This invention from Coca Cola could really help the productivity of your next staff meeting.
Heck… maybe you could get everyone to just leave them on for the day. Just think of the type of ministry that could get done!
You would think that Jay Leno had it made.
He was the King of late night television. He was (on most nights) crushing the competition. Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel would have LOVED to have the ratings that Jay Leno enjoyed… right up until his departure last week.
But Leno was, by most accounts, forced out early by NBC. A new article/commentary at Mashable tells why: Jay Leno, while he was doing great in the traditional measures (nationwide TV audience in a given demographic) could not make the switch to the future (which included youtube, vine, twitter, facebook, and all the viral directions that TV and late night was going).
Enter Jimmy Fallon. Jimmy Fallon can post a self-contained short-form video to youtube and garner a couple of million views in a short period of time. Fallon regularly plays to the younger audience via social media… crowdsourcing many of his gags from the internet itself.
Leno would never turn the corner with that audience.
And… NBC needed him to in order to insure the future success of the Tonight Show franchise.
So… how does this apply to the church; and to you as a leader?
Because you might be a Jay Leno. You might be very conventional in the way you’re approaching ministry. And things may be going great guns now. But that doesn’t mean they will in the future. Particularly if you don’t change.
I’m not saying that you need to take your ministry ‘viral’, specifically with any kind of technology, short video type of things.
But I am saying that the people and culture you are ministering to are changing. And you need to as well.
Here’s the problem. 99% of churches won’t be pre-emptive in their strike to insure their own future (as NBC did in this case). Most of the time, they’ll wait until the leader is totally out of sync with the community and culture, attendance is down, and most key leaders have left, before they suggest such a change.
If you’re a Leno… that’s not all bad. You’re effective right now. And that’s because you’re good… you’re seasoned… and God is with you. Just be sure that don’t keep your head in the sand in the future. You need to grow as a leader. You need to change with your community (not doctrinally, but culturally).
If you don’t… quite honestly, you probably won’t find yourself like Jay Leno (going out at the top of your game). You’ll probably find yourself hosting the tonight show for another ten years and leaving (or being asked to leave) when a Jimmy Fallon kicks your butt on another channel. And you’ll leave behind a church that is much less active, much less productive, and much less able to reach their community for Christ than if you would have considered some relatively easy, slow changes years earlier.
What can you learn from Jay Leno? From NBC? From Jimmy Fallon? How does this apply to your leadership.
(You don’t have to agree with me… the purpose of this post was to make you THINK). :)
Today’s guest post is from Charles Arn. Charles shares insight from a recent life experience:
Date: October 18, 2013 (Friday)
Time: 02:35 p.m.
Place: California Urology Medical Clinic, Pomona California
“Dr. Arn…your biopsy came back positive. I’m afraid you have prostate cancer.”
I thought he must have been talking to someone else in the room. But we were alone…and the doctor was looking straight at me.
“Are you sure?” was all I could think of to say.
“Well, you are certainly welcome to get another opinion. But these biopsies are seldom wrong.”
“So, now what?” I asked, which led to a 20-minute conversation about what this newly discovered disease was…how far advanced it might be…and what were the options.
To make a long story short, three months after the biopsy report I had an IV in my arm and was being wheeled down the hallway at the City of Hope Medical Center to what would be a 3-hour surgery. (Robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy to be exact.) For those of you (men) who have been there and done that, I won’t remind you. For those who haven’t, I won’t bore you. But as I think back on the events of the past three months, I’d like to share with you what I learned from hospital staff, doctors, nurses, and even patients at the City of Hope about being a newcomer. I realize that a cancer hospital may not be the first place you would look for insights on welcoming church visitors and new members. But then, again, maybe there are more similarities than we might think…
They Anticipated My Uncertainty. Turning into the hospital driveway, I came upon a kiosk with a large sign: INFORMATION. I stopped, rolled down the window, and received a warm welcome from the man inside. I was given a brochure of the hospital, a map, a letter from the CEO, and told of the complimentary valet parking for first-time guests.
APPLICATION QUESTION: What and where is the first contact you have with your newcomers?
Do you control that contact and make a good first impression, or just hope that it happens?
“First time?” I was asked by a smiling lady as I entered the lobby. It must have been my body language. I’ve been told that a good host can spot a newcomer a mile away.
“Yes,” I responded.
She escorted me to the “Welcome Desk” where three people stood ready to help. After explaining that my wife and I were there to see a certain doctor, the host called a man over and told him where we needed to go. Bill introduced himself as a volunteer and said, “Just stick with me and I’ll show you the quickest way.” I learned, in our hallway conversation, that Bill was an 11-year veteran who had fought and won the same battle in which I was now engaged. I felt an instant bond and wanted to ask him a dozen questions.
