Tony Myles writes: I once worked in a job where I feared for my job… everyday. And I wasn’t alone. It wasn’t because of the economy, and it wasn’t because we were all bad employees. It was because our boss was insecure and came across like a lion to everyone. He was someone who only cared about the idea of success than in creating the environment for it. I’ve been in the exact opposite situation, though. I’ve served in church staff teams where we were so inspired by the character and direction of our main leader that we climbed over ourselves to be a part of what he was up to. It’s the difference between transactional relationships versus transformational relationships:
Every relationship, organization, classroom and work environment tends to run with one of these two models dominating. You can influence that, whether you’re at the top or bottom of the totem pole.
In the end, you will influence others either out of your:
So… what is your next step to create healthy people instead of yet another power play?
The most important [commandment], answered Jesus, is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: â€˜Love your neighbor as yourself.â€™ There is no commandment greater than these.â€ (Mark 12:29-31)
By: Tony Myles
Bud Brown shares some metrics that he thinks would make megachurches much more visitor friendly. See if you agree. He writes:
Mega-church staff and pastors are trapped in a dilemma created by the Church Growth movement – the assumption that bigger is better and that attendance inevitably produces spiritual maturity. This perspective on the disciple making process inevitably leads to metrics like attendance, income, visitor returns and so forth. In time the relentless demands of schedules, logistics, and buildings become the vision; keeping the machine running smoothly becomes the mission, and it happens with no one noticing. Inevitably, attending a mega-church is like going to Walmart the day after Thanksgiving – it is a madhouse!
I’ve seen this from the inside so I have an idea of more appropriate metrics that will move a mega-church in the direction of becoming genuinely engaging, warm and welcoming:
How many first time visitors did the greeters meet at the door to the auditorium?
To how many regular attendees did the official greeter introduce the new guests?
How many first time visitors were greeted by a staff member (Other than children’s and youth pastors all of them should circulate in the auditorium before and after services)
How many prayer requests did staff collect from visitors?
What is the lag time between a first visit and contact by a non-paid member of the church? (forget the pastor’s welcome letter; it’s nothing more than useless chatter these days)
Is a pastor or high ranking staff member actually available meet guests after every service?
How often is the hospitality team coached on technique and process?
How often does the church employ a “secret shopper” guest to give impartial evaluation of the hospitality?
Does the church have a welcoming team at every entrance?
How many times did a welcome team members escort a new guest from the entrance to the main welcome center?
Is the congregation regularly instructed that members waiting for the service to begin should greet one a number of people and not chat with one person at length?
How effective is the enfolding process in moving first time guests into regular fellowship in small groups, connecting them with staff members and insuring that their spiritual needs are met or at least prayed for? What is the percentage rate?
Finally, what percentage of first-time guests eventually become regular attenders who are engaged in service through the church?
What do YOU think? Do you think it’s easier or harder for a larger church to be visitor friendly?
How do you deal with chronic complainers in your church? Have you ever wanted to tell someone to just leave your church? Would you ever have the guts to do as this pastor did?
Is it right to wish some people would just leave your church? And would it be better if they did leave to help you accomplish your mission?
Lots of questions here… maybe more questions than answers… but it may help you the next time you’re confronted by a ‘serial church complainer’…
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Well, it’s probably your first day back in the office for 2013.
But what if you’re ALREADY in a bad mood?
How do you snap out of it?
Tim Sanders offers some suggestions:
1. Admit it. You’re in a bad mood. Tell someone. Your assistant. Your spouse. A co-worker. A fair warning serves two purposes: it gives a heads-up to people, and serves to give you a reminder that you need to get it under control before it ruins your day.
2. Try to figure out WHY you’re in a bad mood. Something set you off. Bad sleep? A fight with your spouse/kids? A problem at work that you need to deal with? An upcoming meeting or confrontation? Identifying why you’re upset will help you put things in perspective.
3. Take a few minutes to connect with someone close to you. Take some time out and talk with someone who can usually put you in a better mood. It will help you re-set
4. Eat something. Healthy. Some tea or a healthy snack can help, believe it or not.
5. Focus. On Mission. Try to put out of your mind what has you all whacked out of shape, and get back to your mission and purpose. Grab your church mission statement and read it. Pray through it. Then start working on a task (even if it wasn’t on your agenda) that will move that purpose forward.
Those are some of Tim’s suggestions. What are yours?
How do you get yourself out of a bad mood?
David Murrow, the director of Church from Men, has some ideas:
1. The midsize congregation will disappear.
2. An explosion of satellite campuses and microchurches
3. A small number of cutting-edge megachurches led by amazingly talented communicators.
4. No denominations.
5. America will have about 200 well-known preachers by 2062.
6. More money spent on mission.
7. We’ll need a lot fewer preachers.
8. We’ll need a lot more campus pastors.
9. Small group ministry will be more important in 60 years than it is today.
10. Microchurches and megachurches will cooperate for programs like youth and children’s ministries across cities.
What do YOU think the church will look like in 50 years?
