Tag Archive - pressure

0

Why Stress can be a Church Leaders Best Friend

I came home the other day and my kids had a bowl of flour and a bag of balloons setting out on the kitchen counter. When I asked them what they were doing, they said they were, “making stress balls.” One of the kids had seen a stress ball that a teacher had at school and thought it would be cool to make their own. I get the teacher needing a stress ball…and I was thinking I might need one with the mess they were making…but kids? What do kids need with a stress ball?!?!?

While most people are trying to minimize or avoid stress in their lives, good leaders know that stress can actually be a good thing.

Bad Stress

I’m pretty sure that every reader inherently understands how stress can bring out the worst in us. It can influence to people make awful decisions, bring out unhealthy behaviors and turn good leaders into control freaks and micromanagers. There’s a lot of reasons people experience stress. They can be in a situation that is requiring either more of them than they have to give or less of them than they have to give. Both lead to stress and potentially poor behaviors.

Good Stress

Stress can also be a gift and has the potential to bring out the best in us. When the right amount, of the right kind of stress, is applied in the right way it can bring great focus. It can push us to make decisions we’ve been putting off. It can push you to come up with new solutions. It can make your strengths come alive in you and rise up to meet the stress and lead through it.


Posted in Leadership

2

3 Pressure Points Facing Millennial Church Leaders

I recently had the opportunity to spend some significant time with 10 talented young millennial church leaders and had a blast! If these leaders are any indication of what the future leaders of the church look like then rest assured, the church is in great hands.

That being said there were a couple of pressure points that came up over and over again in the conversations from different angles.

#1 Anxiety about the Future

It was interesting to listen to these young church leaders discuss their work. They really are passionate and committed to the ministry God has called them to. But they’re also anxious about it. Their ambition to move the ball down the court, help the ministry progress, and get things accomplished can keep them from enjoying and receiving the blessings of the very ministry God has given to them. I also picked up on a longing for a future bigger and better role and ministry at the expense of missing the fruit of what’s been given to them today. I’d encourage young leaders to be faithful to whatever God has put in front of you today and let Him be concerned about where He puts you and what He gives you tomorrow.

#2 Relaxing Today

Many of these young leaders referred to the inability to “turn it off.” Anyone who is deeply and personally connected to his or her work can relate to the difficulty of coming home from work and not thinking about work. Being present is essential to health in life and relationships. “Bringing work home with you,” can be a recipe to undermine your most important relationships. I’d encourage young leaders to learn to take your weekly days off, scheduling your time off that you have coming to you each year, and put the cell phone down when you’re with your family. If you don’t learn what fuels you, fills you, and then schedule those things into your life you’ll end up in some kind of a crisis in your 40’s or 50’s that you could have avoided.

#3 Workload Confusion

It was also intriguing to hear the weight with which they carried the ministry they are involved with. Many young church leaders really do feel as though they are really busy and that one day when they are in a more important role with a more important title, have more authority and more people working for them that ministry and work will be easier. While I agree that many of them are working hard, I think many are confused about hard work. The weight of and the busyness of doing ministry is a very real thing, but not compared to the weight of leading ministry. I’d encourage young leaders to enjoy the season of ministry they are in, learn as much as they possibly can, and not long for greater responsibility too much because you might get it. And when you do, you may discover that with greater responsibility, more staff, and a more important title comes more pressure than you’re feeling today.


Posted in Staffing

1

How to Speed up Decision Making at your Church

After working with over 25 churches across the country this past year, I realized there is a common challenge that growing churches face. It’s a challenge that frustrates leaders, slows progress in critical areas, and causes an undercurrent of strain between teammates. This challenge is lack of clarity around decision making. When churches are small, and there are a few leaders who lead the church, it’s pretty clear who makes what calls. But as churches grow and more leaders are added to the team, it’s not long before confusion sets in around “Who gets to make what decisions”. Often all decisions start to feel like we have to have total consensus to move on anything. Did I mention frustration sets in?

About 5 years ago the fog lifted for me. On a team retreat, our Executive team had the privilege of working with Jim Dethmer, Co-Founder of Conscious Leadership Group. He walked us though an exercise called Decision Rights. He said before a decision can be made, the team has to first decide how the decision will be made. Who holds the decision rights?

The chart below illustrates the 7 ways decisions can be made. The two variables to keep in mind are the amount of time it takes to make a decision and the level of buy-in it generates.

