On a recent morning text to our team, Auxano’s Founder and Team Leader Will Mancini posed the following question to be asked of church leaders: >> Where could you use break-thru clarity on your leadership team? Most leaders can immediately identify a barrier or roadblock that stands in their way of moving forward to better future
Consider the talents of the following two groups who were asked these three questions: How many of you are good singers? How many of you are good dancers? How many of you are good artists? About 2 percent of the first group responded positively to each of these three questions
Todd Henry, founder of the Accidental Creative consultancy and author of the books Accidental Creative and Die Empty, wants us to redefine work: Work is any way in which you contribute value to the world using your available resources
How do you know if you might make a good church planter? There are great online tools to help determine your readiness to plant and every church planting network and denomination has some form of formal assessment, if you feel called to plant that’s where you should start
Have you ever been to the circus and wondered how one small rope tied around the leg of a huge elephant can keep it from moving? When elephants are young, their handlers use the same size rope tied to their leg, with the other end tied to a rod buried deep in the ground
Why is it so hard for organizations to understand what Tony Hsieh did with customer service at Zappo's? Instead of measuring the call center on calls answered per minute, he insisted that the operators be trained and rewarded to take their time and actually be human, to connect and make a difference instead of merely processing the incoming
What does it take for an organization to set and execute strategy in a complex and interdependent world? Collaborative work across boundaries is increasingly seen as a requirement — but collaboration in most organizations is not a natural act
What’s stopping you? Are there barriers blocking the path to your dream? What’s hindering the forward progress of your mission? What’s deterring the realization of your vision? And more importantly what’s your attitude about your situation? Your whole attitude can be transformed when you recognize that obstacles can be open doors for innovation and greater impact
Can we learn to be innovative? What factors allow us to establish a vibrant relationship with the future? Thomas Edison was the most outstanding figure in an era marked by an extraordinary confluence of American innovation – including the work of Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, George Eastman, Harvey Firestone, John D
I seldom address a gathering of pastors without "the" question being asked, in one form or another: "How do you change a church?" Whether moving from a traditional model to one that is more contemporary, a complex structure to one that is simpler, or an outdated outreach strategy to one more relevant and effective, knowing the target on the wall isn't the problem. It's how to actually lead the change to hit it.
When you walk into a leadership opportunity, you go with a little bit of equity by virtue of your position and the inevitable honeymoon period during which those you lead will let you get by with just a bit more than they will a decade later, but you have to be very careful with that equity. Every decision you make, and every risk you lead your organization to take will require an investment of some of your leadership equity (the trust people place in you).
Naturally, there are things you love about the ministry or organization you lead. Probably lots of them.
As you lead your church, a team, or your readers, there are many times that effective teamwork is pivotal. Effective teamwork is a multiplier that transforms individual contributions.
A simple online search for “leadership” yields 734 million results including definitions, articles, magazine subscriptions, videos, and books. If you add the word “Christian” to “leadership” you trim the results down significantly, but there’s still almost 12 million.
You don’t know it all. There are limits to your knowledge, ability, and energy.
I didn’t see that coming. Everything seemed fine at first, well, for awhile, then seemingly out of nowhere we were in conflict and in a few months he was off staff.
When it comes to ministry, the process of decision making is so important because bureaucracy can become incredibly inhibiting. To make matters worse, a church's structure is often wedded to some of the most deeply rooted customs within the life of a church.
Leadership is a mixture of both poetry and plumbing, but unfortunately a lot more is written about the former than the later. The leadership systems and structure of a church are the major pieces of plumbing I am referring to today.
Great pastors care about a lot of things and a lot of people. But with the non-stop opportunity to minister to peoples' never ending needs, every pastor must eventually face a crazy question: "Is it possible to care too much?" An essay I read as a young pastor marked a pivot point in my life.
Change is inevitable. Whether we're talking about business, society, politics, or life, we all know that trying to stay still is a recipe for stagnation.
Last week I was completing the Vision Frame with a church in California. They could feel the removal of what one pastor called their “invisible walls.
Conflict is no stranger within the local church. Different opinions, diverse perspectives, and opposing priorities can cause your best leaders and staff to experience conflict with each other.
If you read any leadership book, you are likely to be encouraged to encourage the people you lead. If you have served with an encouraging leader, you know the impact the encouragement makes on the morale of the team, the focus of the people, and the commitment to one other.
Dictionary. com defines the word “Springboard” as “something that supplies the impetus or conditions for a beginning, change, or progress; a point of departure.
Church health is the result of balance. Balance occurs when a church has a strategy and a structure to fulfill the five New Testament purposes for the church: worship, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, and ministry.
Effective teamwork is a multiplier that transforms individual contributions. Effective teamwork starts with a clear and clearly stated vision.
The farmer’s day-to-day activities look different from season to season. Sure, some things are the same, but his changing priorities have a significant impact on how he manages his time from season to season.
Finding the time and money to pull the staff offsite for an annual vision retreat challenges every leader. The temptation to lay-up and schedule yet another week in the church conference room lulls us into yet another year of marginally effective visioning.
It’s happened on several occasions as I’ve worked in the publishing industry. An event, an issue, or a person comes across our collective radar screens in such a blazing fashion that we need to react.
Most church teams enjoy hanging out together. The weekly rhythm of doing church brings staff and volunteers together across a broad span of activities– the laughing and praying of our leading and meeting.
Thirty pages in, the realization hit. Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin is not only one of the best leadership books I have ever read, it may the only leadership book I have ever read cover to cover.
I was recently on the phone with a pastor that wants to start the process of succession planning. Our time on the phone was another reminder of how personal the issue of succession planning is.
Roger Harrison is a recognized leader and author in organizational and cultural development. He has articulated that healthy organizations are both aligned and attuned.
I’ll never forget my very first observation about succession planning. Succession planning is personal long before it becomes tactical.
One day a group of people approached Jesus, confused that his disciples were not fasting. After all, John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees were fasting.
There’s nothing more annoying than a meeting that goes on and on and on – except maybe a meeting that goes on and on and on AND doesn’t accomplish anything. Many ministry teams fritter away precious time during meetings on unfocused, inconclusive discussion rather than rapid, well-informed decision making.
It’s not really how you got lost as much as how you lead back to the right path. Every great leader has experienced failure at some point, well… except one glaring exception.
Port City Community Church (PC3) in Wilmington, NC is a cool church. The founding and senior pastor is @MikeAshcraft — a great guy with a strong Kingdom vision for the future.
Conflict is going to happen. After sin entered the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, God told Eve that the relationship with her husband would no longer be perfect: “Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will rule over you” (Genesis 3:16).
Is God calling you to serve Him in ministry? First of all, it’s a big YES. God draws lost people to himself to save them, and his desire is that all saved people serve people.
I love the church staff team I have the privilege of leading at Meck. They are dedicated, loyal, unified, joyful and deeply missional.
Note: Starting in 2016, we will be routinely posting content from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders. SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions with each solution is taken from a different book.
Every hire is a risk. Every time I have hired someone or have been hired, there was a risk involved.
There are a plethora of upsides to staff tenure. You learn the organization over time.
Jesus led the most remarkable ministry in history. Jesus had a laser focused vision and was able to transfer it to His team in such a way that even though His personal ministry lasted only three years and His small team consisted of unqualified men, over 2000 years later, about one third of the world’s population identifies with Him.
1. Exemplary in overall character.
Does your church have a past? Of course it does. Your church had a beginning, and the movement that birthed your church has a history also.
Local church ministry can be the most demoralizing and challenging, yet amazingly fulfilling and rewarding, of callings. Regularly placed near the bottom of any ranked list of occupations, pastoring well requires consistent time away to recharge and reconnect with your family and, especially, with God.
If you lead, you are more than aware of the incredible responsibility you have toward others. Leadership, by definition, is not a solo sport.
What if I gave you a list of ten things that any church could do that would bring almost immediate renewal and growth? Would you be interested in the list? Most would be. So here it is: Simplify your structure by putting the authority to make most decisions related to the practice of ministry in the hands of those with responsibility.
When you think of Tesla, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? For most people, it’s electric cars, but what if I were to tell you that this was not going to be their greatest legacy? Yes, they did vastly expand the driving range of an electric vehicle from 73 miles (117 km) to 200 miles (320 km) on a single charge. Yes, they did reimagine the electric car and the way that it is powered.
On a recent morning text to our team, Auxano’s Founder and Team Leader Will Mancini posed the following question to be asked of church leaders: >> Where could you use break-thru clarity on your leadership team? Most leaders can immediately identify a barrier or roadblock that stands in their way of moving forward to better future. Many leaders also have some idea about how to break that barrier.
With our leadership team, we use the Insights Discovery tool to help each other understand our unique personalities. The tool is validated and has proven helpful to our team in serving and communicating with one another.
A leader needs to be a learner. And, the learning needs to be constant.
It’s one of the toughest parts of church leadership. You feel like a staff member is not a good fit.
Here are five common questions leaders wrestle through when trying to decide what their succession planning process should look like. Q – WHAT DO YOUR GOVERNING DOCUMENTS REQUIRE? Don’t expect a lot of guidance here.
