert Campus and two of those were my oldest daughters. Big moment in the Alexander house!

4. Student Ministry

More Students went to camp this year than ever before in the history of the church!

5. Children’s Ministry

The Elementary Ministry has grown by 12% this year! We’re continuing to reach young families!

6. Outreach & Volunteers

We mobilized more than 2,000 people to serve in local outreach through quarterly Community Impact Weekends! The word “Community” in our name actually means something!

7. Small Groups

Small Group Bible Studies increased by more than 50% this year! Life change happens best in the context of relationship and I love the fact that more people are getting connect with each other centered around God’s Word!

8. Generosity

We discovered that 82,000 people in Maricopa County don’t know where their next meal is coming from and we decided to do something about this Christmas. To read more about it follow this link. The goal was to fill 5,000 boxes of food between all three of our campuses. I was thrilled when I learned that the Gilbert Campus filled more than 4,500 boxes of food this December to combat hunger in our own neighborhood (and we blew past our goal by the way)!

Within a 10-mile radius of the Gilbert Campus there are 880,000 people who don’t go to church anywhere. So while we’re nowhere near done, I’m excited about the ground we’re taking!

I’d love to hear about the ministry wins you experienced in 2012! Leave a comment!

Posted in Leadership