Five Common Mistakes Made by Leaders When They Speak

Many of the failures in leadership are failures to communicate well. No matter how smart we are or how good our strategies are, they are doomed for failure if no one understands them.

In previous articles, I dealt with poor written grammar, so much so that some of my friends refer to me as “the grammar cop.” In this article, I deal with five of the more common communication mistakes made by leaders when they speak.

  1. Poor grammar. Grammatical mistakes are not limited to written communication. They are much too common when leaders speak as well, including some leaders who are highly educated and in positions of great influence. The most common speaking grammatical error that I have noticed in recent years is the incorrect use of reflexive pronouns. For example the reflexive pronoun “myself” is used improperly in this sentence: “The award was presented to Janice, John, and myself.” The correct pronoun is the non-reflexive “me.”
  2. Too much information. An audience can only absorb a limited number of facts in a given presentation. Some leaders attempt to cover a multitude of items, leaving the hearers bored, confused, and frustrated. Speak to the essential issues and provide supplementary written material if necessary.
  3. Too many visuals. PowerPoint and other visual aids can be either a help or a hindrance to a speaker. Too often leaders try to put too much information in visual aids. At that point the aid becomes a barrier to communication. Consider having no more than one visual aid for each three minutes of speaking. You might be surprised how much the retention of your listeners improves.
  4. “Insider” language. Acronyms should be banned from speaking presentations. At my organization we have one acronym for every molecule that exists in our building. Those who are on the inside may think it’s okay to use acronyms with other insiders. The problem is that the pattern of speaking develops into a habit that will creep into external presentations. Indeed, good speakers avoid acronyms and insider technical words unless they are clearly explained to the audience.
  5. Insufficient pathos. Aristotle divided the means of persuasion into three categories. Ethos is used to establish the credibility or character of the speaker. Logos means persuading by reasoning or logic. Pathos means persuading by appealing to the readers’ or hearers’ emotions. Too few speakers attempt to speak to the hearts of the audience through personal illustrations, humor, or captivating stories. As a consequence, the presentation is often deemed dry and boring, regardless of the quality of the content.

I continue to be a student of effective communication. I still have a long way to go. What could you add to this list? What stories or examples do you have of either effective or ineffective speaking?

Read more from Thom here.


Do you need help with your communication skills? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources.  Prior to LifeWay, he served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism.  He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to speaking in hundreds of venues over the past 20 years, Rainer led Rainer Group, a church and denominational consulting firm, from 1990 to 2005. The firm provided church health insights to over 500 churches and other organizations over that period. Rainer and his wife, Nellie Jo, have three grown sons: Sam, Art and Jess, who are married to Erin, Sarah and Rachel respectively.  The Rainers have six grandchildren: Canon, Maggie, Nathaniel, Will (with the Lord), Harper, and Bren. He is the author of twenty-four books, including Breakout Churches, Simple Life, Simple Church, Raising Dad, The Millennials, and Essential Church.  His latest book, Autopsy of a Deceased Church, was released in 2014 by B&H Publishing Group.

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Reminds me Tony Morgan's classic post entitle “What If Target Operated Like A Church?” I wrote about this in a blog post "Is Your Church Like Target…or More Like A Mall?" https://goo.gl/2qQIy3
 
— bruceherwig
 
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 
Great work!!!!
 
— Kate Harel
 

Clarity Process

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Using Definition and Repetition in Your Leadership Language Helps Keep Your Culture Steady Against the Winds of Change

When the winds of change blow against your church culture, what keeps it steady? The visionary leader cares too much about the message to let it just blow in the wind, unattended.

Wise leaders understand the importance of words.

They grasp the importance of language in describing the culture of the organization and the direction she is headed. But the role of a leader in relationship to language does not end when the doctrinal statement is finalized. It does not end when the mission and values are clarified, placed on a wall, and boldly declared. Leaders must continually remind people of the meaning behind the words, behind the language that is essential to the organization. The important words need definition and repetition.

  • Words need definition

Words must constantly be defined, or the words will lose their original intent and begin to mean different things to different people. Language drift often occurs as people in an organization learn the desired or accepted organizational vocabulary and use those words as taglines in an attempt to give credence to just about anything.

For example, if “community” is the current focus for a local congregation, a leader can add “community” language to any initiative or event to give it credence. Similarly, if “customer-centric” or “narrowing the focus” are the latest buzzwords in an organization, folks can start to haphazardly use these words without understanding the intent and heartbeat behind them. Pretty soon, the words carry an array of definitions and lose their singularity and potency.