Having an ambition to lead is great, but it doesn’t produce actual leadership. Taking risks does.
My family will tell you that I’m a thermostat control freak. I have a day marked on my calendar when I have arbitrarily determined it’s acceptable to flip on the air conditioning or the heater, depending on the season.
Here’s a leadership secret. Almost anyone who has ever led anything significant has felt like they’re in over their head at one point or another.
Leaders are often applauded for and encouraged to develop “thick skin. ” A leader with “thick skin” is not crushed by criticism nor destroyed by disappointing results.
A decade and a half into the 21st century, one thing has become clear: change is the new normal. In business, it's called innovation, and it’s a strategic pillar in nearly every organization.
I’m pretty sure that I’ve never met anyone who became a pastor so that they could spend their time worrying about strategy. Those of us who are pastors and church leaders generally invest in ministry because we love people, not because we love spreadsheets and flowcharts.
Being loyal to a denomination, I'm no stranger to filling out forms and reporting stats. There are good reasons for this accountability, and we at 12Stone® Church are good team players in the Wesleyan Church.
While they may not say it out loud, many people feel like they don’t have time for leadership development. This mentality underscores a fundamental misunderstanding that training leaders always necessitates long hours of teaching and instruction.
Culture transformation is an advanced leadership skill. The primary way to change a culture is to use your Conversational Intelligence to create an environment that infuses energy and commitment into relationships, teams, and the whole organization.
Leadership, whether of an organization or of a Bible study or of a family, is a burden. A joyful burden much of the time, but a burden nonetheless.
Ever wonder what separates great leaders from poor leaders? Ever wonder whether you’re developing the practices and qualities of great leadership? I’ve met more than a few ineffective leaders who have great intentions, but just haven’t developed the skills and attitudes that separate great leaders from poor leaders. So what separates great leaders from not-so-great leaders? There are many things, but these 12 overlooked practices stand out to me as often-missed qualities and characteristics of the best leaders I know.
The longest string of dependent, non-compressible tasks is the critical path. Every complicated project is the same.
Someone asked me the other day what my advice would be to young leaders. Then they followed it up with this: "and if it could be just one piece of advice.
Leadership is always a temporary assignment—always. It is a temporary assignment because leaders do not ultimately own the teams, ministries, or organizations that they lead.
When was the last time someone asked you, “How is your ministry going?” The most common answer people give to that question is something like ‘fine’, ‘busy’, or ‘growing’. Those answers are OK, but they really don’t provide much insight.
In this volatile world the old model of process innovation needs a new framework. It isn’t in sync with the way our minds work, which brain research tells us is more serendipitous than linear.
In leadership, you always face your share of critics. Everyone has an opinion, and if you’re like me, you can get focused on keeping people happy, which is always a critical leadership mistake.
Balancing conflict is inevitable. Most of the time, I find that I am either coming out of conflict, in the midst of it, or heading back into the storm of a new one.
Solving a difficult ministry challenge requires imagination, focus, endurance, and a tolerance for failure, to name but a few key ingredients. However, the real secret behind delivering world-class ministry innovation actually depends on what we lack rather than what we have.
Church movements are tricky things, but the phrase has never been more popular. People keep referring to themselves as “a movement for global change” or “a church planting movement.
We all have motivations that get us out of bed in the morning. And, we all have a wide array of forces that impact our sense of identity as it relates to work.
As a leader, where should the majority of your focus be? Should you be focused on the crowd or on a smaller group of people? As you read through the gospels, you find Jesus being incredibly intentional with His disciples and intensely focused on their development. Jesus was focused on a few, for the blessing of the many.
A church split, a failed leader, changing economics or an aging congregation, there are many reasons for a church to be struggling and in decline. In fact, of the approximately 350,000 churches in the U.
Failure’s just another word for something else to learn. Failure is the gift that keeps on giving – if you’re realistic, humble, and honest enough to address it.
Baseball is the Greatest American Sport. Those who moan about the slow pace or belittle the idea of hitting a 3” diameter sphere hurled at speeds of up to 100 miles-per-hour do not understand the nuance, strategy and simple beauty of The Game.
One of the dangers of a growing organization or ministry is the temptation to quickly bring people on to the team to meet the demands of the growth. Of course, there is nothing wrong with desiring to scale the team.
Leaders must shift from the proverbial burning platform to a burning ambition, and get underneath organizational reasons for change to make the journey personal. There are thousands of books presenting dozens of lists on the attributes of great leaders.
Summer scatters your congregation and is typically a season of lessened activity, with groups on hiatus or a simplified service schedule. Most leaders surrender to the summer and count on one to two weeks of furious activity in late August to prepare their leaders for the high-impact season of ministry in the fall.
In his classic book Spiritual Leadership, Oswald Sanders lists courage along with humility, sincerity, and integrity as essential qualities for leaders. He writes, “Leadership always faces natural human inertia and opposition.
Titles are a great way to organize our world and feel good about one’s self. I am a barista.
Last week I gave a sketch of the Eisenhower Matrix, which has challenged leaders to focus on the most important things and to not allow the urgent to dominate and derail them. As a reminder, here is a sketch of the matrix: While many leaders have been served well with the thinking behind the framework, as Christians we must view the matrix through the lens of our faith.
Determining the effectiveness of a pastor is a highly subjective exercise. While certain metrics may prove helpful, they do not tell the whole story.
There will be a whole new set of leaders in your organization in the next few years. The leaders of today will be long forgotten.
Dwight Eisenhower is noted as saying, “What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important. ” He is credited with the quote because of his emphasis on planning and strategy.
Find yourself becoming a little more cynical every year as a leader? Few of us decide we’re going to be cynical…we just kind of end up there. How does that happen? How does a heart grow hard? How do you end up trusting no one? How does hope die? Cynicism grows in the hearts of far too many leaders.
At LifeWay Research, we are passionate about the state of the church. It is the focus of the vast majority of our work.
“Planning takes too long. Let’s just get started.
Leadership is a journey…a journey that’s probably different than you thought it would be before you stepped into leadership. When I was young, I always thought leaders had it all figured out.
There are seasons in your ministry when you can feel momentum happening … it seems like things are just flowing a little easier and the energy of the church is pushing the ministry forward. I’ve lead in ministries where the momentum is tangible … every step does seem to be easier than the one before.
Why can’t you stop procrastinating? Why can’t you get more done? Why isn’t your inbox under control? Carson Tate, expert on workplace productivity and founder of Working Simply, believes that the problem is not you. It is how you are trying to overcome your busyness that is the problem.
As I pulled into the parking lot, the temperature on my dashboard read negative twelve degrees. And there he was… standing there waving.
Healthy churches have many points of tension. For example, churches grow by adding new believers.
So are the Pharisees running your church? Interesting question. How would you know? And perhaps, more appropriately, how would you know if that was you? You could argue that the since the religious leaders nailed Jesus to the cross, there’s no way you would have done that.
Lyle E. Schaller, one of the greatest voices of the American Church since the late 1960s, passed away on March 18 at age 91.
When was the last time you took team members from your church to visit another church? Whether it’s across town or across the country, a well-planned visit to another church can make an impact on your team like nothing else. Here are some reasons I think you should “get outta here!” and go to another church soon! Conference Speakers Oversimplify // I coach and speak at conferences, and I’m confessing that everyone who speaks in those contexts makes it sound way easier that it actually is.
What makes a successful leader successful? And—here’s the next question— could you adopt any of their characteristics to help you become a more effective leader? Sometimes it’s easy to think that some people were just ‘born’ successful or that they ‘have it’ and you don’t. For sure, some people are gifted communicators, visionaries or organizational wizards who seem to naturally know how to lead churches and organizations.
Ultimately, leadership is about turning a vision into reality; it’s about producing real results in the real world. And that is only done through people doing what it takes to make it happen.
Amazon continues to be a force in our culture. In the run up to to Christmas 2014 they sold 426 items per second! I just finished reading Brad Stone’s fascinating study of Amazon called The Everything Store.
Leaders in all sizes and types of organizations often face negative feedback and criticism – and many have problems dealing with it. Maybe it’s time to blow criticism away with “TNT”.
Culture transformation is an advanced leadership skill. The primary way to change a culture is to use your conversational intelligence to create an environment that infuses energy and commitment into relationships, teams and the whole organization.
The demanding pace for leaders has never been more challenging. Digitally connected every moment, we are increasingly tied to a 24-hour global clock.
Recently I watched a NSFW video of University of Alabama Birmingham football players after receiving news of the dissolution of their program. Although the original announcement was not in the clip, based on the player response filmed… their own important, personal and emotional decisions to play ball at UAB felt overlooked and thrown to the side because “the numbers do not work.
There is no growth without change. And there is no change without loss.
If influencing others is a key component of leadership, then Christian leadership will be about influencing people spiritually, leading them in a direction that helps them become more like Christ. I’ve always liked Henry and Richard Blackaby’s definition of spiritual leadership: “The spiritual leader’s task is to move people from where they are to where God wants them to be.
