Tag Archive - wrong

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10 Articles that will Help Your Church Make Vision Real

Thank you for making October a great month here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real! It’s great staying 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

Yea, so even though this was written in 2013, this post continues to be one of the most visited on my blog. 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.”

Why Secret Sauce is Better than any X-Factor at your Church

When a church begins to grow people usually start to wonder and ask, “What’s the Secret Sauce?” or “What’s the X-Factor?” Why is this church growing? Now let me preface this article and say we know that God is the one who draws people to Himself and grows His Church. Yet, it would be disingenuous to exclude the human effort or circumstantial situations that contribute to the sustained growth of a church.

What’s Wrong with Big Churches? Part-1 & 2

Some time ago I asked a simple question to the readers here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real, “What’s wrong with big churches?” As you can imagine I received some emotionally charged answers. But as I sifted through the responses there were 10 key issues that kept coming up.

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. This is a critical issue for churches to figure out. The reason why this has to be a front-burner issue is because at the heart of it, volunteering is an essential component of the discipleship process in someone’s life. Plainly put, volunteering is discipleship. Understanding that, here are 8 reasons people aren’t volunteering in your church…and subsequently aren’t growing in their relationship with God.

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. It’s not uncommon in churches that I work with to hear them say, “We need to add more staff.” After all if there are problems or areas where the church is stuck then throwing staff at that problem will surely fix it…right? Well, not always. In fact the opposite may be true. In fact the most effective churches that I see have a tendency to hire fewer staff not more staff. They hire more competent team members who have the ability to turn attenders into volunteers, volunteers into leaders, and build teams. Instead of paying people to do ministry they pay people to lead others to do ministry.

Video Teaching Versus Live Teaching in a Multisite Church

When the multisite movement really began gaining public traction 10 years ago the predominate models that were held up were using video to deliver teaching across their campuses. Since those early days the multisite movement has begun to grow up a bit and today about 50% of the 8,000 (ballpark) multisite churches are delivering teaching via video while the other 50% are using live teaching in their locations. But what are the pros and cons? Which model is best for your church?

Why People don’t Volunteer at Church Anymore

In our research at the Unstuck Group we’ve discovered that:

  • The average church in America engages 43% of their adult and student attenders in some kind of volunteer role.
  • The Top 10% of churches in America engage more than 72% of their adult and student attenders in some kind of volunteer role.

That being said, I’ve never worked with a church that said they had enough volunteers to accomplish the vision that Jesus has given them. In fact here are some of the most common reasons why people may not be volunteering at your church.

Learning from Kids about Leadership

The other day I sat down with a couple of the most influential people in my life to talk about leadership. Their perspective and input is very important to me. No leader becomes a great leader alone. Great leaders learn from others and invite input from others they trust.

Me? Some of the voices I listen to are my 11 year old, 10 year old, 7 year old, and 2 year old kids. Here’s what they had to say about leadership.

5 BIG Questions to Answer Before you go Multisite

Currently there are more than 8,000 multisite churches across America and more than 1,600 mega churches (churches of more than 2,000 people in weekly attendance). While both are growing the multisite church movement has outpaced the mega church movement in America. What was once seen as only a Band-Aid strategy for space issues at mega churches has become a vehicle for growth in local churches of all kinds and all sizes (the average size a church goes multisite is around 850-1200). “Multi” doesn’t mean “Mega” anymore. Your church may be considering going multisite. If so, that’s exciting news and I’d love to hear about it! But before you do here are 5 big questions you need to answer before you take the multisite plunge.

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 Leadership

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What’s Wrong With Big Churches? Part-2

Some time ago I asked a simple question to the readers here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real, “What’s wrong with big churches?” As you can imagine I received some emotionally charged answers. But as I sifted through the responses there were 10 key issues that kept coming up.

In Part-1 of this post I briefly described each of these common criticisms of large churches with no added personal commentary, which I promised to add later. In this post I offer a few of my own thoughts and brief response to each of these top 10 complaints I received about large churches. If you want to understand my comments in context then read part-1 of the post.

#1 “It’s Difficult to Connect with People”

I’ve seen a lot of small seemingly friendly churches where it’s difficult to “break in” and connect. There is a big difference between being a friendly church and a church where you have friends. The key is does the church have a strategy to help guests take the next step towards involvement and discipleship?