APPLICATION QUESTION: Do you have volunteers available to help guests find their way?
Do you match newcomers with members who share things in common?
“We Are Family Here”. More than once I heard this phrase spoken by staff, volunteers, and patients. The words appear in the hospital’s literature and billboards around town. After my surgery I reflected on the value of family. My wife had taken time off work, my mom and sister had visited me after surgery. Other family members around the country had kept in regular contact. The faith, hope, and love one finds in a healthy family is a particular blessing in times of need. I thought about those patients who had no spouse to push their wheelchair, no parents or children to visit and pray for them. The City of Hope motto—“We are family here”— makes sense, especially for those who don’t have any other.
APPLICATION QUESTION: Do you intentionally nurture a sense of “family” (i.e., caring, support, love) in your congregation? Do newcomers experience it, or is it just for the old-timers?
Someone to Hold Your Hand. On the second visit I was introduced to my “patient navigator” and given his e-mail and direct phone number. If I had questions, he either knew the answer or would find the right person to call me back. In addition, I received a directory of names and contact information for key people in the hospital.
APPLICATION QUESTION: Do your new members have someone to help them get involved and connected in the early stages of their relationship with your church? More members drop out in their first year than any other time.
A Connection Center. In a 20’ x 40’ open area, plus several private conference rooms, information was available on various support groups that were sponsored by the hospital. A variety of free mini-books were provided on anything related to cancer. I was given a flyer and explanation of when and where the next prostate cancer workshop would be held. There were free DVDs of staff physicians giving lectures on various topics. Times for the new patient/ family orientation were posted. I could pick out a Christmas ornament, hat, or scarf from a collection that had been handmade by volunteers for patients/families. Here I discovered that a social worker had been assigned to me, and a volunteer walked me down the hall for a pleasant introduction.
APPLICATION QUESTION: How do you introduce your church’s ministries, groups, and activities to newcomers? Do you have descriptive literature and knowledgeable volunteers to help newcomers connect to places, people, and events?
Places to Contribute. Sitting in the lobby waiting for my blood work, I was surprised to hear the melodic notes of a harp. (My first thought, as you might suspect, was to check and be sure I wasn’t in heaven.) It turned out the harpist was a volunteer who had been sharing her talent with patients for the past seven years.
APPLICATION QUESTION: Do you have positions where church members can contribute their gifts and skills toward the mission of your church? Create roles that complement the strengths that your members already have.
Well, there is more to say than I have space…or you have time. So, here are just a few final observations:
• Great signage all over campus. Do newcomers know how to get where they want to go in your church?
• My wife loved the creative and tasteful decorations. How is the interior décor in your facility?
• Literature available in multiple locations. Why limit visitor information to one place in your church?
• Floors, windows, and walls were spotless. How would the cleanliness of your buildings compare to a hospital?
• A website full of helpful information. What do prospective visitors think about your church based on your website?
• A billboard near our house says, “At City of Hope, we live to cure prostate cancer.” How does your church communicate who you are and what you’re all about to the community?
• Volunteers and staff seemed like they actually enjoyed what they were doing.What’s the attitude your people bring to church?
In my post-operative consultation a week after surgery, the doctor looked carefully at the test results, then turned to me and said: “You’re cancer free.” I must admit that as those words sunk in, I could not hold back tears. It was probably a variety of emotions. But as I look back on that moment, I recall the joy of realizing that I was free from the ravaging effects of cancer. I can’t help but compare the experience to the joy of realizing that, through Christ, we are free from the ravaging effects of sin. And while a good hospital facilitates the healing of our physical body, a good church should facilitate the healing of our spiritual body. More than one person has shed tears of joy upon realizing that they have been healed by Christ…for eternity!
When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come not to call those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Mark 2:17 (NLT)
Charles Arn is president of Church Growth, Inc. (Monrovia, CA), and visiting professor at the Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University.
Dr. Arn is a widely respected authority on the dynamics of effective evangelism, and has written eight books in the field of congregational health and growth. His latest book, Heartbeat Ministry: A Missional Guide for Reaching Your Community, provides practical instruction on how to nurture meaningful relationships between church members and non-members around common passions.
Charles lives in Glendora, California.
Stressed out? Anxious? Overwhelmed? Good news—you’re not alone!
No one ever said life was going to be easy. Between financial struggles, marital issues, health scares, and the regular, run-of-the-mill problems of everyday life, it’s easy to feel weighed down and trapped by your circumstances. In times like these, it’s tempting to just throw in the towel and quit. Well, don’t do it!
