Tag Archive - people

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Top Posts of 2018 #1 “Why People Don’t Invite their Friends to Your Church”

Welp, here it is…you made this the most read and most shared post on my blog in 2018. Thank you for going along on this countdown, and thank you for engaging with me through the content here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real! If you missed out on the countdown, no worries, I’ll post them all in one succinct list for you in a week or so.

There are a lot of reasons people go and check out a church for the first time. Maybe someone they know gets married and they go to celebrate their wedding or someone they know passes away and they go for the funeral. It may be that they already go to church on a regular basis and they move to a new area and are looking for a new church, or they decide to leave their old church for any number of reasons and are trying to find a new one. It may be that they saw some clever marketing from your church and decided to try it out or there is some crisis going on in their life and they think they might find some answers at church. Like I said, there are a lot of reasons people check out a church for the first time.

For all of those possibilities, the number one reason people attend a church for the first time is still because a friend personally invites them.

If your church is serious about growing and reaching new people you’ve got to figure out what is keeping people from inviting their friends. While many church leaders blame their people for not inviting their friends because they’re not “spiritually mature enough” or don’t have a “deep burden” for the lost I’d suggest it may be less complicated than that. It may be your fault.

#1 Quality Matters…a lot

I know churches don’t like to talk about this but it’s an unavoidable truth if you really want to reach and introduce new people to Jesus. I’ve been in too many churches whose facilities have not been maintained, they’re fresh out of 1978 and it’s not on par with other public space in their community. I’ve seen too many churches with someone leading worship on stage that just can’t sing. I’ve also been to too many churches who claim to be friendly but if you’re not an insider no one ever talks to you. I don’t think any of those churches intended to push away guests, but they did. Where did we get this idea that intent supersedes experience? I think we’ve misread the Scriptures that teach us that while man looks on the outside that God looks on the heart. The fact that God looks at the heart should challenge us and the fact that man looks on the outside should also challenge us! I don’t think that scripture in particular is a judgement statement in so much as it is a simple observation and fact. I could go on, but I think you get my point.

Question: Is what we are offering our guests quality? Are people not inviting their friends because they’re embarrassed to? How could we do less but do it with greater quality?

#2 New People bring New People

In John chapter 4 an entire village of people meets Jesus. Not because a missionary or pastor went to them or someone went through an evangelism training course but because of a simple invitation. A woman who had known Jesus for all of a couple of minutes invited everyone she knew to meet Him too. She was “new to Jesus.” New to Jesus people don’t need to be sequestered from their friends who don’t know Jesus and placed into some training program and then “sent” back out. They need to be encouraged to simply invite their friend to Jesus. Most people in our churches who have been around Jesus the longest invite the fewest people to Him (seems a little wrong if you ask me…but what do I know). This usually happens because over time they hang out with less and less people who are unfamiliar with Jesus. They wake up one day and all of their friends are Christians.

Question: Do we have new people at our church, and are we investing more in new people or in people who have been around for a while?

#3 Guest Comfort Level

Now I’m getting really shallow. I know. But like it or not if guests aren’t comfortable they aren’t going to be a lot of them at your church. There are a lot of things that can make a guest feel uncomfortable at your church. I’ve been to churches that don’t ever mention guests in their services. I’ve been to some churches that had really poor signage and I had no idea how to navigate the facility. I’ve been to churches that ask guests to remain seated during the service so regular attenders can come say hello (yea, there is no way I’m doing that). I’ve been to churches that tell people if they want to get into a small group to go see Cindi and I’ve thought to myself, “Who’s Cindi and where am I supposed to meet her if I want to get into a Small Group?” Churches are notorious for making outsiders feel like, well…outsiders. And then they wonder why guests don’t come back.

Question: What insider behaviors and language do we use that makes it difficult for outsiders to gain access to Jesus?

