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Jimmy Smuda writes:  I just got back from one of those staff retreats that make you feel you can really do something with the team that’s around you. For some (including me who is not a big “meetings” guy, but is growing into that role) it can be grueling. 11 hours of hashing, rehashing, coming full circle back to the original….hash! It can be absolutely exhausting. Especially if you’re in a room where you feel almost everyone thinks different then you do. See when you’re talking business, you WANT that. Different types of thinking. Churches are on a kick of “saying” they want that, but in all reality they all look, dress, act, think, plan, vision very similar. I have been a product and employee of such a system. I have worked at larger churches then “Beth” (Bethlehem Assembly of God, Valley Stream NY) , but very much surrounded by alot of “myselfs” <—(jimmy word) Until now. “Beth” is the girlfriend I never thought I’d end up falling in love with (get over it, God described Israel as a she/her and the affectionate love for her) . I mean I knew I’d love aspects of her, but in the end wondered how long this relationship could/would last. Then 2 things began to happen a couple of years ago. 1. I began to see who I was NOT, and who they were, and recognized MY need to become more of THEM. 2. I realized who THEY were NOT, and saw the connection oh how God wanted to use ME to influence THEM. (to do this, you must be intentional PRIDE KILLERS The Outcome: THEY, and ME is becoming US (Forgive my improper use of the inglesh langwage) Which means at 34 years old, and having been in ministry for almost 15 years that I’m finally understanding the principle behind 1 Cor: 12:4-7, 11-13 “Diversity in Gifts”. In a retreat with many different gifts, make ups, personalities and preferences I realized several key points. 1. God WILL (or may want to) call you to a place different then you, and outside of your personal preference. (this seems to be a dying thought amongst emerging leaders)Pastors, resist the urge to hire YOURSELF, or a yes man. I really love and respect my pastor who well knows our differences, and celebrates them. 2. There is power in the commingling of those who are (Progressive, modern, traditional, Post-modern, Hipster and whatever ridiculous category we can put on a demographic). Again 1 Cor 12:4-7. 3. THIS type of thinking, and intentional gatherings (even staffing) is a true remedy for transforming and reaching communities with the relevant gospel. jIMMy Read more from Jimmy here…

EverythingPastor writes, “How do you leave something that you love? That’s the question I’ve been asking myself for the past couple of weeks. On October 4th, I put in my 60 day notice at my church. I’ve been here four years and have loved every step of the way. We had always assumed that we would be at Greenwood forever, but about six months ago, God became to change our hearts and as a result we feel he’s re-ignited our passions for missions and church planting. We were always planning to church plant, we just thought that we be overseas and not in America. It’s been such a growing process for our family. Now that our decision is public, we have to deal with everything that comes from resigning from a ministry. Here are his bullet points: 1.  Think about who to tell first 2.  Expect to be a lame duck 3.  Let Go 4.  Tell those you care about how you feel 5.  Leave the bridges entact 6.  Prepare the way for the next person Take a read here. As you’ve left ministries and jobs over the years, what have been the most important things you would add to this list? What mistakes have you made in ministry job transitions? I’d love to hear.  Leave a comment below; and share this post with your friends using the buttons below as well…

I hope you’ll mark your calendars and help support my latest project at Leadership Network.  I’m really excited about this one.  It’s a four hour online video conference for church staff people we’re calling “Staff Infection:  Cultivating a Healthy Church Team”. It’s free. We’ve assembled some of the behind the scenes people who run the teams at some pretty amazing churches and asked them how they do it.  Anything from running effective staff meetings to implementing organizational changes, to dealing with competition on your team. You’ll hear from great churches like 12 Stone Church, New Life Church, Cross Point, Community Christian, Granger, North Coast, Thomas Road Baptist Church, Westridge Church, Cincinnati Vineyard and more! It’s what we’re calling a ‘national church staff meeting’.  Only this one won’t be your typical boring staff meeting… this is one that can help strengthen and revitalize your team. Please mark Wednesday, May 18 on your calendar… and better yet… head over here to register you and your staff now.  Did I mention it’s free? Thanks for your support!

