Tag Archive - peter drucker


How to Change the Results at your Church Before they Happen

Management expert Peter Drucker once said, “What gets measured gets improved.” In other words, if you can define how things have performed in the past and define your current reality then you should be able to make changes and improve future results. To a large extent this is true, but not always.

Churches measure what happened all the time. We measure what the attendance at last week’s worship services was, we measure what the offering was, we measure how many people were in groups last week, how many people served last week, and so on the list goes. The tough thing is you can’t change what just happened at your church last week.

Most of the key metrics we look at are all about what has already happened. But what if there were things that we could measure that were indicators of future performance?

1. Follow-Up Rate

Every week your church has guests (at least I hope you do). But do you know if they were followed up on and how quickly? Do you know if they were called, emailed, texted, if a letter was sent, etc. (whatever your follow-up process is)? Measuring the follow-up rate each week on the percentage of “closed” contacts will put a behavioral spotlight and emphasis not only on guests but also helping people get and stay connected at your church.

2. Engagement Rate

Again, you probably already know the metrics on group involvement, volunteers, giving, and other steps people take in their discipleship process at your church. But do you know how long it takes for the average person at your church to move from a guest (the first time you knew they were there), to when they joined a group, started volunteering, or gave for the first time? Measuring those rates will help you become much more proactive and change the score before it happens.

What else could you measure at your church that would be an indicator of future success and what is going to happen instead of simply measuring what has already happened? I’d love to hear your input, leave a comment!

Posted in Leadership


Mastering the Art of Facilitation

If you haven’t noticed leadership and leading young leaders in particular is changing. Peter Drucker, considered to be the father of modern management, actually predicted this shift. He once said that:

“The leader of the past was a person who knew how to tell. The leader of the future will be a person who knows how to ask.”

Most leaders find it easier to tell than to ask. And that’s because it is. It takes less time and it requires less personal security (among other things). But facilitating leaders have got this “ask first tell second” concept down.

The Team Outperforms the Individual

Great facilitators believe that the team outperforms the individual. That “we” is always better than “me.” While you may be a fantastic leader, no leader gets everything right every time. Involving the team reduces your “miss-rate,” and builds trust and buy-in at the same time.

Process not Content

Great facilitators believe that they’re “process” and the “content” lives within their team. The job of the facilitating leader is to mine out and unlock the best ideas from their team. They trust the process and their team. Try believing in your team, you may just be surprised how they rise to the occasion.

Questions not Answers

Instead of leading with answers, facilitating leaders lead with questions. Even if your experience and leadership intuition tells you the right answer, resist the temptation to tell, and instead ask. Facilitating leaders don’t believe they have all the right answers so they ask good questions. Asking great questions teaches people to think and begin to develop their leadership muscle instead of just blindly follow by being told what to do.

By the way, if you haven’t connected the dots yet, let me help. Peter Drucker didn’t think this one up all by himself. This idea is a very Gospel centered idea. The Apostle Paul wrote about this idea multiple times throughout the New Testament comparing Christians to the “body of Christ.” Stating over and over again this idea that we are better together and none of us are as good as all of us.

Posted in Leadership, Staffing


Discovering the Leadership Culture at Your Church

While many churches may have a list of Core Values that they’ve built, very few churches that I’ve come across have taken the time to do the hard work of defining and clearly articulating their Staff Values or Leadership Culture that they’re trying to build at their church.

Culture is tough to define. It’s the elusive, soft stuff in the organization that’s more on the art side than the science side of leadership. It takes hard work to articulate it. But it’s a must for any church that wants to actually be intentional about building a particular staff leadership culture. A clearly defined culture allows you to make decisions, hires, and take any number of other steps at a faster pace. After all as Peter Drucker famously said…

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
Peter Drucker –

Interested in discovering the Staff Leadership Culture at your Church? Start here. Gather your Sr. Leadership Team together and spend some time wrestling with the following two questions and build some lists together.

We Love when our Staff: fill in the blank

What are the stories of the hero’s on your Staff? What are the behaviors that you wish everyone on your Staff portrayed? What are the moments that make you the most proud of your team?

We Cringe when our Staff: fill in the blank

What the the stories that you hope never get repeated? What attitudes have you seen your staff adopt, behaviors have you seen your staff engage in, or things you’ve heard them say that simply makes you cringe?