#4 Fun

Now I’ve probably finally gone off the deep end with this one. But if your church isn’t fun, if people don’t laugh, they simply aren’t going to invite their friends. No one invites their friends to stuff that isn’t fun. If kids don’t have a good experience at your church, you might be doing it wrong. If people don’t laugh at some point you might be doing it wrong. Jesus was actually really funny by the way. Jim Rayburn the founder of Young Life said, ”It’s a sin to bore a kid.” If that’s true then a lot of our churches might be in risk of sinning. Hmmmm… (yes I said people may not invite their friends to your church because it’s boring)

Question: Do people have fun when they come to our church? What can we do to help church be a fun experience?

If you’re a courageous church leader it may be worth your time to get your Sr. Leadership Team together to discuss where in your community people invite their friends to go with them to. Seriously, make a real list on a white board or something. Then make another list of all the reasons people invite their friends to go there with them. Then finally compare that to your church…you may be onto something at that point.


Posted in Leadership

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Would you Rather have the Right People or the Right Structure?

It’s a simple question. If you could choose only one, would you rather have the right people on your team or have the right organizational structure to operate in? Both people and structure are two common reasons that churches become stuck. But if you could only “fix” one which one would you choose?

Structure

Your church is perfectly structured to get the results you’re currently getting. At the Unstuck Group we’ve found that it’s not uncommon to see a particular structure that has worked in the past eventually becomes a lid for growth. If you want different results then it may be time to restructure things at your church. As a church grows the need to restructure can occur multiple times in the life of a church. The way the church board operates, the way the staff operates, the polity of a church, and the way a church budgets can all become lids to growth if they don’t change over time as the church changes.

People

In church-world we’re quicker to place blame for a church being stuck at the feet of a particular person. It’s easier to see and diagnose. It’s clear that people (a leader) can become a lid to the growth of a church. It’s a rare leader who can lead a church through sustained growth over a long period of time. Few leaders are sober minded enough to build a team that compliments their gifting, continue to develop as a leader over time, or understand that the church needs something different from the leader in various seasons and sizes.

If it were up to me I’d choose the right people every time. If you get the people right everything else seems to follow suit. The right people will make the right decisions and build the right structures. After all, the Sabbath was made for man not the other way around.


Posted in Leadership

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10 Articles that will Help your Church Make Vision Real

Thank you for making November a 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!

3 Reasons it’s Good for Church Staff Members to Leave their Church

There are probably a lot of reasons a Church Staff Member might leave a church. Some of them are valid; some of them are not so valid. But if you’re a Church Staff Member and you’re considering leaving your church, this post gives you three great places to start in the conversation.

5 Keys to Developing Young Leaders in Your Church

It seems like everywhere you turn lately some national church leader is writing about the bleak future of the US Church due to younger generations leaving. Well, recently I spent some time at a place that made me really hopeful about the future of the church in America. And it reminded me of “5 Things Young Leaders Need.”

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.

The Most Important Leadership Question You Aren’t Asking

While I’ve read my share of leadership books, wading through all of that can simply be exhausting. When it comes to determining if someone is a leader or not I prefer to start with a simple question…

How Great Leaders Manage the Tension between People & Projects

 Every single person reading this article has a natural tendency when it comes to the tension between people and projects. Some of us are “people oriented,” while others are more “project oriented.” You know which one you are and so does everyone else around you. But which one is more important, the people or the project? The answer is, “Yes.” The project is for the people and the people are for the project. God has given his Church (people) a clear mission (project). This post will give you 4 ways that leaders manage the tension between people and projects.

5 Indicators Your Church is Financially Overextended

In a time of year where most churches are finalizing budgets I thought it might be helpful to share some indicators that I’ve observed in churches that are financially overextended.

The 2 Most Important Ingredients of a Winning Team

If you’ve ever played on or been around a winning team you know how much fun it can be. You also know that winning teams are rare, only one team wins the championship each year. You also know that winning teams don’t just happen on accident. They’re built with great intentionality. So as you’re in the process of mixing the right ingredients to build a great team, make sure you mix in the 2 most important ingredients to building a winning team…

6 Keys to Successful Small Groups

The other day the consulting team at the Unstuck Group was having a conversation about how to help churches get unstuck when it comes to the disciple-making ministry at their church. In particular we were discussing Small Groups. In the conversation Chris Surratt who runs SmallGroup.com and serves as a Ministry Consultant with the Unstuck Group mentioned 6 great questions that churches should be talking about if they want to have a successful small group ministry.

