Tag Archive - strategy


10 Articles that will Help your Church Make Vision Real

Thank you for making April 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!

5 Things that Make Good Staff Members Leave your Church

Good Church Staff Members leave churches for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes it’s because God has called them to something different. But more often than not it’s because of something very different.

7 Things All Growing Churches Have in Common

Once a month at Sun Valley Community Church (the church I have the privilege of serving at) we gather all of our staff from all of our campuses to have some fun, celebrate wins, keep everybody on the same page and often times do some leadership development training. Last week Chad Moore, who serves as the Lead Pastor at Sun Valley shared 7 Things that All Growing Churches have in Common…I thought these may be helpful to you in your local church context…

5 Proficiencies of Great Church Staff Teams

Great Church Staff Teams are full of team members who not only care deeply about people and are passionate about the ministry; they’re actually proficient in what they are doing. I actually believe you can fake passion for a while until your heart catches up. But you can’t fake proficiency. You’re either proficient or you’re not. That being said, I’ve been a part of Church Staff Teams for more than 20 years and the ones I’ve been on that are the best are always proficient in these 5 core areas:

7 Indicators You’ve Found the Ideal Ministry Spouse

In ministry your spouse can make you or break you. It may be cliché but it’s true, behind every great Ministry Staff Member is a great ministry spouse…and you can’t have one without the other. So whether you’re already married or you’re still searching for the right person, here are a couple traits you should be looking for in the ideal ministry spouse.

Why Leading by Example doesn’t Work

Leading by example sounds like the right thing to do, doesn’t it? After all thousands of pages written on leadership, by leadership experts can’t be wrong can they? The problem is you can’t lead by example. Your example may inspire others, it may set behavioral standards for others, your example may even be a prerequisite for authentic leadership, but your example doesn’t actually lead others anywhere. Instead great leaders set the example and then hold the team accountable to the standard. The secret is in the accountability…not the example.

Trying Harder Won’t Fix Your Church

Conventional wisdom tells us that when things get difficult we just need to work harder, work smarter or somehow upgrade the quality of our work. But what do you do when trying harder doesn’t work? It may that it’s time for you to stop doing the same old thing with more effort with more efficiency or more quality. It might be time for you to stop trying harder and try different. It’s time to try something entirely new.

Avoidance: The Silent Killer of a Team

Great teams keep short accounts and normalize feedback, which allow them to make small degrees of change along the way. These behaviors allow great teams to create feedback loops, innovate, and test new solutions quickly. The problem? Most teams aren’t great teams.

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 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.

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.

Photo Credit: justin fain via Compfight cc

Posted in Uncategorized


8 Keys to Changing your Church in 2017

Most church leaders I’ve talked with want things to change for the better, they want this year to be better than last year, but they don’t want to do anything different. People always want to change their circumstances, but they never want to change their lives. But everything gets better when we get better. Families get better when fathers and mothers get better. Students get better when educators get better. Organizations get better when leaders get better. And churches get better when church leaders get better. But change is painful. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. It’s always easier and more comfortable to stay where you are than to change and move forward. But if you want to grow at some point you’ve got to stop doing what’s easy and start doing what’s right. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as you lead your church through change in 2017.

1. Get the Brutal Facts

The first place to start with change is where you are. You have to define reality and clearly understand what reality is today and why you’re here. Not what you think reality is or why you think you’re here. This takes courage to ask difficult questions and then listen more than talk and it usually comes with a pretty healthy dose of humility. If you don’t start here you’re likely to solve the wrong problems, take the wrong steps, or repeat the past.

2. Take Personal Responsibility

Often times churches don’t change because they mistakenly think that change is something that happens to them instead of something that happens in them. The change that you want to see happen in your life and in your church is no one’s responsibility but your own. You get to choose if you are going to grow and change or not. If you’ve been at your church for more than 3 years then stop blaming the prior administration and start leading.

3. Provide Clarity

If you don’t like where things are at in your church is right now, the good news is it doesn’t have to stay that way. You can change it. But change doesn’t come without clarity and it’s the leaders responsibility to provide clarity on what needs to change and what the preferred future looks like. The greater clarity the church has the faster you can make decisions and the more effectively you can move towards your future.

4. Don’t Overreach

Too much change can be the enemy of change. In fact if you reach further than you have the ability to execute you can actually cripple the church for years to come. You didn’t get where you are in a moment but a series of moments. You’re not going to get to you’re preferred future in a moment either. Instead, plan your work and work your plan.

