35 low-risk decisions you can make today…

Tony Morgan lists 35 low-risk changes that churches can make today.

I want to re-title that just a bit to correlate with my last post on making decisions.

Every change starts with a decision… and here are a few of the 35 that Tony and his team came up with that are a good start.

(Granted, some are actually riskier than others… but most of these decisions will show movement on your part, and empower you and your congregation for the future):

  1. Change service times.
  2. Empower a volunteer leader.
  3. Offer resources to help people engage Scripture outside of the Sunday service.
  4. Prioritize cross-cultural “missions” opportunities in the same region where your church is located.
  5. Challenge staff to invest 20% of their time in leadership development.
  6. Limit yourself to one, all-church announcement in every service.
  7. Develop a teaching team rather than relying on just one teacher.
  8. Add pictures or, better yet, video clips to your website to give people a taste of your teaching, worship and children’s ministry.
  9. Provide identical children’s ministry experiences at every weekend service so families aren’t limited in the services they can attend.
  10. Stop something.
  11. Create opportunities for students to serve and lead rather than just consuming experiences.
  12. Plan to spend less than you anticipate receiving from offerings.
  13. Create ways for people to share nuggets of teaching and worship content through social media.
  14. Launch a new weekend service.
  15. Start using online solutions (like Asana) to keep the team on the same page.
  16. Hire someone from the outside (staff or consultant) to bring fresh perspective and a new approach.

Read the other 20 or so here…

Todd

Get off the pot and make that decision today.

Ever feel stymied?

Ever have a big issue that you’ve needed to make a decision about for some time, but just haven’t?

You keep putting it on the back burner hoping the decision will make itself.

It won’t.

Maybe it’s a staff member that you need to release.  You’re hoping it will work its way out.  It probably won’t.

Maybe it’s a decision to shut down a ministry.  To start a new campus.  To start a new service.

Most of us don’t make hasty decisions… and that’s not what I’m asking you to do.

What I’m asking you to do, is get off the pot and make A decision.  On something.

We all probably have a decision that we’ve needed to make for some time now, but we’ve been putting it off.

Well… today’s the day!

Craig Jarrow, the Time Management Ninja shares ten reasons you should make that decision today.

  1. You May Not Get Another Chance – Sometimes opportunity only knocks once. Don’t let an option pass you by because you don’t make a timely decision.
  2. You Can Change Your Mind – Don’t let the fear of making a wrong choice paralyze you. There are very, very few decisions in life that are not changeable. Your degree, your job, where you live, even your relationships. You can choose again.
  3. It’s Not That Important – As well, there are very few decisions in life that are truly that important. Don’t let perceived importance scare you from choosing.
  4. Not Making A Choice is a Choice – When you don’t choose for yourself, life will choose for you. Ironically, too many people make their decisions by not choosing.
  5. A Good Decision Beats a Perfect One – To re-phrase a famous quote, a good decision now always beats a perfect one later. Don’t wait to make a choice that may pass you by.
  6. Choosing is a Privilege – It is the one thing that you control in your life. Make sure youchoose your own path.
  7. Other People’s Decisions Are Not Your Own – Make your own choices. Live your own life. Otherwise, you will look back and realize that you are living someone else’s life and priorities.
  8. Inaction Leads to a Boring Life – Some people choose not to make decisions because they think it is easier. They tell themselves that it is less stressful if they don’t choose. This may be true, but it is also boring. It is uneventful and lazy. Be bold in your decisions and live with the good and the bad.
  9. There is Never a Perfect Time – Don’t wait for the right time. There isn’t one. There is never a perfect time… just time.
  10. Today Always Beats Tomorrow – Today is the only day you have. Tomorrow is only a promise and may never come. Dream for tomorrow, but live for today. Make your choice and do it now.

Read more from Craig on this important subject here…

Todd

Rick Warren: The most overlooked key in growing a church is…

Drum roll please:

I believe the most overlooked key to growing a church is this: We must love unbelievers the way Jesus did. Without His passion for the lost, we will be unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to reach them.

Love draws people in like a powerful magnet. A lack of love drives people away.