7 Levels of Decision Rights

  1. Leader Decides: This is the quickest way to make a decision because no other input is required in the decision making. A leader is simply appointed to make the decision. Buy-in is often very low at this level.
  2. Leader Decides with Input: A leader is appointed to make the decision, but is also instructed to get input from others prior to making the decision. Because other voices are in the mix, there is an increased level of buy-in.
  3. *Sub-Group decides: A small team or a sub-group is tasked with making the decision.
  4. *Sub Group decides with Input: The sub-group makes the decision after getting input from others.
  5. Majority Vote: Just like it sounds, once options have been discussed, whichever option gets the most votes wins.
  6. Consensus: Consensus is reached once all team members involved in making the decision are no longer opposed or are neutral towards the option that’s been laid out.
  7. Alignment: Different from consensus, alignment requires that all team members are in total agreement that it’s the right decision.

* For’ Sub-Group’ and ‘Sub-Group’ decides with Input – the sub-group still needs to determine how they will make the decision (Majority Vote, Consensus or Alignment)

Here’s a practical example of how this works. Let’s say your church is out of space on Sunday morning. Your two services are full, and you know you need to launch a 3rd service in the fall. How will, and who will, make that decision? Here are the options:

  1. Leader Decides: You appoint a leadership team member to make the call. It takes very little time to make the decision, but also creates very little buy-in. There will most likely be a lot push-back and complaining from the team members that have to rally their teams to accommodate this decision.
  2. Leader Decides with Input: You appoint a leader to make the decision, but require them to go and talk to the key ministry leaders that will be impacted by whatever decision is made. While not adding a lot of time in the decision-making process, the leader has more wisdom in making the best decision, and a little more buy-in is created.
  3. Sub-Group decides: You appoint the heads of worship, ministry, and operations to make the decision. You feel they know their areas and will make the best decision with the time you have to make the decision.
  4. Sub Group decides with Input: Same as above, but you add time and potential buy-in to the process by requiring them to get input from all of their team leads.
  5. Majority Vote: The leadership team brainstorms all of the options, narrows it to three, and then you take a vote. The option with the most votes wins. (By the way, Majority Vote can be good for a lunch decision like “Chipotle or Chick-fil-A” – but not much else.)
  6. Consensus: All of the options are vetted by the team and then each team member gets a vote – opposed, neutral, favorable. Our team did it this way. Once the options were narrowed down, and there appeared to be a leaning towards the best service time, we would do a rock-paper-scissors style vote. On the count of three, we would put each put out the number of fingers that represented our perspective. 1 finger=opposed, 2 fingers= still opposed, but less strongly, 3 fingers= neutral, 4 fingers= favorable with a few remaining concerns, 5 fingers= very favorable. Once we were all at a 3 or above, we had “consensus”.
  7. Alignment: Drawing from the last illustration, everyone on the team puts out 5 fingers. One 4 – and you do not have alignment.

3 Key Learnings as our team adopted the Decision Rights model:

  1. Not every decision warrants consensus. Different types of decisions warrant different types of decision rights. By thinking through what level of buy-in is needed and how much time you have to make a decision, this allows the right level of decision making.
  2. You can strive for consensus, but can also have a back-up plan. In this example of adding a service time, you can shoot for consensus, but you also have to make the decision by a certain date in order to allow time for the teams to prepare for the change. The back-up plan, set up from the get-go says, “if we aren’t able to come to consensus by July 31, Jim’s going to decide (Leader Decides).
  3. Bringing clarity in advance to who is making the decision is freeing! Everyone knows their role. If you have no role in it, then you don’t have to expend any energy on it. If you’re giving input, you can speak honestly and openly, and then your job is done. If you have a vote, that’s clear as well.

This is a guest post by Amy Anderson who serves as a Ministry Consultant with the Unstuck Group. Amy served as the Executive Director of Weekend Services for over 12 years at Eagle Brook Church in the Twin Cities, helping the church grow from 3,000 to over 20,000. Today she works with churches of all sizes, providing a fresh perspective and concrete strategies to strengthen their processes, staff health and weekend experience.


Posted in Leadership, Staffing, Testimonial

0

Top Posts of 2012 #3: What Your Pastor Isn’t Telling You

This post checks in at #3 this year. I say ‘this year’ because I originally wrote this post back in 2011 and it has been in the top five read posts for the past 2 years. Apparently is struck a nerve.

