Two Common Hiring Mistakes to Avoid In Your Next Staffing Decision

Every hire is a risk. Every time I have hired someone or have been hired, there was a risk involved. Some argue that proven track records eliminate the risk, but in reality a great history only minimizes the risk. Even when hiring someone who has a proven track record, it is hard to separate the individual’s performance from the organization’s performance. For example, we have seen great assistant coaches hired to be head coaches with dismal results. And sometimes when the coach returns to an assistant role, he is unable to reclaim the “mojo” he once had. In those cases, clearly it was the system around him at his former school that lifted his performance above his capacity. Thus the hire was a risk, as all hires are.

The risk in hiring can be minimized, but it can’t be eliminated. To help you minimize the risk in your staff hires, below are two of the most common hiring mistakes you must avoid making in church ministry.

Mistake One: Hiring the Best

Many church leaders and churches have gone down a common hiring path. They (a) identify a role they want to fill and then (b) search for the “best person” to fill the role. I have heard many senior pastors describe the desire to “hire the best and give immense amounts of freedom.” One proudly told me his hiring strategy was simply to “hire thoroughbreds and let them run.”

While “hiring the best” may sound wise, the practice can easily lead to disastrous division. Imagine a staff meeting where directors of student ministry, small group ministry, and children’s ministry are seated around the same table. They have been recently recruited with the promise of “freedom to run.” And because they are the “best,” they are strong leaders with a solid track record of execution. They are able to put ministry philosophy into practice, able to implement and make “it” happen. But as they are seated around the same table, each has a different understanding of the “it” that needs to happen. They have different convictions about where the church should head and how ministry should be executed. Quickly, the strong leaders with differing philosophies of ministry will lead, as they were recruited to do, in a plethora of directions. And they will take the church with them.

Instead of seeking to hire the best leaders, seek to hire the right leaders. The right leaders hold deeply to the ministry philosophy of the church and the values that make her unique. With the right leaders, there is strong overlap between their personal ministry philosophy and values and that of the church. In other words, what matters to the church also matters deeply to the staff member.

Does wanting the “right” leaders mean you don’t look for the “best” leaders? Absolutely not! A team of strong leaders passionate about the same values and focused in the same direction is truly powerful. However, the “best” leader is only best for the ministry/organization if there is alignment on both philosophy and values. To check alignment around ministry philosophy, you need to know both your church’s philosophy of ministry and the values that guide how you minister.

Philosophy Alignment

Your church’s ministry philosophy is essentially your church’s collective thinking about ministry, specifically how ministry should look in your specific context. The right leaders hold deeply to the theology and the philosophy of the church. It is a massive mistake to only hire people who ascribe to the church’s doctrinal statement or creed because it is very possible to have theological alignment without philosophical alignment. And while theological alignment is essential, alignment around ministry philosophy is equally important.

At one church I consulted there were two staff leaders who theologically held to the same soteriology, the same view of eternal hell, and the same passion for evangelism. Yet philosophically, their view of how to lead a church to engage the culture evangelistically was diametrically opposed. They both were recruited to the same staff team on theological alignment alone, and because they were so different in philosophy and practice they were leading (even unintentionally) the church in multiple directions.

Values Alignment

Your “church values” are not what you do, but they affect everything you do. They are the shared passions and convictions that inform your unique church culture. For example, two churches of similar size and doctrinal positions offer “worship services” that on the surface sound the same: 30 minutes of music and 40 minutes of biblical teaching. Yet when you visit them, they are very different. Perhaps church A deeply values “authenticity,” and that value manifests itself in everything from the subtle greeters to the transparency in the teaching. Church B values “hospitality,” and that feels very different. It’s not as if church A is not hospitable and church A is inauthentic, but the pronounced values distinctly mark the culture of each church.

Obviously you want to hire staff that hold to the actual values (values already in place) of the church. Additionally, if your church has some aspirational values (values you have identified that you long to embed in the culture but are not currently), then also look for staff who possess these values.

First, identify your ministry philosophy and the values (both actual and aspirational) that make your church who she is. Then look for the right players. And as you do, consider carefully the second mistake.

Mistake Two: Hiring from the Inside (or Outside)

Often church leaders make a grave mistake when they hire from outside their church instead of raising up a leader from within the body. The opposite is equally true; often church leaders hire from the inside when they should look outside the church for a new leader.