How loving is YOUR church?

How loving are YOU?

Todd

Read more here…

4 Mad Skills every church leader needs

According to Pastor Steve Murrell, there are four ‘mad skills’ that every pastor and church leader needs.

How are your MAD SKILLS?

1.  All pastors must develop theological skills:  Systematic theology, New and Old Testament survey, and hermeneutics.

2.  All pastors must develop relational skills:  forgiving people, asking for forgiveness, and encouraging the discouraged.

3.  All pastors must develop leadership skills:  strategic planning, communication, and branding/marketing

4.  All pastors must develop ministry skills:  preaching, making disciples (and, being charismatic, Murrell suggests ‘ministering the baptism in the Holy Spirit’).

OK… that’s a pretty mundane list, Todd.  Of course, all pastors and church leaders should have these MAD SKILLS.

But think about the other pastors and church leaders you know.

How many have honed those four skills?

How many do you know that you’d say… wow… they’re really missing #2; or #3?

There are many pastors I’ve met that have very little relational skill.

Some have really horrible ministry skills.

And some couldn’t lead their way out of a paper bag.

This isn’t a put down to pastors or church leaders.

Not at all.

The reason I bring this up is that these pastors usually don’t have a clue.

They think they’re great at leadership; or that vision and communication is a strongpoint in their ministry.

But everyone around would be quick to tell you otherwise.

How are YOU doing in these four areas?

And who do you have in your life that can give you a good assessment?

Read more here…

Todd

What is YOUR personal integrity?

Writer Donald Miller says that a therapist recently asked him to write a few lines about what integrity means to him.

He says it changed his life, and his thinking.

Because integrity… when it comes right down to it… is a very personal thing.

You can hide things from people, but not from yourself.

Here’s what Don came up with for himself:

Don has integrity when he:

      1. Doesn’t promise more than he can deliver.
      2. Stands in the authority God has given him.
      3. Consistently contributes something positive to the world.
        4. Accepts the idea that

to much has been given much is expected

      5. Allows God and trusted others to correct his path.
      6. Follows through on agreed upon tasks.
      7. Acknowledges God as his leader and Jesus as his friend.
      8. Keeps work and family in balance.
      9. Always keeps love at the core of his interactions with other people.
      10. Does not default to a victim mindset, but takes responsibility for what can be done.
      11. Does not people please.
      12. Sees people as the lost or tarnished masterpieces of Christ.
      13. Is strong.
      14. Is faithful to Betsy.
      15. Is true to his creative calling.

What does integrity mean to you?  I mean… PERSONALLY… mean to you?

Try this exercise.

Read more from Don here…

 

When 100% isn’t enough

Is this how you hire your staff?

100percent

The cartoon is by Josh Mecouch of Formal Sweatpants.

Pastor’s wives… can this be true?

Lisa Takeuchi Cullen writes a piece over the weekend at the Washington Post where she describes six things that she says she didn’t know about pastor’s wives.

Some are pretty true… while others are a little more isolated, I think.  See what you think:

1.  Pastor’s wives don’t exactly love their husband’s work.

I’ve seen this quite a bit.  She sites that long hours, horrible pay, and the stress.  I think this is spot on for many pastor’s wives.  They support the calling, but hate what the job does to their husbands.

2.  They are highly criticized.  She calls it ‘life in the fishbowl’, and in some regards, it is true.  There is an unspoken expectation for the pastor’s wife in many churches.  In fact, in many churches, there is no way one woman could meet the varied expectations of all the congregants.  The bottom line:  many pastor’s wives get abused rather than respected.

3.  Sex is on their minds.  She talks about a pastor’s wives retreat that she attended where the women talked about sex.  I don’t have any idea whether pastor’s wives think about sex any more than the local accountant’s wife.

4.  Pastor’s wives work.  She was surprised by this… but yep… some pastor’s wives work outside the home.  Probably looking back at #1 will tell you a bit why.

5.  Pastor’s wives love Twitter.  Some do, most don’t.

6.  Blogs are their secret outlet.  True for some… but I think that most pastor’s wives don’t blog at all.

Thoughts?