Unless there is constant definition of what the important culture-shaping words mean, there will not be alignment. In fact, if the important words are allowed to mean a plethora of things, if leaders don’t constantly define the words that are used, the language will only create confusion and a plethora of directions.

If you are a leader, it is important to define the important terms/words in the organization you are leading. If you hear words that are important in your culture being used in a way that does not match the original intent, some definition is necessary.

  • Words need repetition

Some leaders run from repetition for the desire to always say something new and fresh. But wise leaders understand, as Max De Pree said, “Leadership is like third grade: it means repeating the significant things.” For example—because the gospel is the principle and essential doctrine of the Christian faith, Martin Luther stated “most necessary is it that we know this article [the gospel] well, teach it to others, and beat it into their heads continually.” Luther was clearly passionate about repeating the most important message continually.

When it comes to articulating a direction, I have learned that when the leaders are sick and tired of presenting and discussing, people are just then starting to grasp it.

Both definition and repetition are necessary.

Read more from Eric here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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Recent Comments
Reminds me Tony Morgan's classic post entitle “What If Target Operated Like A Church?” I wrote about this in a blog post "Is Your Church Like Target…or More Like A Mall?" https://goo.gl/2qQIy3
 
— bruceherwig
 
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 
Great work!!!!
 
— Kate Harel
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Too Busy to Connect: Avoiding Invalidation in our Communication

Do we care about talking to each other anymore, or are we settling for mostly texts, emails, tweets, and similar electronic quickies?

We often think that quick communication saves time. This is true in some cases. But relying only on cursory communication runs the risk of misunderstanding, and a lot of hoopla about “what did she mean by that e-mail?” Once those questions get started, they take on a life of their own and end up as huge time wasters, not time savers, and the intent of the communication may be lost or so badly misinterpreted that trust goes astray in the translation.

Let’s regroup and think about the advantages of face-to-face communication, what might get in the way, and types of skills that promote cooperation even in difficult instances.

Face to face communication motivated by care and concern can be so meaningful. But meaningful discourse has a lot of components, many of which are ignored—often unintentionally—no matter how many training classes are offered on the subject of communication.

What does invalidation look like? How do we invalidate each other in our conversations?

Negative comments are remembered much more than positive regard. In the adult world, we may be thicker-skinned, but we remember. There are at least 10 common ways we often invalidate others every day.

>>Maxine Kamin, president of TOUCH Consulting, Inc., develops this idea in a free resource you can download here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maxine Kamin

Maxine Kamin is president of TOUCH Consulting, Inc.: The Personal Touch in Business. She is an author of internationally recognized books and training guides for the American Society for Training and Development such as 10 Steps to Successful Customer Service and Customer Service Training.

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Recent Comments
Reminds me Tony Morgan's classic post entitle “What If Target Operated Like A Church?” I wrote about this in a blog post "Is Your Church Like Target…or More Like A Mall?" https://goo.gl/2qQIy3
 
— bruceherwig
 
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 
Great work!!!!
 
— Kate Harel
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Words Create Worlds – The Language We Use Shapes the Culture We Lead

In his book The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle tells the fascinating story of some experiments that Stanford psychologist and author Carol Dweck has conducted with fifth graders in multiple settings.

The fifth graders were put into two different groups and given the same tests. After completing the first test, the first group was told, “You must be smart at these problems,” and the second group was told, “You must have worked hard at these problems.”

The subtle and small difference made a big impact.

In preparation for the next test, the children were asked if they wanted to try an easier test or a more difficult one. As a group, those affirmed for their hard work wanted the more difficult task and the opportunity to learn. Those affirmed for their intelligence wanted the easy test. Likely they believed intelligence was the chief value, and they feared losing their good standing, their identification as the smart ones. In another round of tests, more difficult in nature, the children who were affirmed for their intelligence gave up much more quickly than those who were affirmed for their hard work.

The students returned to the original test, and the “you must be smart” group scored 20% lower than they did at first. The “you must have worked hard” group improved their scores by 30%.

The point, according to both Coyle and Dweck, is the language “you must have worked hard” fosters motivation and a growth mind-set, while the language “you must be smart” fosters the belief that intelligence is fixed. The small change in language makes a profound impact.

In organizations, in churches, and in families, language matters. Many have said that “words create worlds,” and I have found the phrase to be true. As leaders, the language we use helps shape the cultures we lead.

The words you use to articulate your mission, values, and strategy are essential. You can use language as a powerful tool to bring clarity and direction to the teams you lead and the people you serve. Or you can, as many do, underestimate the power of language and create confusion without careful attention to the words that describe the direction of your organization.