Where would Americans be if churches didn’t make outreach a priority? Many would feel the pain of unmet needs for basics such as food and clothing, not to mention a slow-down in disaster recovery efforts. For many hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy, it was churches that provided the first signs of relief. In fact, a new survey –Outlook for Outreach – shows that of the 58% of churches in America that provide hands-on assistance for causes throughout our country, 75% of them engage in national disaster relief efforts.
To better quantify how churches engage in outreach ministries to provide for physical needs within their local communities and the world at large, Christianity Today (CT) and Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company (BMIC) recently conducted the joint nationalOutlook for Outreach study. Responses collected during the summer of 2012 from 1,486 church leaders and volunteers involved in outreach reveal that nearly all churches (96%) are serving those in their local community, especially in feeding and clothing the poor.
Results show that churches meet — and even exceed — the need for food and clothing at the local level, however, they’re providing less hands-on assistance in addressing unemployment and preventing crime and gang-related violence than the perceived need. Along with providing disaster relief, more than half of the churches send teams on in-country mission trips (54%) and are engaged in housing construction projects.
Churches are involved in international outreach efforts (70%). Fully 60% of them fund building projects overseas, including homes, churches, schools, medical clinics, and orphanages, and 53% travel abroad to physically assist with the construction work.
Nine in ten churches allow other organizations to use their facility for outreach programs, so churches are opening their doors for others to serve too. The survey also shows that churches are taking care to select suitable volunteers and provide adequate training before doing hands-on ministry.
“Churches engage in all kinds of outreach efforts,” says Dave Lantz, vice president, claims, Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company. “Church leaders need to be aware of the risks associated with outreach and recognize the importance of managing those risks. It’s encouraging that many are already taking steps to minimize them.”
The majority of churches say that finding enough funding and volunteers are the two biggest obstacles to doing outreach locally, nationally, and internationally. At the same time, 41% of churches report that volunteerism is up for outreach ministries, and nearly half (45%) expect their church budget for outreach to increase in the coming year.
According to 62% of respondents, the number one result of serving others is a sense of maturing discipleship among those involved. Another added benefit: more than one-third (35%) of the respondents say that more previously unchurched people now attend their church as a result of their outreach efforts.
“Outreach and compassion are important hallmarks of church life,” said Marshall Shelley, editorial vice president of Christianity Today. “The results of this study show the high percentage of churches and church members that are involved in serving their neighbors locally, nationally, and internationally. If faith must be exercised to remain healthy, then most churches see outreach as the fitness center for faith.”
What is YOUR church determined to do in 2013 that you’ve never done before?
Eric Geiger has some great tips on interviewing for your next church staff member position. Eric writes: If you are a leader, you know that having the right players on the team is absolutely essential in fulfilling the mission the Lord has given your ministry. Thus, the recruiting and interviewing process is very important. In looking back at all the interviews I have been a part of, here are five red flags that give me great caution in taking a next step with a potential team member.
1 – No questions
If someone asks no questions, it gives me the impression that they are passive, that they are not the type to take initiative, and that they don’t possess a holy curiosity that is going to nudge them to learn, explore, and look for more effective ways to serve. It also gives the impression that they are a bit cold, unable to have a conversation, to engage, to lead people somewhere.
2 – Bad questions
I like questions because I learn more about a candidate by the questions they ask. And bad questions are very revealing about a person’s work ethic, passions, goals, and priorities. For example:
The question: How many hours do I need to work?
What I think: This may be someone who wants to punch a clock. I want people driven by a calling, not by a clock.
3 – Excuses
Excuses are a major red flag because it shows the person is unable to own his/her responsibilities fully. I would much rather a person say, “Here is where I blew it and the lessons I learned.”
4 – Negative comments about current leaders
The person who bashes his/her current leaders or team members will be the same person who brings that toxic attitude into our culture. No thank you.
5 – Over-negotiation
When someone over-negotiates salary, benefits, or some other aspect of the role, I quickly get turned off. I think either (a) the person is not overly excited about the role as it is presented or (b) the person has an inflated view of her/himself and this will never end. I may be oversensitive to over-negotiation, but I tend to be the one who walks away.
Eric has some other great thoughts on interviewing and red flags. Read them here via Five Red Flags When Interviewing.
What was the WORST interview you’ve ever conducted for a church position?
How did it go bad?
Casey Tygrett shares three measurement devices for elders and local church leaders regarding spiritual growth and formation that will bring light and life to situations stuck in darkness.
Are you regularly engaging with Scripture, both individually and as a leadership team?
