Tag Archive - responsibility

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Leaders are the Culture

Everywhere I turn it seems like people are talking about culture. Team culture, staff culture, and organizational culture. How to build a healthy culture and how to avoid a toxic one. But what about the culture at your church? How do you know what your church culture actually is and how can you change it if you don’t like it?

A church’s culture is determined by the defining set of values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of the Sr. Leadership Team. This could be the Sr. Pastor, the Staff Team, a Board, Deacons or a group of Volunteer Leaders depending on the size and nature of the church. Another way to say it is, show me the top 3-5 decision makers or leaders in your church and I’ll show you who your church is going to be and the culture you’re going to have in a couple of years.

Culture is something that is usually unnoticed, unspoken, and unexamined in churches. As a result, few churches ever take steps towards intentionally defining and building a healthy culture; instead it usually happens by default.

It’s common to see churches fall into ruts and get stuck in the familiar traps of, “just preach the Word,” “just reach people,” or “just build disciples.” The problem is building a healthy culture in a church; particularly a healthy leadership culture is never “just that easy.”

While every church already has a culture, most of them “happen on accident.” As the leader you have to create the culture. And here’s a truth about culture you may have never thought about before…

Leaders are the culture

Their behaviors, their attitudes, what they allow, what they address, how they approach people, the decisions that they make, how they dress and carry themselves, how approachable they are, the list goes on and on. All of this tells people how to behave.

This is why I can play a name association game with you, and by saying Jeff Bezos you automatically think about Amazon. Or if I say Mark Zuckerberg you think Facebook. Or if I say Steve Jobs you think Apple.

This is because over time every organization takes on the personality of the leader. This is how the organization takes its cultural cues. Some leaders understand this and are wise and intentional about it while others lead without thought as to how their behavior is building or eroding culture.

Because leaders are the culture at your church, the easiest and fastest way to change the culture at your church is to change the leader at your church.

Change the leader, change the culture

Obviously, a new leader is a leadership change and will result in a change to the culture. But I’m more so referring to the leader themselves changing and growing. This is why everything gets better when the leader gets better.

If you’re the leader at your church and you want a better culture on your team and at your church, than change and be a better you. Pay close attention to the culture of your church because it is a mirror for you and your leadership, and after all you are the culture.


Posted in Leadership

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How to get a Promotion at your Church Staff Job

I’ve met a lot of young ministry staff members who have expressed interest in having more responsibility, more authority, and more influence in the churches they’re leading in. They think they’re ready for a promotion. If they don’t get the promotion that they think they deserve, it can become a catalyst to them leaving their church and trying to take their next step in leadership somewhere else.

But here’s the deal…some are ready…and some aren’t

While this list isn’t exhaustive, if you can tackle these 6 behaviors you’ll be well on your way to your next promotion!

Show Up Early

In an age where everyone gets a participation trophy and people think they deserve a raise or a promotion for simply doing the basic minimum at their job, showing up early is a simple but powerful tool in your arsenal. If you show up early and ready to roll you will stand out and be noticed.  Work ethic matters more than you think it does. Every employer is looking for team members that are personally motivated and ready to tackle the day ahead. These kinds of people stand out. Do you?

Do What You Said You Would Do

This one may seem blatantly obvious, but I’m pointing it out because it just isn’t anymore. If you want to get a promotion one day, then learn the art of follow through today. Develop the reputation of coming through and delivering on what you said you would deliver on, when you said it would be delivered. People who talk more than they get results don’t get promoted.

Approach Your Day with a Good Attitude

You can’t play a good game with a bad attitude. Your attitude is a small thing that makes a big difference in the way you approach your work and the way you affect the team you’re on. People who have bad attitudes rarely get promoted. Make the choice to have a better attitude today and you’ll take a step towards getting that promotion tomorrow.

Bring Solutions Instead of Problems

Your supervisor isn’t looking for you to bring them more problems. They have enough. If you bring them enough problems frequently enough they’ll quickly start asking themselves and you, “Why did I hire you if I have to do your job as well as my own?” Instead, when you run into a problem you need help with, identify the problem but then provide 3 viable solutions that your supervisor can offer input on. This will communicate that you are solution oriented, value their input, and you’ll begin to learn how your supervisor thinks and wants problems solved.

Master the Standard

You’re not going to be promoted if you can’t deliver the “industry average.” If the average growing church in America runs around 20% kids and 10% students but the kids or student ministry you are leading is lagging behind that, it’s going to be tough to warrant a promotion. Especially if the demographic of the community you’re in has plenty of kids, students and families in it. You can find “industry standard” metrics provided FREE by the Unstuck Group by following this link. Start by getting to average then grow from there. Remember, average performers rarely get promoted.

Learn to Develop Other People

One of the first things that I personally look for in ministry staff members who I’m looking to promote (after they master the standard), is their ability to develop other people. Do people want to follow them? Have they actually led people somewhere or do they just try to keep them happy? Do they just delegate tasks or do they actually empower them with authority? Are the people around them actually “getting better?” Have they demonstrated the ability to lead and coach difficult people? If you learn to actually develop other people you’re going to be well on your way to getting that promotion you’re after.