 Read more from Eric here.

Would you like to learn more about using language as a powerful tool to bring clarity to your church? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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Recent Comments
Reminds me Tony Morgan's classic post entitle “What If Target Operated Like A Church?” I wrote about this in a blog post "Is Your Church Like Target…or More Like A Mall?" https://goo.gl/2qQIy3
 
— bruceherwig
 
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 
Great work!!!!
 
— Kate Harel
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Reasons It’s More Important for Pastors to Use Social Media Than Churches

When I first encountered Facebook it was when I was at a speaking event on a University campus that had access to up-start social network trying to take on MySpace. The student leaders we met with for lunch we’re talking about this amazing new tool for connecting with each other. It seemed like a fun “on campus trend” but never did I imagine the impact it would have on the ministry world.  How could a tool that made it easier for a group of students figure out which pub they were heading to impact our church?

My conviction is that pastors as individuals need to be on social media.  It’s more important that church leaders leverage these tools for ministry than churches use them as organizations. As a church leader are you using these tools as an extension of your ministry or are you still stuck on the outside of this trend wondering if it really can have any impact on your ministry? You need to jump in and get connected! Here a few reasons why it’s important for you to use these tool personally …

  • Distant from Your People // If you are silent on social media you will increasingly be seen as aloof and disconnected as you refuse to be transparent to your community. Imagine a preacher who never told any stories about themselves? People will see you in the same light if you don’t use these tools.
  • Personal Medium // 87 of the top 100 accounts on Twitter are for people not brands or organizations. These tools are designed to make personal connection with people. As a church you can leverage them … but they are meant for people to connect with individuals.
  • Content Curation // Your people are out in the internet finding content of spiritual significance. Using social media to point to other sources of uplifting content is a part of your role. Equipping your people to follow Jesus can’t be outsourced to someone else … it’s a critical part of being a pastor. When you are silent on social media you are missing an vital opportunity to build up your community.
  • Insight Into People // Church leaders live in a bubble … often everyone we know is a part of the church. If we don’t work intentionally at it we will become isolated from the world we are attempting to reach. Engaging in social media gives you insight into the lives of people around you. Listen and watch what people are talking about it … it will give you insights to be a better leader.
  • Don’t Be Left Behind // Social media is moving beyond a fun tool for people to connect with friends to a critical communications channel. Not personally using social media is like refusing to have an email address or deciding that cel phones are too modern of a technology … you will become increasingly left behind by culture. You will lose influence.

It’s not about being cool … it’s about connecting.

Read more from Rich here.


 

 

Would you like to learn more about social media and other practices in the area of Church Communication? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Dave Corlew — 02/23/15 9:13 am

Spot on. Great article. Thanks!

Chris Bucklew — 03/20/14 10:41 pm

Spiritual Leaders need to be a voice in society. And social media is a great place to connect, and shape society. For those who think it is a waste of time I simply refer you to 2 Corinthians 10. "The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity." - the Message Bible Facebook is a place to use our God-tools! So use them well.

Lisbon Jacobs — 03/20/14 10:45 am

Im a big believer in Social media and that we should adapt to what it has to offer,but we must know where to draw the line. Jesus in Matthew chapter 23 addresses the leaders of the day and and warns them about their proud ways,where they love to be greeted in the market places and to be seen by men,today that same thing is again creeping into the church,they love the 'likes' and al the comments they get,and they advertise themselves posing in their beautifull 'robes' bragging about the amount of hits they got on their latest revelation, and dont forget the long titles and resumes.... When we use social media lets not forget that our example is Christ and we should always show people to Him.Humility is His example.

Kirby Vardeman — 07/08/13 5:21 pm

No one said social media should replace shepherding. The concept is to use it as an adjunct to face to face interaction. Why are so many Internet Christians all or nothing reactionaries?

David Noah Taylor — 07/02/13 11:57 pm

I too, fully agree with your responce Miles, I just wonder why it even needs to be stated. That anyone could entertain the idea that virtual fellowship/shepherding could replace actual fellowship/shepherding is a commentary on the sad direction many Christians are heading. Communication through typing is a terrible way to attempt spiritual fellowship. Any real communication on a spiritual and personal level requires looking into someone's face, hearing the inflections in their voice and discerning their spirit. What's next... digital communion and baptism? Click here for ... worship? And what in the world (literally) is an online church? Where is 'Convient Christianity' leading? Lastly, if the Bible is our rule and precedent and we all know it should be, then the contemporary church has not become just less socially minded than the early church it has become less biblical... and thus less valid.

