Ministry Leaders: Do You Recruit People for the Task or Reproduce Leaders for the Mission?

As leaders, we are in the business of replacing ourselves. It would be easy to make the case that if you are not preparing someone else to take your place and/or outpace your abilities, then you are not truly leading people. Often, the desire to stay in the position of leadership comes from a “command and control” attitude. It is the kind of leadership found in The Prince by Machiavelli. It is a leadership that enlists people into your work but never releases them for any other work.

I find one of the base differences to lie in our attitude. It is the difference between recruitment versus reproduction in leadership. So ask yourself this simple question:

Am I recruiting people to do tasks or am I reproducing leaders for the mission?

Within the church, I find too many places are simply recruiting people to fill positions, do tasks, or fill a void. It is even masked in spiritual language. “We need you to step up to this volunteer position.” “Can you fill in for the next few months until we find someone who will take it long term?” “The term of service is just three years.” At times, these are necessary statements to describe positions and give expectations. However, they should be ancillary issues to the real work of reproducing leaders. As with many things, it comes down to your priorities.

In his book Organic Leadership, Neil Cole wrote, “Recruitment is a practice in subtraction – taking people from one ministry to work in another. Reproducing leaders from the harvest and for the harvest is a practice of multiplication. The end results of these two methods are as far apart as the east is from the west.” Leaders must discipline themselves to choose reproduction over recruitment. Otherwise, you will simply steal back and forth from ministries within your church… and others.

Here are five contrasts to use in testing how you are doing in this arena:

  • Recruitment produces more followers. Reproduction produces more leaders.
  • Recruitment provides minimalistic orientation. Reproduction provides substantial training.
  • Recruitment is delegation ending in abandonment. Reproduction leads to commissioning.
  • Recruitment only transfers knowledge. Reproduction is part of a robust disciple making system.
  • Recruitment enlists members. Reproduction creates partners.

Recruitment is often a form of arrogance. It occurs when we back ourselves into the corner that “only I can lead the work” and “only I know how it should be done” and “only I can see where we need to go.” On a daily basis, test yourself to ensure that you are participating in the mission that is larger than yourself and has Christ as its King. When you keep a kingdom perspective, it will be easier to reproduce leaders rather than recruit followers.

Read more from Philip here.

If you would like to learn more about reproducing leaders, 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

Philip Nation

Philip Nation

I serve as the pastor at First Baptist Church of Bradenton, Florida 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 was 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. In 2016, I published Habits for Our Holiness: How the Spiritual Disciplines Grow Us Up, Draw Us Together, and Send Us Out with Moody Publishers. I’ve coauthored two other books: Compelled: Living the Mission of God and Transformational Discipleship: How People Really Grow. I was also the general editor of The Mission of God Study Bible. Along the way, I have written the small-group studies Storm Shelter: Psalms of God’s Embrace, 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.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 
Where may I purchase the Church Unique kit?
 
— Linda Winkelman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Discipleship Can Be Served, But Never Delivered

Discipleship matters.

The goal is not a crowd, but rather a core of committed Christ followers who are fleshing out the life of Christ at work, in their marriage, their parenting, their finances, their thinking, their politics, their…

… everything.

To borrow from Abraham Kuyper, there is not an inch of any sphere of my life that Christ does not say, “Mine!”

But what is the nature of discipleship?

There seem to be two schools of thought. The first holds that discipleship is all about ongoing investment. Whether classes or seminars, sermons or small groups, everything is designed to “feed” the Christ-follower. The language used to describe and promote this understanding of discipleship puts the entire emphasis on someone or something, doing discipleship to someone else. The one being discipled is seemingly passive. In other words, discipleship is something received.

The other school of thought is less about feeding and more about training. There is an old line that says, “Give me a fish, I eat for a day; teach me to fish, I eat for a lifetime.” So rather than providing an ongoing pipeline for biblical teaching (present though that may be) the overarching goal is to teach people how to become Bible students themselves.

So which is the true nature of discipleship?

The answer lies in the word itself.

The word “disciple” is from the Greek word “mathetes” and literally means “learner.”

Stop there. Re-read.

Learner.

This puts the action firmly into the lap of the one doing the learning. The point is that you, as a disciple, are to be actively learning. It is your responsibility to take up the mantle of self-development.

