Ask most pastors what their competition is on Sunday mornings, and you’ll quite possibly hear a list of what other churches in town are doing.
Most church leaders aren’t real competitive with most all of the churches in their town or region.
But most have at least one or two churches in their area that they feel a little heat from. It could be that the church is bigger. It could be that they’re doing something unique. Or it might be that they are just getting a lot of ‘buzz’ or are the cool church to be at.
But the competition you have on Sunday morning really isn’t other churches. It’s largely a combination of the following things:
1. Apathy – People aren’t going to bed on Saturday night or waking up on Sunday morning keenly aware and interested in their spiritual lives.
2. Busyness – When people don’t place a priority on attending church, other things take it’s place. Sporting events, camping, sleeping in… just to name a few. (A fun experiment for you sometime… visit your closest Walmart sometime in between a couple of your Sunday morning services. It’s a great place to invite your casual worship attenders back to church).
Bottom line: your church has not presented a good enough value proposition.
Now wait. I know that’s a business term. So please don’t jump all over me.
But if people enter your church on Sunday morning and don’t leave encouraged, challenged or changed in some way, there’s a good chance they won’t return the next weekend.
If they leave without being connected (or worse yet, without having a single conversation with ANYONE), they will probably not be long-term attenders.
That’s the back door that everyone talks about. Your front door can be as wide as you like it, but people will find the back door when there is not a good value proposition.
You may be very leery of the ‘what’s in it for me’ mentality when it comes to church attendance. I get that. But be careful. That cuts both ways.
What if YOU don’t get YOUR way? What if the board doesn’t approve YOUR plan? What if YOUR paycheck diminishes? What if YOU don’t feel appreciated or get as many pats on the back as YOU want? What happens when the pastor appreciation gifts don’t arrive with YOUR name on them?
Many church leaders are just as fickle as the people we point the finger at that leave through the back door.
So… let’s talk.
If you’re having problems with people not ‘sticking’, it could be because your message isn’t resonating or sticking with them.
That doesn’t mean that you have to be all things to all people. But it does mean that you need to find fresh and innovative ways for the gospel to STICK. For people to feel VALUED. And for Jesus to become a WAY OF LIFE for the people that enter through your doors.
That’s a tough thing to do.
(Especially when it’s easier to just talk negatively about the people that take that back door exit).
What is your church doing to make sure you give a good value proposition to those that attend? Why (other than a sense of obligation) would most people attend your Sunday morning service rather than sleep that extra hour or run make a Walmart run for motor oil?
What will you do THIS Sunday to help make the message stick and connect people with each other and Jesus’ message?
Your real competition this Sunday is YOU. And how you choose to (or not to) move people from the status quo of their lives.
Do you frustrate your team?
Perhaps your the pastor of a large church, or supervise a large team. Do your team members find you frustrating?
Or maybe your the pastor of a smaller church. How does your board find working with you? Is the relationship frustrating to them?
My friend Brian Dodd recently posted a list of the 10 characteristics of leaders who frustrate the heck out of people. See if you fit any of the characteristics:
So… how did you do?
To tell you the truth. I wouldn’t expect you to be able to answer that question. (We all have a little problem with #6).
So… if you have the courage… show this list to someone on your team today… someone you trust (and someone that you won’t retaliate on!) Ask them how you’re doing. Ask them, point blank, how frustrating it is to work with you.
If you’re a good leader, you’ll appreciate the input and transparency from your team.
If you’re not a good leader, you, in fact will find THIS exercise to be very frustrating. (How ironic)
Easter is over.
For many dynamic churches, this meant extra services and quite possibly the highest attendance of the year.
And now that it’s Monday morning, you’re probably exhausted.
But you can’t stop now.
You see, it’s pretty easy to get people to come to church on Sunday. But I think your main goal is getting them to return the week after Easter.
Many of the crowd you saw yesterday won’t be back. Ever. And some won’t be back until Christmas.
And most of us didn’t accept Christ the first time we heard the gospel.
Which makes the week AFTER Easter vitally important and a great opportunity.
If your visitors yesterday had a good experience, now is the time to invite them back and invite them to start a new journey.
Yet few churches capitalize on this opportunity.
Hopefully you gathered good information on your visitors yesterday. Today you might want to:
1. Plan your services with something in mind for your new folks that return.
2. Send a nice letter (or better yet, a hand-written note) from the pastor to those who attended yesterday and encourage them to come back.
3. Offer something new for new people. (People always feel out of place when visiting a church… make them feel like they won’t be alone).
4. It’s kind of late to the game, but if you did marketing for Easter, follow up with some advertising for the week after Easter.
Today’s question: How well have you planned for the week AFTER Easter? (Or is it just another Sunday?)
Michael Wolff is a designer and creative advisor for brands around the world.
Warning: This is not a ‘Christian Video’.
But Michael asks a great question that every church leader should ask: Why are you here? He contends that the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ aren’t nearly as important as the ‘why’.
This is worth 20 minutes of your time… not because you’re agree with all of it and say ‘amen’… but because it will challenge and shape you:
What do you think of this quote from Michael Trimmer?
If anything, it seems like the church has done a really great job of making itself look like an exclusive club for the morally and spiritually immaculate, rather than a spiritual hospital for the walking wounded in which broken people struggle against sin on a daily basis.
Should the church be more like a country club or more like a hospital?
