Tag Archive - unique


Is Treating People Differently the same thing as Favoritism?

Should church leaders treat all people in their church the same way? Most people I’ve run across in church-world cringe at this kind of a question and come to the conclusion that if you don’t treat everyone the same then you end up playing favorites as a leader. What if I told you that playing favorites is exactly what good church leaders do?

People are Unique

If you really believe that each individual in your church is unique then why wouldn’t you treat them uniquely? If we follow the Apostle Paul’s assertion that the Church is the Body of Christ and each person has a unique role to play (elbow, hand, foot, etc.), then why would we treat everyone the same? Why would we expect everyone to act the same if they are created to perform different functions and produce different results?

Not everyone should Sing on Stage

This is probably the easiest example I can think of, and if you’ve been in a church for any length of time one you can probably relate to. I’m sure you’ve been to a church where there was someone on stage singing (leading worship) who simply wasn’t very gifted. They were flat or sharp. Perhaps they were awkward and uncomfortable on stage. Simply put they shouldn’t be on stage leading worship. But because most churches would rather not hurt one person’s feelings by telling them the truth (that they can’t sing very well), they keep them on stage and turn a lot of people off to Jesus.

Not everyone is a Leader

The bible describes leadership as a spiritual gift, a gift that not everyone gets, and a gift that’s given in different measure to different people. As a result, leadership by its very nature is exclusive. After all could you imagine everyone in your church trying to lead? It would be chaos. Your church should treat leaders differently. Church leaders shouldn’t invest their time developing people who don’t have a leadership gift to be someone they aren’t gifted by God to be. You can disagree with me and call it favoritism if you want to, but I would call it being a poor steward.

What about Money?

This is where things get really testy in church-world. Should church leaders treat people who have the capacity to make a significant amount of money and be generous with it differently than other people? Well if we follow this same line of thought then the answer is an obvious yes. Why is it that an entire “industry” has been built around one spiritual gift (leadership) in church world and it’s okay to make a big deal about that but we ignore people with the gift of generosity? Why is it wrong to invest in people with the gift of generosity and help develop them their gift?

I could go on…but you probably get the point.

Posted in Leadership


Leadership Summit 2017: Andy Stanley

Andy Stanley founded North Point Ministries (NPM) more than 20 years ago. Today, NPM is comprised of six churches in the Atlanta area and a network of 30 churches around the globe, collectively serving nearly 70,000 people weekly. Recently, Outreach Magazine identified Stanley as one of the “Top 10 Most Influential Pastors in America.” The author of more than 20 books, he is passionate about serving both church and organizational leaders.

  • If we had it to do all over again what would we do all over again?
  • What really worked?
  • We did an autopsy on our success.
  • Usually as leaders we only critique our failures. But if all you focus on is your failures you may never learn to repeat success.
  • If you don’t know why things are going well, then when things go bad you won’t know how to help things start going well “again
  • Resource: “Lessons from the first 20 years” – podcast from the Andy Stanley podcast
  • Why did our organization grow so fast? Because we’re not growing that fast anymore.
  • We had a uniquely better product
  • Nobody was doing church the way we were doing church in the Southeast US
  • If you have the only hot dog stand in town your hot dogs don’t have to be that good
  • We weren’t the best at what we did, a lot of people are doing church, it wasn’t a new category. We were doing something unique in our category.
  • Unique is different than one of a kind
  • Unique can be bad too and unique won’t necessarily give you momentum
  • Better means it does what it’s designed to do better than the competition
  • We created an engaging church experience for the whole family especially for men
  • We aren’t unique anymore which means we are not uniquely better anymore
  • Somebody somewhere in your industry is messing with the rules to the prevailing model
  • Every industry has a prevailing model so every industry has a set of specific assumptions
  • Which means every industry is stuck in a certain manner
  • Discovering uniquely better is virtually impossible
  • Uniquely better is often the byproduct of circumstances that successful organizations are trying to avoid
  • Uniquely better is often so unique that established organizations can’t imagine that as being better
  • Our best hope and our responsibility as leaders is to create organizational cultures positioned to recognize rather than resist “uniquely better”

#1 Be a student not a critic

  • I will never criticize something I don’t understand
  • We naturally resist things that we don’t understand or we can’t control
  • As a leader you must overcome that tendency
  • The moment you start criticizing you stop learning and when you stop learning you stop leading and when you stop leading the leaders in your organization will leave
  • “The next generation product and idea almost never comes from the previous generation” AL Reis, Focus

#2 You have to keep your eyes and mind wide open

  • Listen to outsider, listen to outsiders, listen to outsiders, listen to outsiders
  • Outsiders aren’t bound by our assumptions
  • Closeminded leaders, close minds
  • You can’t see a closed mind in the mirror
  • How do you respond to staff who make suggestions based on what they’ve observed in other organizations?
  • When was the last time the organizations embraced a big idea that wasn’t your idea?
  • When is the last time you weren’t sure about an initiative but you gave the go ahead anyway?
  • “We must pay attention to the frontiers of our ignorance” Sam Harris
  • Being the leader and leading are entirely two different things.

#3 Replace How? with Wow!