And yes, this suggests a teacher is involved.

And yes, we talk about someone going to college to receive an education.

And yes, Jesus seemed to fill the teaching/equipping role by inviting 12 men (and more than a few women) to do life with Him for three years.

And yes, they were called “disciples.”

But reflect on those early followers: Theirs was an invitation to learn, not to enter into a passive process of being fed. We certainly know that not all of the twelve went to school on Jesus. One in particular didn’t seem to learn much of anything. If discipleship was simply something done to you, Jesus failed epically with Judas.

(I wonder if Judas ever said he needed to follow another rabbi where he could be better “fed” and thus grow better spiritually than he was under Jesus.)

Growing in faith is something that can be served by others, but ultimately must be owned personally.

This is decisive. Too many followers of Christ view discipleship as something that is done to them and for them – akin to a personal enrichment program. Yet the writer of Hebrews made it abundantly clear that people who keep getting “fed” in this way are in arrested development. Once out of infancy, they should no longer need to be fed, but instead be feeding others (Hebrews 5:11-13).

But even more disquieting is how we have missed out on what it is we should focus on learning. The back-half of the Great Commission exhorts us to teach new believers to obey what Christ has commanded. This is the essence of the content of discipleship.

And what has Christ commanded?

To live our lives in mission to the least and the lost.

In other words, what we are to be learning is increased love toward others and increased faith for the task of serving them. We are not to be in search for a feeding station that creates a culture of dependency and endless demand for head-knowledge, but instead for a learning environment where an active life of faith is stretched and encouraged.

I know, knowledge is needed. Doctrine matters. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds. But that transformation only happens when what is in the mind translates into obedience to serving the widow and orphan, and reaching out to the hell-bound and skeptic.

So discipleship is enhanced through practical teaching, learning the personal disciplines of prayer and Bible study, engaging in ministry, engaging in relationships that bring challenge and opportunity, and welcoming circumstances that demand the essence of commitment and obedience.

In other words, faith is stretched by being in the game where you are admonished by teachers/leaders, investing in connecting with God through prayer and the Scriptures, putting yourself on the front lines of the cause of Christ, mixing it up with other Christians who sharpen you as iron against iron, and being led by God into unique situations that challenge you at the deepest of spiritual levels.

That’s not passive, but active.

It’s something that can be served, but never delivered.

It takes a church, but only goes so far as the person is willing to be,

… a true learner.


Want to know more about developing discipleship at your church? Connect with an Auxano Navigator today.


> Read more from James.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James Emery White

James Emery White

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. He is the founder of Serious Times and this blog was originally posted at his website www.churchandculture.org.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 
Where may I purchase the Church Unique kit?
 
— Linda Winkelman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Lead Like Jesus by Making the Conscious Decision to Serve

Below is a weekly series posting content from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders. SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; and each solution is taken from a different book. As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

>> Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<


 

Humility does not come naturally to anyone.

Who hasn’t seen an example of our self-centered nature in a two-year old child in the checkout line at the grocery story, lying flat out on the floor, screaming at the top of her lungs, fists clenched because Mom wouldn’t buy her a candy bar? When the child did not get what she wanted, a temper tantrum followed.

The reality is that adults have an inner two-year-old. We know what we want, when we want it, and we are dejected, annoyed, and maybe even angry when we don’t get our way. While it’s not appropriate to lie on the floor and scream anymore, often – in our minds – we are tempted.

Our model for humble leadership lives in the servant-mindedness of Jesus Christ during His ministry on earth. We’re not likely to achieve that kind of perfect and consistent humility in this lifetime. But great leaders aspire to grow in Christ-like humility with each passing day.

If you are interested in developing as a leader by modeling the humble servanthood of Jesus, make the conscious decision to serve.

THE QUICK SUMMARY

Cheryl Bachelder joined an ailing restaurant chain and turned it into the darling of the industry—by daring to serve the people in her organization well.

When Bachelder was named CEO of Popeyes in the fall of 2007, guest visits had been declining for years, restaurant sales and profit trends were negative, the company stock price had dropped by half, the brand was stagnant, and relations between the company and its franchise owners were strained.