The best leaders make us feel unsure of ourselves. They help us recognize that what we think is true, is not.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges leaders in growing churches face is the sense of failing to meet expectations, particularly of some who were in the church when the church was not as large as she currently is. Here are a couple of examples from recent conversations with church leaders: Example A: Some members of a church of 2,100 in attendance expect the senior pastor to visit them if they are in the hospital.
I see it almost everywhere I work with leadership teams. Let me tell you what it is and what you should be doing differently.
So you walk into a co-worker’s office to open up about something that’s bothering you. Two minutes into the conversation all you start hearing from your colleague are phrases like: It’s not that bad Why don’t you just try X? Compared to what Josh is going through, that’s nothing.
Fifty years ago, many churches had signs posted within the building showing weekly numbers on them: worship service attendance, Sunday School attendance, offering total, and even how many people brought their Bibles. We live in a different age now.
Often in church leadership we get so busy working “in the church” that it becomes harder to work “on the church”. We’re focused on making weekends happen and caring for people that we lose perspective on whether we’re seeing a difference in our community.
I don’t think my pastor understands what I do or believes my work and ministry matter. This oft-repeated, sad comment reveals bad theology and, more sadly, the neglect of church leaders.
The following four sins are excerpted from a TeamUp tool that helps your team engage key concepts for emerging church leaders around Steve Saccone’s book, Protege. You can download the TeamUp tool here.
They are in every church. They are critics.
What would happen if the Christ Centered leaders in your church began to pour into and develop new leaders? The impact on your church and community could be massive. You can’t argue with the power of multiplication.
There is only one kind of leader. "Sinful.
Jony Ive is the senior vice president of design at Apple and is known as the great design mind behind the products at Apple. In a rare interview, Jony shares some lessons he learned from working with Steve Jobs.
I speak about change regularly. And you deal with change almost every week, if not every day.
Leadership has become the hottest topic among growing church leaders these days. And I think for good reason.
Do you think it’s easier handling success or failure? Thomas Caryle once said, “For every one hundred people who can handle adversity there is only one who can handle prosperity. ” I think most people can’t handle being at the top.
I was honored to discuss leadership on a panel at the Southern Baptist Pastors Conference with Greg Matte, Rodney Woo, and Jack Graham. People submitted questions beforehand, and one of the questions that Pastor Greg sent my way was “What are the most common mistakes pastors make?” Here are three: 1.
Have you ever been a part of a good church? How about a great one? Still even better, have you been on a run when you experienced a unique anointing from God? I know when you begin to differentiate between good, great, and anointed you can get on sketchy ground when it comes to churches. Nevertheless, I have definitely experienced some leadership intangibles that are rather consistent, and I would like to pass them on to you.
I run into overworked pastors every week. In this second post of a series reflecting on the book, Essentialism, by Greg McKeown for the benefit of church leaders , I want to explore the reality that you are bombarded with the “trivial many” every day in ministry.
So…have you got the right team? I hear from leaders all the time who say things like: I feel like we just don’t have the right leaders in place. I’ve got a vision, but I just can’t get it past my team.
Seth Godin is an American author, entrepreneur, marketer and public speaker. Over the years I’ve been inspired, challenged and shaped by Seth’s approach to communications and marketing.
If you’ve ever been to Israel, you know there’s a real contrast between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. The Sea of Galilee is full of water and full of life.
Living your mission each day requires an emotional, daily connection to one core or essential idea. That one thing applies to your life, family, church and vocation.
The leader in trouble is not the one who doesn’t have all the answers; it is the one who doesn’t know the right questions. As a young leader I craved answers.
You’re probably trying to change something right now. And — if you’re honest — you’ve already thought about backing off.
We all want to live with purpose. One of my very short-term mentors is Kevin McCarthy.
It’s impossible to have a healthy church that experiences multi-dimensional growth without trusting people enough to delegate leadership to them. Having said that, this remains one of the greatest bottlenecks to growth for thousands of churches.
The meaning of “slump” is more evident in sports. When a baseball player, for example, is in a slump, we surmise that he is not hitting as well as he was earlier in the season.
I’d like to introduce you to Generation Z. I know, some of you are still trying to catch up with Busters, or Generation X, or whatever we called whoever followed the Boomers.
Mistakes are most often made when hiring is based on surface characteristics like stage ability, resume experience or fashion sense, rather than on the foundation of church culture. Your values define your church’s culture.
When was the last time you had meaningful time alone? No meetings, no appointments. No phone buzzing.
It is better for denomination or network leaders to be prepared to respond to dying churches rather than to react to the despair of confused churchless members as churches move toward closure. Many churches will reach the end of their life cycle without making the necessary moves to experience real change.
Suppose you’re invited to participate in a brainstorming session. The facilitator says that “every idea counts” and invites you to propose as many ideas as you can in the next 15 minutes.
I recently got to know David Middlebrook of the Church Law Group. My eyes were reopened to the scope of legal implications for the church.
Winston Churchill was an amazing leader, diplomat, and politician. One of the most notable parts of his legacy, however, is his collection of inspiring, and often humorous, quotations.
Have you ever thought that leadership is a lot like a train? Here’s how leadership and growth expert Kirk Dando thinks of it: The cars sitting on the tracks are loaded with different but valuable cargo (like team members: They’re all different but collectively valuable); they have a destination (the vision, measurable goals and expected time frames for arrival at the goals); and they have a route to follow (the mission and strategic plan). But they do not have a way of getting anywhere on their own.
The question of key donors always comes up wherever I speak, teach, or coach on stewardship. It typically revolves around a few topics like these: what should and shouldn’t a pastor know about donations and issues of favoritism.
“Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most out of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). It’s that time of year again.
Organizations everywhere are struggling to keep up with the accelerating pace of change—let alone get ahead of it. Most people don’t feel the full rush going on around them, which is a part of the problem.
I often see leaders with radically different size visions, despite having a lot in common. Pastors may have the same gifting, the same budget and the same amount of people attending worship services and yet still be on entirely different vision wavelengths.
Seth Godin delivers a simple, but profound anatomy lesson for your church: Most organizations are built around three anatomical concepts: Bone, muscle and soft tissue. The bones are the conceptual skeleton, the people who stand for something, who have been around, have a mission and don't bend easily, even if there's an apparently justifiable no-one-is-watching shortcut at hand.
On September 27, 1905 an obscure clerk in the Swiss Patent Office published an article that changed the world. Although few of us can explain the premise of the article we all recognize the clerk’s revolutionary equation, E = mc2.
We live in a time of brutal competition. Fickle consumer trends, friction-free markets, and political unrest threaten the existence of many organizations.
If you want to experience an “aha” moment about revitalizing churches, this research may be the near the top. Most of you have heard the dire information and statistics about congregations in North America.
Churches should be run by teams of volunteers—those committed to work together for the cause of Christ, serving one another and the world, because they have been gifted and called to do so. Yet, this is an ongoing struggle for many churches.
For the last three years, I’ve served as a bivocational pastor with The Fellowship. Over a year ago, I also joined our body of Elders to serve alongside the men who give strategic and missional leadership to our church family.
Our family project for the summer revolved around the first-ever backyard garden. Neither my wife nor I profess to have a green thumb, in fact we can kill aloe plants in our family… and those things grow in the desert.
Recently I had several pastors step into the ranks of being committed to providing ongoing discipleship to key donors. It began during the planning phase of a capital campaign which laid the foundation for a long term fruitful ministry.
When you come across a young leader who shows great potential, it’s easy to see them for what they could be. We imagine what a great communicator they’re going to be, we envision the influence they’re going to have with our team, we anticipate how they’re going to take on significant responsibility.
Netflix and other on-demand video providers, have already changed the culture more than you think. And they’ve probably changed you more than you think.
With the beginning of fall, ministry at most churches kicks into high gear. This is a common rhythm of church life.
Look at leadership development and you see the focus of most conferences and materials is on leaders at the top, or leaders on the front line. This is great – I love to work with senior-level teams and leaders, and have spent decades training volunteer group and team leaders for churches and businesses.
You spend a lot of your time trying to grow your ministry. When it comes to the mission of the church, it seems almost unthinkable to reach fewer people.
The quickest way to destroy a team is to burn them out. And you don’t have to look around the field of ministry very long to realize that the ministry is filled with burned out leaders.
The engine for your vision is your leadership. Period.
A church's functional style, its strengths and weaknesses, and the roles of its lay and staff leaders will change dramatically as its size changes. One of the most common reasons for pastoral leadership mistakes is blindness to the significance of church size.
It only takes a 30-second internet search to find blog after blog listing the top 10 things your church must do to be successful, transform lives, and generally be a wonderful, fantastic place. The myriad of blogs on the subject are both helpful and informative.
News stories tend to focus on destructive and tragic events in our culture. Like most major metropolitan areas, the Chicago evening news fills the first ten minutes with murders, fires, accidents and natural disasters.
I remember hearing sports commentators debate the rightness and fairness of Phil Jackson’s admission that he led each of his players differently—that he treated Michael Jordan differently from another player on the team. Some cried foul, insisting that a coach is responsible to ensure equity, and in doing so, each player must be treated the same way.