Posted in Leadership

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3 Shifts that Growing Multisite Churches Experience

The decision to adopt a multisite strategy to deliver growth may be a decision that your church is considering. While still young as a movement, multisite is proving to be an incredibly effective strategy for growing churches to deliver growth to new “markets” and reach new people with the Gospel.

However, going multisite will make things more complicated and more difficult for you as a leader and for your church.

If your church is considering going multisite, or has gone multisite but is now experiencing multi-stuck I’d encourage you to check out the Unstuck Group. We’ve developed a unique process to help churches prepare to go multisite as well as get multi-stuck churches unstuck.

Below are 3 shifts that we observe growing multisite churches commonly experience.

1. Staff Roles & Responsibility

When you’re just in one location the Staff Team only has responsibility for the one location. As you begin to add campuses it’s common for Staff to have “dual responsibilities.” For instance, someone may be the Kids Director on the original campus but influence Kids Ministry on all campuses. This is particularly true as you move from 1 campus 2-3 campuses. By the time you’re at 4+ campuses it’s more common that staff have a singular focus. They either serve at a particular campus and focus their attention on that campus or serve on the “central team” and serve all campuses.

2. Attenders

Campus attendance has the ability to shift the emotion of the Staff Team at the original campus significantly. Obviously when there is one location all of the attendance is at that one site. Even when you start your first campus or two it’s not uncommon that the majority of the attendance is still on the original location. However, as campuses are added it’s not uncommon that the majority of people who attend the church, attend at a different campus than the original site. This is a tipping point in your multisite journey where the Staff Team at the original site begin to see themselves as just another campus instead of the big boys on the block and ministry trend setters for the church.

3. Staff Restructures

While going multisite may be a mechanism to help your church reach more and new people with the Gospel it certainly makes things more complicated. There are multiple restructures that happen along the way as more campuses are added. Here are some general trends:

  • 2-3 Campuses: Campus Pastors are hired and usually report to someone already on the team, Staff often play dual roles leading on a particular campus and influencing the entire church at the same time
  • 4-5 Campuses: A Multisite Director is hired to lead the new Campus Pastor Team and the Multisite expansion strategy at the church, a Campus Pastor is hired at the original location and that site is treated as another campus instead of the “mother ship,” a true Central Service Team responsible for serving the campuses is beginning to be built.
  • 6+ Campuses: Regionalization brings a whole new set of issues

Posted in Leadership

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Why Your Policies are Killing Your Leadership

I’ve written before that policies are anti-leadership statements. Most people think that due to my role as an Executive Pastor at a large church I would be the guy who embraces and loves policies. Not so much. I’m actually policy adverse. And I’m policy adverse because policies naturally undermine leadership growth.

1. Policies Abdicate Responsibility

It’s never your fault if you’re implementing what a policy tells you to do. It’s safe. It’s safe because the policy is to blame, not you. Leaders take responsibility they don’t abdicate responsibility. By the way leaders don’t play it safe either.

2. Policies Drain Courage

It takes no courage to implement a policy (unless it’s an unpopular or stupid policy). Learning to win as a leader by leading through difficult circumstances builds healthy confidence and courage as a leader. Implementing policies not only robs you of the opportunity to build healthy courage as a leader but it actually drains you of courage at the same time; because you train yourself to rely on policy instead of developing your leadership instinct.

3. Policies Teach your Staff not to Think

Telling people what to do actually makes them stupid. When team members are taught to look in a manual for a policy to direct them how to act instead of learning how to think and act, they miss the opportunity to grow. Difficult moments in leadership are the proving grounds for young leaders to learn how to lead. You don’t become a great leader from executing policies. You become a great leader by leading.

Don’t hear what I’m not saying. There are moments when everyone in the organization needs to know what to do and a policy needs to be put in place. Policies can be useful when they reflect and build the culture you’re trying to build and get you closer to your vision. If your policies don’t help you get pass that test then why do you have them?


Posted in Leadership

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Why there is no Leadership without Loss

The leadership secret that no one is telling you about? There is no leadership without loss. It may not be popular, but it is absolutely take it to the bank true. Most people mistakenly believe that gaining leadership is all about gaining more power, gaining a more influential position, and gaining more prestige and popularity. But leaders who lead at the highest levels know there is no going up, without giving up. And the higher you go in leadership, the more you have to be willing to lose. In fact here are 3 big things that leaders lose the higher they go in leadership.

#1 Preference

The best leaders I’ve been around ask what’s best for the organization, not what’s best for themselves. And then they defer their preference for the performance of the organization.

#2 Rights

The best leaders willingly give up their rights in exchange for responsibility.

#3 Control

Great leaders are able to recruit and keep other incredible leaders at the table because they’re willing to give up control. They’re willing to share leadership and allow others to lead in their area of brilliance.

Jesus put it this way: If you want to gain your life, you have to lose itif you want to be first, you have to be last.

What else would you add to the list? Leave a comment!

Want to learn more about the connection between loss and leadership? Check out 10 Things you Lose when your Church Grows

Photo Credit: Jan Tik via Compfight cc


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