By 2014, average restaurant sales were up 25 percent, and profits were up 40 percent. Popeyes’ market share had grown from 14 percent to 21 percent, and the stock price was over $40. The franchisees were so pleased with the turnaround that they began reinvesting in the brand, rapidly remodeling restaurants and building new units around the world.

The difference maker, Bachelder says, was a conscious decision to lead in a new way – with servant leadership. Servant leadership is sometimes derided as soft or ineffective, but Dare to Serve shows that it’s actually challenging and tough minded – a daring path. Bachelder takes you firsthand through the transformation of Popeyes and shows how a leader at any level can become a Dare-to-Serve leader.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

A typical view of leadership puts the leader in the spotlight. Conventional leaders assume the power position and declare a new vision. They have all the answers. They’re high achievers. Perhaps they’re even a bit self-absorbed. We tolerate that because they’re going places we want to go. If they succeed, so will we.

At least, we hope so.

Servant leaders avoid the spotlight – instead, they prefer to direct the spotlight on others. Servant leaders:

  • Listen carefully
  • Make decisions that serve the people they lead well.
  • Give credit

We like the concept of servant leaders, but in reality we fear they won’t succeed. We doubt they’ll deliver superior performance results.

A leader wanting to demonstrate servant leadership is a leader who is courageous enough to take people to a daring destination, yet humble enough to selflessly serve others on the journey. This dynamic tension between daring and serving creates the conditions for the people to deliver superior performance.

Humility is not being a doormat, it is simply thinking less about our own needs, and more about the needs of others. When we do this, we exit the spotlight, allowing us to serve others well.

Dare-to-Serve Leadership is much more difficult, and in that challenge, the leader creates the conditions for superior performance:

  • It begins with a conscious and humble decision to serve others well.
  • It inspires people to pursue a daring destination, an aspiration greater than self.
  • It boosts the capability of the people and increases their willingness to take risks.
  • It holds people accountable.
  • It is appropriately confident.
  • It works.

Dare-to-Serve Leadership requires deep-rooted personal conviction; it’s a demanding path.

The Dare-to-Serve Leader has that unique combination of traits – enough courage to take the team to a daring destination, and enough humility to serve the people well on the journey. Together these traits foster the environment for superior performance.

– Cheryl Bachelder, Dare to Serve

A NEXT STEP

On a sheet of paper, draw a line down the middle making two columns. In the left column, list the first five descriptors of Dare-to-Serve Leadership from the list above.

In the left column, list your recent activities that have demonstrated the Dare-to-Serve descriptors listed.

On another sheet of paper, identify three obstacles you face in becoming a servant leader. Review the list and write at least one action to help overcome each obstacle.

Closing Thoughts

Excellent leaders set the example by aligning their actions with their values as a servant leader, just as Christ did.

James Kouzes and Barry Posner, writing in Great Leadership Creates Great Workplaces, suggest leaders ask themselves these three questions at the end of each day:

“What have I done today that demonstrates the values that I hold near and dear?”

“What have I done today that might have, even inadvertently, been inconsistent with what I value and believe in?”

This reflection will prepare you to ask a final question: “So tomorrow, what do I need to do differently so that my actions match my words?”

Servant leaders who make this a regular habit will not only be practicing their craft, they will be developing themselves and others as servant leaders – ultimately reflecting the heart of Christ who did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.

To learn more about making a conscious decision to serve in your organization, start a conversation with the Auxano team today.

Taken from SUMS Remix 19-2, published July 2015.


>> Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 
Where may I purchase the Church Unique kit?
 
— Linda Winkelman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Importance of Movement in Your Ministry

Movement is the sequential steps in the process that cause people to move to greater areas of commitment. Movement is about flow. It is about assimilation.

Movement is what causes a person to go to the next step.

Movement is the most difficult simple church element to understand; therefore, an illustration is in order.

In a relay race the most important part of the race are the handoffs. Four runners are on the same team, and each runner’s speed is crucial but not nearly as crucial as the handoffs. Relay races are won or lost at the handoffs.

Sometimes the teams with the best runners lose, and teams with the best handoffs win. You have seen it. A team is out in the lead, and then someone drops the baton during a handoff. And the team loses.

The handoffs are that important.