Hiring from within is both the safe and risky option. It is safe because you are able to observe the person’s character and service before he/she even knows a staff role exists. And as an insider, the person has already committed to the ministry philosophy and values of the church. From a discipleship vantage point, hiring from within helps set a mindset and expectation that “our church raises up her own leaders.” The risk is that there is still a risk, and if the new staff member doesn’t work out, it will be much more painful to move an insider off the team.

Hiring from outside the church gives an opportunity for a fresh perspective and to acquire some leadership experience needed for the church’s next season of ministry. For example, the church may be entering a season of expansion or growth and an outsider who has a track record of experience related to what a church needs could be very helpful. At the same time, an insider could be developed for the task. But in some cases, the development will fall well short of the skills that past experience provides.

So how do you know if you should hire from the inside or the outside?

I have found John Kotter’s insight to be helpful. Kotter is a Harvard professor and leadership guru. He teaches that if you want to change the culture, you should hire from the outside. If you want to sustain or build upon the current culture, you should hire from within. If the culture is healthy within a particular department within your church, look first to hire from within. Only look outside if there are skills and experience needed that can’t be developed within your church in a reasonable matter of time. If the culture is unhealthy or you desire to change the culture with an infusion of some new values and leadership, look to hire externally.

I have put together a simple chart (seen below) to help you think through the decision to hire from within or from the outside. I hope it serves you well. While only one box indicates you should “hire from within,” some churches execute the majority of their hires from this vantage point because they posses a strong, equipping culture.

Every hire is a risk; therefore, every hire requires faith. Ultimately all of the above is mere fodder when the Lord makes it clear who the next leader should be. So while I wrote this article so that we could hone our hiring strategy, I want to listen carefully to the voice of the Lord whose foolishness is wiser than our wisdom and who, as in the case of king David, often selects leaders that we tend to consider last. For while we tend to look at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart (I Samuel 16:7).

Read more from Eric here.

Learn how to maximize the value of your hiring process. 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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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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4 Tips for Spotting a Lazy Leader

Lazy leadership is unfaithful stewardship. Instead of wise stewardship, lazy leaders foolishly squander resources, gifting, and opportunities rather than make the most of the brief season in which they are privileged to lead. When attempting to uncover and address laziness, people often look in the wrong places. Lazy leadership is not about office hours, email response time, and vacation days—as someone can be incredibly lazy while checking emails in the office. Here are four ways in which lazy leadership tends to manifest itself:

1. Lazy leaders dump rather than delegate.

It takes work and intentionality to effectively delegate responsibilities to another person. Training, care, and being continually available are all essential in effective delegation. Dumping responsibilities on someone else requires only laziness.

2. Lazy leaders rely on personality rather than preparation.

Here is why laziness does not always reveal itself immediately. Someone can rely on his or her personality for a while, but in time the lack of preparation is obvious.

3. Lazy leaders take on too little rather than too much.

I am not suggesting that it is wise to perpetually take on too much, but lazy leaders never get close to that threshold. They avoid overwork like the plague and err toward taking on too little.

4. Lazy leaders offer excuses rather than results.

Lazy leaders may have new excuses, but they always have excuses. Someone else is always at fault for the lack of execution or follow-through.

The people of God have always understood laziness to be a sin. Laziness is a sin because laziness fails to appreciate the gift and blessing of work and fails to make the most of the time we have been graciously given. The writer of Proverbs exhorts us:

Go to the ant, you slacker! Observe its ways and become wise. Without leader, administrator, or ruler, it prepares its provisions in summer; it gathers its food during harvest. How long will you stay in bed, you slacker? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest, and your poverty will come like a robber, your need, like a bandit. (Proverbs 6:6-11)


Developing a Leadership Pipeline will minimize the risks of lazy leaders. Connect with an Auxano Navigator to learn more.


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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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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.

Why Your Meeting Should Have Been an Email

Last week I gave indicators that your email should have been a meeting. There are times when a push for efficiency via email backfires and actually creates more work. In those times, a meeting would have been more effective and more efficient.

However… there are times when a meeting is really a waste of time. When you consider the value of time, an unnecessary meeting is poor stewardship. When you calculate the time of every person in a meeting, meetings are not small investments. Thus, an unnecessary meeting robs energy and time from something else much more important. Some meetings could have been an email. Here are three indicators:

1. Monologue on operational matters

If a meeting is someone giving a monologue on tactics, the meeting could be an email. There are times when a leader or team member gives overarching direction, shares vision, or clarifies mission and values. In those moments, a passionate monologue can be effective. But a meeting is not the best venue for a running commentary on operational matters.