Photo Credit: Luigi Mengato via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership, Staffing


Why People don’t Financially Invest in your Church

I recently read Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate by Clif Christopher. It’s a quick read that you can get through in one sitting, but it’s full of principles that you’ll come back to over and over again. There are a lot of reasons why people don’t give to churches as much as they used to. This book does a great job of helping to identify those reasons but it also gives pastors and church leaders steps they can take to move things in the right direction. If you’re a church leader and you haven’t read this book…you should. Here are some of the key ideas that stood out to me from my reading:

1. There is more Competition than ever for Charitable Dollars in America

The number of non-profit organizations is increasing every year and as a result competition for charitable dollars is increasing. It’s not that people are less charitable; it’s just that they’re directing it to other places than the church. “Since 2001, giving to religion has shown a rate of growth of 3.6%, while disposable income has increased more than 8%. People have the money and they continue to give. Religion is just no longer their charity of choice.” Church leaders should be asking themselves, “Why?”

2. Nonprofits know Why people Give while Churches just think people should give out of Obedience to the Scriptures

Multiple research studies have shown that there are three key reasons that people give: (1) A belief in the mission of the institution, (2) A high regard for staff leadership, and (3) Fiscal responsibility of the institution.

3. Nonprofits communicate from a position of Strength while Churches communicate from a position of Weakness

Nonprofits rarely, if ever, communicate about finances. What they communicate is stories of life change, real results from the investments that others have made in the nonprofit. Then they ask for more money. Churches don’t talk about results (probably because truth be told not many are actually producing many life changing results) instead they talk about their needs and how they are behind budget or need more volunteers. People with the ability to significantly invest in the Gospel work at your church don’t want to throw good money after bad. They are looking for a return on their investment, and rightly so. The Scriptures teach us that Jesus is too.

4. The Pastor should know who gives what

I know this may sound off to some but listen…(1) It will help them raise more money to fund the work of the Gospel [different people have different gifts and roles to play in the body of Christ] (2) It helps determine if what the church is doing is actually working. [people give to and support what changes their lives] (3) It allows the pastor to say thank you to donors [the church is notorious for not saying thank you]. Most people whose hair stands up at this idea simply don’t want their pastor to know what they give because they’re not being generous and following the Bible’s teachings on finances.

5. Help people Give

Many people want to obey Jesus and be generous with what they have to advance the Kingdom of God through the local church. Unfortunately many of those same people have not used the money that God has given them very well up to this point and they’re not in a position to be generous. Does your church have a plan or resource to help people learn how to manage what God has given them in a God honoring way?

6. The best way to raise money for your church is to DO YOUR JOB!

Peter Drucker wrote, “A business has discharged its task when the customer buys the product, pays for it, and is satisfied with it. Government has discharged its function when its policies are effective. The nonprofit institution neither supplies goods, services, or controls. Its product is neither a pair of shoes nor an effective regulation. Its product is a changed human being. The nonprofit institutions are human change agents. Their ‘product’ is a cured patient, a child that learns, a young man or woman grown into a self-respecting adult; a changed human life altogether.” In other words when your church consistently shows how lives are being changed, when marriages are healed, addicts find freedom, people fall on their knees and follow Jesus – people will support your church.

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation


Top Posts of 2013 #9: “Defining the Leadership Culture at Your Church”

A lot of man hours, conversations and work went into building this post before it ever hit the internet. One of the reasons this post was so popular is because it provided a great example for churches. Building a leadership culture is something that is talked about a lot, but rarely clearly defined in churches. My hope in sharing this was not for it to be copied, but for it to provide an example of what could be. Hope it’s helpful!

Organizational Culture is the squishy stuff that is often difficult for even the most experienced leaders to clearly articulate. But just because it’s difficult and forces you to have uncomfortable conversations, face the brutal facts, and do the hard work of mining out the best ideas doesn’t mean it should be avoided. In fact the best leaders have a crystal clear picture of the behavioral norms that both reflect and build the desired culture in an organization. If you plan on perpetuating your culture you’d better be able to clearly articulate it and get others to see it…after all as Peter Drucker famously said…

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” – Peter Drucker

Every organization has a culture – attitudes they want adopted, values they want championed, beliefs they want instilled and behaviors they want reproduced. Leaders are the cultural architects of any organization.  Eventually every organization takes on the character and priorities of its leaders.  As a result, leaders need to become intentional in creating culture.

At Sun Valley Community Church, there are a few things that make our staff culture unique.  There is a way of operating and a way of treating others that we expect from those who are in leadership.  We have been working diligently to try to capture them in a few memorable, clear statements. We’ve gotten it down to 7 clear and concise statements (with further explanation that’s been added in) that we believe capture the essence of our culture. Don’t be confused, these are not the same thing as organizational values. These are staff norms, distinctives, and behaviors that both reflect and build a desired culture. I’m not posting these here to copy or to mimic. You have to discover and be true to your unique identity as a leader and organization. However I am posting these here as an example and to hopefully encourage others to do the hard work of clearly defining and articulating your own culture.

#1 LeadershipWe choose to love first and lead second, but always do both.

The Bible describes Jesus as “full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14).  He knew when to be compassionate and when to be bold and he used the perfect mixture of both for any/every situation.  Jesus was the perfect man and the perfect leader.