Movement is about the handoffs. Movement is what happens in between the programs. Movement is how someone is handed off from one level of commitment to a greater level of commitment. How a church moves someone from a worship service to a small group is movement. How a church is designed to move a person from being an observer to being a contributor is movement.

Sadly, most churches are like poor relay teams. Instead of caring about the handoffs, they are preoccupied with the programs. They pay little attention to how people are moved to greater levels of commitment. They ignore what happens between the programs.

Simple churches pay attention to the handoffs. They have grasped the truth that assimilation effectiveness is more important than programmatic effectiveness. They know that as the flow of a process increases, so does the potential that people will progress through it. Simple church leaders design a ministry process where the programs are placed as tools along the process.

Vibrant churches have a simple process that produces movement, a process that facilitates the handoffs. The programs in these churches are tools used to promote movement. The leaders focus on what happens in between the programs as much as they do the programs.

Research confirms that movement is an essential design element in a simple church. According to the data, vibrant and growing churches have already recognized the importance of movement.

Winning teams excel in the handoffs, and so do simple churches. They are experts in designing a simple process that produces movement.

To implement the movement element, church leaders must take a fresh look at the weekly church calendar and the regularly scheduled programs. All programs must be placed in sequential order along the ministry process. This is what creates movement in a ministry process.

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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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 
Where may I purchase the Church Unique kit?
 
— Linda Winkelman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

A 5-Step Process for Investing in Your Front Line Team Members

I recently facilitated in a 3-day gathering of Guest Experience leaders from 15 of the largest churches in the U.S. There were many differences in our group when it comes to Guest Experience practices, but a common thread soon developed: the critical importance of the front-line volunteers.

One of the resources we discussed was a book by Chris DeRose and Noel Tichy entitled Judgment on the Front Line. During a study of some of the leading companies in the country, the authors developed a set of principles for moving well beyond the basics of customer (guest) service by putting power, resources and trust in the hands of front line personnel. By doing so, these companies have enabled their employees to more rapidly address customer problems, anticipate unarticulated needs and drive customer-facing innovation.

DeRose and Tichy discuss their findings in an article on HBR.org; here is an excerpt outlining an important process for church leaders to use when investing in their front line team members:

> Step 1: Get Started: Connect the front line to the customer strategy. Senior leaders need to help match their customer promise to the capabilities of the front line while listening closely so they can help align the culture, training, work processes and reward systems.

> Step 2: Empower Your Workforce: Teach people to think for themselves. Employees at every level need to understand the customer strategy and they also need simple problem solving frameworks that are used throughout the organization to promote cross-hierarchical dialogue.

> Step 3: Experiment to Implement: Grant front line workers latitude to experiment. Teaching front line leaders the basics for designing simple experiments enables organizations to test many more ideas than could ever be orchestrated centrally.

> Step 4: Eliminate the Barriers: Break down the hierarchy. Freeing front line capacity requires frequent, diligent effort to eliminate decision processes or administrative work that gets in the way of enabling the front line to expeditiously serve customers.

> Step 5: Invest in Your Frontline: Put budget behind it. Too often, companies reserve big budgets for senior management training while spreading funding thin for front line personnel. Similarly, too many companies are content to hire front line staff without carefully considering whether they possess the right attitude and values to represent their brand.

Delivering a great Guest experience is a fundamental that every organization needs to practice, and organizations that excel in this area focus on how to get the most from their front line. As organizations reconsider how their team members interact with customers, they will be challenged to move beyond just rhetoric.

If they are truly serious about turning their people into their greatest asset, they’ll invest in the front line.

Read the full article from HBR here.

Download our SUMS summary of Judgment on the Front Line here.

Want to know about Guest Experiences in your church? Contact me for more information.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bob Adams

Bob Adams

Bob is an absolute fanatic about Guest Experiences, growing up watching his father serve customers at the gas station he built and operated for 44 years. Bob is continually connecting with corporate leaders in the customer experience world, learning and then translating practices for ChurchWorld. He writes, speaks, and consults on the topic frequently. Best of all, he is a front-line practitioner at Elevation Church, serving in various roles at the Uptown and Lake Norman Campuses. Vocationally, Bob has a dual role at Auxano, a clarity first consulting firm serving the church. As Vision Room Curator and Digital Engagement Leader he researches, edits, writes and publishes online content. As Guest Experiences Navigator, he leverages his passion, providing Guest Perspective Evaluations and Guest Experience Blueprints. Bob and his wife Anita have been married for 35 years. They have 4 children, 2 daughters-in-law, 1 son-in-law, and 4 grandchildren.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 
Where may I purchase the Church Unique kit?
 