2. Information without any action

If a meeting is one long FYI, the meeting should have been an email. If a meeting is information without action, an email is just as effective and exponentially more efficient. If people can leave a meeting without action steps, an email would have been better.

3. Being unengaged is acceptable

If it is acceptable for people to come to a meeting and passively stare through the presenter while also engaging on their devices, the meeting should have been an email. Clearly the meeting is seen as just something else on the calendar and not something people feel deserves their full attention and engagement. If the meeting is deemed to be truly valuable, people are expected to engage. If the meeting is not valuable, value people’s time enough to cancel it.


> Read more from Eric.

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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.

Why Your Email Should Have Been a Meeting

Some meetings could have been an email, but some emails should be meetings. There are times that people, in attempts to handle things efficiently, resort to an email when a meeting would have been more effective. Just because communication is efficient does not mean it has been effective. Sometimes a longing for efficiency can lead to ineffectiveness. Here are three indications an email should have been a meeting.

1. Endless replies

An email is great for sending information or giving tactical and operational direction. It is typically not the best venue for a strategic discussion with a group of people. If there is a seemingly never-ending stream of replies, a meeting would have been better. If you see 43 replies, there is usually more confusion and not everyone has weighed in.

2. Less clarity

If the topic being raised creates more questions than answers, a meeting would have been more effective. If after the long thread of emails there is actually less clarity on the direction, you should have called a meeting.

3. Tone is uncertain

If people are re-reading emails because the tone is uncertain, then surfacing the issue at a meeting would have been more effective. Face-to-face interaction allows for dialogue and enables people to communicate empathy non-verbally.

With emails that should have been meetings, the push for efficiency backfires and actually creates more work. People typically have to circle back to others in an attempt to offer clarity. Team members spend time ensuring their tone was not misread. A lot of side conversations occur, and then it all has to come up again—in a meeting. As much as meetings are lamented, sometimes an email should have been a meeting.


Connect with an Auxano Navigator to learn more about communicating with clarity.


> Read more from Eric.

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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.

Stewardship is a Ministry Leader Must

In his letter to Titus, the apostle Paul called the overseer “God’s administrator” or “God’s steward” (Titus 1:7). Ministry leaders are stewards, not owners, as Jesus owns His Church. Jesus promised to build His Church, not ours (Matt. 16:18). The financial resources the Lord blesses a church with are ultimately for Him. The ministry leader, as a faithful steward, is responsible to ensure the resources are managed faithfully. The ministry leader must not be a lover of money (1 Tim. 3:3) but one who is generous because Christ has been generous to us.

As resources are generously given to the church, ministry leaders are responsible to ensure they are leveraged to advance the mission the Lord has given His people. Here are three ways ministry leader must live as stewards:

1. Give generously.

Ministry leaders should set the pace in living within one’s means and in being generous. Without generosity, ministry leaders lack the moral integrity to challenge people to be generous. A challenging question: If your church were as generous as you are, how generous would your church be?

2. Budget and spend strategically.

Your budget and your spending are a clear indication of your strategy. What you value as a ministry, you resource. Jack Welch once commented, “Strategy is simply resource allocation.” Your budget should be a reflection of your stated strategy. If the two are not in harmony, your budget wins and your strategy is a nebulous statement with no traction. Align your budget and spending to your strategy and priorities.

3. Embrace and teach stewardship as part of discipleship.

Ministry leaders are bombarded with advice on “raising capital,” “developing donors,” and “cultivating generosity.” If the apostle Paul were at the table hearing church leaders bemoan the lack of giving in their churches, he would probably say, “The people must have forgotten the gospel or not truly embraced it.” Paul emphasized the gospel in his appeal for believers to be generous in giving (2 Cor. 8:7–9). Though He was rich, Christ became poor so we could be blessed with the riches of knowing Him. And Christ’s generosity should motivate believers to be generous givers. Understand that stewardship is part of discipleship, and continually remind people of God’s grace as you challenge them to give.


To learn more about becoming a generous leader, connect with an Auxano Navigator.


> Read more from Eric.

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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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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.

2 Challenges in Growing a Generous Church

Give some thought to what it would be like to be a part of a generous church, led by a generous staff, overflowing with generous people. While generous people can be described in many ways, I will limit their attributes to this statement: A generous person exudes an overall positive disposition, lives with sensitivity to what is going on around them, and is ready to respond to needs. If we embrace this partial description, a generous staff will exhibit a positive vision, provide a process that develops generosity, and live generously.