Are you tired of fighting fires in your organization? Maybe you are putting out too many fires because you are not starting them. That’s right – maybe you need to fight fire with fire.
One of our roles as church leaders is to have our pulse on the shifting cultural around us so we can serve our community better. We need understand the times so we can have clarity on what actions we should be taking as a church.
Working in ministry can be the most fulfilling and challenging thing that someone can do with his or her life. Every year thousands of people answer the call to be a full-time minister, yet all too often, they find themselves struggling with burnout and considering a career change.
In spite of all the hype about the 2013 George Clooney/Sandra Bullock movie Gravity, my expectations were rather low. I was wrong.
One of the great frustrations in organizations are leaders whoose enthusiasm to make a project happen overrides their patience. Great things take time, and it doesn’t help to push your team to the point of damaging the outcome.
So you want to claim the title of “excellence” in your personal and professional life? Or are you a leader of an organization or manager of a department and you want to be seen as best of class, at the top of your game? In short, you desire a score of a ten out of ten in all that you do. Neither the silver nor bronze will do.
I don’t read a few books, I read the library. – Thomas Edison Today is a great day to sign up for SUMS - Auxano's free leadership book summaries for church leaders.
I completely agree with Bill Hybels. The best thing you can bring to your team as a leader is your energy.
You can't see what you can't see. I drive a Toyota Avalon and it's a nice car.
See if this sounds familiar. You’re trying to focus on a task at work, but It just won’t leave you alone.
Consider the talents of the following two groups who were asked these three questions: How many of you are good singers? How many of you are good dancers? How many of you are good artists? About 2 percent of the first group responded positively to each of these three questions. That’s a typical response of most leadership teams.
Hulu, iPhone, and Prius didn’t come to market because their creators asked status quo questions. They didn’t happen because somebody began a meeting with “Who has an idea for improving the industry?” or “How are we going to increase sales?” Those innovations exist because disruptive, transformative, even uncomfortable questions without easy answers were asked.
I’ve had the privilege of seeing a lot of multisite campuses over the last 10+ years of leading in multisite churches. During that time I’ve had the opportunity to see dozens of Campus Pastors up close as they lead their locations.
You’re spending time, money and man power trying to develop leaders in your organization but your leadership pipeline remains dry and devoid of any new potential leaders. Why aren’t you getting the results you want? Here are five potential problems you should consider as you evaluate your efforts.
My heart broke recently as I watched pastor Ron Carpenter pour out his heart in his weekend message to his congregation. It was a gut wrenching experience as he shared with his church the devastating pain his family has endured over the past ten years, and the incredibly difficult future they now face.
My friend, Rob Wegner, announced to our church in September that he is leaving. Nineteen years ago when I joined the staff at Granger, a new church meeting in a movie theater and averaging less than 300 each weekend, there were only five people on staff.
Local church ministry can be thrilling, even addictive. Seeing the Lord transform lives and bring people into a relationship with Himself provides a buzz that nothing in this world can provide.
Todd Henry, founder of the Accidental Creative consultancy and author of the books Accidental Creative and Die Empty, wants us to redefine work: Work is any way in which you contribute value to the world using your available resources. Your body of work comprises the sum total of where you choose to place your limited focus, assets, time and energy.
If you’re like me, you like to track with people who are ahead of you in age and stage, and probably ahead of you in their level of ‘success’. Chances are you do this in real life (I hope you have mentors) but you also do this online.
Disclaimer: I’m not a certified church growth expert. I’ve not written a book on growing churches, nor do I pastor a large church that’s had a ton of numerical growth.
I remember the first time I heard of IDEO - a famous firm that seemingly few have heard about – a company that helps others innovate. It was at a company meeting with Fellowship Technologies where CEO Jeff Hook was inspiring us to help innovate in the church market.
When we talk about things like disruption and radical innovation, and innovation tools and processes, it’s easy to forget that people drive innovation. But if innovation is a process (and it is), it is surely a people-centric process.
I’ve written on burnout (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 & also this one) and volunteer issues before, but the key to avoiding those issues is right-fitting volunteers and placing safe boundaries around their workload. In my experience, there are three parts (Recruit, Train, Retain) to this process, so I’ve included my 7 Steps of Recruiting, Training and Retaining Volunteers.
The problem with goals is that most of them are too big, and they take a long time, and that requires work. That’s also what makes them worthwhile! But on a day-to-day basis, you need to figure out how to build the habits that will eventually get you to your goals.
According to Seth Godin, there are three paths to choose from when dealing with the future. .
Here are two words that you do not expect to read in a single phrase: “ruthless” and “calendaring. ” But, I hope that by the end of this post, I will have made them make sense together for 2014.
If we want to be more creative, if we want our organizations to be more innovative, then we have to learn from organizations and individuals who are rewriting the myths of creativity. David Burkus, professor of management at Oral Roberts University and a researcher on leadership, innovation, and strategy, has conducted studies into how individuals and organizations approach the creative process, The research by Burkus found ten myths widespread in the modern world relating to creativity and innovation.
All people everywhere possess a natural, inherent bias in favor of status quo. We resist change, and prefer keeping things just as they are because change involves risk and stress (even good change, or change from worse to better), and we are naturally wired to reduce risk and stress wherever and whenever we can.
How do you know if you might make a good church planter? There are great online tools to help determine your readiness to plant and every church planting network and denomination has some form of formal assessment, if you feel called to plant that’s where you should start. But what if you don’t know if you’re called? What if you just kind of wonder if planting a church (or helping plant a church) might be in your future? Here are eight traits based on eight biblical characters that might indicate you have the stuff to start a church from scratch.
Want to learn what it takes to lead and develop a team? Or steer change? Persuade your peers? Manage a problem employee? "Then do it," says CCL's Cindy McCauley. "You will broaden and deepen your leadership capabilities as you do leadership work.
Today, I’m excited to welcome Barnabas Piper. Barnabas writes weekly for Worldmag.
I love New Years. Its an annual opportunity to hit the reset button, to explore who we could be, to dream about a better future.
In my earlier post last week, I offered the first seven of fourteen predictions for American churches for 2014. I must admit I am concerned about my focus on American congregations when so much is taking place in churches around the world.
Predicting is as much of an art as it is a science. And if any prognosticator is honest, he or she will tell you that they don’t always get it right.
Recently I had the opportunity to teach at Exponential West. There were leaders from all over the country, churches small and large, and we talked about how to build a great team, and then how to keep a great team by paying attention to culture.
Sequencing matters. Service matters.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that many naturally wired leaders and driven types rise to the helm of our churches. Each one is following the call of God in their lives and comes with a mixed bag of healthy leadership traits and “type-A” hang-ups.
For each of us, there are unique, everyday distractions that call us away from being here—now: The temptation to linger in the past or to hope for a better future; the alluring eyes of a coworker who appreciates you more than your spouse does. And every time we are lulled away from our lives and distanced from the moment, we lose something of ourselves and our purpose.
Start Your Journey Before You See the End The resistance wants to be reassured. It wants a testable plan.
Can there be change without pain? The answer, of course, is, "No. " (Ok, so this may be the shortest blog post ever.
A strategic challenge is a leadership challenge — and one that top-level managers and executives can't ignore. Studies suggest that the ability to lead strategically is essential for success in senior roles, and in a way that is different from other management levels - CCL's Stephanie Trovas.
There are many systems in place at churches of every size, location & style; most are borne out of necessity, but some are adopted because they’ve been seen at work in other churches. While the list of church systems could be exhaustive, I’ve come to define them into three distinct but important categories.
I used to think that running an organization was equivalent to conducting a symphony orchestra. But I don’t think that’s quite it; it’s more like jazz.
Relationships break down for a variety of reasons, but some feuds and fights could easily be prevented if, during the initial stages of conflict, disagreements were handled wisely. Relationships are more likely preserved when people on both sides recognize the different ways that people go about managing and resolving conflict.
You often hear people talk about how we need to lead like Jesus. I completely agree.
The weight of being a pastor can feel unbearable. Many pastors lose sleep over the anxiety of preparing an engaging sermon for Sunday, being accessible to their congregation, and trying not to neglect their family.
Not long ago CEO Ron Johnson was fired from JC Penney. Brad Tuttle, who covers business and personal finance for TIME believes there were 5 main reasons.
Leaders don't always finish well or finish what they start. Leadership development sustainability isn't easy.
The caliber of your church staff is crucial to the long-term health of your church. Honing your ability as a leader and your church staff's ability to operate as a high functioning team takes work, but the payoff will prove beneficial for the development of your church's community.
The Problem: Excess Everything Our organizations are more complicated and difficult to manage than ever. Our economy is more uncertain than ever.
Have you ever been to the circus and wondered how one small rope tied around the leg of a huge elephant can keep it from moving? When elephants are young, their handlers use the same size rope tied to their leg, with the other end tied to a rod buried deep in the ground. At that age, since they are still small, it’s enough to hold them.
Turnover in churches is high right now. Senior Pastors are retiring as baby boomers age, and the wave is only going to grow.