— Linda Winkelman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Humble Volunteers: The Secret Sauce in Your Ministry

One of our staff members at Elevation used to work at Chic-fil-A. He claims to know the secret about how they make the chicken taste so delicious. He shared it with me. Interesting theory. Sorry, I’m sworn to secrecy.

People have asked me quite a few times over the several years something like this:

What is the secret sauce that has helped Elevation to grow rapidly and make a big impact?

Obviously, the secret sauce is Jesus.

But that’s not what they’re asking. They’re looking to learn how Jesus through the Holy Spirit is working through us in a specific, tangible way.

Additionally, it always feels funny to try to explain what you’re doing right when you know there are so many areas where you want to do so much better.

With that said, I do think there’s a secret sauce that you would discover if you spent some time behind the scenes at Elevation Church. It’s something that I’ve seen God bless over and over again- not just in our church, but in churches, businesses, and families all over the world. And it has nothing to do with my preaching or the Sunday morning worship experience.

The secret sauce? It’s the humility of the volunteers on our team.

By humility, I don’t mean sheepishness. When I say I’m inspired by the humility of our team, here’s what I mean:

They submit their pride and preferences to God’s plans and purposes, and deflect the glory to Jesus.

  • Our creative team has had to completely scratch a finished product that took them hundreds of hours to create because it wasn’t the best thing for the worship experience.
  • Our ushers have had to respond with kindness to angry parents who dropped F-bombs when they were asked to leave the auditorium with a crying baby so that people could hear the Gospel undistracted.
  • Our worship leaders have practiced and performed many songs they didn’t personally like with a great attitude and wholehearted effort because it best supported the message.
  • Our volunteer leaders have accepted hard correction about the way to lead their teams, made the adjustments, and come back the next week, even though they’re not paid to.
  • In the administrative department- I walked through and saw 7 people in Volunteer Headquarters pounding away on keyboards, entering first time guest data just moments before I wrote this. Very few people have any clue about the hard, tedious work they do. But that’s not why they do it.

And on and on.

Elevation team- thanks for serving up the good stuff with humility every week.

You’re the secret sauce that God uses to make this thing so special.

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

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 
Where may I purchase the Church Unique kit?
 
— Linda Winkelman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Does Your Outside Space Reflect Your Inside Ministry?

These two pictures tell the tale of two shopping malls…

BR-VR011914

The mall at the top is pretty much just like the mall I grew up going to. At this mall you park as close to the entrance as you can, then go inside to find the store you are looking for and maybe stroll up and down the covered atrium. All of your favorite stores are facing and found inside. This particular mall has an Apple Store, but you have to know that ahead of time.

The shopping mall on the bottom is reflective of the new breed of malls that cropped up. In fact, they are not even called shopping malls anymore – they are “Lifestyle Centers.” The major difference here is that you park near the store you are going to, and maybe stroll up and down an outdoor promenade. All of the stores are facing outside. This mall has a PF Changs, it’s easily seen from the street.

Which of these two malls would you rather visit?

Which shopping experience is more engaging as you pass?

Does exterior presence (and life) really matter if the content is the same inside?

Actually, these two photos are of the same shopping mall in Akron, OH. Three to four years ago the mall developer added the exterior-focused retail stores to the front. In my estimation, as an attempt to draw more shoppers and respond to our experienced-based culture. Developers know this: people respond to the experience that appears to be more pleasant.

Many churches are more like the “other side” of the mall, a great experience inside, hidden by the lack of life outside.

What if the church turned the ministries inside out?

How could an engaging worship experience be seen from the street, if not literally?

Could an incredible Kid’s Ministry be known in the community, before anyone steps through the door?

What kind of movement and life can churches present, maybe even just by moving the greeting time outside?

What can you do THIS Sunday to bring the inside-out at your church? 

Read more from Bryan 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
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 
Where may I purchase the Church Unique kit?
 