Below are two obstacles related to leading a generous staff as well as opportunities and practices for overcoming them.

Obstacle #1: An unhealthy culture and unhealthy conversations about money.

Money is intended to be a wonderful gift to us. However, it is also one of the biggest life stresses. Church staff members are not immune to this life stress, and they bring it into their work practices. A generous financial plan (i.e. Church Budget) prioritizes the church goals for the year, allows flexibility year to year, and provides margin for preparing for the future and managing surprises. The financial plan should be focused in a positive direction, sensitive to the ebbs and flows of a year, and ready to respond to a great opportunity. Many staff dread the budget process and experience demotivation when it comes to church money. Generous people will not result from a non-generous staff.

Opportunity: Ask each staff member to record the last three conversations or statements they had or heard around the office related to church money or budget. Would these statements be considered more or less indicative of a positive generous culture?

Obstacle #2: Lack of a discipleship pathway that aims to grow generosity in the life of a believer.

Growing the attribute of generosity is not the same as preaching on tithing or conducting a capital campaign. Nor is it limited to a money management course. Generosity is not limited to the wealthy or those who are older or even those who are debt free. The generous life is possible every day by everyone regardless of age, financial position, or life stage. Now, if your staff leadership have not embraced this lifestyle as individuals or as a team, what likelihood is there that a member of your church will overflow with generosity? If staff members are poor money managers at home, don’t possess an inspiring stewardship testimony, and do not have the basic teachings of Scripture related to money at the ready, how will the church ever become generous?

Opportunity: Ask each staff member to name a Bible promise related to money or generosity (it cannot be a reference to tithing). Then ask each staff member to name a great hero in the Bible related to giving. Together as a team, create a theology of generosity that your team will live personally and utilize together to create a new generosity culture. Highlight biblical support with both principles and heroes. Include applications for all ages and financial positions.


If you are interested in studying generosity with your group or with your church, Generous Life can help you work toward a culture of gospel-centered generosity. This five-week stewardship emphasis, co-created by Auxano and the Groups Ministry team at LifeWay, will help members identify the type of giver they are and the kind of giver God is making them to be. This resource includes five weeks of message outlines, study guides for adults, kids, and preschool, family devotionals, and an optional media kit.


Want to know more about developing a generous church? Connect with an Auxano Navigator.


> Read more from Eric.

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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.

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.

Simplify Your Church Calendar with Five Significant Steps

For many good reasons, church leaders often desire to simplify their schedules.

  • They know too many programs is paralyzing for new people, as the next step is unclear.
  • They know that it is impossible for their church to do everything well.
  • They see leaders exhausted and they know activity does not equate with transformation.
  • They want to see people in the church know their neighbors and interact in the community and not just attend a plethora of programs.

Yeah, there really are a lot of reasons to simplify. But it is easier desired, imagined, and said than accomplished. Yelling about it and taking a hatchet to your church’s schedule is not the wisest approach. What can a ministry leader do? Here are five steps to consider:

1. Clarify your discipleship process.

The biggest mistake leaders make when desiring to simplify their programs is to start with their programs.Start with your discipleship process, not with your programs. What is your overarching strategy for making disciples? Clarify and communicate that to people before you attempt to adjust your church schedule.

2. Show how your programs are tools in your discipleship process.

As you clarify your discipleship process, show how the programs you offer are tools in your discipleship process. Champion the essential programs in your process as important environments that facilitate discipleship. As you shine more and more light on the most important, the less important can begin to fade.

3. Emphasize personal mission.

What does mission have to with simplifying a calendar? A lot. The role of a believer is not to continually attend programs at church. Believers are to reconcile people to Christ, just as Christ has reconciled us to Himself. As Charles Spurgeon said, “Every Christian is a missionary or an imposter.” In God’s providence, He has placed believers in their professions, their neighborhoods, and in their school districts. And it is not so they could drive through those areas on the way to church five nights a week.

4. Show how an over-programmed calendar harms mission.

When people have a desire to serve people in the community, they don’t beg for more programs at church. Instead they value space in their personal lives to know their neighbors, to be involved in their kids’ schools, to coach in the rec leagues, and to get to know people who do not follow Christ. Ministry leaders are wise to point out how an over-programmed church calendar competes with personal mission. If people are at the church all the time, they are rarely in the community.