5. Find a Coach

Leaders aren’t going around looking for someone to mentor or coach; they’re too busy leading. If you want a mentor or coach then you’ve got to chase after someone who has something you want until you catch them. Leaders press into people who press into them. You need to grow as a leader for your church to grow. Maybe it’s time to enlist a coach.

6. Rework your Team

Show me the top 5 decision makers at your church and I’ll show you what your church is going to look like in 5 years. Sometimes reworking your team is the right next step to take. Don’t be afraid to make personnel changes this year. But be careful and do this wisely. We’re not building widgets, we’re making disciples. The staff at your church aren’t cogs in a machine that can easily be replaced, they’re people to be developed and deployed.

7. Stop Hoping for things to Change

A majority of churches make the mistake of sitting around hoping for their “ship to come in,” some pivotal magic moment that’s going to change everything. What’s missed in all of this waiting and hoping is that the secret of growing and changing is doing a little every day. Long-term change is determined by your daily agenda. Hope is not a strategy. Take some advice from legendary basketball coach John Wooden that said, “You make the choice and then the choice makes you.”

8. Get some Fresh Eyes

Sometimes you simply need fresh eyes, someone from the outside to help you see things differently. Sometimes you need an outside voice to say some things that you want to say but can’t. And sometimes you’re just stuck and need help. If that’s your church then maybe the best step you can take to change things at your church is to engage the Unstuck Group. We help churches grow their impact through church consulting and coaching experiences designed to focus vision, strategy and action.

Posted in Leadership


Top Posts of 2016 #3 “What Growing Churches do Differently”

We’ve finally made it to the top 3 posts in our countdown from 2016!

It’s not faith, it’s not luck, and it’s not some leadership secret. Growing churches are actually doing something differently than the other 80% of churches in America that are stuck or declining.

At the Unstuck Group we work with 100’s of churches every year and we’ve discovered that growing churches are actually doing some very tangible things differently than other churches. Below are just a few of them.

1. Staff Led

Look at the statistics across America and you’ll discover that growing churches have very few congregational votes. These churches are Staff led instead of Board led or Congregationally led. Practically speaking that is because Church Boards are part-time thinkers and they simply don’t have the time to give to a full-time job of running the church. As a result decision making and implementation slow down because the staff are constantly catching the Board or the church up on the past instead of leading the church into the future. I know this isn’t always an easy transition for churches to make. I’d suggest you pick up a copy of High Impact Church Boards to read through with the Board at your church and get the conversation started.

2. Intentionally Develop Leaders

Growing churches develop leaders at an exponential rate compared to most churches in America. They do this intentionally, not just “organically,” (which is code for we don’t have a plan and we hope it somehow magically happens). They don’t just use people to fill volunteer roles, they see volunteering as an essential part of the discipleship process. They delegate responsibility and empower volunteers with real ministry decision-making power. They develop some kind of formal content that is specific to the culture of their church and train up and coming leaders in that content. This allows them to hire from within instead of hiring from outside and jeopardizing their culture.

3. Embrace Technology

Growing churches embrace technology. This may simply be evidence that they are more likely to change methodology based on effectiveness more readily than other churches and that they are open to new ideas. But whatever the case they are embracing the use of technology through social media engagement, online marketing, big data, video teaching, and use of technology in weekend worship services. This isn’t new. I don’t think it’s a mere coincidence that the protestant reformation took place during a similar time period to the printing press and the Bible being translated, printed in the hands of the everyday guy. With advancements in technology come opportunities for advancements in the Gospel for churches that embrace them.

4. Clear Strategy

Growing churches don’t just hope and pray for growth, they plan for it and build a clear actionable strategy to grow. Hoping your church will grow won’t make your church grow and growing churches understand this. They develop clear strategies (strategy answers the question “How are we going to do this?”), to help them get to their vision (vision answers the question “Where are we going?”). This informs all of their decision-making and allows them to align resources (people, time, money, facilities, etc.) to get them where they believe Jesus has called them to go. They’re also fanatical about clarity, because they understand the clearer they can make things, the faster they can go and the more effective they can be.

Interested in getting your church unstuck and growing again? I’d encourage you to reach out to the Unstuck Group. We’ve built a trusted track record and have a proven process to help your church get unstuck!

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing


Is Your Church Ready to Go Multisite?

Currently there are more than 8,000 churches across America that consider themselves to be multisite churches. These multisite churches vary in denominational affiliation, theological persuasion, size of attendance, physical location and facilities, teaching (video or live), ministries, and style of worship. Churches are proving that there are a lot of ways to do multisite. Many churches are just jumping into the deep end of the pool and figuring this multisite thing out as they go. While you can do that, I’d suggest a better way to ensure a successful launch is to develop your strategy ahead of time. If you church is considering going multisite this next year I’d encourage your Senior Leadership Team work through these 10 multisite readiness checkpoints.