What, if anything, is missing from this equation?
It’s true. God has a bad credit score.
God Gazarov is a Russian native who was named after his grandfather (who was probably named after… uh… God). God has a problem. It seems that credit rating company Equifax is giving him a bad credit score because of his first name. (Two other credit rating companies give him a very high score).
The end result: God was declined for a loan for a new Infiniti last year.
(Of course, God would want to buy an Infiniti… it only makes sense).
When he tried to get Equifax to change the glitch in their system, someone told him he might want to consider changing his first name.
So, God is suing Equifax.
According to God’s attorney, he was ‘forced’ to file a law suit because the company refused to accept his name as legitimate.
Imagine that… someone rejecting God as legitimate.
There’s a sermon illustration in there somewhere.
Spivey says that many churches also have a track record of quick breakups… with staff turnover about every 18 months.
Tim says that “swifting” churches are characterized by two things usually:
1. They hire poorly
2. They have power issues
Tim adds: If you are looking for a place to serve, be very cautious in considering a church with high record of turnover. I know of a church that had three senior pastors in the same year. They also blamed each of those three for the transition based on “wanting a new direction.” They are right … they need a new direction. They can start by taking responsibility for either poor hiring or a quick trigger finger in personnel matters — or both.
Have you ever worked for a ‘swifting’ church? Or maybe your on the leadership team of one.
Stop it. It does the Kingdom no good.
If you’re a church… hire well.
If you’re a potential staff member, do your due diligence as well. Talk to a past staff member or two. (Ask permission of course). And ask about the work environment… who the current staff are… and how long they’ve been there.
… because once that break up happens, you probably are ‘never ever ever getting back together’.
Bad news from the weekend in High Point, NC. 42-year-old Pastor Robert McKeehan took his own life last Friday. The church he served, Community Bible Church, and it’s multiple locations, are reeling in pain.
There were no public tell-tale signs of Robert’s inner struggles. In fact, the church’s website still have a link to Robert’s last sermon, preached just five days before his suicide. I watched a little of it, and there he hides it well. But something changed between Sunday and Friday.
My heart and prayers go out to the congregation and leadership at Community Bible. Would you take a moment to pray for them as well today. (And for Robert’s wife and two kids).
A lot happens in the life of leaders that go on behind the scenes. Let’s pray for the hundreds and thousands of Robert’s out there that are on the edge and not sure what to do. And if you have no where to turn, please feel free to contact me, and we’ll see if we can’t find someone that might be able to help.
John Hagee says that something big is about to happen.
And it’s not good.
Not good at all.
Sometime between Now (April 15, 2014) and October of next year, we will experience a world-shaking event.
That is because the world is about to see four ‘blood moons’.
A ‘blood moon’ is actually a total lunar eclipse that turns the moon a coppery-red color.
And we’re set to see four of them.
Hagee cites Acts 2:19-20: “And I will show wonders in Heaven above and signs in the Earth beneath, the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.”
Hagee says all of these ‘blood moons’ happen on spiritually significant days:
The April 15 event happens during Passover. On Oct. 8, the blood moon will occur during the Feast of Tabernacles. Another blood moon will occur during Passover on April 4, 2015. The last will happen on Sept. 28, 2015, another Feast ot the Tabernacles.
And that these ‘tetrads’ in the past have coincided with important events in the life of the Jewish people:
In 1493, a tetrad occurred while the Jews were being expelled from Spain. Another tetrad occurred in 1949, soon after the state of Israel was founded. The last tetrad happened in 1967, during the Six-Day War between Arabs and Israelis.
I know you might find this hard to believe, but John also has a book coming out.
And yes, it’s all about blood moons. Here’s the premise:
“Just as in biblical times, God is controlling the sun, the moon, and the stars to send our generation a signal that something big is about to happen. The question is: Are we watching and listening to His message?”
So… are YOU ready for the blood moons?
What do you do when you read things like this? Laugh? Cry? or take them semi-seriously?
Recently, LifeWay President Thom Rainer compiled a list of 20 of what he thinks are the most influential evangelicals in America. The list, he says, is subjective (he just asked about 30 friends for input).
Here were the criteria:
–They had to be American
–They had to be living
–They had to be ‘evangelical’ (whatever that means)
–The nominees had to be influential (not necessarily those whom the person agreed with).
Here are the results… see what you think. (These are in alphabetical order):
The only one I was not familiar with was Ross Douthat, who is an author and New York Times columnist.
Interesting that Lecrae made the list.
3 women. That will get some fired up.
1 hispanic. 4 African Americans.
Not on the list: Mark Driscoll (although I wonder if his current woes kept him off this list for a time).
Also not on the list: James Dobson, Pat Robertson.
No John MacArthur or John Piper either. (Oops… correction… Piper IS on the list).
And no nod to younger pastors like Perry Noble or Steven Furtick (who also may have been knocked off by controversy).
More notably… no Francis Chan.
A couple of charismatic/pentecostals on the list, but not many.
What do YOU think? Who else SHOULD have been on the list?
And who should have NOT been on the list?
Are lists like these helpful, hurtful, or just interesting (I fall into the ‘just interesting’ camp myself).
Would love to hear your thoughts.
TWO WEEKS FREE: This week's top 50 stories for pastors & church leaders... Subscribe today and get your first two weeks FREE!
Switch to our mobile site