5. Simplify

Only after you have laid a foundation for discipleship and mission should you start to simplify your church calendar. As you do so, continually remind people of the why beneath the changes.


Connect with the Auxano team to learn more about simplifying your calendar to increase ministry effectiveness.


> Read more from Eric.

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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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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.

Three Consequences of a Busy Church Calendar

Adrian Rogers is quoted with the pithy statement, “If Satan cannot make you bad, he will make you busy.” There is much wisdom in the statement, as cluttered lives are typically not Christ-centered lives. The Lord encourages us to “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). According to the Lord, there is a connection between being still and knowing Him. When we are continually busy, when we are always grinding out work, our awareness and awe for Him decreases.

Many church leaders have wisely encouraged people to slow down, not to sign up for every sport, and not to commit to every extracurricular activity. Ironically, and painfully so, is that many churches don’t follow their own counsel. So while many church leaders have bemoaned the busyness in their communities, they have failed to bemoan the busyness in their churches. Here are three major consequences of a busy church:

1. Families are pulled in many directions.

A busy church calendar inevitably pulls families in multiple directions. While preaching and advocating family dinners and family devotions, a busy church calendar can make living these out and attending all that is listed in the bulletin impossible.

2. Church people only know church people.

A busy church helps church people know more and more church people and systematically removes them from the broader community. In a busy church, people are removed from living as salt and light among people who don’t know the Lord.

3. Pastors become program managers.

In a busy church, pastors are asked to neglect equipping the body in exchange for running programs. In a busy church, equipping is replaced with entertaining through program after program.

Perhaps Adrian Rogers’s statement should be applied to the local church too. Church: If Satan cannot make you bad, he will make you busy.

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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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Jon Breshears — 11/24/16 9:19 am

After 47 years of ministry experience, I found this easy to agree with, and very hard to live by. All sorts of pressure applied. Eric Gieger's "Simple Church" was a big help!

Oree McKenzie — 11/15/16 5:55 am

Interesting and worthy of note. Thank you.

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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
 
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Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 
Great work!!!!
 
— Kate Harel
 

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3 Reasons Groups MUST Be a Big Deal

While one person can make a significant impact on each of us, we tend to be much more influenced by groups of people. Here is a fascinating example: The Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona has often faced a crisis as people can steal petrified wood at an alarming rate. Some researchers tested what message would motivate people to respect the forest and not steal wood. Three different tests were conducted:

  • Test 1: No sign posted.
  • Test 2: A posted sign with a picture of one personpicking up petrified wood with encouragement not to take wood.
  • Test 3: A posted sign with a picture of three people picking up petrified wood with encouragement not to take wood.

So what were the results?

When there was no sign posted, people stole 2.9% of the wood. When there was a sign showing only one person taking the wood, 1.9% of the wood was taken. When there was a sign showing several people taking wood, 7.9% of the wood was taken. Clearly people were much more willing to follow the lead of a crowd than a single person. * A group can impact people much more than one person can.

The people in your church will be much more influenced by a group of people than they will be by one person, by even one pastor. While a pastor can make a significant impact on a person’s life, the impact of a group is much more sustainable and reproducible.

Here are three reasons groups must be a big deal at your church this fall. (I am using the term groups, but the same applies to Sunday School classes, Bible fellowships, etc.)

1. A group provides encouragement that no one person will ever be able to provide.

We are all limited in the number of relationships we can have. Thus, a church that does not value groups acts as if they foolishly believe that a pastor/leader can deeply relate to a lot of people. Without groups, ministry leaders can run feverishly in futile attempts to relate deeply to lots of people.

2. A group illustrates the faith in multiple ways.

One person can provide an incredible example of faith and godliness, but it is one example. A group of people provides multiple expressions and illustrations of how the Christian faith is expressed in different spheres of life.

3. A group of believers provides a counter culture.

People in your church are going to be impacted by some group of people. The wisdom writer wrote, “The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20). The groups of people we surround ourselves with either help or harm us. By offering and emphasizing groups, churches offer an opportunity to walk with the wise. If people don’t walk with the wise, they will be a companion of fools and suffer harm.

Here is my observation: A church that does not emphasize groups tends to put way too much burden on a weekend worship service and too little trust in the power of Christian community.

* The research is cited in the book “Social Psychology and Evaluation,” page 277.

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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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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.