Leaders committed to wrestling with the narrative of God both alone and in their group have put themselves in a position to be corrected, humbled, and augmented for the sake of others. Being open to the Scriptures is a posture that embraces the mission of God in the world today. Scripture refines the lenses through which the mission and purpose of the church, as well as the mission and purpose of eldership, are seen. Scripture shows God on a mission as he calls sweetly, but firmly, to elders to fall in step and become missionally minded regarding where the flock they’ve been commissioned to lead is headed.
Are you praying specifically, honestly, and regularly?
In my current ministry, I am often asked to help teach people to pray. I’ve found the most critical question in developing a prayer habit is whether or not people are willing to bring up the raw, uncensored, and unfiltered contents of their heart to God. Are you, as a leader, honestly expressing both your joys and struggles to the God who constantly leans in to listen (Psalm 10:17)?
The most helpful aspect of prayer in my development in leadership over the last five years has been the opportunity to see myself through the objective lens of God’s Spirit; I’ve grown to understand there are things in my soul that, when applied to leadership in ministry, create issues I couldn’t see on my own. The opportunity to pray with and for other leaders is constantly in front of us—are you taking advantage of the times you could offer prayers that encourage and strengthen others on your eldership or leadership team?
Are you reproducing leaders through spiritual friendship and mentoring?
Leaders aren’t meant to be irreplaceable. If we have stepped into the stream of leadership in God’s kingdom with the expectation that we aren’t expendable, it is a clear and unmistakable sign we’ve skipped question number one in this list!
The truth is, engaging in Scripture and prayer—especially reading Acts and praying for our leadership of God’s people—will shine a light on the reproductive nature of the church. The churches we find in Acts had leaders who understood what it meant to give away what they’d learned.
Many elders and leaders may say they have read 2 Timothy 2:2—“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” Great. Here is a follow-up question: are you giving away your leadership and ministry to reliable folks?
// Read more here: A Past Mistake and Three Challenges for Elders
Do you strive for a healthy team?
There is nothing more fun (and more exciting) than being a part of a ministry team that is running on all cylinders.
But many teams never get there. How is your team doing in achieving unity?
Kem Meyer has some great insights on what makes great teams really work:
We’ve got to do it together. Every person has their role in the family effort. And there are threads that weave every role and relationship together like a fabric. That’s what makes us a team.
Vision is a picture of what could be and should be. It binds us together, it invites others to what we’re striving for. If this is clear—it’s a deal maker. If this is not clear— it’s a deal breaker. Those who determine there is worth to the shared vision can do a great work together—more than any of us could ever do solo. [Everything we do is run through, points back to and advances this shared vision.]
People will join a team because they reasonate with and appreciate a leader, or not. Integrity and servanthood matters in leaders. Leaders face temptations to steer off course and can be undone by their own temptation, vulnerabilities and weaknesses. When the pressure is on, what is true about you will be revealed to the world. Deal with your soul. It is only possible to deceive people for a short time.
This has impact on the unity of the team. I can’t work with people who will betray, wound, disparage and gossip about me.
When we all agree THIS is how we are going to treat each other, our daily mission is cohesive. [Our team values.]
// Read more here… Four things that make teams thrive in every season..
Will Mancini writes: Every year, Outreach Magazine provides a profile of the 100 Fastest-growing churches in the country. This year, they had a few interview spots entitled, “What I wish someone told me.”
What really struck me are the common threads on vision and alignment. Look for how these pastors discuss clarity and unique calling. The big themes are as follows:
Radical emphasis on mission and vision (including values and strategy)
Willingness to “let people go” who don’t align with the vision
Commitment to stop programs and cut ministry not aligned with the vision
Now, listen to their own words form the 2012 special issue.
Luke Barnett (@LWBarnett), Phoenix First Assembly of God (12th Fastest-growing)
At first you think the mobilizing leadership happens naturally, like leaders and volunteers and magically appear because you have a great idea, but that’s not so. Over time you learn that you have to be intentional in mobilizing and recruiting leaders and you have to develop the leaders that have bought into the vision and feel appreciated.
John Beukema (@John Beukema), King Street Church (39th Fastest-growing)
Some people will never leave no matter what happens and some people will leave no matter what happens. Since that has been true, I wish I had been told how pitiful and unproductive it is to worry over who you retain and who you don’t. Just do the right things, be clear on your mission, and don’t get emotionally invested in who stays or goes.
David Brown (@DavidBrown_Ave), The Avenue Church (44th Fast-growing)
People do not have trouble committing to something. Look around at the ball fields and cheerleading meets. The church has been slow at giving them something worth committing to be in. When leaders are passionate about the vision God has given the local church and begin to share that vision people will follow.
What do YOU wish someone would have told you about ministry 10 years ago?
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