Jonathan McGuire — 07/02/13 9:10 pm

The general tone of the article is pragmatic and utilitarian. However, media ecologists the world over recognize that the use, or disuse, of such tech effects not only communication itself, but also those who use it. Such effects must be understood, discussed, and taken into account when used. Sometimes, (we) pastors should, indeed, refrain from such activities...and insist our people do so, too, due to the effects they have on human behavior, interaction, and ability to understand speech or read prolonged texts. But I did find this via a Facebook post.

Miles — 07/02/13 7:37 pm

I agree with the notion that ultimately people connect with people on Twitter/Facebook. I disagree with the notion that a pastor HAS to utilize these in order to be effective. Preaching God's Word and ministering to people (in real life) are the two most critical components of pastoring. Social media would be a contextual thing. In some places it's probably more beneficial to be active, but in rural areas I can guarantee it's not as influential. Regardless, social media is a tool that should be wielded well if used (not allowed to be a distraction), but it is in no way necessary for watching over the flock entrusted to you. I'll say it like this, if your interaction with someone is mostly on social media, it is likely a mostly shallow relationship.

Tony Costa — 07/01/13 12:11 pm

Good points, but I appreciate David's concerns as well. The Church at large has become much more "Anti-social" when compared to the early church. Social media has many great benefits, but the great caution is that it never replaces or compromises the pastor's responsibility to tend his sheep in person.

Kevin Wax — 07/01/13 10:40 am

Great article! My people use social media to talk to each other and their friends. If I don't know how to use this channel, or if I refuse to use this channel, I'm losing a real opportunity to encourage them in their walk with the Lord. Well said Rich!

Mike stallings — 06/05/13 1:57 pm

I couldn't agree more...relevance is diminished or enhanced to the degree Pastors are engaged and connected.

David Noah Taylor — 06/02/13 7:05 am

I don't want to appear as one more critical opininon giver ... but... just what are you doing to provide a living demonstration of the church of the scriptures? Spouting my opinion on the social media is fun ... but just what good does it do the people who want to see an answer to the mess called contemporary christianity? I am a missionary in Kenya and am pretty fed up with the western version of church. Sorry if this sounds too critical. People are sick of hearing about Jesus without a demonstraton of what He was saying.

Janice — 06/01/13 2:35 pm

Couldn't agree more. While I'm not as savy as I wish I was, I'm keeping up and learning more every day. Love it!!!

David Good — 05/29/13 9:23 am

Great article. Social Media is such a great tool. I can't understand why pastors don't take advantage of a resource that will take their leadership beyond the pulpit and into the daily lives of their people. Thanks for sharing your insights.

Recent Comments
Reminds me Tony Morgan's classic post entitle “What If Target Operated Like A Church?” I wrote about this in a blog post "Is Your Church Like Target…or More Like A Mall?" https://goo.gl/2qQIy3
 
— bruceherwig
 
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 
Great work!!!!
 
— Kate Harel
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Welcoming Your Guests with Effective Website Practices

As a frequent traveler, nothing beats the feeling of being expected versus being accommodated. Creating break-thru clarity for church teams, as a navigator for Auxano, I have dozens of moments of engagement with hotel, rental car, airline and Starbucks employees every week. I love it when it feels like someone thought of me as their guest by expectation, rather than just thinking of the revenue I represent in accommodation 

Earlier this year I arrived in a new city on a cold, rainy January night. My rental car company chose to give me a car on the far side of the lot, and not under the closer, warmer and dryer canopy. I had just been randomly assigned a car in row 700, and no one had thought about my experience in getting to it. Or so I was told. 

Soon after, I observed a Sunday morning parking lot, as an obvious first-timer circled the guest parking area in the rain (past the member and staff cars who had parked there to be close) finally dropping his young family off at a door, just before the service start time. I wondered if the rain-soaked Dad felt expected or simply accommodated as he ran through the puddles to catch up with his family.

In the springtime,  Sundays through Easter may be the most likely season of guest engagement your church will enjoy. Many pastors and church leaders use this time to assess their presence in the community by evaluating their visual vision elements (like signage and bulletins) and even considering a major web overhaul for the year.

Today, just about every guest visits your church online before they visit onsite. 

A guest will view your digital front door before they walk through your physical front door. Your church website is the first, and most important place to create the feeling that a guest is expected at your church, rather than just able to be accommodated.

