Tag Archive - unstuck


4 Roles a Senior Pastor Can’t Delegate

You want to lead a thriving church. But we know you’ve all experienced it:

Everyone needs something from the pastor. 

In some churches, the pastor is expected to do everything. In others, the organization has grown complex, and your role has followed suit. You know you have to take the lead in giving ministry away to others, but it’s not always clear which things.

Getting clarity about what you MUST own makes it simple to decide what to delegate.

4 Roles a Senior Pastor Can’t Delegate is a practical resource by Tony Morgan at the Unstuck Group designed to help you clearly define your essential duties and responsibilities. But it’s really more than an eBook: It’s a digital workbook to help you take your next steps in leadership. 

Download the eBook

Posted in Leadership, Staffing


The Church’s Response to Corona Virus: What do we do next? {free webinar}

The Church’s Response to Coronavirus: What Should We Do Next?

Webinar hosted by Tony Morgan, Amy Anderson and Lance Witt
45 minute discussion + 15 minutes live Q&A

The whirlwind of ministry just changed, and with each passing day the uncertainty seems to increase.

We’re with you. 

As church leaders, we’re in uncharted territory—for this generation, at least—but the Church has withstood and thrived in times of persecution and plague, panic and need. 

In this free webinar, Tony Morgan will host Amy Anderson and Lance Witt from The Unstuck Group’s team for a community conversation about how churches should respond to the situation in which we find ourselves with the coronavirus pandemic.

Join us for an hour on Thursday, March 19 for a free webinar. You’ll walk away encouraged, with more clarity around:

  • Why leadership so important during a crisis moment, and what it looks like
  • What people need to hear from their pastor in a crisis like this one
  • How your church and your team can redeem this moment to find increased impact and influence

Christ told us to expect trouble, but to take heart. In times of panic, the opportunity for the church to shine becomes clear.

Join the conversation on March 19, as we pull together to encourage and equip each other to lead well in the weeks ahead.

Follow this link to register now! It’s free!

Posted in Leadership


Getting Your Church Staff Team Unstuck

You can have a great vision, but if the team isn’t healthy and high-performing, the church won’t experience health and growth.

More than ten years ago (gosh that’s hard to believe) I started The Unstuck Group. This was after being a part of several great teams both before and during my life in ministry. My sophomore basketball team wasn’t so good. I cheer for some teams that aren’t so good. (I’m looking at you…the Cleveland Browns.) But, when it comes to my workplaces, I’ve been on winning teams.

I think my experience being a part of great teams clouded my perspective about helping churches get unstuck. I thought all we had to do was help churches align around vision, strategy and action plans. If we did this, it would lead to healthy, growing churches.

In many cases, that was true. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work in every situation. What I learned was this—

you can have a great vision, but if the team isn’t healthy and high-performing, the church won’t experience health and growth.

For the first 10 years of The Unstuck Group, we’ve been solely focused on church health, but that’s about  to change.

A couple of years ago I started talking with my long-time friend Lance Witt about helping us design a process to help teams get unstuck. Since then, he’s written a phenomenal book on that topic. The book addresses both the health and performance of becoming a high impact team.

Then, last December, a group of us got together and started to map out a new process to help teams live out the principles Lance wrote about in his book. We designed Unstuck Teams to address these aspects for having a higher impact team:

Any leader worth his or her salt will pause right now a do a little self-assessment. Which of those six areas are a strength in your leadership? Which of those six are weaknesses? Here’s a hint. Your team will reflect your leadership in all six of these areas.)

In my experience, it’s rare to find a team that’s firing on all cylinders in each of these areas. I’ve worked with teams who are healthy, but lack in the area of performance. I’ve worked with teams who appear to be getting results, but team is not healthy and relationships are strained.

In some instances, it wasn’t about health or performance at all. Instead the culture was  toxic or the structure wasn’t well-defined. Employees didn’t know who was responsible for what. Some didn’t even know their own roles and responsibilities. As you can imagine, none of these gaps set the team up to have a significant impact. And when the team is not right, the church will never be healthy.

After designing the Unstuck Teams process, Lance joined our staff full-time. I wish Lance could join every team full-time. He not only writes and trains leaders on these topics, he lives them out. Lance is an incredible leader. (I would use that “he’s smoking what he’s selling” cliche, but Lance is from Colorado. I don’t want you to take it literally.)

Over the last six months, Lance and the team have been fully developing the tools to address the six aspects of high impact teams. Then they started test-driving everything. That included piloting the new Unstuck Teams process with four distinctly different churches. Our entire team gathered in Phoenix this past December to get a preview as well. I know I’m biased, but it’s an unbelievable process.

This probably will not shock you. My strengths as a leader are around performance, systems and structure. I really have to work hard at the health side. I have to be intentional about what it takes to create the right culture. I can lead in those areas, but it’s not my natural wiring. I have to really discipline myself about how I invest my leadership capital in those areas. I want to make sure those aspects of our team don’t suffer.

My suspicion is that you are no different than me. In some of these areas you have strength as a leader. In some of these areas there is weakness. Those areas of weakness can prevent your team…and your church…from having its greatest impact.

Over the next weeks and months, you’re going to hear more of my voice on this topic. You may get tired of hearing my voice on this topic. I’m willing to take that risk. I know the health and performance of the team will dictate a church’s Kingdom impact.

