Tag Archive - why


6 Keys to Motivating Millennial Church Leaders

If you have any millennials on your church staff you know that they’re different. And while many traditional church leaders are quick to equate a different approach with being a wrong approach, wise leaders know that different just means different. Not necessary wrong. In fact it could even be better. Millennials can, will, and are doing some amazing ministry. Like it or not they are coming into their own in church leadership, and they’re the ones that are going to lead the church forward. So instead of complaining about them we might as well help them. Try these 6 approaches to motivate the millennial leaders on your church staff.

1. Help me Avoid Boredom

Millennials have grown up with the constant interruption of smart phones and sound bites. This has conditioned them to be great at multitasking. So don’t expect them to sit down and work the way you did with tremendous focus on one thing for an extended period of time. Help them avoid that monotony and dabble with multiple things at one time. They’ll have more fun and produce more results.

2. Help me Join a Cause

Everyone knows that millennials are cause oriented. But what most churches haven’t come to grips with yet is that one of the key reasons so many millennials are leaving the church is they don’t view the church as a cause worth giving their life to. Is your church an institution or a movement? Have you turned the Gospel into something to be dissected and intellectually understood or something that is powerful and mysterious? Help them see the church as a cause worth giving their life to.

3. Help me Manage my Heart

Feelings are more important than facts to millennials. While it might not make sense to some previous generations they think more with their heart than their head. That’s not to say they aren’t brilliant it’s just to say their motivation is more centered around the question, “Does this feel right?” Church leaders can help millennials by increasing their emotional intelligence and being more thoughtful about how their actions may be perceived and how they may affect the feelings of others rather than just give way to simple facts and plans.

4. Help me See the Win

Millennials have grown up in a world of instant gratification, access, and results. Anybody who has been in ministry for any length of time knows that’s not how it really works. Life just doesn’t work that way. So we’ve got to help celebrate the small wins of life change that happen along the way. Help them celebrate the first downs along the way and help them make the connection between their day-to-day ministry and the vision.

5. Help me be True to Myself

Millennials aren’t going to follow someone or be a part of something that feels inauthentic to them. The best gift that church leaders can give millennials is to exercise real leadership and stop leading through position, title, or power and learn to lead with humility and personhood. They won’t simply respect you for your position but instead for who you are and the value you add. In this way millennials are a gift to challenge many church leaders to lead in a way that they may have forgotten.

6. Help me Understand “Why”

In recent years Simon Sinek made the phrase, “start with why” famous. Millennials don’t just want to know your plan. They don’t want to simply know what you want them to do, they want to know the why behind it. They need to buy into the reason behind the plan of action. Help them buy into the why.

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing


How to Convice Your Sr. Pastor to Join a Small Group

One of the most common points of frustration I hear from church leaders around the country is, “My Senior Pastor wants Small Groups to be a big deal at our church, but they won’t be in a Small Group themselves.” And the natural follow up question that’s asked right after that statement, “How do I get my Senior Pastor to be in a Small Group?” In an attempt to answer that question, here are a couple of steps you can take to help convince your Sr. Pastor that they need to be in a Small Group.

#1 Have a Plan

Don’t pester or nag your Sr. Pastor, this won’t get you anywhere. Come up with a clear plan, presentation, or pitch. Get on their calendar (schedule an appointment) and walk into that meeting with a plan. Don’t take more than 30 minutes. If you can’t cover it in 30 minutes, you’re not ready to cover it at all.

#2 Moral Authority

“Join Me” is always a better motivator than “You Should.” Help your Sr. Pastor understand that people in the church will more readily follow their example than their prescription. If the Sr. Pastor wants to have a church of Small Groups then they need to be in one. The church will always end up taking on the personality of the Sr. Leader.

#3 Let them Hand Pick the Group

Many Sr. Pastors are truly fearful of being vulnerable, and many of them are fearful for good reason. At the first sign of a crack in the armor or that they’re actually human many churchgoers call foul. So let them hand pick their group that they’re going to be in so they feel safe.

#4 Try Before You Buy

Challenge them to try it for one semester (the start of the school year to Christmas break or January to the end of the school year). At the end of that semester if they still think it’s a waste of time, no worries. At least they’ll have first-hand experience to be able to speak about it in a personal manner.

#5 Give them Good Reasons to Join a Group

There is a whole list of good reasons your Sr. Pastor should be in a Small Group. Make a list and talk to them about it. Here are a few examples:

  • They’ll grow in their relationship with Jesus (life change happens best in circles not rows)
  • They’ll make new friends that will care and encourage them (What Sr. Pastor couldn’t use more of that?)
  • It gives them moral authority (see point #2 above) and hence leadership credits with the church as a whole – it makes them a better leader
  • It’s something they can do with their spouse (score more brownie points)
  • Tell them they don’t have to lead it…just participate in it (you’re not adding more work for them to do)
  • It provides a personal accountability structure (it’s easier to stand for Jesus when you’re standing with friends)
  • Heck, Jesus was in a “Small Group” right? (Think the 12 Disciples)
  • You can probably think of more…but this should get you started

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing


Top 5 Posts from January

Thank you for once again making January another big month on Helping Churches Make Vision Real! You made these the top 5 Posts from this last month. If you missed out on any of them, here they are all in one nice tidy little spot!