>> Here are 10 Guest Welcome Practices of Effective Church Websites:

A Logical Web Address – try to get as close to your actual church name using .com or .org, or both if possible. Do your best to avoid tagline-driven web addresses like “thecaringplace.com” or “growdeepwithus.org.” Don’t forget to use your new domain for connected guest information email addresses like info@yourchurch or pastor@yourchurch.

A Prominent “I’m New” Section – this is all about putting the cookies on the bottom shelf. Nine out of ten first-time guests will visit your website before your worship. This means that up to 80% of your website users are looking for service times and locations, and very little else. Your biggest button, banner or visual element should be geared toward newbies.

Obvious Church Information – keep your church address, phone number and service times highly visible, even if you have an I’m New section. In mobile format, move this information to the top as “clickable” information.

A Usable Maps Link – most maps providers allow for you to embed a link that facilitates creation of point to point directions for your first time guest. It is always a good idea to make sure your church location is accurate in Google.

Landmark Driving Directions – in addition to a maps link, harder-to-find churches should supplement with verbal turn-by-turn directions noting landmarks like exit numbers, community structures or natural features. Including a photo of the front of the church, or church sign, as viewed from the road also builds confidence that a guest could find you easily.

Actual Worship Imagery – set worship style and dress expectations by using engaging, HIGH QUALITY photography from an actual worship service. Pay a professional if you have to. Remember, no pictures on your website are better than bad or amateur pictures on your website.

Practical Children’s Information – your website is a natural place to build confidence in parents that your church or campus is a caring, secure and instructive environment for their children. Note security procedures and give an estimate of how much drop-off time to plan into their first visit. Note any special parking or family entrance locations.

Complete Worship Descriptions – avoid insider-only and cute names for worship services of different styles, this only widens the first-visit gap for an outsider. Be sure to describe what you mean by contemporary, modern or traditional. One great way to mine for the right language is to ask a guest or recent attender to describe your worship in their own words.

An Engaging Pastoral Welcome – demonstrating expectation is as simple as a written welcome note, thanking guests for visiting your online front door. You might even consider a professionally-produced video with imagery of worship, children’s environments and personal testimony. Anchor all of this content with Vision-Frame language and point to key next steps.

Active Social-Media Venues – leverage the interactions around your worship content and member engagement to draw potential guests to community. Feature pastors “in real life” and foster a sense of belonging. Consider relocating announcements and calendars from your church homepage to a Facebook organization page that is more likely to get updated and shared by your body. Instagram and Twitter may also serve to bring immediate attention, interaction and feedback to services or events.

Read more from Bryan.


Want to know more about Guest Experiences in your church? Start a conversation with our team. We’re glad to offer our input. Your vision is at stake, so let’s talk.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
Reminds me Tony Morgan's classic post entitle “What If Target Operated Like A Church?” I wrote about this in a blog post "Is Your Church Like Target…or More Like A Mall?" https://goo.gl/2qQIy3
 
— bruceherwig
 
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 
Great work!!!!
 
— Kate Harel
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

10 Ways Buzzwords Are Undermining Your Leadership

On several occasions when teaching, I’ve noted the difference between buzzwords and leadership. In fact, I think that a key facet of leadership is knowing the difference between a strategy and a collection of buzzwords. In the corporate world, there are a multitude of buzzwords (and phrases) that need to fall out of existence. And, yes, I’m an offending party on several of these.

  • Learnings
  • Synergistic
  • Guru
  • Bandwidth
  • Thinking outside of the box
  • Let’s talk offline
  • Deep dive
  • Granular
  • Come-to-Jesus moment

The list could go on and on. For those who lead in the church, we have a completely other set of buzzwords. The sad thing is that many of the words have an important meaning. Nevertheless, they have become junk-drawer terms that are applied to everything and often come to mean nothing. A short list would be:

  • Postmodern
  • Missional
  • Relevant
  • Contemporary
  • Gifting
  • Resonate
  • Gospel

A few of these terms are important to me. They might be important to you. And, yes, I just put “Gospel” on the list. The reason is not that the biblical term has lost its meaning but that it has been so widely applied that others have lost a sense of its meaning. The three questions I have are simple: “When you use that term, what do you mean?” and “Do the people listening to you understand what you are saying?” and “Do they now understand enough to follow where you are leading?” It is a lesson that was driven home for me when I recently traveled to teach at the Kiev Theological Seminary. When leading, we must know these facts.

  • Just because you speak does not mean that they heard you.
  • Just because they nodded their heads in affirmation does not mean they understand.
  • Just because they said they understand does not mean that they agree.
  • Just because they agree does not mean that they will do it.