In other words, if your church is stuck, it might be because your team is stuck. You don’t have to remain there. Let us help you take a step forward in your leadership while we help your team get unstuck.

Through the Unstuck Teams Process, we can guide you to lead staff teams that love working together and get stuff done—spiritually, emotionally, and relationally healthy, as well as productive and high-performing

You can learn more what the Unstuck Teams Process would look like in your church here. If you’re interested in starting a conversation, let’s talk.

Tony Morgan is the Founder and Lead Strategist at the Unstuck Group. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He’s written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.

Posted in Leadership


5 Lessons I’ve Learned Leading Through Church Mergers

In a recent article about “Multisite Church Trends in 2020” I mentioned an increase in church mergers, “With church attendance declining in the US and the pipeline of people jumping into ministry shrinking, mergers are going to pick up steam.”

While I’ve had the opportunity to consult and coach other churches through the merger process, I’ve also had the opportunity to personally lead through a couple at the church I serve at.

What follows are a couple of lessons I’ve learned along the way. Here’s to hoping you can go to school on my experience.

People transfer culture and ministry DNA, operational practices, support and institutionalize it.

After both churches affirmed the merger through a vote, we encouraged people who attended our original location to go to the new site if they lived in that area. We had a lot of trust built up over time with our people, and so they did. But then they came right back. While we were saying that we were one church that met in multiple locations, people came back to the original site and expressed the exact opposite. They said that the new location didn’t look, act, or feel like us. Just because we offered the same ministry “programs” at the new location, it still didn’t feel like “us” yet. Much of that trust that we had built up with our people was eroded because we didn’t follow through on the promise that we were making that this new location was us, when it honestly just wasn’t yet. Just because a joining church votes and technically becomes an extension of your church in a new community, there is still a lot of work to do on that campus to help it become “you.”

Team values are more important that organizational values.

The fastest way to change the culture of the church is to change the culture of the staff team, which sometimes means changing the actual people on the team. The church staff and volunteer leaders are the culture carriers of the church. In one particular merger we ran into the hard fact that the kind of person who can be on staff at a fast-growing, problem-solving church where new people are meeting Jesus is drastically different than the kind of person who is on staff at a church that has been plateaued or in decline for many years. They’re inherently different kinds of people. While we believed the same things about Jesus and the Bible, we were still different kinds of people with different cultures. We initially took the approach to retain and train the staff members of this joining church. This approach unfortunately turned out to be too idealistic. In the future we would transfer existing staff from established campuses to the new location and allow them to carry our culture with them. These tenured staff intuitively know how we make decisions, how we behave, how we talk, what we value, and how we treat and lead people because they’ve been living in it for so long.

The lead church culture needs to wash over the joining church culture.

New people who “transfer” from the original or sending campus to the new campus (joining church) along with new people attending from the community need to outnumber the people who remain as a part of the joining church. The “original” people from the joining church can no longer be the majority or loudest voice. It’s important to remember however that even a small minority can create a lot of pain and damage if they have a loud enough voice. These moments will come, and they will require clear and steady, kind but strong, directional leadership.

Physical space dictates behavior.

Never underestimate the fact that physical space tells us how to behave. The physical space at one new campus that came through a merger simply was not the same as the physical space at the original campus. It took a couple of years and a lot of financial resources to change that. We’ve demolished three buildings, renovated others, and completely rebuilt a children’s ministry facility. There’s more to do, but it finally feels like “us.”

A big impediment to integration is spiritual atrophy.

There is an often-overlooked spiritual component to a merger between a lead church and joining church. When a joining church has a history of being plateaued or in decline for a long period of time, a protection mindset sets in. This often occurs when a church moves into the “maintenance” phase of the church lifecycle and becomes insider focused. They start making decisions based on who they are trying to keep rather than who they are trying to reach. On the surface this may come across as merely an issue of strategy, style or preference. However, insider-focused churches actually experience spiritual atrophy that requires significant work, pain, and spiritual break through to change.

If a church merger is in your church’s future, I’d encourage you to reach out to the Unstuck Group and bring in some outside help. Our team combined has 100+ years of experience leading in churches with successful multisite strategies. We can guide you to assess multisite readiness, build your model and strategies, and align your staff and structure to the strategy…that goes for mergers too!

Posted in Leadership


3 Roles an Executive Pastor Can’t Delegate | Webinar Replay

You wear a lot of hats. You want to help the church be effective, and you make everything come together. Just make sure you don’t delegate these 3 roles.

If you’re an Executive Pastor, you want to win in your role and help the church be effective.

But you’re not immune to the ministry whirlwind. There are so many things that seem to require your attention.

We’ve heard it again and again from executive pastors: “I’m the one who’s supposed to make vision actionable, but I get pulled in so many directions!”

Ever felt that way? You’re not alone.

What are the things ONLY you can do?

This webinar helps you get a framework for evaluating the work that lands on your desk and deciding what gets delegated and what does not.

You’ll walk away with:

  • Greater clarity on the wins for your role
  • How to build a foundation for a more effective working relationship with your lead pastor
  • Practical ways to decide what gets delegated and what does not

When your role isn’t clear (and protected), the results are pretty predictable… vision stalls out, staff teams can get dysfunctional, and tension can develop in your relationship with your lead pastor. It’s frustrating to feel stuck—knowing you have the gifts to lead but lacking a way to clear the clutter.

Watch the webinar replay here:

Posted in Leadership, Staffing
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