One of the things young leaders are often unprepared for is the amount of criticism they will face. Their enthusiasm and optimism lead them to believe everyone will be just as excited and committed to their mission as they are.
The number of failed church plants in the Denver area over the past decade is staggering. Depending on which organization you talk to the number is dozens to hundreds.
Why is it so hard for organizations to understand what Tony Hsieh did with customer service at Zappo's? Instead of measuring the call center on calls answered per minute, he insisted that the operators be trained and rewarded to take their time and actually be human, to connect and make a difference instead of merely processing the incoming. People hear this, see the billion dollars in goodwill that was created, nod their heads and then go back to running an efficient call center.
I’ve been involved in a lot of “new things” in my church leadership life over the years. In fact, I’ve seem to have a track record of being on the front end of new projects all the time.
Some years ago, I watched an unforgettable documentary on TV. Michael Weisser and Larry Trapp lived in the same town, outside of Lincoln, Nebraska in the early 1990s.
Almost anytime I mention numbers related to church life, I anticipate some responses about the value of numbers and congregations. In the 1980s, this type of discussion came primarily from more liberal churches that weren’t growing.
Millions of high school and college students have just graduated nationwide. Today’s grads are part of the Millennial Generation.
Watching a leadership team come together can either be highly frustrating or highly energizing. Of course, all leaders prefer the latter.
Effective leaders shoulder a lot of responsibility. They are responsible to shareholders for financial results.
I still love to hold a book in my hands, mark it up and get it a little dog-eared. I like to hold a pen in my hand and write, that tactile experience helps my creative juices flow.
I’ve posted about SIDEWAYS ENERGY before, but I wanted to bring this topic back up. Are you busy but not intentional? Do you feel like you are just spinning your wheels and not getting any traction? Does there seem to be a lack of any kind of momentum in your organization? Could be you are dealing with way too much “sideways energy.
Spiritual leaders are the carriers of God ’s DNA in the church, the shapers of a church ’s vision and core values. They are influencers of what the church embodies.
At a recent conference the three of us on the panel (all pastors) were asked the question, “As a layperson, should I start a grassroots movement to change my church?” All three of us basically said, “No. ” Following the conference I got a long and heated email from someone who was very upset with my answer.
Dwight Towers wrote a post last week reminding us that a lot of people have their ideas rejected not because everyone else is stupid, but because their ideas aren’t actually very good. He was basically taking on the commonly used Galileo’s Gambit, which goes like this: They made fun of Galileo, and he was right.
In a previous post, I discussed why people in the church resist change. If you lead well, then resistance to change will eventually shift to an acceptance of the necessity of change.
We want to introduce everyone on The Vision Room to SUMS. These are FREE book summaries from authors like Dr.
“It’s my first week, what should I change here?” Perhaps new pastors don’t vocalize the question, but I know they think it. At least, I don’t believe I’m the only one.
This is the golden age of "The Conference. " It seems like there is a new conference every week.
Collaborative teams represented a crucial driver of Thomas Edison’s legendary innovation success. Although we often envision Edison as a ‘lone wolf’ who generated innovation breakthroughs by closeting himself in an attic or remote laboratory cubicle, in fact his innovations embraced the work of small, diverse teams collaborating in vibrant environments.
As organizations and individuals succeed, it gets more difficult to innovate. There are issues of coordination, sure, but mostly it's about fear.
Many of us act as though we all see the same reality, yet the truth is we don't. Human Beings have cognitive biases or blind spots.
Here are 10 specific challenges I would recommend you make to your team. Challenges to put in place and act out on a regular basis.
What does it take for an organization to set and execute strategy in a complex and interdependent world? Collaborative work across boundaries is increasingly seen as a requirement — but collaboration in most organizations is not a natural act. A shift in thinking, alongside a change in behaviors, is usually needed for genuinely collaborative work.
Encountering an Air Sandwich I was teaching an executive education class recently when I saw a textbook example of an "air sandwich. " If you're not familiar with the term, here’s how Nilofer Merchant describes it: An Air Sandwich is a strategy that has clear vision and future direction on the top layer, day-to-day action on the bottom, and virtually nothing in the middle—no meaty key decisions that connect the two layers, no rich chewy filling to align the new direction with new actions within the company.
Chances are your church is looking for more leaders to serve within various ministries. Whether your kids ministry needs some more coaches to motivate the teams … or your small group ministry is needs some great new leaders … or maybe even your weekend services needs some support to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
There is a bullish, uncompromising law that you cannot ignore as you consider building a leadership development culture: The values of the leader become the values of the organization. Now, I’m not necessarily talking about the values that are posted in the hallway by the water cooler, but the values the leader lives out on a day in day out basis.
Sara Miller Caldicott, great grandniece of Thomas Edison and author of the new book Midnight Lunch, has translated Edison’s world-changing innovation methods for use in the 21st century. Here are some of her thoughts on collaboration: True collaboration embraces: A discovery learning mindset versus a pure task orientation A belief in anticipating and creating rather than merely reacting and responding Presence of inspiration across multiple facets of both individual and team endeavors Coherence of purpose A dedication to elevating the performance of every team member Connections to human and social networks of influence Do these qualities sound different from the ones valued by your team? Do they draw upon ideas that feel new or seem broader than your current concept of what teamwork embraces? Based on experience, the answer would be yes.
Effective church leaders are excellent volunteer managers. Managing your volunteer teams within your church is a nuanced and mysterious journey … It’s not always obvious what it takes to lead them well! Here are 5 truths that I’ve found that weren’t obvious when I first start leading in church! Volunteers are Donors // In a very real way volunteers are paying us to create a positive service environment for them.
In the past I have blogged about the idea that good things can come from bad situations, when those situations force us to do something good we normally wouldn’t do. Whether it’s laziness or lack of motivation, our intentions are better than our actions.
Every leader faces pressure. How you handle that pressure matters.
What’s stopping you? Are there barriers blocking the path to your dream? What’s hindering the forward progress of your mission? What’s deterring the realization of your vision? And more importantly what’s your attitude about your situation? Your whole attitude can be transformed when you recognize that obstacles can be open doors for innovation and greater impact. Pause, and ask yourself a few important questions and see if you gain a new perspective.
On my blog yesterday, I looked at seemingly ordinary people who had become good or great leaders despite limitations of intellect or circumstances. Here is how I introduced that blog: I recently compiled a list of good leaders (a few I would characterize as great leaders) who, by most definitions, are common, ordinary people.
The literature on leadership can be discouraging. After reading multiple case studies, theories, and biographies, one can be left with the impression that good leadership is next to impossible.
Struggle is a part of any human endeavor and leadership is no different. The problem is we view struggle as a negative.
What may be emerging is a new role in the church: pastor of innovation. (Granted this may not become mainstream where every church would have one, since most churches have more pressing operational day-to-day needs.
Have you been keeping up with demographics? Almost half the world’s population is 25 and under. That’s about three billion young people.
Congratulations! You made it! You're the new leader. Now what? I know you're supposed to always look like you know what you're doing but -- truth be told -- new leaders often don't even know where to start.
Leadership literature is chock-full of ways in which an average leader can become great. We all believe we’re good.
In organizations, it is the culture that provides the beat. This means that the same idea will perform differently in different organizations, even if nearly everything around it appears to be the same.
Marketing is about change--changing people's actions, perceptions or the conversation. Successful change is almost always specific, not general.
Moses and Joshua enjoyed a very special relationship. Moses poured his life into Joshua, entrusted Joshua with responsibility, and prepared him for service.
Whenever I talk about reading I try to throw in a lot of disclaimers. Reading is my “thing.
Collaboration is an important part of innovation. The days of the lone genius are gone (if they ever really existed at all) – now, it takes a network to innovate.
We get asked all the time about how we come up with new and fresh ideas for Catalyst. It’s a pretty simple process that has proven to be effective.
I was talking with a young hurting pastor recently. He resigned after several years of trying to turn around a dying church into a healthy church.
Providing leadership in a church setting always necessitates change. Change implies something is going to be different in the future.
Different than a bureaucracy, an adhocracy is a theory of organizational management within which functions, groups, and structures within organizations cut across traditionally defined lines and defy standard bureaucratic constructs. At the risk of sounding like I’m describing organizational anarchy (I’m not), it’s a philosophy that has some pretty attractive-sounding tenets, at least when those tenets are reasonably applied to certain scenarios.
It's never too early to learn leadership, according to a CCL survey. Fully 90 percent of respondents believe leadership development should start before age 18 — and certainly should be part of early-career learning.
There’s always a bit of risk involved in handing off ministry batons of various sorts. In everything from equipping and launching guys to take over Sunday gathering set-up, to music, to home groups, and evangelism, no baton-passing is hazard-free.
Last week I discussed how to identify current and future leaders inside your company. The tactics include observing colleague interactions and basic skill testing (but I encourage you to read the details if you haven’t yet.
One of the consistent struggles we hear from organizations is how to identify and train current and future leaders. It’s such an important topic that I’m splitting it into two posts, the first is how you can identify leaders, and the second is how to train and keep the leaders you identify.