So, as I consider the power and the bane of buzzwords, I would offer these 10 thoughts.

  1. Buzzwords begin as a rallying cry and end as words too broadly applied. Leadership constantly looks for fresh ways to keep the movement alive.
  2. Buzzwords are a poor substitute for the real content. Leadership offers a vocabulary of meaningful dialogue.
  3. Buzzwords give a false sense of momentum when stagnation is the reality. Leadership identifies stagnation and tackles it.
  4. Buzzwords are an easy way to say nothing when those who follow you need to hear something. Leadership shows the willingness to have the difficult conversations.
  5. Buzzwords kill the meaning of a movement. Leadership continues to give life to a movement.
  6. Buzzwords are the escape hatch for the speaker who is unprepared. Leadership finds a way to be the most prepared person in the movement.
  7. Buzzwords provide a facade of being knowledgeable. Leadership actually learns.
  8. Buzzwords give false hope of a possible future. Leadership tells a beautiful and detailed story of what can be.
  9. Buzzwords are big ideas boiled down to the lowest common denominator of thought. Leadership offers everyone a way to access the big ideas and bring understanding to them.
  10. Buzzwords make important words eventually seem disposable. Leadership redeems the important meaning of words and phrases.

Read more from Philip here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Philip Nation

Philip Nation

I serve as the Director of Adult Ministry Publishing at LifeWay Christian Resources and frequently speak at churches and conferences. I earned a master of divinity from Beeson Divinity School and a doctor of ministry from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 2010-2012, I served as the national spokesperson for the Back to Church Sunday campaign from Outreach. Over the years, I’ve served as a pastor, minister of education, and a church planter. Currently, I am a Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship. We are a multisite church in Nashville determined to make an impact on our city and world. I’ve coauthored two books: Compelled: Living the Mission of God and Transformational Discipleship: How People Really Grow. I am also the general editor of The Mission of God Study Bible. Along the way, I have also written the small-group studies Compelled by Love: The Journey to Missional Living and Live in the Word, plus contributed to The Great Commission Resurgence: Fulfilling God’s Mandate in Our Lifetime. My wife, Angie, and I live in Tennessee, with our two sons, Andrew and Chris.

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COMMENTS

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Jan — 05/11/15 11:22 pm

When we carefully "unpack" this difficult passage... Now, "to unpack" that... I've heard that verb a lot lately. He "unpacked" that in a way that I could understand. After a lot of "UNPACKING," I came to the conclusion... that it's a buzzword!

Josh — 11/19/13 10:05 pm

It is pretty easy to fall into buzzwords - I have to admit I also hear words esp. Missional etc and wonder what they actually mean

Ed Underwood — 11/18/13 4:03 pm

Oh yes. When everyone's missional, no one is. When saying, "We live the Gospel" is enough, it's not enough. So, so, true. thanks. I'm retweeting this.

Recent Comments
Reminds me Tony Morgan's classic post entitle “What If Target Operated Like A Church?” I wrote about this in a blog post "Is Your Church Like Target…or More Like A Mall?" https://goo.gl/2qQIy3
 
— bruceherwig
 
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 
Great work!!!!
 
— Kate Harel
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Genius of Being Simple and Obvious Every Time

Simple and obvious leadership tip for you today. But it’s one that I’ve seen pay big dividends over the years.

If you’ve ever watched an infomercial, you know that it says to call their phone number over and over again. The TV personality says it repeatedly. They flash it on the screen multiple times.

It seems repetitive, almost to the point of being obnoxious. But they’re just trying to make it simple for people. Obvious. And they do it for two simple reasons: 1) people need them to, and 2) it works. Otherwise they wouldn’t do it.

I think every church should adopt the same strategy. Obviously I don’t mean flashing numbers repeatedly on the screen. But we do need to make the simple things simple. The obvious things obvious. Because we should never overestimate the ability of people, including ourselves, to miss the simple and the obvious.

Here’s a few ways this works at Elevation:

  • Every week we tell our first time guests that they’re our VIPs.
  • Every week we tell everyone to stop by an orange tent to get involved.
  • We encourage people to give all the time.
  • We encourage people to get in groups all the time.

In a different way every week and every time. But the same basic, clear messages every week and every time

Is it repetitive? Maybe.
Does it make the obvious things obvious? Definitely.

And those are just the nuts and bolts of a church. Imagine how much more important it is when we’re talking about things like the Gospel. Or the vision of the church. Yet many churches only communicate those things a couple of times per year.

This might seem like a simple and obvious tip to a lot of you. Why even blog it?

Because we’re no better than our audience.