— Linda Winkelman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How to Systematically Improve Your Church’s Ministry to Volunteers

Leading volunteers is challenging. It can even seem impossible at times. And the truth is, if you’re trying to do it without a system, it will always seem impossible. The good news is that it’s possible to improve your ministry to volunteers without having to give up another night away from your family.

Here are four steps you can take to systematically improve your church’s ministry to volunteers in a way that increases engagement and multiplies the number of people willing to serve:

1.     Understand Your Existing Volunteer System

There are no universal solutions; there are only universal principles. Your system will be unique to your church because your church has different needs and resources. The first step in defining the system is determining your congregation’s status in how well you’re engaging volunteers. Once you have determined some of the needs present within your congregation, brainstorm a list of people who might be able to address them.

2. Outline Your Volunteer Engagement Strategy

After you have defined your church’s existing volunteer system, you’ll need to determine a plan for implementation and execution. Whether your church is large or small, finding a systematic way for implementing a strategy to enhance volunteer engagement will ensure your volunteers are serving in their areas of giftedness, receiving all they need to be growing, involved disciples of Jesus Christ.

3. Manage Through Online Tools

Many churches seek to implement processes without electronic tools because they fear technology will strip the heart out of the ministry. On the contrary, technology manages information and details to free you up for deeper relationships. It can help you track the status and involvement of every individual in your church. You can quickly identify those who are not serving, those who are serving in multiple positions, and those who are involved in leadership training. Online tools also allow you to communicate with individual volunteers or sub-groups. This becomes more and more important as your church grows.

4. Measure for Effectiveness

Though many people hyper-focus on data analysis, data truly is helpful in determining the effectiveness of every area of ministry, especially the development of volunteers. As attendance increases, the expectation is more people will become part of the volunteer pipeline. After implementing your new volunteer system, your church will begin to reap the benefits of a healthy culture of volunteers. Once this process is set in motion, however, you will need to consider ways to keep it in motion.

It’s time to take the guessing game out of improving the way our churches recruit, engage, and disciple volunteers. If you want to dive a little deeper into creating a systematic approach for your church’s volunteer plan and learn how to keep volunteers engaged, you can download our free eBook, “The Challenge of Leading Volunteers.”

Read more from CCB here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Caton

Steve Caton

Steve Caton is part of the Leadership Team at Church Community Builder. He leverages a unique background in technology, fundraising and church leadership to help local churches decentralize their processes and equip their people to be disciple makers. Steve is a contributing author on a number of websites, including the Vision Room, ChurchTech Today, Innovate for Jesus and the popular Church Community Builder Blog. He also co-wrote the eBook “Getting Disciple Making Right”. While technology is what Steve does on a daily basis, impacting and influencing the local church is what really matters to him……as well as enjoying deep Colorado powder with his wife and two sons!

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 
Where may I purchase the Church Unique kit?
 
— Linda Winkelman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Appreciating Volunteers – 33 Actionable Ideas

Volunteers are the life blood of your church. In fact … your church literally wouldn’t exist without them! Often it’s small actions that show your true feelings about your volunteer teams. Why not pick a few of these things off this list and try them this weekend at your church? The first step towards building healthy volunteer teams is making sure that your existing team members feel appreciated!