As a leader if you are not devoting your time to people issues, you’re missing the big picture. Amy Lyman, author of The Trustworthy Leader, was once asked what could you do if you only had five minutes a day to devote to people issues? It is a stunning question on its face but reveals something deeper.
When someone first steps into leadership what should they focus on learning? There are dozens of possibilities. As a mentor I don’t want to frustrate a new leader by having them focus on things that are too advanced or even too simple.
Does the established nature of some churches hinder innovation? Is an established structure antithetical to quick, nimble changes? For most established churches, yes, but it does not mean established churches cannot innovate. A church plant is an innovation.
Are the young leaders in your organization getting the reps they need to truly sharpen their leadership skills? Coaches understand the importance of their players getting reps in practice. In baseball each player gets time in the batting cage to get swings at the plate.
What are the connections between these three things? First: Comics – the magic happens in the gaps between panels In his terrific book Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud explains that comics are special because all of the real action occurs in the gaps between panels – this is the part that readers fill in using their imagination. A huge amount of effort and creativity goes into making the comic, but then the reader finishes the story in her head.
Numerous articles have been written about questions a pastor should ask before going to a new church. After listening to hundreds of pastors, I have developed my own list of major issues that a pastor should consider.
I was recently in a meeting discussing the future of an evangelical movement. The person I was with shared a great challenge-- one of the most prominent leaders of their movement was not finishing well, making it hard for the movement to envision a successful future.
One of the things that a few church leaders have questioned me about recently is my repetitiveness in regards to saying "the best is yet to come," or that the next Sunday or event is going to be "the best ever!" Honestly, I'm glad people have talked with me about it because it has allowed me to reflect on why I am always saying those things. There are several reasons.
According to Sarah Miller Caldicott, great grand niece of Thomas Edison, Edison viewed true collaboration as a value creation continuum. If one were to find a single notebook entry capturing Edison’s definition of true collaboration, Caldicott believes it would read something like this: Applying discovery learning within a context of complexity, inspired by a common goal or a shared purpose.
Either people are on board with your leadership or not, right? Nope. There are degrees of influence and different types of followers.
Leadership is hard. It’s a lonely role, you face crushing uncertainty with elevated stakes, and you’re expected to deliver not only on your own work, but also to corral the creative minds of others and parade them into the promised land.
Pastors are not managers, at least in a corporate-business-world-publicly-traded-company-sort-of-way. But pastors are shepherds.
Expanding on their name, the Facts and Trends staff is providing a snapshot of current issues, cultural and spiritual beliefs, and church trends. It's also a report of what churches are doing to connect with their communities.
It’s been a brutal period for retail firms since the global financial crisis hit. Despite this, I’ve spoken recently with the CEOs of four different retail firms (Lorna Jane, Unit, Di Bella Coffee and The Cloakroom) that have all more than doubled their sales in that time.
Doug Sundheim’s book, Taking Smart Risks, isn’t really about making your next risky decision smarter or safer; it’s about pushing all of your choices to be riskier, but smarter on a daily basis. We tend to view our choices as risky or safe.
What does it look like when pastors cultivate a culture of generosity in the church by actively teaching and mentoring people in the spiritual act of giving? It's generosity that's contagious. A growing number of leaders are beginning to discover that there are key factors that make some churches thrive with abundant resources while others struggle with shrinking budgets.
I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t have a desire to grow. We know that growth increases our sense of joy and contentment.
4. Elimination: What part could we take out to make it simpler? Software designers who are truly innovative ask this question.
7. Illumination: How can we look at this in a new light? When you’ve been working with something for a while, it’s hard to look at it with fresh eyes.
Great innovations come from great questions. The quality of your ministry will be determined by the kind of questions you have the courage to ask yourself.
At work, we want our jobs, assignments, projects and "stuff" to move along smoothly: achieving objectives, getting promoted, winning contracts. It's almost a twitch reflex to want our jobs to behave themselves.
It was in 1999 when Bobbie and I were given the opportunity to do something - which for us at that time was a bold and innovative step. We were asked to take on the leadership of my parents’ inner-city church in ADDITION to the church we were already pastoring in the Northwest of Sydney - Hillsong Church.
One of the greatest blessings in churches today and throughout history is the number of men and women who gladly and often sacrificially give of their time and energy to do ministry in local congregations. Indeed, churches across the world would not function as they do without the giving spirit of these lay volunteers.
All leaders have ideas, but not all ideas lead to change. What separates the dream from reality? Businessweek recently reported on the history of the bar code.
I had a convicting experience recently. It was one which will actually help me in the current church work I am doing, but also in the future as I implement change.
We know every behavior begins with a thought. So if we want to have lasting change, the beginning point has to be our thinking.
Can we learn to be innovative? What factors allow us to establish a vibrant relationship with the future? Thomas Edison was the most outstanding figure in an era marked by an extraordinary confluence of American innovation – including the work of Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, George Eastman, Harvey Firestone, John D. Rockefeller, George Westinghouse, and Andrew Carnegie – that accelerated America’s leadership in global business.
Many of my articles come from the perspective of pastors. That will not change in the future.
The number one way leaders grow is by listening. Leadership feels like a talking role, but it is predominately a listening role.
Simple is in. Complexity is out.
The interview process can feel daunting and overwhelming. There are many characteristics you want in your next hire, and deciding the best questions to ask in an interview is an art.
A few weeks ago, the BBC asked me to come in for a radio interview. They told me they wanted to talk about effective leadership — China had just elevated Xi Jinping to the role of Communist Party leader; General David Petraeus had stepped down from his post at the CIA a few days earlier; the BBC itself was wading through a leadership scandal of its own — but the conversation quickly veered, as these things often do, into a discussion about how individuals can keep large, complex, unwieldy organizations operating reliably and efficiently.
For the past four decades the number of executive pastors has grown across America. Before the second half of the twentieth century, the staff position was rare to non-existent.
Almost on a weekly basis I hear from a young pastor who wants to grow as a leader. He feels the pressure placed upon him and knows that others are looking to him to steer the church on a healthy course.
I’m finding more and more pastors who are getting discouraged with the lack of leaders in their leadership pipeline. The problem is serious because if there’s a lack of leaders then the growth of the church will be hindered.
Leading change is difficult work. Helping walk an organization through a transformation effort is a complex thing.
The church needs more homegrown leaders. It’s not a novel plea.
In a previous post, I noted six key issues facing many American congregations. I will discuss seven more issues in this article, and thus provide 13 issues for 2013.
I have reflected over a decade on the question of how visionaries develop. These are some initial thoughts that I want to share with blog readers as I think out loud a bit.
I have a crucial piece of advice for any ministry leader who is seeing God bless them with a current wave of momentum: Make sure your private devotion keeps pace with your ministry momentum. As your ministry gains speed, the demands on you are just going to become greater.
As the new year unfolds, it is always a healthy exercise to look ahead to key opportunities and key challenges. Certainly such an effort is in order for congregations in North America.
A friend who lives and works in another state recently asked me for vocational advice. He is in full-time ministry and is happy and loves the people with which he works.
Your favorite posts on my blog have often come during the New Year window. And I always enjoy creating new content at this time year just for you.
To help take a look back at 2012, we rounded up our most popular features, essays, 99U Conference talks, and tweets. We hope it gives you a chance to discover (and rediscover) content from throughout the year while providing the spark needed to start 2013 off right.
What's the most urgent, important, celebrated element of your organization's work? If it involves the status quo, the thing that got you here, it means the new stuff is going to be treated as a little bit of a sideshow or a distraction. (Another example: The team that typesets traditional books at most publishers is talented and driven.
In 1 Samuel 10 Saul is anointed as King over Israel. As soon as he was anointed as the leader, 5 signs occurred that I see in the leaders of today (or I should say the great anointed leaders of today).
Business, political and religious leaders around the world aren't getting much love these days. A study conducted by Ketchum showed deep dissatisfaction with leaders in "every category of human endeavor.
I love leaders who execute. Leaders who get it done.
If you do not make assumptions about the future, then you are not leading. Good leaders constantly assess the cultural climate.
A deliberate focus on innovation is critical for organizational growth and development. To truly lead innovation, pay special attention to this checklist: Culture that supports innovation.
Change isn't just something that gets pushed upon us. Change is also inspired, explored, embraced and created by leaders.
Still Not Professionals: Ten Pleas for Today's Pastors is a celebration and extension of John Piper's Brothers, We Are Not Professionals. With two brief exhortations from Piper and eight others from veteran pastors, this short ebook aims to strengthen and challenge Christians in general, and pastors in particular, for the labor of everyday life and ministry.
Zig Ziglar died November 28 2012 at the age of 86. He was motivational maven with millions of followers.
How many books are out there that you wish you had time to read? Some church leaders I know keep a list of “must read” books, but they can’t seem to find the time to read them all. Sound familiar? That’s why we created Sums.
If you want to make something new, start with understanding. Understanding what's already present, and understanding the opportunities in what's not.
A great strategy without execution is merely wishful thinking, a dream on paper that is never translated into real life. I have found that many leaders, organizations, and ministries struggle with execution, with actually getting things done.
