Tag Archive - preparation

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10 Articles that will Help your Church Make Vision Real

Each month I curate the top 10 most popular blog posts I’ve shared recently. These are the articles that got had the greatest engagement in the past month. They were the most visited, shared, helpful or disagreed with. At any rate, thanks for staying in contact with me through engaging in the content on this site, I hope it’s been helpful to you! In case you missed any of them here they are all in one nice tidy place for you!

10 Insider Focused Ministry Names

I wrote this post 5 years ago. It came out of a conversation that I had with a Leadership Coaching Group I was facilitating for Church Staff and it’s remained a fan favorite.

How Many People should your Church have on Staff?

It’s a big question that most churches are asking. The answer may surprise you.

What do you do When you Don’t Agree with your Pastor?

If you work on staff at a church, chances are at some point you’re going to disagree with your pastor. That’s okay, you’re human, it would be naive to think you’re always going to agree with your pastor. But what you do with that disagreement is where things can get really messy. Messy for you, and messy for the church.

It’s Time for the Church to take a Different Approach to Leadership Development 

There are three prevailing thoughts about leadership development that I’ve been noticing in churches across the country and I’m not sure any of them are really going to work the way we think they will.

How do you know When it’s Time to Leave your Church?

Most people don’t stay at one place of employment their entire lives. If you work at a church, chances are you probably won’t work at that church the rest of your life. Most likely at some point you’re going to leave to go and start or work at another church. There are all kinds of reasons why church staff leave the church they work at to go work another church. Some of those reasons are solid and make a lot of sense. Some of them as you could guess, not so much.

Changing the Culture at your Church

“Culture” is the latest buzz word in church world. Everyone seems to be talking about how to build a healthy culture and avoid a toxic one. But how do you know what your church culture actually is and how can you change it if you don’t like it?

The Difference between a Shepherd and a Leader

I love helping churches and leaders get unstuck and make vision real. In fact out of all the stuff I get to do with churches and leaders one of the things I enjoy the most is Leadership Coaching. Recently I had the incredible opportunity to spend a day coaching a group of Pastors and Church Leaders from Australia (unfortunately their cool accent didn’t rub off). One of the topics we spent time digging into was the difference between shepherding and leading in relation to why some churches are stuck while others move forward. Here are couple of thoughts from the conversation.

11 Questions to Ask Yourself about Soul Care and Personal Fulfillment

People perform at their best when they are in a role that plays to their personality and gifting. They have more fun, experience greater fulfillment, and produce better results. The soul is actually at greater rest when it finds the rhythm it was designed for. But it requires a tremendous amount of sober-mindedness. That is, knowing who you are, knowing who you’re not and doing what’s best for the whole. This means, among other things, being willing to play the part you were designed to play instead of striving for the top spot on the team. So how do you get a healthy dose of sober-mindedness in your life without experiencing a bunch of pain? Honestly taking a few moments to answer the following questions is a great start!

How the Lead Pastor and Executive Pastor Roles Work Together

The relationship between the Lead Pastor and Executive Pastor can make or break a church staff team and has profound impact upon the overall ministry of the church. Get this right and you’ll end up getting a lot right. Get it wrong, and well, it’s going to be tough sledding.

How to Choose the Next Board Members at your Church

If you’ve led in a church for any length of time you can probably tell some stories of experiences you’ve had with dysfunctional Church Boards. Church Board become dysfunctional for a variety of reasons and there are some basic steps you can take to avoid a dysfunctional Board. The first step is to avoid inviting the wrong people to the Board. In writing this post I’m assuming that you’re already vetting potential Board Members based on the letters the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus about selecting church leaders. 


Posted in Leadership

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10 Articles that will Help your Church Make Vision Real

Each month I curate the top 10 most popular blog posts I’ve shared recently. These are the articles that got had the greatest engagement in the past month. They were the most visited, shared, helpful or disagreed with. At any rate, thanks for staying in contact with me through engaging in the content on this site, I hope it’s been helpful to you! In case you missed any of them here they are all in one nice tidy place for you!

#1 18 Churchy Things the Class of 2018 Won’t Get

This spring’s high school graduates were born in the year 2000. Here are some churchy things for which they have little to no context for…

#2 7 Ways Church Leaders Unknowingly Lead their Churches to be Stuck

While there are external reasons that churches begin to move the wrong direction the majority of time it’s much closer to home. Often “stuckness” is self-induced by intention or neglect on the part of the leaders of the church. So in no order, here are some things I’ve seen church leaders do to unknowingly lead their churches towards being stuck.