Perry Noble has stood at the edge of the abyss himself, and in Overwhelmed, he shares the keys to unlocking the chains of anxiety and despair once and for all. Building on the premise that when we shift our focus from our circumstances to Christ, everything changes, Perry walks readers through a life-altering plan for overcoming stress, worry, depression, and anxiety so we can be free to enjoy the abundant, joy-filled lives we were created for.
God knows we’re frustrated. He knows we’re tired. He knows we’re struggling. But He also knows how things are going to turn out. He is greater than anything you are going through . . . so don’t give up on God. After all, He’s never given up on you.
“Overwhelmed” is a brand new book for church leaders from my friend Perry Noble. It comes out April 1, but you can pre-order your own copy right here, right now: Overwhelmed: Winning the War against Worry
In a new blog post this morning, author Donald Miller provides what he calls “Five Principles of Civil Dialogue” to help people when they have disagreements.
I’m still digesting these this morning… but I thought I’d throw them out to you all so we can contemplate together. See what you think. Here’s the short version:
1. The truth is not MY truth, it’s just truth.
Miller says it’s important to remember that your ideas not not really YOUR ideas. You got them from somewhere. Chances are, you’re not the first person in the world to think the way you do. And in many cases, we stumble on our ideas from other people, things we read, our experiences, etc. The point: Don’t take it personally when someone doesn’t agree with the way you think on a subject… they’re rejecting your idea, not you. (I don’t think Miller is saying that there is no such thing as truth (at all)… I think he’s saying that we all take proprietary ownership of thinking that our way is the only or right way. That’s something totally different.)
2. Methodology is part of the message
Don’t be condescending or defensive when you have the conversation. People see right through that. And the response is rarely ever what you’re hoping for.
3. Without a loving heart, I am like a clanging cymbal.
You have to genuinely care. Miller cites that the Bible says we talk with not just our tongues, but also with our hearts. That’s true. Don’t be the resounding gong. It will get you nowhere.
4. The other person has sovereignty.
I often tell my kids that you can change other people, you can only change yourself. Don’t try to pressure or bully someone into your point of view. It won’t work. And when you walk away, realize that the other person still has the right to view your topic of your disagreement differently. There are some great Biblical examples of people that didn’t see eye to eye, and separated. While that’s not the goal… sometimes it happens.
5. I could be wrong.
When we enter these types of discussions with people that don’t agree with us, our goal is clear: we usually want to win them over to our side of thinking. But what if we’re wrong? An important part of listening is… (wait for it)… listening. Listen to the other person’s perspective. Be open to their point of view. Maybe it makes sense. Maybe you didn’t have all the information, and what they tell you will make you reconsider your decision. And perhaps you’ve been dead wrong the whole time.
I hate being wrong. We all do. But I’d much rather admit it early than to continue being wrong over a longer period of time in front of more and more people. Because usually when I’m wrong, it becomes pretty obvious to those I’m trying to lead.
So… who do you have that disagrees with you today? How can you Biblically and civilly remedy the situation?
Maybe these 5 ideas starters will help.
My friend Greg Atkinson is the new Editor of Christian Media Magazine. They’ve just finished a complete rebranding of the site that you should check out.
In fact, I’ll excited to announce that I’ll be writing and sharing at Christian Media Magazine in the future. So hopefully we can connect there as well. In fact, you can check out all of my articles here!
So check out CMM on Twitter, on Facebook, on Google+ and be sure to visit ournew website and subscribe to our weekly newsletter. It’s a great resource for your ministry! Christian Media Magazine is a ministry help and resource to pastors, church leaders, volunteers, worship leaders, executive pastors, tech directors, youth pastors, kids pastors – you name it. They have great posts to keep you informed and educated on all media, including social media, entertainment, worship, production, leadership and mobile.
Last year, my friend Matt Steen and I embarked on an interesting journey.
We’re both self-confessed information junkies, particularly when it comes to the church. We love to find great resources to make ourselves better leaders… and we love sharing it with others.
Not everyone is like us. (“Thankfully”, say our wives.)
So, if you’re a ‘non-junkie’ who doesn’t have the time or the patience to wade through tons of content to find the true ‘nuggets’, It’s ok. You know it’s important to keep up on what’s happening in the church world. Matt and I can help eliminate that frustration and probably full-on guilt that you’re feeling. (All ministry leaders live with full-on guilt, right?!)
That’s where Ministry Briefing comes in.