 


 

Most Lead Pastors come off as having it all under control. Never let ‘em see you sweat right? Nothing could be further from the truth. More often than not it’s more like the proverbial duck that on top of the water looks calm, cool, and collected; all the while under the water his little feet are frantically paddling for dear life. If you’ve never been a Lead Pastor before let me take a moment to help you understand what it’s like to live in their shoes and what often times is going on in their heart. My hope is that you’ll remember these truths the next time you get frustrated and are tempted to become critical of your Lead Pastor. And instead of pouring salt in a wound you’ll be the kind of Staff Member or Church Member who holds your Lead Pastor’s arms up and lightens their load.

1. Your Pastor Feels Overwhelmed by Criticism

People complain about the volume of the music, what I’m wearing, the temperature of the room, that you didn’t visit them in the hospital, that you don’t read from the right version of the Bible, that you’re not deep enough (although they don’t even know the names of their neighbors), that you’re too deep, that I’m in the green room instead of the lobby, that while I’m in the lobby I didn’t say hi to them, that I didn’t remember their name even though I’ve only met them once never hung out with them and have 3,000 other names to know. People complain about other areas of ministry in the Church to them, and even if they handle this well and direct them to see the appropriate Staff Member, it creates a burden for them to carry. I’ve even heard friends of mine who are Pastors talk about having to have security guards follow them around for periods of time due to threats to them and their families. Or I love it when people say now Pastor this isn’t personal BUT…we think if you just did…fill in the blank (it’s not personal but?!!?!?!?). Okay, that might have been a bit of a rant.

2. Your Pastor Feels Pressure from Everywhere

Everybody seems to have expectations for Pastors to live up to and amazingly somehow know God’s will for their Pastor’s life and the Church they’re leading. The Church Body has theirs; the Staff has theirs, the Elders, Deacons or whatever the governance structure is or who the decision makers happen to be have theirs. It comes from all sides. As a result many Pastors I talk to feel as though they’re not only fighting the Enemy, but their fighting the Family as well.

3. Your Pastor Frequently Feels like Quitting

Take a moment to do a quick internet search on “pastor burnout” and the results might shock you. You’ll find pages and pages of articles, statistics, and stories of literally hundreds of men leaving the ministry every single day. Just take a quick look below:

  • CNNMoney.com posted an article listing 15 “Stressful Jobs That Pay Badly.” Included in this list are #5 “Music Ministry Director” and #10 “Minister.”
  • Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout or contention in their churches.
  • Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
  • Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.

I’ve had conversations with Pastors from small churches, mega-churches, multi-site churches, church plants, established churches, contemporary churches, and traditional churches. Somewhere along the road they feel like giving up, some of them have thought about it so much that they even have a fallback plan. Over and over again I’ve heard the statement, “There isn’t a month that goes by that I don’t think about resigning.”

4. Your Pastor is often Confused about the Next Steps the Church should take

Your Church may have a clearly articulated Mission Statement, Values that are actionable, and a clear path and strategy to move people towards maturity but many Pastors still struggle with what next steps the Church should take. I’ve heard Pastor’s say:

“When my office door is closed and no one’s around I often feel confused about what’s next.”

“If God doesn’t show up we’re in trouble because I don’t know what to do next.”

“Here I am at the point of this thing and all of these people are looking to me for where we’re going and there are real moments when I feel like I have no clue where we’re going.”


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

0

Top 5 Posts of 2011 #1: what your pastor isn’t telling you

And finally here it is. Coming in as the #1 post of 2011, and honestly friends this one wasn’t even close, “What Your Pastor isn’t Telling You.” This post won running away. After sitting on both sides of the desk as both an Executive Pastor and Lead Pastor of a couple of different mega-churches this post provides unique insight into the untold world of your Lead Pastor.

What your Pastor isn’t Telling You

Most Lead Pastors come off as having it all under control. Never let ‘em see you sweat right? Nothing could be further from the truth. More often than not it’s more like the proverbial duck that on top of the water looks calm, cool, and collected; all the while under the water his little feet are frantically paddling for dear life. If you’ve never been a Lead Pastor before let me take a moment to help you understand what it’s like to live in their shoes and what often times is going on in their heart. My hope is that you’ll remember these truths the next time you get frustrated and are tempted to become critical of your Lead Pastor. And instead of pouring salt in a wound you’ll be the kind of Staff Member or Church Member who holds your Lead Pastor’s arms up and lightens their load.

Continue Reading…


Posted in Leadership, Staffing
Page 1 of 212»