#3 What is a Campus Pastor?

In August, 2012, Leadership Network released a report stating that over 5,000 churches are now multi-site 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. With this new trend a new staff role has emerged, that of “Campus Pastor.” While a lot churches are still trying to figure out this new role, here are 6 things that great Campus Pastors do:

#4 8Reasons 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.

#5 What do you do when you Don’t Agree with your Pastor?

If you work on staff at a church, chances are at some point you’re going to disagree with your pastor. That’s okay, you’re human, it would be naive to think you’re always going to agree with your pastor. But what you do with that disagreement is where things can get really messy. Messy for you, and messy for the church.

#6 The Difference between a Shepherd and a Leader

I love helping churches and leaders get unstuck and make vision real. In fact out of all the stuff I get to do with churches and leaders one of the things I enjoy the most is Leadership Coaching. Recently I had the incredible opportunity to spend a day coaching a group of Pastors and Church Leaders from Australia (unfortunately their cool accent didn’t rub off). One of the topics we spent time digging into was the difference between shepherding and leading in relation to why some churches are stuck while others move forward. Here are couple of thoughts from the conversation.

#7 5 Ways Successful Church Leaders Think Differently 

Successful church leaders naturally think differently than the majority of church leaders. It’s one of the things that set them apart. The good news is you can learn to think just like them.

#8 The Difference between Preparation and Planning

Do great organizations prepare for the future or do they plan for it? The answer is, “yes.” To be clear preparation and planning are not the same thing, and great organizations become great by doing both.

#9 How to Choose the Next Board Members at your Church

If you’ve led in a church for any length of time you can probably tell some stories of experiences you’ve had with dysfunctional Church Boards. Church Board become dysfunctional for a variety of reasons and there are some basic steps you can take to avoid a dysfunctional Board. The first step is to avoid inviting the wrong people to the Board. In writing this post I’m assuming that you’re already vetting potential Board Members based on the letters the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus about selecting church leaders. 

#10 10 Keys to Managing Change in a Church

Many churches I talk with want different results; they actually want to see more people meet Jesus and follow Jesus this year than last year. Unfortunately, they just aren’t willing to change, let go of old tactics and take a different approach. Recently I had a conversation with a church staff team that is courageously leading their church through change. Here are a couple of things that came out of the conversation.


Posted in Leadership

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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 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!

What Separates Good Church Leaders from Great Church Leaders?

Over the past 20+ years of full-time ministry and 5+ years of consulting with churches and coaching church leaders around the country there are a few characteristics that I’ve observed that separate good church leaders from great church leaders.

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.

When to Invest in a Young Leader and when to Ignore them

Experienced leaders are always going to have more opportunities available to say yes to than capacity to meet them. This is true in leadership and this is true in developing young talent. You have to make a choice. So, choose wisely. How do you know who to invest in and who to ignore?

5 Reasons Why Churches Avoid Developing a Strategy

Churches avoid developing a strategy for all kinds of reasons. Many are tied to not wanting to use “business practices” in the church or not being “spirit led.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus has a strategy, and your church should too!

A Sneaky way to Change the Culture of your Church Staff Team

Here’s a low investment example of a sneaky way you can start changing the culture of your church staff team and ultimately your church.

Why Churches Decline and Die

Church decline can be avoided and even turned around. If your church is stuck or in decline I’d encourage you to start a conversation with the Unstuck Group. They have proven track record of helping churches get unstuck. Here are a couple big reasons, in no particular order, why churches decline and die.

You Get what you Tolerate

I talk to church leaders all the time who dream about how they wish their church were different. But I rarely talk to church leaders who are willing to take action and do something with all of that wishing. Just like in parenting, any relationship or social construct, in church leadership you get what you tolerate. If you tolerate bad behavior, you’re going to get bad behavior.

7 Questions to Help your Church determine the Location of your next Multisite Campus

If you church is thinking about launching a new multisite location in the next 18 months I’d encourage you to seriously think and talk through the following 7 questions with your Sr. Leadership Team to help you determine the next right location.

The Difference between Preparation and Planning

Do great organizations prepare for the future or do they plan for it? The answer is, “yes.” To be clear preparation and planning are not the same thing, and great organizations become great by doing both.

The Tension between Leadership and Power

A little bit of power can go to your head. Give some people a uniform, a title, or a little bit of authority and they can become a little overbearing and overzealous (the movie Mall Cop comes to mind). People often confuse power and leadership. I get it, leaders by perception have all the power and leaders often misuse power. But leadership and power are not the same thing.