Winston Churchill famously said, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. ” Execution is the hard work between designing the strategy and the results, the impact.
Great teams are a joy to watch. OKC Thunder, LA Kings, Miami Heat, New England Patriots, and more.
I find that one of the most common missing ingredients in the leaders I work with is adequate training. I don’t mean that they haven’t received adequate training.
Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church gives the following list for leaders who lead people: #1 - A leader cannot effectively lead people that he does not love. #2 - A leader cannot effectively lead people that he does not listen to.
Here’s a quick quiz – see how you do: Do people love change or hate change? Are big companies more innovative or are small ones? Is innovation good or bad? Is growth good or bad? Is Google making is stupid or smart? All five questions have the same answer: both. How did you do? I was struck by the response to my post Actually, People Love Change.
In my role at LifeWay, there are more than 500 employees in the division I am responsible to lead. As we have been looking to bring passionate people to the team who are deeply committed to our mission of serving churches in their mission of making disciples, I have been involved in a lot of interviews.
A few days ago I had a long conversation with a critic of me. Actually, it would be better to say that he is a critic of a decision I made.
I was inspired to post on this topic because I keep reading all of these blogs from pastors called, "I love my church!!" and "I love pastoring!!" and "If I loved my church and loved pastoring any more than I do, my nipples would burst!!" And I think it's cool that they feel that way, but I often don't. Yesterday I explained WHY I pastor anyway, but for me it's not because I get a lot of joy out of it.
In the Bible, the Apostle Paul talked about the "burden" of the church. This week I've been confessing that, while I read lots of blogs where pastors rave about how great pastoring is, and how great their church is, I resonate more with Paul and often find it more of a burden than a joy.
One thing I've noticed in the pastor blogging world is that most rave about how much they love their church, how much they love pastoring, how it's the greatest thing in the world. That is not the case for me.
You can’t wait for permission to innovate – you’ll never get it. You need to start changing things on your own – right now.
When I consider companies like Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon, the one constant I think of is change. Interestingly, after I typed that first sentence, I Googled “Most Innovative Companies” and found Fast’s list for 2012.
I was talking with a young pastor recently. He is battling the leadership of the church to make changes he feels he was called to the church to make, but because they have experienced some difficult years recently, they are resisting any efforts he makes.
Instead of accepting a given constraint, ask whether this is the right problem to be solving. Every parent knows how infuriating 5-year-olds can be with their constantly questioning “Why?” But for design thinkers, asking “Why?” is an opportunity to reframe a problem, redefine the constraints, and open the field to a more innovative answer.
For many years I was a Microsoft devotee. I laughed at all the Apple fanboys to the point that when I met one of Steve Jobs right hand guys I proudly announced, “I’m a PC”.
Most people are born creative. As children, we revel in imaginary play, ask outlandish questions, draw blobs and call them dinosaurs.
A video by IDEO Mananging Director David Kelley on "Developing Creative Confidence As a Leader. To read an accompanying article, go here.
In an age of smart devices and breathtaking changes to familiar business models, innovation continues to magnetize our attention. Every day the business press is packed with information on how to innovate more effectively.
I was enjoying a meal with a well-known Christian leader a few weeks ago. He is a brilliant man who leads a large team of great people.
A few weeks ago, my wife and I found ourselves in need of a new vehicle after our previous one died on us unexpectedly. We immediately started our research online in hopes of purchasing a well kept, used Prius (a vehicle we had hoped to purchase one day given the current gas prices!).
Everywhere you turn, you hear about the great cultures at Apple and Zappos and other organizations on those endless “best places to work” lists — and you’re urged to do what they do. But what about organizational cultures that are irreparably poor? How are leaders supposed to function? A recent blog from Dan McCarthy, a former exec at Paychex and Eastman Kodak, addressed this common reality head-on.
Churches Multiplying Churches LAUNCH helps local churches form area networks to identify, train, and send out new leaders. These cooperative efforts, called Hubs, consist of multiple churches committed to a holistic approach of leadership development.
I’ve been sharing some of the top viewed posts on my blog, and today’s seems especially appropriate as we head into the Christmas season. At our church, we’re expecting thousands of people to make professions of faith in Christ this week in our worship experiences.
Man, I love college football!! It is, by far, my favorite spectator sport. The energy, excitement and yes, even the controversy, is unmatched by any other sport.
When I discovered a new movie on the life of Lincoln was in the works, I was curious to learn more about Lincoln’s administration and his political career. The fhit movie is based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s popular book, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, a masterful telling of Lincoln’s story that follows the lives of each of his cabinet members.
A while back I had to get my drivers license renewed. This meant a trip to the Department of Safety’s Driver Service Center.
Every meeting I facilitate is unique. The primary distinctive of each gathering is not the subject of the engagement but the collective bias of the group.
Auxano is a ministry guided by three values: Clarity First Carnivorous Learning Contagious Passion for the Church, the Bride of Christ Our second value is anchored by the mantra: Lead with questions, not answers. To some degree learning comes natural and is guided by human curiosity.
Leadership might be the most confused term that we use in the body of Christ. We all assume a picture of leadership when we hear the word.
Ron Johnson is not off to a good beginning; the former Apple retail leader is now CEO of JC Penney and the most recent quarterly results are not encouraging. After making wide, sweeping changes, same store sales have dropped 26 percent and stock prices are at a three-year low.
Instead of counting Christians, we need to weigh them. – Dallas Willard Clear vision requires clarity about the results you are after.
If we did the things we were capable of, we would astound ourselves. – Thomas Edison This week I got to check something off my bucket list- a great escape to the island of Santorini, Greece.
Innovators working on solving problems and coming up with creative solutions rely on crafting the right questions. Leaders who are helping others to grow and innovate are always trying to craft the best questions to make a difference.
Can big companies innovate? Of course they can. Even though that question has been getting asked a lot recently, it’s not really a very interesting one.
“Our businesses are more complicated and difficult to manage than ever. Our economy is more uncertain than ever.
Not as catchy a title as Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, but I hope you'll walk through this with me: I can outline a strategy for you, but if you don't have the tactics in place or you're not skilled enough to execute, it won't matter if the strategy is a good one. Your project's success is going to be influenced in large measure by the reputation of the people who join in and the organization that brings it forward.
Perry Noble, the founding and senior pastor of NewSpring Church in South Carolina, offers eight questions that leaders should be asking themselves on a regular basis: #1 - Is there ANYTHING that God is really dealing with me about right now that I am trying to deny? (Denial doesn’t make us a great leader…if God’s pressing in on YOU then He wants YOU to do something. ) #2 - Am I known as the person who sits around and complains about a problem or the one who rolls up his sleeves and dives into how to deal with it? #3 - Would I rather hear about the church down the road having a major win or a major problem? (This reveals our heart!) Read the rest of Perry's list here.
Help! I can’t find enough leaders! I don’t know about you…but that is the most common complaint/concern I hear when I talk with small group champions. And the most common question I hear is “How can I find more leaders?” I’ve written a number of articles in answering that question.
The world is accelerating, and there are more platforms and opportunities for expression than at any point in history. As a result, we often expect more of ourselves and others.
As a church leader, you have a lot of things on your plate. Hopefully, most of it is good stuff.
I recently read a great e-book by Greg Nettle and Alex Absalom titled One Of. In this resource, Greg and Alex unpack the process of moving churches from an attractional model to one which is more missional in the approach to outreach and ministry.
Organization Not Optional Once an idea is recorded, we are now getting into territory where personal preference becomes more of a factor than before. Getting your ideas down isn’t optional.
Yesterday I told you I would be giving you access to my system for recording, cataloging, and implementing my ideas. After writing it out, I’ve decided it’s much too long for one blog post.
I want to give you a simple, high-level leadership question you can ask every day that could significantly enhance the way you lead. This question is for everybody.
Can you remember a time when you were flying in a plane and it made a sudden turn that made you feel scared, helpless, and wondering if you could trust the pilots to get you to your destination safely? Do you remember feeling out of control, as someone else was in charge and your fate was in their hands? Working for an organization, including a church or ministry, is kind of like a plane in flight. The senior leaders are up front getting data from private channels and have a perspective out the windshield that no one else has.
I came across an old file in my desk when I was teaching on change and innovation recently. It was a chapter by Peter Drucker on Entrepreneurship in Service Institutions.
Want a great list of things to discuss in your next team meeting? Take a look at these… #1 - You actually enjoy being around one another instead of trying to find ways to avoid one another. #2 - Truth is spoken IN LOVE and not in a condescending or condemning way.
When it comes to numbers, churches tend to err in one of two ways: they either discount them as unimportant or they put too much emphasis on them. The reality is that numbers are important, and though they aren’t the only sign of a healthy church, they are an important measure.
Leading small is a big deal. When churches (or other organizations) are new and small, we tend to lead small.
The church's new scorecard targets the shift from an internal to an external focus and from program development to people development. Download the full report from Leadership Network here.
From multi-site to multi-ethnic to becoming bigger faster, today's senior pastor faces a changing role as his church grows. Download the full report from Leadership Network here.