Even the simple and obvious leadership principles need to be made simple and obvious, and repeated over and over again to leaders like you and me.

Read more from Steven here.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steven Furtick

Steven Furtick

Pastor Steven Furtick is the lead pastor of Elevation Church. He and his wife, Holly, founded Elevation in 2006 with seven other families. Pastor Steven holds a Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the New York Times Best Selling author of Crash the Chatterbox, Greater, and Sun Stand Still. Pastor Steven and Holly live in the Charlotte area with their two sons, Elijah and Graham, and daughter, Abbey.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
Reminds me Tony Morgan's classic post entitle “What If Target Operated Like A Church?” I wrote about this in a blog post "Is Your Church Like Target…or More Like A Mall?" https://goo.gl/2qQIy3
 
— bruceherwig
 
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 
Great work!!!!
 
— Kate Harel
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

One HUGE Opportunity Most Churches are Missing in Their Greeting Every Week

So your church has a website and a Facebook page. The adventurous have perhaps added Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Or maybe you’ve gone all out, even podcasting your messages or building an app for iOS or Android. (The links are to Connexus Church sites, where I get the chance to serve!)

We’re still in the early days of social media and everyone’s trying to figure out what ministry online means.

Whatever your church might be doing, my guess is you’re trying to connect with people online in some way, which is awesome.

Here’s the question though.

When you welcome people to your church, do you still behave like it’s 1999?

Strangely, most churches do.

I’ve been to very large, high budget churches who have a digital presence everywhere and—for whatever reason—still greet people like it was back in the day when the cassette ministry was booming.

I even caught myself doing this earlier this year.

The good news, the fix is quick simple and free for all of us.

> Is My Glaring Omission Yours Too?

So what do you say when you welcome people to your church?

For years, our hosts (including me) have said something like:

Welcome to Connexus! We’re so glad you’re here. If you’re new here, we’d love to connect! Drop by our guest services desk. We’d love to connect with you there.

Today, we’ll be here for about 70 minutes, sing some songs together, open up the bible to see what it means to us today and pray together. (Then we share one or two announcements we want everyone to know.)

See what I missed there?

Did you catch it?

I said ZERO (as in nothing at all) about our online presence.

Nothing about our social media. Nothing about our app. Zippo about our podcast. Nothing.

Yet 80% of the people (or more) are sitting there with their phones in their pocket.

During the week, we try to behave like it’s 2014. But Sunday morning, I was behaving like it was 1999.

> This is the Opportunity You’re Missing

If it was actually 1999, people would have to drive to your church or to someone’s home to connect with someone else from the church. Or they would have to buy (or pick up) a cassette or CD to listen to a message or series.

For the most part, in ministry you would show up in peoples’ lives occasionally at best. Now, you can show up in a person’s life every time someone checks their phone courtesy of social media, email, your app, your podcast and more.

I realize that’s a double edged sword. There are definitely people you don’t want showing up in your life every day. But I’m guessing there are some people you’d really appreciate hearing from regularly.

What if your church became one of them? What if people were genuinely thankful to hear from you during the week?

See…you and I have moved from a world in which we had the ability to encourage people once or twice a week, to a world in which we can connect daily.

This isn’t just a promotional thing (don’t miss our big cheesy dinner Tuesday night!), it’s a discipleship thing.

Seriously, you can gain permission to speak into people’s spiritual journey regularly.

Publish helpful, useful content, and people will sign up to follow you. Don’t, and of course, they’ll unfollow you. The online world gives you instant feedback on whether you’re helping people or not. Just check your stats.

> The Fix is So Simple

So don’t miss this simple fix.

If you’re publishing helpful, online content (and I realize we’re all growing in this and trying to figure out what that means), then just make sure you mention it Sunday morning.

Behave on Sunday morning like you can help someone during the week.

And the easiest way to help them, encourage them, inspire them and inform people during the week is via social media and your online presence.

So talk about that. This is what we say now when we greet people at Connexus:

Welcome to Connexus! We’re so glad you’re here. If you’re new here, we’d love to connect! Drop by our guest services desk. We’d love to connect with you there. Today, we’ll be here for about 70 minutes, sing some songs together, open up the bible to see what it means to us today and pray together.

We’d love to stay connected with you this week. The easiest way to do that is by following us on social media. You’re welcome to take out your phones right now and follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (we show the links on the screen as we say them). We also love hearing from you and this is great way to keep up the conversation.

Then, during the week…help people. Encourage, inspire and occasionally inform.

If you hand out a program or bulletin, make sure you include how to connect with you online.