Posted in Leadership

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Why Teams don’t Play up to their Potential

This past weekend my wife and I went to Arkansas to see the Florida Gators play the Razorbacks. That makes 4 SEC stadiums and counting now (it’s a bucket list thing). The Gators were favored by more than a field goal. They had the talent to win. They had the defense to win. They should have won. But they didn’t. Instead, they lost 31-10. I’m not bitter about it though…but I do need to confess that it usually takes me a couple of days to get over a loss. Especially one like this.

We had a great experience going to the game. It was a great game day atmosphere, we were there with some good friends, we had good seats, ate good food, and the Arkansas fans were more than hospitable. The outcome was just disappointing. It was like the Gators were trying to phone this one in. They didn’t look like themselves. It’s like they didn’t even get off the bus! I don’t mind losing if they leave it all on the field but they just didn’t play up to their potential.

Ever been a part of a team like that? A team that doesn’t play up to their potential? It happens for all kinds of reasons:

Poor Preparation

Sometimes teams just aren’t prepared to play the game. They haven’t had enough practice and game-like repetitions. Sometimes they don’t have a clear strategy that tells everyone what to do next. Sometimes they’re not emotionally or mentally prepared. When the whistle blows and the ball is kicked it’s too late to prepare. It’s the responsibility of the Coach to get their players prepared to play.

Not Playing to the Strengths of the Players

Sometimes coaches don’t play to the strengths of the players they have. You can’t just go out and clear your roster and get new players. You have to play the game with the players you have. It’s the responsibility of the Coach to be willing to make adjustments to their preferences and play to the strengths of their team.

Recruit based on Potential

Some of the worst recruiting is based on potential. When you add a team member hoping they’re going to develop into a superstar your making a dangerous wager. Potential is a 4-letter-word. Recruit based on what players have already produced, not on what you hope they’ll produce. It’s the responsibility of the Coach to recruit players who have already demonstrated competency.

Individual Superstars

You can’t win games when individual superstars aren’t willing to play their part on the team so the team can succeed. If you have players that don’t’ understand when the team wins they win, then they’ll never win. It’s the responsibility of the Coach to get their individual contributors to play as a team. If they can’t, then the Coach has to get them off the team. 

What are some other reasons you’ve seen teams not play up to their potential? Leave a comment!

*Photo Credit: my iPhone


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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10 Articles that will Help your Church Make Vision Real

Thank you for making October 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.”

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.

Why Big Weekend Worship Services are Not the Goal

It’s really interesting to me that the modern church has fallen in love with a practice that the New Testament doesn’t actually prescribe anywhere, weekend worship services. But don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m a big proponent of churches providing meaningful, engaging and relevant weekend worship services. Not because that’s the mission of the church, but because it’s the most effective strategy in North America to expose people to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In other words large weekend worship gatherings are a strategy, not the mission.

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.

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.

The Difference between Micromanagement and Accountability

I’ve never met anyone who likes to be micromanaged. Unfortunately I’ve observed many church staff teams who confuse micromanagement and accountability. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a young church staff member express frustration and cry out about the injustice of being micromanaged when their supervisor was simply holding them accountable for basic results. On the other hand I’ve seen church staff members micromanage other staff and even volunteers while claiming that they were just trying to hold people accountable to results and outcomes.

Why Wise Church Leaders Don’t Say Everything they See

Ever say something you wish you could take back? Sure. Everyone has. Whether it’s something we regret saying to a spouse, to a child, to a friend, or in the workplace to a coworker. Everybody has said something they wish they could go back and say differently…or…not say at all. Many of us are not aware of how powerful our words are and how they affect the people around us. The best church leaders I’ve ever been around understand this and they exercise discipline with their words.

The Difference between Preparation and Planning

Do great organizations prepare for the future or do they plan for it? The answer is, “yes.” To be clear preparation and planning are not the same thing, and great organizations become great by doing both.

Why Firing People who work at your Church Sucks

Changing Church Staff can be a terribly painful experience. Exiting a Church Staff Member costs the church more than just money. Trust is often eroded; people frequently leave the church during these times, and ministries typically lose momentum. Firing a Church Staff Member should always be a last resort option.

Should your Church spend more Energy Reaching or Keeping People?

It’s commonly said that you can tell if a church is insider-focusedor outsider-focused by how they make decisions. Do they make decisions based on whom they’re trying to keep or whom they’re trying to reach? Oh, if it were only that simple.

Photo Credit: justin fain via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing
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