Avoiding the Multisite Mothership Syndrome

In August, 2012, Leadership Network released a report stating that over 5,000 churches are now multisite churches (churches that meet in more than one location for worship). It’s a growing trend that first began with mega-churches, but has now expanded to churches of all sizes. One of the natural tendencies in a multisite church setting is to drift towards having one “main campus” that is driving the ship. It makes sense, because at some point there was an original campus and it is strategic to minimize redundancy and the duplication of efforts when possible. But, if not careful, the original campus can quickly be seen as the “Mothership,” a corporate headquarters making policies and calling all the shots. This can lead to a breakdown in unity through unhealthy competition, frustration and even resentment.

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…

Photo Credit: justin fain via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership

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How Great Leaders Manage the Tension between People and Projects

Every single person reading this article has a natural tendency when it comes to the tension between people and projects. Some of us are “people oriented,” while others are more “project oriented.” You know which one you are and so does everyone else around you. But which one is more important, the people or the project? The answer is, “Yes.” The project is for the people and the people are for the project. God has given his Church (people) a clear mission (project).

The project is something that Jesus has given us to do that must get done, the project matters. There is too much at stake for us to shrink back from the project that Jesus has given His Church.

The people matter too, because we can’t do this project alone. How we love one another is connected to the project being accomplished in and through us. The Gospel isn’t just taking ground out there, but it’s taking ground in us as we work it out.

4 Ways Church Leaders Manage this Tension between People and Projects

The Selfish Leader The selfish leader is a disconnected leader, because they delegate so they can disappear. They’re not really all that interested in the people on their team or the project. They’re interested in themselves. As a result the team suffers and they never end up accomplishing anything great.

The Darkside of Leadership This leader is so passionate about getting stuff done that they have a tendency to accomplish the project at the expense of people. In fact they’ll even go so far as to use people as commodities. And because you can’t lead from a distance this behavior eventually leads to isolation and manipulation. Isolation because when you use people, you end up alone. Manipulation because that’s what you resort to, when you can’t lead.

The Campfire Leader This leader cares more about the people than the project. In fact they’ll actually go so far as to sacrifice the project on the altar of relationship. This person essentially says that it’s okay to lose as long as you’re losing with friends.

Meaningful Work Meaningful work is doing something that matters to God with people that matter to you. This is the sweet spot where the tension between people and projects is managed well. Where people are for the projects and the projects are for the people.


Posted in Leadership

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How many People should be Volunteering at your Church?

Did you know that there is a direct connection between the amount of money a church invests in staffing and the number of people who volunteer? What we’ve discovered in our research at the Unstuck Group is that the as a church increases its spending on staffing the number of people volunteering decreases.

Translation: if you want more people to volunteer at your church you may need to spend less on staffing.

What we’ve learned through our experience and research is that the average church in America is mobilizing 43% of their adult and student population in volunteer opportunities. The reason it is so critical for churches to address this and take steps to move their culture in the right direction is because volunteering is discipleship. It’s not about filling roles and getting ministry done through people. It’s not about what we want from people, but rather what we want for people. Mobilizing people into volunteer roles is the ministry of pastors and church leaders. It is discipleship. Because volunteering and living an others first life is the very essence of what it means to live like Jesus.

Interested in learning more? Download the ebook “Vital Signs: Meaningful Metrics That Keep a Pulse on Your Church’s Health” or consider engaging the Unstuck Group to do a Ministry Health Assessment with your church to discover the health levels at your church and develop a plan to move things forward.

In the meantime below is a free exercise you can do with your team to begin addressing the volunteer culture at your church:

Continue Reading…


Posted in Leadership, Volunteers
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