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Leadership, Leadership, Start Here
Excuse my french. This quote from a task force report of Southern Baptist pastors caught my eye this week: “Many of our churches have chosen to celebrate other things as a measure of their success rather than new believers following Christ in baptism. We have drifted into a loss of expectation.” We have drifted into a loss of expectation. When we don’t expect much, not much happens. My biggest problem with many churches:  We don’t measure much of anything… Nothing is getting measured.  (OK… maybe butts in seats and dollars in the offering). But have we forgotten what we really should be measuring? Accountability and measurement can mean different things to different churches. Some measure baptisms (which I think is a pretty good measurement). Others measure conversions.  Still others the number of people in community or small groups. There are myriads of other measurements like attendance, hitting the budget, the number of missionaries support or dollars raised for missions, building a building, expanding the number of services or campuses.  They all have a place. But when we drift into a loss of expectation, we are in dangerous territory as a church. I think every church needs to ask at the highest level “What business are we in?” The way you answer that question should dictate what you measure. And what you measure is what ends up getting done. If you’re not measuring something… start.  Start with something. Don’t let the loss of expectation take your church down the road to oblivion. todd
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Leadership, Leadership, Start Here
You need a leader checklist! Want to make a change in your church? Isn’t that what leadership is all about? Sometimes change involves getting people to put aside traditions that are hindering the church from reaching people. Other times change just means the end-result that you want to see in people.  But leadership is all about inducing ‘change’… Mac Lake has developed a leader checklist for leaders as they try to maneuver and lead change. See what you think:
  1. What problem am I trying to address by making a change? (Do others see this same problem?)
  2. Have I taken the time to build relational equity so others will trust and follow my leadership through this change?
  3. Have I enlisted the support of key influencers in the organization to act as ambassadors for the change?
  4. Have I listened to others opinions and understand the objections to the change?
  5. Have I made the purpose of the change clear?
  6. Have my team and I prayed for wisdom and sought godly counsel regarding this potential change?
  7. Have I laid out a reasonable timetable for the change? (Often leaders try to make changes too fast)
  8. Do I have a plan for effectively communicating the change?
You can read more about creating a leader checklist over at MacLakeOnline.com.
What do you think is the most important item above? What is the one item that you find the hardest in your current leadership situation? todd
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Staffing, Staffing, Start Here
How do you stay effective in one church for a very long time?  To be honest, not many people know!  So we’ll ask someone who’s ‘been there, done that’!  David Yearick writes of his 39 year journey as a pastor in one church over at Christianity.com.  Here are some of his suggestions for long-term impact for a long-term pastorate… 1.  Preach the Word — A large congregation can be built with little attention given to the Word of God, but the Bible must be primary in order to build a solid fundamental church. While some pastors have more sermon ideas than they can ever develop into messages, that was not the case for me. I believe the Lord performed three miracles for me every week, for He never left me without something to give to my people. I am living proof that a pastor does not need to be a great preacher to be effective. 2.  Keep finances under control — Paul, speaking of the handling of money given by the churches of Macedonia, says in II Corinthians 8:20–21, “Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance [the offering] which is administered by us: Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.” Many a pastor has had his ministry in a church cut short because of improper handling of funds. The cause could be a lack of accountability, misappropriation, overspending, or outright thievery. Large building campaign debts are among the main reasons that pastors willingly or unwillingly leave churches.  It is imperative to have a budget and to follow it. 3.  Watch your relationships — Most men who leave the ministry do not leave for doctrinal reasons but because of moral failure. Well-meaning pastors often develop inappropriate relationships with women within the context of ministry. Often this downfall comes about through counseling sessions. Counseling without getting emotionally involved is difficult, and runaway emotions often lead to immoral entanglements. Paul tells us about proper relationships that pastors should have with ladies in their congregations: “The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity” (I Timothy 5:2). 4.  Develop a sense of humor — Do not take yourself too seriously. I am not suggesting that you be frivolous, but that you see humor in situations which otherwise could be tense or embarrassing. Learn to laugh at yourself. You are human; let your humanity show through. If you take everything seriously, you will become a person of sour disposition; and no one, including your wife, will want to be around you. There are plenty of things to be serious about — but do not be afraid to let up a little on things that are not. You must laugh a lot in order to survive. 5.  Be grateful for the opportunity — One danger of a long same-church ministry is that the pastor may come to the point where he almost thinks he owns the church rather than seeing his tenure as a gracious opportunity offered him by the Lord and the people of the congregation. Just as love can cover a multitude of sins, so can gratitude — for it is an outpouring of love. Where there is genuine love of a pastor for his Lord and his people, there will be an attitude of gratitude and rejoicing. 6.  Know when you have been there long enough —  When your health or your effectiveness begins to wane, it may be time to leave that ministry. Sadly, some pastors cling to their pulpits too long. Perhaps they are comfortable and well taken care of and too old to become senior pastor at another church.  Perhaps it is difficult to consider leaving. You can kill a church by hanging on. It is better to leave when the congregation wants you to stay than it is to stay when they wish you would leave. Any other ‘long-termers’ out there?  What would you add to his list? todd Read more from David here…
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Leadership, Leadership, Start Here
Greg Atkinson wrote something that caught my eye this morning. What do you think?