  1. At the beginning of every “shift” make sure team leaders cast vision for “why” their service is critical to the vision of the church.
  2. Visit every service area that you are “responsible” for this Sunday and say “thank you.”
  3. Send birthday cards.
  4. Every time a volunteer serves send a “what to expect” email three or four days before.
  5. Assign some people to spend time with new volunteers on the first weekend they serve with you.
  6. Take time out during the message to brag about how amazing your volunteers are.
  7. Get to know what’s happening in your volunteers personal lives.
  8. Make sure there is a enough work for volunteers to do when they arrive … don’t waste their time!
  9. Food … always have a meal available before or after they serve.
  10. Make it easy for your team leaders to send regular thank you notes to their team members.
  11. At the end of every “shift” take time to hear what the volunteers think could be improved on for the future.
  12. Open up leadership development opportunities for volunteers to advance in the church.
  13. Don’t impose new policy’s and procedures without at least talking them through with your team.
  14. Throw parties regularly.
  15. Write letters of reference for students volunteering with you.
  16. Read “impact emails” that you get about how great your church is to your team.
  17. Easy off ramps … don’t lock your team into perpetual service!
  18. Send out a press release to your community paper celebrating your team when they do something “above and beyond”.
  19. Make sure your volunteers are “first to know” about exciting things happening in the future of your church.
  20. Give them a team t-shirt
  21. Make sure everyone has a name tag on.
  22. Use quotes from your team members in your “annual report” … or other donor targeted communications.
  23. Calculate how many hours your volunteers have served in that last year and celebrate that!
  24. Reinforce regularly with paid staff that our #1 role is to support our volunteers.
  25. Take pictures of your volunteers serving and post them on various Social Media channels.
  26. Make sure your volunteers have the best equipment you can afford for them to work with.
  27. Create easy channels for your volunteers to communicate with the church leadership.
  28. Insist that the church reimburse them for out-of-pocket expenses.
  29. Send ‘em a hand signed Christmas card.
  30. Have good coffee and a few snacks available when they arrive.
  31. Allow some volunteers to gain more influence & take on more responsibility.
  32. Take at least one volunteer a week out every week to thank them and get to know them better.
  33. Buy 10 books that have impacted you and give them to 10 volunteers who have gone “above and beyond” recently.

Read more from Rich here.

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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!

Recent Comments
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 
Where may I purchase the Church Unique kit?
 
— Linda Winkelman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Team Alignment: 6 Actions Necessary to Create a Positive Ministry Team Experience

Vision Curator’s Note: This post was originally published on January 29, 2013, on Employee Happiness Tips Tricks & Tools, a site where you can find state-of-the-art real-life ideas for boosting employee happiness. With the author’s permission, I’ve made only slight modifications to reflect the language of church ministry teams, focusing on Guest Experience teams.

There is a clear linkage between the team member experience and the Guest experience in your church.

We know that. And yet, many organizations still refuse to make the team member experience a priority, focusing instead on other more tangible factors without considering the implications of a poor team member experience.

This post is about what it takes to put team members first, to make their experience a clear priority.

I’ve been preaching the importance of team members in the Guest experience equation since my days at J.D. Power and Associates 20 years ago, and yet, in the heat of Guest experience design efforts, team members are forgotten. Organizational executives say:  “Oh, we’ll collect feedback from team members later. We’ll incorporate team member data after we hear how our Guests feel. We’ll do something for team members next year. We’ll think about our culture at another time. Let’s start with our Guests.” This is not, nor has it ever been, acceptable.

Without your team members, you have no Guest experience. The linkage between Guest experience and team member engagement has been proven. It’s real, and your team members matter! If your team members aren’t engaged, it will be very difficult for them to delight your Guests; in very simple terms, this describes the spillover effect, defined as “the tendency of one person’s emotions to affect how other people around him feel.”

With team member engagement at what I would probably estimate to be an all-time low, it’s time to place the focus where it belongs. It’s time for organizations to think about their team members first. I love this story from Tom Peters:

CEO Hal Rosenbluth chronicled the incredible success of his travel-services firm, Rosenbluth International, in The Customer Comes Second. Love that title! Who comes first? Don’t be silly, says King Hal; it’s employees. That is – and this dear Watson, is elementary – if you genuinely want to put customers first, you must put employees more first.

In this video, an interview with Sir Richard Branson, Branson advocates the same: “Put your staff first, customers second, and shareholders third.”

Where do we begin? There are a few different ways to ensure a positive employee experience:

1. Enlist the Right People

As strange as this may sound, it really starts with hiring the right people. What does that mean? In addition to Attitude, I can probably summarize the rest in one word: Alignment. The right people share your organization’s:

  • Values
  • Passion
  • Purpose

It is often said that Guests will check out organizations with which they align, whether that alignment is with the organization’s purpose, the organization’s social responsibility policy, or something else. Team members want to be a part of organizations with which they are aligned, as well. That’s where passion comes in. How can you be passionate about doing something or being a part of something you don’t care about or that doesn’t fit your own values?

Putting the effort into enlisting the right people shows that you care about your brand, the organization as whole, and your Guests… and most importantly, the team members. Note: the “right people” aren’t always the most-experienced or the most-obvious ones, either.