1. Healthy Culture

Does your church have a culture worth replicating? Do you know what makes the culture of your team and culture distinct? Is there clarity and alignment of mission, vision, and values?

2. Buy-in

Does the Senior Leadership Team at your church have buy-in from the staff, board, volunteers and church body? If there is not a deep level of trust that’s been built it’s going to be difficult to lead into a new and different future.

3. Growth

Is your current location growing? Do you need to go multisite? Is your current facility reaching capacity? If you’re not already growing and reaching new people going multisite will make it worse.

4. Staff Capacity

People replicate culture, not ministry programs, strategies or policies. Do you have a deep bench on your team? Do you already have people who could serve as campus pastors at the new site and the original site? If you went multisite who would go and be on that team, and what would that do to your existing team?

5. Staff Health

Is your staff team healthy? Unhealthy people make unhealthy choices and build unhealthy things. Is there a high level of trust on the team? Is there healthy conflict on the team? Do team members hold one another accountable to outcomes?

6. Volunteer Strength

Are high levels of people who attend your church involved on a volunteer team? Launching new campuses requires a deep bench. What volunteers will go and lead and serve a the new campus? Who will step up and fill the void left at the sending campus?

7. Ministry Model

Does your church have a clear, simple, and proven ministry model? Do you know what is driving the success of your church and can you replicate it? To multiply your church in future locations, you must define how you do church in a scalable way at your current location(s).

8. Systems & Strategies

Do you know how you do what you do? Have you written that down anywhere? You cannot replicate what is not clearly recorded. Clearly defined systems allow ministry leaders to easily interact with administrative processes and teams. Documented strategies for each ministry will allow the new campus to hit the ground running, not having to recreate the wheel.

9. Financial Strength

Do you have cash on hand to fund a new campus? How much will it cost to start the new campus? When will the new campus be financially viable? What is so special about that date?

10. Weekend Experience

Can you replicate your weekend worship experience in a new location? Will the technology, teaching, worship music, and other creative elements be on par with the original location?

If your church is considering going multisite or if your church is multi-stuck (you’ve gone multisite and now your stuck), I’d encourage you to engage the Unstuck Group. We have been developing a new one-of-a-kind process to help multisite churches get unstuck. Follow this link to learn more!

Posted in Leadership, Staffing


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 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.”

What Growing Churches do Differently

It’s not faith, it’s not luck, and it’s not some leadership secret. Growing churches are actually doing something differently than the other 80% of churches in America that are stuck or declining. At the Unstuck Group we work with 100’s of churches every year and we’ve discovered that growing churches are actually doing some very tangible things differently than other churches. Below are just a few of them.

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.

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.

Stop Blaming your Team for Underperforming 

If you’ve ever managed a team you know how easy it is to grow frustrated when individuals on the team don’t perform well and the team doesn’t get the results you’re looking for. Unfortunately when things go wrong, the first place most leaders and managers look to place blame is on the team. Don’t hear what I’m not saying. Sometimes someone on the team doesn’t do their job and things fail. But the team should be the last place you look to place blame. The first place you should look to place blame is on yourself. When things go wrong on your team, keep the following principles in mind:

Hope is Not a Strategy

Hoping things will get better at your church won’t help things actually get better at your church. In fact the opposite may actually be true.

Church Leadership and the Illusion of Control

Church leaders are supposed to be the best kind of leaders, right? Caring, humble, courageous, strong, and selfless. The term controlling probably wouldn’t make a top-10-list of attributes to describe the ideal church leader. Now I know you’re not a control freak, I mean you’re way to godly for that. But if you’re on a church staff I’m sure you’ve served with a control freak at some point. And control freaks are dangerous, especially in the church.

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.

Tearing Down Leadership Idols in the Church

A quick Google search on “Church Leadership” will turn up literally over 170 million links. That’s a lot of content to dig into on church leadership. For all of the talk about church leadership out there today it sure seems that the church is pretty leadership poor. I know some folks down in Texas that would say that churches have a bad case of “big hat, no cattle.” Another way to say it would be that churches are all talk and no action when it comes to leadership.

How your Church can Produce More Leaders

Leadership scarcity is one of the most significant lids that prevent growth in churches today. While many churches are providing great leadership content and training in the form of conferences, classes, or coaching groups few are actually producing more leaders. There is more to developing leaders than providing good leadership content. It doesn’t happen without these 5 key underpinnings. 

Photo Credit: justin fain via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing, Volunteers
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