Yes, there are some people that quickly pick up on the lack of vision and leave the church to find another more vibrant church, but how many people keep coming back week after week secretly hoping things will get better? Hoping and praying that the pastor will get a word from God, lead with passion, conviction and purpose. I wonder how many gifted, capable, passionate lay leaders are sitting untapped in congregations around the country. I wonder.
Wow. I have to say that I have been one of those leaders at times over the years. My tendency has tended to side with the ‘hold out hope and try to make positive change wherever/however possible’ side of things. Unfortunately, I’ve seen a lot of people that couldn’t stick it out. And that’s ok, I guess. That makes Greg’s words ring true with me. Many great leaders won’t wait around for a vision to take shape. And when their leader shows no tendency toward any kind of tangible vision, they move on. And understandably so. There have been many times I’ve questioned my strategies and feelings in this area. What do you think? Is it better to stick around and try to affect change; or better to move on and join a team where vision and the ability to move forward is easier? todd via Greg Atkinson.
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Leadership
Scott Williams writes:  Most of us have worked for leaders that are for all intents and purposes were not very good.  I have worked with and for both great leaders and those not very good leaders. To be honest, I actually learned a lot in my early days of leadership from some really bad leaders.  Not only were they bad leaders, they were oblivious to the negative affects of their poor leadership.   There are many signs that a leader is not a good leader and below are 12 Obvious Signs. The reason I attribute these signs to not being a ”Good Leader” instead of “Great Leader,” is due to the fact that a leader usually goes through the progression of being a “Good Leader” before they can become a “Great Leader.” keep reading
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Leadership
That was the quote of motivational speaker Jim Rohn.  The blog Lifehacker recently posted this quote and it got me thinking.  Is this really true?  And if it is true, is that a GOOD thing or a BAD thing? Perhaps that’s why so many churches are isolated from the very communities that they live in. I’ve been taught from a very early age that those you spend time are the ones who influence you. The end result of that:  you should only hang with people who are just like you… namely, Christians. That’s why when you became a Christian, it was important for you to break bonds with all your current friends. In a real way, that’s how we got Christian schools, Christian sports teams for the kids, Christian gyms… you name it. The people we hang with reinforce who we likely are. keep reading
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Leadership
Last week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Warren Bird and Ryan Hartwig and discuss their new book on collaborative church leadership.  I think you’ll enjoy this quick, fun video interview. So… why should you read this book when Amazon.com lists 38,927 books on “church leadership”?  That’s my first question… and Warren Bird’s answer might surprise you! keep reading
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Leadership
Teresa Griffith writes:  Sometimes, we can feel particularly paralyzed about making a decision, and can end up postponing and procrastinating on it until it is “made for us.” This is a terrible cop-out; even when you choose not to make a decision, you are making it anyway. Leaving something to fate is not as random as you think — and stepping back from the act of deciding makes you feel out of control, passive, and disempowered. You might even avoid a decision so you can play the victim later, a role that is never proactive or helpful for your personal growth. keep reading
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Leadership
Phil Cooke lists six situations and cultures of churches that can hide bad leadership, at least for a season: 1.  Money… mistakes can be fixed and bad leadership and decisions can usually be rectified if you have deep enough pockets. 2.  Resources… like multiple assistants, a talented staff, a beautiful facility, etc.  A great staff can really mask bad leadership at the top, at least for a while. keep reading
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