Ministry Briefing is kind of a ‘just the facts’ resource that Matt and I deliver to hundreds of church leader’s email in-boxes every Friday morning. In it, you’ll find a really short, custom-written synopsis of what we think are the top 50 things every church leader in America should know about.
Think of it as your Cliffs Notes for all things ministry.
In fact, in just 30 minutes, you’ll be up-to-date on all the things you know you really need to know, but have just not had the time to keep up with.
30 minutes… just you, a cup of coffee, and Ministry Briefing.
Frustration gone. Brain loaded. Guilt subsided. Batteries recharged.
It’s a great feeling.
OK… maybe it’s not total heaven this side of heaven. But we really do believe that Ministry Briefing can help you be a better leader by learning from others and knowing what in the world is going on.
Below you’ll find six of the stories you’ll read in this week’s full Ministry Briefing. You can download the full 50 stories in less than 60 seconds and read them on your computer, smartphone, tablet, or Kindle. And the cost… just $2.99. (And if you buy it, and think it is (as Paul would say) ‘dirty rags’, just email me, and I’ll be happy to refund your three bucks.
Chef Rick Warren… Cookbook Author?
In following up his #1 New York Times bestseller, pastor Rick Warren is expanding his Daniel Plan dieting book with a cookbook. Warren promises American classics that don’t compromise taste. Source: http://bit.ly/1iOXC7V • The Christian Post
Nashville Atheist Church Adds Second Service
The Sunday Assembly, an atheist church, has add- ed a second service after three months of meetings that celebrate life. The movement’s co-founder Sanderson Jones, will co-lead a service alongside agnostic documentary film maker Morgan Spurlock. Source: http://bit.ly/1fg5BXx • The Christian Post
Divorce Higher Among Evangelicals in New Report
A new report from Baylor University that included data from a number of studies found that evangeli- cals have higher divorce rates than those who claim no religion. Those who claim no religious affiliation has grown form 3% in the 1960′s to 20%.
Source: http://bit.ly/1iP1bLl • Baptist Standard
Mennonites Ordain Lesbian Clergy Member
Theda Good was licensed as the pastor of nurture and fellowship at at First Mennonite Church of Den- ver under the Mountain States Mennonites. Good is the first lesbian in a committed same-sex relation- ship to be ordained by the Mennonites.
Source: http://bit.ly/1ojPwri • RNS
Arvella Schuller Passes Away
Arvella Schuller, the wife of Robert Schuller, passed away at the age of 84. She was a producer for the Hour of Power television show and was noted as one of the key creative forces behind the growth of the Crystal Cathedral.
Source: http://lat.ms/1ojTZKP • L.A. Times
Pastor Uses Nudity as Object Lessons
Pastor Allen Parker of White Tail Chapel in Rich- mond, VA has made clothing optional in his congre- gation. Parker has used public nudity as a way of discussing the ways we can approach Christ without shame.
Source: http://bit.ly/1kzriJp • UPI
Chef Rick Warren… Cookbook Author?
Atheists May Be Growing But Many Remain Silent
Baby Boomers Turn to Small Start Ups
Marriage and Education Linked
Pro Life Groups Oppose Girl Scout Tweets
Doctor Assisted Suicide Rebranded for Boomers
Top Defensive Player at Missouri Comes Out
Same Sex Couples Receive More Rights Under Federal Government
Does a Catholic Hospital Have to Follow Discrimination Laws?
Nashville Atheist Church Adds Second Service
Divorce Higher Among Evangelicals in New Report
Does Crowd Funding Bring A Dark Side?
This Is What Happy Couples Do…
Church Arsonist Forgiven
Pastor Released from Prison in Philippines
Bob Jones University Rejects GRACE
Legal Team for Florida Church Quits in Middle of Foreclosure Fight
Ponzi Scheme Involving Eddie Long Reaches Settlement
Camel Carries a Load of Questions for the Bible
FBI and IRS Raid Charity’s Warehouse
Minnesota Pastor Takes 1500 Mile Snow Mobile Trip
Chicago Presbytery Fails to Preserve Camp and Dunes
Orthodox Receive Welby’s Support of Hagia Sophia
Assemblies of God Minister Dismissed
Poll Reveals Deeply Divided Catholic Church
Mennonites Ordain Lesbian Clergy Member
Farmer Leaves 10 Million to Catholic Churches
Couple Leading Homeless Ministry Get Married Under Bridge
Arvella Schuller Passes Away
Bill Gothard Revealed as Sexual Predator
Virtual Deaf Church Pastor Announces He’s an Atheist
Zschech Experiences God’s Love Throughout Cancer Journey
Ken Ham Says Robertson Is Neither Scientist Nor a Bible Scholar
Pierce Brosnan Relies on His Faith
Anxiety Comes with Smart Phones on the Night Stand
PillCam Could Replace Colonoscopy Procedure
Google Glass Is Coming to the Airport
Smartphones Become Flash Point for Many Couples
It’s Not Cool to Impersonate James Dean
New Start Up Creates Digital Representation of Individual
What Would Jesus Brew?