What trends do you see with pastor’s wives that didn’t make the list?

Read more here.

Todd

Making the Church a Wonderful Place to Work

Making the Church a Wonderful Place to Work

What if you could create the perfect work atmostphere at your church?  One that made your staff really happy and really successful?  An atmosphere that promoted teamwork, taking risk, and enabling leadership?  What if…?

I think much of what your staff thinks about you (personally) and your church (corporately), they’ll learn in the first few months.  It’s important for the senior leader to set the tone and make a great first impression.  In fact, if you don’t get off to a great start in the first few months, the chances of having a well-rounded, long-term staff member are reduced significantly.  They’ll simply find another place to serve after a couple of years.  It happens all the time.

But how do you start off a good relationship with a new employee?  What if you send something like this to your new staff member.  In this case, we’ll call him Bob.

Dear Bob,

I am so glad to have you here with us on staff.  I know that you and your family will be a great addition to our team here at [your church name].  On your first day, I wanted to share a few things that may help you feel a little more at home with us as a church, and with me, personally:

1.  My most important priority is your happiness and ministry here at the church. If there’s anything I can do to make you happier and more efficient, tell me right away. This isn’t idealism, it’s good ministry, because happy and fulfilled people are more productive in their Kingdom work.

2.  I will not burden you with endless rules and regulations. You’re an adult. I trust you to use your best judgment.

3.  You have my full permission to screw up, as long as you own up to it, apologize to those affected and learn from it.

4.  Please tell me when I screw up so I can apologize and learn from it.

5.  Please make sure to hunt down people who do great work and praise them for it. I will do this as much as humanly possible, but I can’t do it alone.

6. If I get it right occasionally, I’d love to hear about it from you, too :o )

7.  I will always have time for you. My calendar will never be so full that my next free time to talk to you is three weeks from next Friday.

8.  I want to know about you as an employee AND as a human being. I DO care about your private life, about you and your family’s health and well-being.

9.  Life is more than work. If you’re regularly working overtime, you’re just making yourself less happy and more stressed. Don’t join the cult of overwork, it’s bad for you and the company.

10. I expect you to take responsibility for your own well-being at work. If you can do something today to make yourself, a co-worker or me a little happier at work,“ do it!

I’m looking forward to getting to know you and your family, and to you having many fruitful years of ministry here with us.  Welcome!

[Your name]

If you sent this letter to a new employee, and actually held to it, would it make a difference?  I think it would.

I’ve seen many a church that didn’t value their employees.  This letter sets the standard that people on staff are valued.  It gives permission to fail.  It expects that the staff person will lead.  And it perfectly balances work and family as well as employee and team player.

A few of questions for you today…

1.  What do you think of the letter?  Could you honestly send this to your new employees?  Does your church practice what this letter preaches?

2.  Would this letter have made a difference in your employment if you had received it?

3.  What would you add or take away from this letter?

4.  Is this type of thing a great or horrible idea?

I’d love hear your input…

Todd

This post was inspired by Alexander Kjerulf’s Chief Happiness Officer Blog, who revised it from Michael Wade’s post over at ExecuPundit called Note from boss to employees.

Lot’s daughters

This was too funny NOT to share.

lot

HT:  Scotteriology

“Trying harder makes stuck worse”

Great words of wisdom from the Leadership Freak:

The worst thing forward-facing leaders face is not making progress – feeling stuck. The solution for most is trying harder.

Stepping on the gas feels right, but it’s wrong, when there’s no traction. Spinning your wheels, when you’re stuck, results in more stuck.

The problem: The problem isn’t getting stuck. The problem is trying harder after you are.

Trying harder makes stuck worse.

Working harder, when things aren’t working, drains, frustrates, and distracts.

Uh huh.  Preach it, brother.

You try too hard and persist too long because doing defines you. When doing determines identity, you have nothing when you stop. Circumstances are distractions when you’ve been stuck a long time.

Amen.

Read more here.  It’s good.

Where are you stuck?

Where are you trying harder but only getting more stuck?

What will you do about it?

Todd

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