2. Establish an Onboarding Process

You can’t just enlist people, set them free, and think they’ll understand what’s expected of them. By “knowing what’s expected of them,” I don’t just mean knowing what to do in their new roles. Yes, obviously explaining the task, and where to find needed supplies are all important to the onboarding process, but what I’m referring to is that they must know what it means to be a part of your organization, i.e., knowing your brand promise, values and commitment, what it means to live the brand, and where the priorities lie.  In other words, define the culture.

3. Communication and Feedback

The Senior Pastor is the brand champion for most church organizations and drives the communication and the culture. The Senior Leader and/or Leadership Team needs to build alignment to the brand strategy through constant communication:  educate and inspire; teach team members how their actions impact the Guest experience. A culture of transparency – one of open, honest, and candid communication – will yield amazing results.

Communication also includes feedback, whether it’s ongoing feedback about performance to the team member (or from the team member) or in the form of a survey or some other data collection methodology. Feedback, like communication, is a two-way street. And it needs to be acted on.

4. Empower Team Members

In order for team members to live this culture, they must be empowered. While “team member empowerment” might be one of those phrases that is over-used in conversation/theory but under-utilized in reality, I am referring specifically to ownership and accountability. I think team members can relate to what that means, but your onboarding process should certainly clarify that for them.

  • If they receive direct feedback about their performance, they need to own it and correct it.
  • If a Guest has a bad experience directly related to his/her service, be accountable. Learn from it and improve.
  • If a Guest has an issue, step up and come up with creative solutions to fix it.
  • If team members have ideas on how to improve the Guest experience, they should be encouraged to share with the team – own it and do it.

Team member ownership means your people are invested in the organization emotionally. Team member ownership also means that team members are involved in decisions about how to improve the Guest experience – and the organizational culture is such that this is allowed, supported, and applauded. Team member ownership also means that the senior leadership team is no longer in charge; the team members are. They think and act like they own the organization.

5. Show Appreciation

Rewards and recognition for a job well done must be a part of your culture. Praise for delighting Guests should always be given. Knowing that their ideas, suggestions, opinions, and contributions are valued and appreciated goes a long way toward facilitating and nurturing team member engagement. Two small words, “thank you,” on a regular basis shouldn’t be too difficult.

6. Map the Team Member Journey

What tools can we use to set all of this into motion? I would recommend building a team member journey map. Just like the Guest journey map is the backbone of Guest experience management, the team member journey map is the same for the team member experience. How can you improve upon something if you have no clue what “it” is? A team member journey map clearly outlines the team member experience for you from end to end, helps to identify areas for improvement, and brings awareness to the good and the bad parts of the team member experience. The journey map will facilitate a culture transformation.

Putting team members first is a lot of work, isn’t it? There’s a lot to it. An organization that puts team members first is not simply giving out coffee cups and having foosball tournaments. There’s a concerted effort, day in and day out, to do the right thing and to build the right culture.

One final note:  I think this might just be the most important thing. Never forget that we are all human. Show your team members that you truly care about and respect them, that they are more than just a number. Treat them the way you’d want to be treated. Treat them like humans.

Read more from Annette here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Annette Franz

Annette Franz

Annette Franz is Vice President, Client Experience at Compellon. She spearheads delivery of best practices that help Compellon clients incorporate Compellon20|20 into their CX strategies and ensure they achieve successful outcomes by making real changes in the areas that matter most to their customers. Prior to joining Compellon, Franz served as Director of Customer Outcomes for Fidelity Investments. She previously held instrumental roles in market research and customer experience leadership at Touchpoint Dashboard, Confirmit, Allegiance, Medallia, CustomerSat, BizRate, Data Development Corporation, Mattel, and J.D. Power and Associates. She is also the author of the popular blog CX JourneyTM, where she shares her 25 years of experience and passion for teaching companies about customer experience and helping them understand the importance of the employee experience to a great customer experience. She has been recognized as one of “The 100 Most Influential Tech Women on Twitter” by Business Insider and by several other organizations as a top influencer in Customer Experience. She is an active CXPA member, as a CX Expert, CX Mentor, and a SoCal Local Networking Team Lead; she also serves as an executive officer on the Board of Directors.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 
Where may I purchase the Church Unique kit?
 
— Linda Winkelman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.