When staff costs move beyond half of your church's budget, something gets squeezed out. Discover some ways your church can move toward "lean" staffing - less than 35% of your budget.
Leadership development has always been a concern for churches. But trends today - including multi-site, rapid growth, and reduced staff size - are challenging senior leaders in producing new leaders.
Here are 12 points on the importance and practice of being Authentic as a leader. Authenticity rules.
When many hear the word megachurch, they think of polished productions, big personalities, an expansive building, stellar programs (lots and lots of programs), and crowded parking lots with orange-vested attendants. Maybe a great worship service that leaves you laughing, crying, or both.
#1 The senior pastor has been there for over 10 years and is still preaching over 90% of the time. (No team presence) #2 You could not tell the difference between the worship (music, praise, liturgy) last Sunday and a video of worship 5 years ago.
This lively RSA Animate, adapted from Dan Pink's talk at the RSA, illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates us at home and in the workplace. .
Steve Jobs is among America's greatest business leaders. He transformed industries, changed society, and altered how companies do business.
No man is an island. From time to time, we all find we’ve gone as far as we can go on our own.
It happens to everyone sooner or later. You’re producing great work, everything seems to be running smoothly, and in short – you’re on fire.
Careers have been built on poking fun at meetings. From commercials to comic strips it's no secret that most of us would rather be, you know, working.
The church I served as executive pastor for eight years (Christ Fellowship) graciously gives their pastors a sabbatical. Mine was scheduled for six weeks in the summer of 2010, but I was not quite sure I was going to make it until then.
I left my breakfast meeting with a young pastor and realized, with a measure of sadness, that I was no longer a "young pastor. " He was facing a number of ministry challenges that seemed very familiar to me.
What can you do right away to improve your talent development process? "Help your leaders so they don't screw up performance reviews," advises CCL's Roland Smith. "Teach them how to hold talent conversations with employees.
Learning to be an agile learner takes practice. In a new white paper, Learning About Learning Agility, a team of researchers from the Teachers College, Colombia University, describe the five main facets of learning-agile behavior.
“My happy conviction is that pastors ought not to be experts on everything. ” - John Piper One of the most valuable sentences in a pastor’s arsenal is “I don’t know.
Does your organization stifle creativity even as leaders push for innovation? Have well-meaning efforts to become "more innovative" stalled or fallen short? In a new white paper, "Becoming a Leader Who Fosters Innovation," CCL's David Horth and Jonathan Vehar argue that actively pursuing innovation requires considerable resources and deliberate focus — and that innovation leadership is often missing. In the paper, Horth and Vehar create a picture (and to-do lists) for leaders who seek innovation but have been frustrated by lack of results.
In 2011, a process for clarifying our vision prompted us to ask, “What does the community of Northwest Bible Church uniquely have to offer?” From that question, we gained a greater sense of what we’re about, where God is leading us, how we are to get there, and ways to make sure we’re on the path. And from that process, we also discovered a clearer understanding of what it means to serve as a leader in this community of believers.
Before engaging this post, please know that I want you to reach as many people as possible with the gospel of Jesus for the Glory of God. The challenge is simply a matter of how.
Seth Godin writes with a dash of bravado and his overstatements are both playful and insightful. But on the topic of communication, he delivers what he calls “the essential lesson” and it’s not exaggerated.
Today I want to apply Godin’s perspective about leading a tribe, to Jesus. As we do, I invite you to allow the life of Jesus shape your own identity as a leader.
Here are my three favorite Seth Godin quotes pertaining to tribal passion: “Do you believe in what you do? Every day? It turns out that belief happens to be a brilliant strategy. Can you imagine Steve Jobs showing up for the paycheck? It’s nice to get paid, its essential to believe.
You’ve probably been exposed to Seth Godin’s book, Tribes. But have you integrated his ideas into your thinking and leadership at church? Integrating new learning for me always happens in stages.
Someone once asked “Are you going through life or are you growing through life?” I love that question. Right now I am going through significant transition in how I lead.
You know who they are: the young talents everyone eyes as executive material. But sometimes these high-potential stars derail on their way to the top.
We know that the vast majority of organizational change initiatives fail. Why? The general answer is our resistance to change.
In honor of John Maxwell, who could come up with 1700 leadership laws, here are 17 of mine. 1.
This week I had a chance to share some coaching pointers with some great leaders at the New Thing Network. As the church is changing, so leaders must change and the coaching questions we used to use may not fit the life, tensions, or reality that many leaders now face.
When was the last time you shook up the thinking at your office? If it’s been too long, then maybe it’s time to start thinking the unthinkable, seeing what nobody else can see, and breaking a few rules. We are all creatures of habit, and it usually takes a jolt to shake us out of our rut.
It is easy to see other people making this mistake. It is more difficult to catch yourself doing it.
Since writing Simple Church with my boss Thom Rainer, a common question has been, "How can we eliminate a program or an event?" Those who ask the question often know that a program on their church calendar accomplishes very little for the Kingdom and is not aligned to the mission of their church. But they wrestle with the impact that canceling a program or event will have on the people they serve.
As I was reading the Bible in YouVersion this morning, I was reminded of an article I wrote a few years ago about seeking the counsel of others. I think it’s worth a refresh, so here’s part one of the series.
Here’s what is on my whiteboard right now. I’ve been processing this because my sense is that there’s a lack of clarity about roles within the church.
Often times when it comes to “leadership” we hear the warm and fuzzies or the great success stories. There are so many great books and tools at the disposal of leaders that growth, competency and effective leadership should be inevitable.
Frank J. Barrett, a professor of management and global public policy at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.
Performance within groups typically does not just happen. For a group to really perform well it needs practice.
Every organization must deal with change. The crux of the matter is not if change will take place, but if the organization can lead change rather than just react to it.
I am a month on the job in my new church. It’s been challenging and fun at the same time.
"Laypeople" is a common word we use around churches but I don't like it. The word actually can be applied to any non-professional population as it relates to any profession (doctors, lawyers, etc.
Five years into North Coast Church, Founding and Senior Pastor Larry Osborne realized the programmed discipleship classes his Vista, Calif. , church was teaching weren’t making disciples.
In the past 25 days, I have written five chapters for my first book, which currently stands at 35,554 words of text. This writing has happened around also taking three out-of-town trips, working with clients, writing my newsletter, completing guest posts, giving virtual training courses, keeping in touch with family and friends, and still sleeping an average of 6.
“Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve.
Good leaders create a vision, passionately articulate the vision, and relentlessly drive the vision to completion. ” Before we look at organizational vision, consider the literal example of vision and the human eye.
Twenty-two years ago, when Tim Harlow became the senior pastor of Tinley Park Church of Christ, the following newspaper ad was considered the cutting edge of church marketing. Senior pastors who have been at the same church for any length of time can most likely complete this exercise: Think back through some of the stages of your congregation’s development, and take note of how your role as a senior leader had to shift during those various stages.
A band recently taught me an incredibly simple truth about being awesome. Their name is Seryn and they’re from Denton, TX.
While going through security at the airport the other day, I was reminded of an important design and innovation concept. Things were going smoothly until a bag was flagged during the X-ray procedure.
A couple of years ago Mike Myatt interviewed me and asked some great leadership questions. Not sure how good my answers were, but in any case, you can watch the entire interview here.
Write better rules… That principle came to me recently in a personal illustration. Cheryl and I love to travel, and we have done a lot of it together.
Innovation is about change. Companies that successfully innovate in a repeatable fashion have one thing in common – they are good at managing change.
1969 was a pretty interesting year for the Swiss watch industry. That was the year the Omega Speedmaster became the first watch on the moon.
I am a leader watcher. Indeed I have observed and learned from leaders as far back as my memory takes me.
A study of car accidents by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute put cameras in cars to see what happens right before an accident. They found that in 80% of crashes the driver was distracted during the three seconds preceding the incident.
In business we speak a lot about “innovation” — how to foster it, how to drive it, how to implement it. But what do we mean when we talk about “innovation”? A recent WSJ article broached the subject and, rather accurately in my opinion, revealed what we have all known for some time: even when organizations are not necessarily doing anything groundbreaking or new, they still call it “innovation.
It may seem odd to discuss interdependence when many people are celebrating independence this week on July 4. In leadership, however, independence may be inadvisable.
Great leaders are great listeners, and therefore my message today is a simple one – talk less and listen more. The best leaders are proactive, strategic, and intuitive listeners.
Poorly run meetings start in the wrong place and end up rushed before they’re done. Right place: Leave inconsequential items for the end.
Whether it’s a paid or unpaid position, formal or informal, most churches have a strong leader serving under the lead pastor. In smaller churches, this person can be a prominent lay person.
The following is a brief excerpt from Mike Breen's latest book Multiplying Missional Leaders, which came out at the beginning of May 2012. Imagine that it’s a Tuesday morning, and that the staff of your church has gathered for its weekly staff meeting.
Leadership is one of the most over-used and overwrought topics in Christian ministry today. Yet for all the books, blogs and conferences, there are two staggering realities we must come to grips with: First, while most churches believe they have leadership development programs, in actuality they have programs that recruit and train volunteers.