We are not so fortunate.  Most of us lean to one side or the other.  Some are primarily grace givers, while others are truth tellers.  Grace givers believe the best about everyone.  They take people at their word and believe in a God of “second chances.”  However their weakness is that their trust is sometimes unfounded and at other times they don’t delve into problems and get to the root issue.  As a result, people may feel accepted but because of an unwillingness to confront obstacles to growth, they never become the leader God meant them to be.

Truth tellers have a different perspective.  They believe that “the truth will set you free” and so they willingly and consistently point out opportunities for improvement and change.  You never have to worry about knowing what is on the mind of a truth teller.  They are forthright and honest in conversation, whether confrontational or friendly.  However, very often truth tellers miss the relational side of ministry and as a result are seen as insensitive, abrupt and harsh.

At Sun Valley we expect our leaders to learn how to lead others with both grace and truth.  We believe that truth is best received when there is a strong foundational context that “we want something for you, not from you.”  We train leaders how to say the hard things in caring ways. Relationship is a key to receptivity. High trust paves the way for high challenge.

In our culture, the order of grace and truth matters.  Truth is spoken in the context of relationship.  When people know they are loved, accepted and respected, they will be more receptive to much needed change.  We also choose never to stop with only love.  It is never loving to leave out the truth. Love does what is best for the other person no matter what they get in return.  We love first, lead second, but always do both.

#2 RiskWe have a big God, so we take big risks and trust Him for big results.

Nothing is impossible for God.  He has commissioned His church to reach the world with the Gospel.  Therefore, God designed the church to be on the offensive in its dealings with the world.  In Mt. 16:18 Jesus states, “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The only thing that can stop the church is the church.

And yet many churches take very few risks to reach those who are far from God.  Instead they house themselves in comfortable buildings and focus their resources on making the already convinced more comfortable.

This is not God’s plan for the church.  At Sun Valley, we encourage our staff to try big things to reach more people.  The world is rapidly changing which means methods need to change.   Leaders in the Sun Valley culture will experiment.  We are not afraid to try things and make mistakes.  We also understand that “new” is not necessarily better, “effective” is better.  We have high trust in our leaders.  This high trust leads to high expectations.  So we expect our leaders to key in on results.

Therefore when resources are limited and results are expected, evaluation becomes vital.  We evaluate everything, consistently trying to improve “what is,” to make it what “it could be” and “should be.”  We hire leaders who are willing to try new things and expect them to become “masters of midcourse correction.”  We have a big God, so we take big risks and trust Him for big results.

Yes…I know this is a long post…skim the highlights if you’d like. But I’ve put it all on here to help provide some kind of model for those interested in intentionally building a culture at their church. Keep reading if you want to learn more.


#3 EffortWe work hard, give our best and put family first.

Christians should work harder than anyone else on the planet.  The Bible teaches that the ability to work is a gift from God and that ministry is a privilege. Therefore work ethic should never be an issue for the believer.  At Sun Valley, we expect our staff to work hard.

We also give our best.  The ability to be “all here” at work is vital.  Focus, attentiveness and professionalism are expected attributes of all or leaders.  Prompt communication, collaboration and continual growth and improvement of ministry are norms for our culture.  We hire staff to get a job done.  We expect them to set goals, devise strategies, implement tactics, raise up volunteers and reproduce leaders so that greater impact can result.

We hire self-starters who are willing to report progress in a timely manner and are willing to receive coaching.  We look for self-motivated people who feel responsible for their ministry portion as well as their own personal growth (the person primarily responsible for your professional growth is you) but can work very well within the context of a team.  We look for leaders who not only work harder but smarter and who lead with moral authority – your effort should be an example to the person who works full-time and then gives significant effort to ministry.  The speed of the leader determines the speed of the team.  We expect your best.

At the same time, we also know that our greatest ministry is to our family.  Family is your greatest responsibility.  An unwillingness to focus on family has led many to ministry disqualification.  We want you to have an intimate relationship with your spouse and a healthy relationship with your kids.

As such, staff families need to understand that ministry is very often seasonal in nature.  There are times when ministry will be very intense and you will be working at an unsustainable pace.  There are also down times when ministry is not as intense and much more freedom is provided.  We hire staff that understand that this balance between ministry and family is not a problem to be solved, but a tension to be managed. And we expect our staff to become experts in managing this tension.  We work hard, give our best and put family first.

#4 Team – We want to take the hill, and we want to take it together.

The whole reason we are in ministry is to reach the world.  We have a job to be done, a goal to be accomplished and a dream that one day every person has had an opportunity to say “yes” to Jesus.  This is why we exist.  So we set goals, make plans and move forward.  This is the hill we want to take.