  • “But how?” Kills ideas.
  • Wow ideas to life, don’t how them to death
  • We fuel innovation or shut it down by our response
  • Nothing is gained by not knowing what your people are dreaming about
  • The world will put enough “hows” in front of our children…let’s just be “wow” parents.
  • Your greatest contribution to the world may not be something you do but someone you raise

#4 Ask the uniquely better questions

  • Is this unique?
  • What would make this unique?
  • Is it better?
  • Is it better…really?
  • If you’re constantly thinking “uniquely better” then you will see it when it comes along

Posted in Leadership


New & Unique Locations to Plant a Church

Zoning ordinances, school and hotel usage regulations, overpriced rents, local restrictions on religious organizations – new churches face numerous challenges in finding a place to meet. With God’s help and provision, Converge church planters take some creative approaches to resolve this problem. Here are a few…

#1 Church in a Movie Theater
Iron Ridge Church
Waukon, Iowa
Marlan Mincks, pastor

After Mincks inked the contract to purchase the Main Feature Theatre & Pizza Pub in October 2007, the church decided to keep the restaurant open and remodel the theater as its sanctuary. All restaurant profits go to Iowa church planting.

#2 Church in a Skating Rink
Ambassadors of Christ Fellowship
Columbus, Georgia
Luis Scott, pastor

In 2010 ACF bought the 25,000-square-foot Lambert Skating Rink, which had been unoccupied for six years. After remodeling the rink, the church opened its sanctuary in October 2011 and added eight classrooms and three nurseries in 2012. English and Spanish-speaking congregations share the facilities. A fellowship area, café and offices are under construction.

#3 Church in a Computer Store
Heartland Church
Indianapolis, Indiana
Darryn Scheske, pastor

Leading a new church of 30 people, pastor Scheske signed a lease in May 2001 on a former Elek-Tek Computer store. The church remodeled the building for classrooms, offices and a 1,000-seat sanctuary. Since then, additional sites were added in Indianapolis and at Purdue University in Lafayette.

#4 Church in a Movie Theater
Epikos Church
Milwaukee, West Allis
Danny Parmelee, pastor

Founded in 2004 in Milwaukee, Epikos purchased the Paradise Theater in suburban West Allis in June 2011 and completed remodeling a year later. Continuing to meet in Milwaukee, they opened their West Allis campus in June 2012.

#5 Coffeehouse & Church Combo
SoZo Coffeehouse & Missio Dei Community Church
Chandler, Arizona
Scott Morgan, pastor

When you walk into SoZo Coffeehouse in Chandler, Arizona you won’t see crosses and Bible verses on the walls. And you won’t know a church of more than 100 people worships here every Sunday. In fact, the only hint of a church you’ll find is an 8.5”x11” sheet of paper displayed on the countertop. It reads, “Missio Dei Community Church meets here every Sunday. All are welcome.” Pastor and owner Scott Morgan calls SoZo Coffeehouse and Missio Dei Community Church his “unique venture,” a combination of business and missions.

#6 Church in a Gas Station
Epiphany Station
Thief River Falls, Minnesota
Jeff Gauss, pastor

Available sites were hard to find in Thief River Falls for this 45-member church plant. After a long search, church planter Jeff Gauss settled on remodeling a gas station. Epiphany saw more than 500 attendees this Easter.

*This article first appeared in Converge’s Point Magazine. Used by permission.

Posted in Leadership


When to Hire from the Outside

In making your next hire the best place to begin is by looking for existing talent that is already inside the church or organization first. For more on that, check out part-1 of this post “When to Hire from the Inside.” But an inside hire may not always be the best hire. In fact here are three overarching principles that will help you understand when it’s time to go outside to make your next hire.

1. It’s Time to Implement Change

When you don’t like the culture and the ministry practices that are in place it’s time for a change. And that means a new hire from the outside that brings with it a new skill-set, new experiences, an infusion of new ideas, and fresh eyes that challenge the status quo. If change were going to happen with the current Staff it would have already happened.

2. The Church is Stuck

As a church grows it’s not uncommon that it will outgrow various leadership lids of some of the Staff on the team. When the Staff has hit a lid and is stuck, the ministries and the church will become stuck as well. If the Staff can’t grow past that lid they’ll need to be moved over, under, or out.

3. A Specific Skill-set is Needed

It’s not uncommon as a church grows that needs arise for very unique skillsets and greater talent levels that simply may not already exist inside the church. They may involve I.T., media, creative arts, a worship leader, or a presentation or speaking gift.

Posted in Leadership, Staffing


Why Comparison is a Church Killer

Comparison is a Church killer, period. I think it’s ironic that we’ll preach messages in our churches about the body of Christ having unique parts, gifts and abilities but copy each other and chase after sameness. Comparisons are killing the movement of the Gospel and hurting churches and their staff. Healthy biblical leadership avoids comparisons and simply chases after following God and being the best you that God wants you to be. Below are 4 core issues that comparing your church to other churches directly affects.


You weren’t created or called to be anybody but you, and your church has been set in a unique community with unique issues at a unique time, with a unique leader who has unique gifts and abilities. God has called you to be uniquely you. Comparison will subtly lead you to move away from the unique identity God has called your church to.


Comparison can thwart innovation. Many Pastors seem to value mimicking one another over prayerfully discovering and following the unique vision that God has for their church. It’s one thing to discover best practices and the wisdom that comes from transferring principles. But copying ministry is not only lazy but it short circuits innovations that will lead to the spread of the Gospel.


Comparison actually fuels a spirit of competition and inward focus. Instead of thinking about others first you begin to think about yourself, your kingdom, and how your decisions can get you where you want to go. This kind of attitude is in direct conflict with a spirit of generosity that the Gospel compels us to move towards.


When we compare ourselves to other churches and begin to realize that God is doing something unique and special at our churches there is a tendency for pride to creep in and for us to begin to take a bit of the credit. Scripture is clear that God resists the proud. That’s not the side of things I want to be on, how about you?

What else have you seen comparing churches lead to? What would you add to or take off the list? Leave a comment.

Posted in Leadership
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