#2 “The Pastor doesn’t Know Me”

One of the reasons that the average church in America has less than 80 people in attendance is because that’s the amount of people that one pastor can typically take care of by themselves. Jethro gave his son-in-law Moses some great advice in Exodus 18:13-26. Stop trying to do all of the work of leading God’s people alone. They shouldn’t all be coming to you. It’s bad for you and it’s bad for them. Learn to delegate and empower other leaders to join you and share the burden of leadership (paraphrase).

#3 “It’s all about the Budget and the Buildings”

Generosity is one of the key indicators of spiritual maturity. A church that doesn’t consistently talk about and lead their people to be generous is going to have a difficult time funding the expansion of the Gospel.

#4 “The Staff are always Changing”

In a growing church there are always going to be new staff added as a part of the growth. There will also naturally be staff that fit during a particular season who simply don’t have the capacity to lead in the next season of ministry as the church grows and a different skill-set is needed.

#5 “They only care about Numbers not Discipleship”

Simply put growth and numbers matter. Every number has a name and every name has a story. It’s important for churches to count people because people count. I’d rather see more people in a church than less people in a church and I’d rather see more people in heaven, than less people in heaven.

#6 “They Build Consumers not Disciples”

Spiritual maturity probably isn’t what you think it is. It’s not an emotional experience, an intellectual exercise, or acquiring more knowledge. Jesus tells a parable about two houses that were built, one on a foundation of sand and the other on a stone foundation. In both cases the builders heard the Word of God, but only one of the builders put what he heard into action. Could it be that spiritual depth according to the Scriptures is simply putting God’s Word into action? It’s not what you know it’s what you do with what you know.

#7 “They’ve turned the Church into a Business”

You’re right, the Church isn’t a business; it’s the body and bride of Christ. But that doesn’t mean that great financial stewardship, planning and strategies, structure, good operational or human resource practices are unbiblical. Read the book of Proverbs. The church hasn’t ripped off the business world; the business world has ripped off the book of Proverbs. It’s time we take it back and lead more wisely.

#8 “The Sermons are a Mile Wide & an Inch Deep”

Effective communicators understand how to take complex ideas and make them simple to understand and applicable to everyday life. Jesus was a master at this, and He was actually winsome in his approach. The Pharisees didn’t think Jesus was very deep either. They just thought He knew how to attract a crowd. You can’t do much with a crowd of people if you don’t know how to attract a crowd

#9 “All they care about is the Weekend Show”

The number 1 reason that people come to church in America is that a friend invites them. And research shows that 7 out of 10 people who don’t attend church in America have never been invited to church. Wow. The easiest way to share Jesus with the people that matter most to you is to invite them to a church that shares the Gospel and gives people the opportunity to respond and say yes to following Jesus.

#10 “They’re really Lousy at Communication”

I got nothing here…yes, churches are notorious for being lousy at communication. Not just large churches but all churches. Size just complicates and exasperates it. Check out this video interview I did with Tony Morgan to learn more about improving communication at your church.


Posted in Leadership

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What’s Wrong With Big Churches? Part-1

Big churches aren’t going away any time soon. Whoever quipped that the megachurch is dying spoke a little too soon. In fact a few years ago Leadership Network published an article in which they shared the following research about megachurches (a Protestant congregation with 2,000 or more weekly attendees – both adults and children):

  • In 1970 there were less than 25 megachurches in all of North America
  • In 1983 there were less than 100 megachurches in the United States
  • Today there are more than 1,650 megachurches in North America (roughly 1,625 in the United States and 25 in Canada)

All of that means this past weekend of those who went to a Protestant Church in North America, 1 out of 10 went to a megachurch. The megachurch phenomenon of recent history doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. In fact it seems to be growing, even outside of North America big churches are getting bigger.

So, understanding that people in church-world seem to have some strong feelings about large churches a couple of years ago I asked a simple question to readers here on my blog, “What’s wrong with big churches?” As you can imagine, I received quite a bit of input. So with no commentary from me (at least on part-1 of this post anyway), here are the top 10 complaints I received about large churches.

#1 “It’s Difficult to Connect with People”

Far and away this was the most common complaint I received about large churches. The complaint goes like this, “There are so many people who attend these large churches, that new people seem to have a difficult time connecting with the people who are already there and building new friendships.”

#2 “The Pastor doesn’t Know Me”

I want to go to a church where the pastor knows me and I know the pastor. If something is going on in my life, the pastor should know about it and I should be able to talk to them and get the help and counsel I need directly from the pastor. If the pastor doesn’t really know me then they must not care about me, and why would I go to a church where I’m not cared about?