In the midst of trying to take the hill, we have realized that we are better together than we could ever be apart.  Sun Valley functions best as a team effort.  There is a power to collaboration.  There is a synergy that happens when each one of us takes our skills and abilities and combines them with those of the other members of the team.

We ask everyone to organize ministry in teams.  We push each other, sharpen each other, challenge each other and make each other better.  There are no silos at Sun Valley – no one is expected to work alone or go it alone.  Everyone is expected to function with a team of peers on staff and develop a team of leaders in ministry.  No one person has the best ideas all the time. Instead we learn to leverage each other’s strengths.  And together, we become a high performing team.

The pace of our ministry can become intense at times.  If someone falls behind, we will do whatever we can to bring him or her up to speed and keep them moving forward with the team.  However, if we determine that this person is unable to keep pace with the rest of the team, we will first try to reposition that person to a position with a more moderate pace.  If that does not work, our last resort is to replace them on the team, so that we can continue to move forward.  We want to take the hill, and we want to take it together.

#5 AttitudeWe live on the solution side of every issue.

We expect the ministry to grow at Sun Valley.  Growth necessitates change and change always comes with its set of challenges and problems.  It’s easy to see the problems.  Anyone can do that.  The challenge is not seeing the problem but forming the solution.

We expect Sun Valley staff to be proactive when it comes to problem solving, whether you are anticipating problems before they occur or solving them as they happen.  We expect them to engage in interaction with other leaders to solve the issue.  We expect them to behave as if they are owners of every portion of the ministry of Sun Valley.

We expect staff to have a “Can do” mentality.  No matter how difficult the task, we expect staff to try and to have a positive outlook, a cooperative spirit and a willingness to “get dirty” in order to move forward.  When the issue is a performance issue, we ask that staff assume ignorance rather than obstinance.  When training has failed and it is proven to be an attitudinal issue we will address it as a character problem.  We train ignorance and challenge obstinance.

Complaining is contagious.  We expect staff to understand the “bucket principle.”  Any time a problem arises, it is like a fire. When staff becomes aware of an issue they must recognize that they have two buckets – a bucket of water or a bucket of gas.  Getting on the solution side of the issue is like pouring water on the fire while joining in on the complaint side is like pouring gas on it.   We live on the solution side of every issue.

#6 Sober-minded – We know who we are and who we’re not and we do what is best for the whole.

We expect leaders to know what they are great at and what they stink at.

Nothing is more damaging to ministry progress than a leader who is not self-aware.  A lack of self-awareness creates an uncomfortable cringe factor for everyone else on the team.

There is great power to knowing your strengths and weaknesses.  As a result better teams are formed, better decisions are made and better implementation results in bigger results.  Therefore Sun Valley staff seek others input about personal strengths and weaknesses and defer to the team wisdom over personal ambition.

Sober-minded leaders surround themselves with leaders that are better than they are.  They defer decisions to those who will make the best ones.  They choose to lead in areas of strength.  Sun Valley staff thrives on humility and teachability – they are able to take on the posture of a servant and a learner.  They are able to celebrate others strengths and laugh about their own personal weaknesses.

At Sun Valley we expect our leaders to trust in the intentions of the rest of the team when difficult conversations about strengths and weaknesses occur.  We expect them to defer to the team.  Every decision that is made must go through the filter of “What is best for Sun Valley?” not “What do I want to do?”

#7 OutsidersWe exist for those who are not here yet.

Everything we do at Sun Valley is to help fulfill the Great Commission – making disciples out of “them.”  This is the “hill” we are taking.  Our greatest focus is to make more of “them” a part of “us” so that they can join us in reaching more of “them.”

To emphasize this priority, we give special attention to tracking new attendees, “Yes” decisions and baptisms.  These metrics are signs of health and mission focus.  We expect all ministry leaders to become keenly aware of these stats in their areas of oversight.

Being outsider focused greatly impacts how we do ministry for “insiders.”  The intentional focus on reaching people is a part of true maturity in Christ – who came to “seek and save that which was lost” (Lk. 19:10).  All our ministries that impact insiders are for the express purpose of training them to reach outsiders.  As we are “helping each other move toward authentic Christian living” (our mission statement), the greatest sign of success is that they live out “Authenticity, Community, and Generosity,” (our values) and move through “Come-Grow-Serve-Go” (our pathway).

We expect staff to support unapologetically the design of our weekend services to be guest-friendly.  We expect our leaders to have a plan on how guests will be effectively welcomed in their ministry environments (whether large, medium or small group settings).  We expect ministry trainings to focus on making outsiders insiders and to help insiders make relational room for outsiders in their personal lives.  We expect our leaders to model outreach to neighbors, friends, relatives and co-workers in their personal lives.  Because, we exist for those who are not here yet.

Posted in Leadership
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