And if you have a website, have a prominent place to follow your church on social media. People will connect with you 100x more on your social media platforms today than they ever will on your website.

Bottom line?

If you’ve got any online presence, talk about it on Sunday morning. Strangely, so many churches still don’t.

The change is free, easy, instant and everyone can do it. Just change what you say when you welcome people.

> We’re All Learning

Want more? I’m not sure anyone has cracked the code on how to optimally use social media. But here are some resources that have helped me and some churches I like to follow online:

Cross Point Church

North Point Church 

Lifechurch.tv

New Spring Church

Elevation Church

Casey Graham and I also talked about how to connect with people using email marketing in Episode 3 of my leadership podcast.  (Subscribe for free here to hear feature length interviews with Andy Stanley, Perry Noble, Casey Graham, Kara Powell, Jon Acuff and more.)

Finally, nobody writes better stuff on church announcements than Rich Birch. Make sure you mine his site at Unseminary.com for posts like this that will change your announcements from a few minutes people tolerate to a few minutes people will anticipate.

So…what are you learning about connecting with people online during the week?

How do you highlight your social media on weekends?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is lead pastor of Connexus Community Church and author of the best selling books, Leading Change Without Losing It and Parenting Beyond Your Capacity. Carey speaks to North American and global church leaders about change, leadership, and parenting.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
Reminds me Tony Morgan's classic post entitle “What If Target Operated Like A Church?” I wrote about this in a blog post "Is Your Church Like Target…or More Like A Mall?" https://goo.gl/2qQIy3
 
— bruceherwig
 
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 
Great work!!!!
 
— Kate Harel
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

What’s the Difference Between Church Mission Statements and a Tagline?

Just Do It. 

This may be the most known marketing slogan in the world.

25 years ago, Nike fused brand and tagline with three words. A USA Today article highlighted the development of this global mantra, pointing out that Just Do It “has energized a generation of athletes and it continues to do that. That’s the uniqueness. It resonated far beyond what anybody could have expected.”

Inevitably as I walk church leaders through the vision pathway process, and we develop or redevelop their mission, the question arises “who is the mission for, insiders or outsiders?” There are sharp differences between a mission statement and a tagline. Simply put:

  • Mission statements are designed to engage the congregation.
  • Taglines are designed to engage the crowd.
  • Mission statements raise awareness in the church toward the Great Commission’s priority.
  • Taglines raise awareness in the community toward the Church’s personality.
  • Mission statements are not intended for the church sign.
  • Taglines are great on the church sign (when they are good see #churchsignfail above).
  • Mission statements send-out.
  • Taglines draw-in.

You may not even know that “Just Do It” is not even Nike’s mission statement. The mission of Nike is to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.

3 words capture the personality of Nike and 11 words catapult their calling.

Here are a few examples from Auxano’s experience in the church world of navigating the development of mission and tagline:

ChurchSignFail

A First Baptist church in the deep south wrestling with their “Country Club” persona…

>>Mission – Guiding people to discover life’s greatest treasure in Jesus.

>Tagline – Discover Life

A suburban church reaching a busy upper-middle class community…

>>Mission – Connecting people each day to the real Jesus in a real way.

>Tagline – Live for More

Another suburban church in the South expanding their influence…

>>Mission – To love and lead everyone we meet into an everyday walk with Christ.

>Tagline – Everyday Matters

Reaching an independent culture in the Western plains…

>>Mission – Living Life as though Jesus were living through you.

>Tagline – Live the Life

A large regional church in a tranisitioning community…

>>Mission – Caring for people and connecting them to Christ

>Tagline – Find a better tomorrow.

Just in case you might think taglines are a new phenomenon or are tempted to write their necessity off to secular marketing influencing the sacred, take a look at the following images from the ribbon cutting celebration of a Baptist Church in northwestern PA from 1949. Even back then, they positioned themselves to be: A Church that helps you find New Life. 

WaynePark2

What about your church or organization?

>> Can you define a unique and clear mission that captures the heart of your calling and activates your congregation?

>> Do you present your personality and the heart of God for the community in a compelling way?

The process of capturing both takes more time than you probably have and more effort than you probably think. But the results can be transformational and resonate beyond what you might expect.

So… Just Do It.

Read more from Brian here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
Reminds me Tony Morgan's classic post entitle “What If Target Operated Like A Church?” I wrote about this in a blog post "Is Your Church Like Target…or More Like A Mall?" https://goo.gl/2qQIy3
 
— bruceherwig
 
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 
Great work!!!!
 
— Kate Harel
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.