James McDonald shares how Harvest Bible Fellowship handles staff transitions… What can you learn from James today? What do you think?  Do you agree with what James said? I’m wondering two things this morning: 1.  What was your best (or worst) transition, personally, in ministry?  Why was it the best (or worst)? 2.  What was the best transition (or worst) in ministry that you’ve ever witnessed up close and personal?  What was it the best (or worst)? I’d love to hear your comments! Todd

Leadership, Staffing
There was a great piece by Tim Schraeder over at CatalystSpace this past week about the top ten things that will drive you crazy about working for a church.  See if any of these resonate with you… 1.  We are really good at burning people out. The average church employee stays at a church for about 2 years before they peace out.  We all need to learn one simple word: NO. Even though something may be for a great cause, it’s not worth losing your soul to make it happen. 2.  We focus way too much on what we don’t have. We need to focus on what God CAN do rather than what we have to work with initially. 3.  We are afraid of change. We need to give change time and be more concerned with what the voice of God is saying to you and let that influence you more than the voices of other people. 4.  We use “let me pray about it” as an excuse to get out of making decisions. Wow.  So true. 5.  We LOVE meetings. For some reason, we think that things get accomplished in meetings.  They make us feel good about our progress.  95% of the time, meetings are a waste of time. 6.  We try to do way too much. Tim says:  “Most churches are hyperactive and never sleep. We thrive on activity. The whole “less is more” thing hasn’t sunk in yet.”  I agree that this is the case in some churches.  In other churches (maybe the majority) though, I think we try to do too little.  While some churches are hyperactive, many more are asleep… not trying ANYTHING great for God.  (In this point, I disagree a little with Tim). 7.  We try to be something we’re not. Tim says:  “If I see one more 40 something pastor dressed in Abercrombie so help me…”  Amen, brother. 8.  We spend too much time looking at other churches. Again… agree:  “Your church has a unique and specific role it’s meant to play in the life of your community. If your church ceased to exist, what would people miss? Whatever that is should be where you focus your time and energy.” 9.  We worry about people leaving. “We’re quick to cater to the needs [or demands] of people who have been around for a while instead of focusing the needs of people who are new.” Why do we do this?  Money?  Pride? I like what one preacher said recently.  “Some people look better goin’ than comin’.”  Couldn’t be MORE true sometimes. 10.  We don’t feel trusted. Tim says:  “For whatever reason churches tend thrive in a weird culture of mistrust. It’s not or conducive to a positive working environment. Some churches have crazy rules, policies and procedures that create layers of red tape that, while probably well-intentioned, communicate a lack of trust.” Wow.  That is so true.  I’ve seen it time and time again, and it’s something we’ve struggled with at my own church.  Policies in and of themselves can foster an atmosphere of distrust.  You’ve got to watch that one. You can read much more of Tim’s thoughts here… OK… those are Tim’s ten.  Which ones do you agree or disagree with?  And what would you add to the list?  What is the ONE thing that is driving you crazy in your church job right now? Todd

Your weekly church staff meeting is the most important meeting of the week. It is an opportunity to gather key staff leaders to celebrate victories, identify missed opportunities, communicate dates and plans, and keep focused on your stated vision and purpose. In an article by Craig Webb over at LifeWay, Craig offers the following things to consider about your staff meetings: 1. We will make our weekly staff meeting a priority. 2. We will follow a pre-set agenda and have a designated meeting leader. 3. We will leave our mobile phones off and agree about computer use during meetings. 4. We will focus on the one person who is speaking and give them our full attention. 5. We will not use staff meetings to attack or embarrass to get our way. 6. We will celebrate the work God is doing in and through us by mutual encouragement. 7. We will end the meeting with agreement on next actions and persons accountable for those actions, and the time frame in which they are to be completed. You can read more here. What do YOUR church staff meetings look like?  Are they regular?  Organized?  Eventful?  Beneficial?  How could you improve yours?