#3 “It’s all about the Budget and the Buildings”

All large churches care about is money; they’re always talking about money. Their facilities are so elaborate; they could probably honor God more by helping the poor and actually taking care of people instead of building a bunch of gaudy, high-tech, buildings. I wouldn’t give my money to a large church they have enough.

#4 “The Staff are always Changing”

Every time I go to church there is a new a staff member that I don’t know. I feel like as we’re growing we’re adding all of these new staff members and I don’t know who does what anymore. What’s worse is it seems like we’re losing staff too! Really good ones who helped this church become what it is. If they’re leaving maybe I should too.

#5 “They only care about Numbers not Discipleship”

All large churches care about is numbers and being big or getting bigger. But discipleship happens one-on-one. It’s small. Large churches care about reaching the masses but then they forget about them after they are reached and they have to go to a smaller church to be discipled.

#6 “They Build Consumers not Disciples”

The large church environment provides opportunities for people to attend anonymously and enjoy the ministries of a large church but remain uncommitted and unplugged from church life. You can attend and never get in a Bible Study or volunteer or grow in your relationship with Jesus and others.

#7 “They’ve turned the Church into a Business”

Many people compare and think of large churches the way they think of a corporation or a large business. They assume that because there are components that behave like a business (human resources, finances, facilities, and so on) that it can’t be God honoring.

#8 “The Sermons are a Mile Wide & an Inch Deep”

In other words, “If they were really preaching the Word of God all those people wouldn’t be going there.” The sermons at large churches are designed just to make people feel good and draw a crowd.

#9 “All they care about is the Weekend Show”

All of the time, and energy, and talent go into making the weekend services great. If they would put that same amount of resources into other ministries like children’s ministry, student ministry, and discipleship ministries we might be able to actually make disciples. Discipleship doesn’t happen in the weekend services.

#10 “They’re really Lousy at Communication”

I used to know people here and I always knew what was going on. But now as things have grown I don’t know anything anymore. So much is happening, where can I go to find out about what is going on and how my family and me can be involved? And what’s most frustrating is that when change happens (which is all the time) I’m always surprised.


Posted in Leadership

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The Humility Test: Can you Admit when you’re Wrong?

The look on Richard Sherman’s face near the end of the Super Bowl last night is priceless. You know the moment. The score was 28-24. Seattle had the ball, 2nd and goal from the 1 yard line with 24 seconds left on the clock. Score a touchdown (gain just 1 yard in 3 attempts) and they go down in history as repeat Super Bowl Champions. Running Back Marshawn Lynch had been his normal beast mode self and everyone in the stadium, including the New England Patriot’s Defense, was sure he was going to get the hand off. It would have been the right play call. Instead Pete Carroll dials up a quick slant pass that Patriot rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler intercepted to seal the win for New England.

It was an impressive defensive play to win the game. But what was more impressive was what Pete Carroll, coach of the Seattle Seahawks had to say about the play call after the game.

“It’s a miraculous play the kid made to get in front of the route…I told those guys, that’s my fault, totally.”
Pete Carroll, Coach of the Seattle Seahawks

Worst play call in Super Bowl history? Maybe. I’m not a Seattle fan and I still hated the call. But I loved Pete Carroll’s response.

Lead long enough and you’re going to make a wrong call. And everyone watching is going to see it. And what you do next matters. How a leader responds to failure is important. Perhaps even more important that the failed decision itself. Everyone is going to experience failure and setback, that’s not unique to you. Not everyone is going to rebound. And the defining difference doesn’t begin with a blind dogged determination to get back up but a personal ownership of the failure while you’re still down. Can you admit you were wrong? Can you learn to forget the failure but never forget the lesson? Your team isn’t looking for a perfect leader, that person doesn’t exist. But do want to follow an authentic leader.

Do you have the humility to admit it was your fault and then get back up and try again? Another NFL season will be here next year, and I imagine we’ll see Pete Carroll on the Seattle side lines coaching up his team trying to get them back to Super Bowl 50.

Will you get back up and try again?


Posted in Leadership

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What’s wrong with big churches?

Over the last 10 years of serving in mega-churches I’ve heard all kinds of criticisms of large churches. “All Big Churches care about is money.” “Big Churches are too impersonal.” “Big Churches care more about building their Big Church than they do about building disciples.” The list literally goes on and on…and on.

I’m in the middle of preparing a series of blog-posts on “What’s Wrong with Big Churches?” But before I do, I need your help to do a little “market research!” Would you leave a comment below listing off either your own personal criticisms of large churches or criticisms that you’ve heard about large churches in America? Thanks! And I’m looking forward to some good conversations on this in the near future with you!

 


Posted in Leadership