#1 Engaging the Givers in your Church Part-1 & 2

This two part post apparently struck a nerve. Trying to figure out how to engage the givers at your church? Or if you should at all? This post will help you think through some of the right questions to come up with a plan and direct you to some helpful resources!

#2 The Why of Leadership

A lot has been written about how to lead… how to lead teams…how to lead through change…how to lead courageously…how to lead spiritually…even how to lead like Jesus. But why do we lead?  What’s the goal of our leadership? This post helps you dig into that question.

#3 Christmas Mashups

These were two videos I posted on some fun ideas to engage guests who have no idea who Jesus really is by building bridges to their hearts through Creative Arts. Fun stuff, check it out!

#4 What Could God Do in 2013?

This year on Sun Valley’s Gilbert Campus I kicked off the year talking about what makes it so fun to come to work each day at Sun Valley and why I love being a part of this place…but also one thing that has me deeply concerned about ministry in 2013.

#5 7 Ideas to Help you get the Right things Done

Getting things done isn’t as easy as it sounds. A lot of people have grand ideas, but few ever see those ideas materialize. Often the gap between ideas and reality is found in the art of execution. But how do you know what to go after first? Here are 7 ideas to help you focus on getting the right things done.

Posted in Leadership


The Why of Leadership

I’ve read a lot about how to lead… how to lead teams…how to lead through change…how to lead courageously…how to lead spiritually…even how to lead like Jesus. Some authors make a very good living on writing this stuff and we’ve benefitted from their wisdom. Great guys like: Patrick Lencioni, John Maxwell, Bill Hybels and Andy Stanley have given us great tools for how to best lead our organizations or churches in any climate.

But why do we lead?  What’s the goal of our leadership?

Ever since I was a kid, leading is just something that came naturally to me. Whether it was in playing games at recess or taking the initiative on a class project, leading was just something I did. I can’t say my motives were always good or that I knew how to get the most out of people, but I never questioned why I should lead.

The answer has to be more than just to get something accomplished. There’s more purpose to leading than getting people to complete a task.

Recently, a statement the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy caught my attention like never before.  He urges Timothy to stay in Ephesus and instruct men there not to teach strange doctrine or pay attention to myths and endless genealogies (1 Timothy 1:3-4).

Then, in verse 5, he says the “goal” of this leading, the purpose, the WHY is:

1. Love from a pure heart

God wants His people to grow in love for Him and for each other.  As leaders we need to inspire and influence the people we shepherd to have a genuine love for each other as well as the God we serve.  We should be modeling for our people what pure motives and selfless love looks like.

2. A good conscience

People need to know the Truth.  And they need to know how to live according to that Truth.  More than ever, in a culture of moral relativism, the people we lead need guidance on how to live a godly life.  This takes courage and boldness on our part.  It may require a difficult conversation.  It may require sacrificing competency for character.

3. Sincere faith

Faith wavers.  We should be an anchor when the storms of doubt come.  As leaders we need to remind ourselves, and the people we lead, of God’s unfailing faithfulness.

I believe that this ought to always be our goal for the people we lead.  No matter what the mission statement, vision, core ideology, process, purpose, etc – we lead to influence people in the direction of these three things. No matter what vision God has given us to inspire our people, we should also be inspiring them to grow in love, to keep a good conscience and trust in God at all times.



This is a guest post by Matt Thompson who serves as the Worship Pastor on the Sun Valley Community Church, Gilbert Campus. To keep up with Matt you can connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

Posted in Leadership


Why Telling People What to do makes them Stupid

While directions and plans may help you put together furniture from Ikea (with a little luck), put together your kids toys on Christmas Eve or even build enormous buildings and superstructures they don’t inspire people to give their lives to a cause or join a movement. After all, Martin Luther King Jr. said ‘I have a dream’, not ‘ I have a plan’.

While telling people what to do may help you accomplish your plan, the dark side to telling people what to do is that it builds a culture that…

1. Repels Leaders

2. Thwarts Innovation

3. Discourages Involvement

4. Stifles the Development of Talent

5. Undermines Creativity

6. Uses People instead of Empowers them

7. Avoids Risk and Plays it Safe

What else would you add to the list? What experience do you have with leaders who seem to have the need to tell people what to do? I’d love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment. Want to dig into this idea further? Check out this TED Talk by Simon Sinek.

Posted in Leadership