Youth Pastors Need Texting Policies
Church in New Orleans Integrates After Katrina
Leaders Need to Prioritize Family
Pastor Uses Nudity as Object Lessons
Molson Beer Fridge Can Only be Opened with Canadian Passport
England Has Railway Chaplains
Orthodox Church Fails to Draw Regular Attendees in Russia
European Union Could Be In Trouble
British Bible Society Finds a Nation without Bible Knowledge
For Sochi Time As This
This week Leadership Network launched our “2014 Large Church Salary, Staffing and Budget Survey.” Our bold goal was to email someone in every large church (attendance 1,000 to 50,000+) across North American.
The responses from this survey will allow us to report valuable information such as:
- What’s the salary range for an executive pastor in a church of 7,000?
- How do budgets compare for churches with attendances of 8,000-9,000?
- What’s the staff-to-attender ratio in churches over 10,000?
- What percent of budget goes to staffing costs in megachurches, and how does that change with size?
- How does the salary of a founding pastor in a large church compare with that of a successor pastor?
The more who participate, the more specific comparisons we can provide. If you didn’t receive an email inviting your church to participate, please send this link to the person on your staff who is privy to your church’s salary and budget information.
Here’s the link to the survey: https://www.research.net/s/C8YRZKM
Benefits of participating: For those who participate, we offer an executive summary, an invitation-only video Q&A webcast and even a copy of the data set (sanitized to remove all church-identifier clues). All free. For larger churches, nowhere else will you join such a sizable group of peers. The time you invest will come back to you in multiplied helpful information. Thank you!
Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 214-754-9179.
Two stories from the past week have caught my eye.
Honestly, you don’t see these kind of stories very often.
Like CVS, the huge pharmacy chain, deciding that it will no longer sell tobacco products. Tobacco is a 2 Billion dollar business for CVS, but they are walking away from the money, saying that the health of their customers is more important than profits.
Then there’s Doug Nguyen, the Vietnamese developer of a viral mobile game called Flappy Bird. Flappy Bird because a huge success overnight. (My kids had me try it on my iPad, and I admit my high score was 1.) Nguyen abruptly pulled the game from the app stores. It seems the $50,000 he was making off the app’s ad placements was ruining his ‘simple lifestyle’.
It’s not often that big business walks away from $2 billion. Or that an individual walks away from an estimated $18 million a year salary.
But both did. For the right reason.
They took their eyes off the money, and did what was right for their business and for their own personal sanity.
What if the church did this?
Many times church programs are tied to money.
So… here are some questions to ask:
1. What is our church doing only because of the money? (Maybe it was a largely successful ministry in the past that is still bringing in the bucks but has lost it’s effectiveness)
2. What is our church NOT doing because of the month? (This is the opposite side of the coin. Don’t be foolish, but what is your church NOT doing because you’re SO focused on your pocket-book?
3. What are we offering as a church that is not healthy overall? (Everything is good, right? NO! Some programs take away from time and effort needed to be put into other things. Some high maintenance, high calorie programs need to be replaced with things that directly further the mission and vision of the church).
Take some time today to re-think and re-align what YOU are offering (just like Doug Nguyen and the CEO of CVS did). What would be different six months or a year from now if you made some bold decisions like this today?
Marion Aldridge asks a great question:
What happens when, after a time of magnificent ministry, it is obvious an individual and a church are no longer a fit?
Here’s the problem as Marion states it:
Most churches are small. Compared to the government’s various definitions of “small business,” which can be 50-500 employees, our congregations are tiny. It is a rare church that has a dozen employees. Most have one (the pastor) or two (the pastor and an administrative assistant). Some have full-time or part-time employees with very specialized skills — financial secretary, minister of music, preschool coordinator.
If someone is a good employee but in the wrong job, larger businesses can move a person to an assignment where he or she can succeed.
But churches can’t do that. We are too small. There is no wiggle room. Promotions and demotions are nearly impossible in ecclesiastical life within the same congregation.
This is a problem for small AND large churches.
Particularly when the church has changed over the years.
Maybe the church has grown dramatically under one leader. Past success does not mean future success. The reality is, it takes one skill set to grow a church from 100 to 500, and a complete different skill set to consistently pastor a church that is larger… or one that grows to a thousand.
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