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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Clarity Process

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When Your Church Needs New Wineskins

One day a group of people approached Jesus, confused that his disciples were not fasting. After all, John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees were fasting. Why were Jesus’ disciples not as committed to “doing the right things”?

Jesus answers the question about his disciples’ lack of fasting with an illustration of a wedding feast. Jesus introduces himself as the bridegroom who has a special relationship with his bride. When the bridegroom is here, it is time to rejoice—to feast. But when he is gone (a foreshadowing of his death, resurrection, and ascension), fasting will resume.

Jesus was not against fasting; he was against fasting for the sake of checking fasting off a spiritual checklist. To show that the man-made system of religion could not contain his grace, he used two common cultural illustrations:

No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new patch pulls away from the old cloth, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost as well as the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins (Mark 2:21-22).

The old clothing cannot handle the new patch; the old wineskins cannot handle the new wine. The old man-made legalistic system of the Pharisees could not handle the grace revolution of Jesus.

While the illustration Jesus gave is clearly about the inability of a system to contain his grace, I also find his illustration helpful in thinking about the growth of a ministry/church. In many churches, what the Lord desires to do will disrupt the current structure. Often new wineskins are needed.

Church Architects

As church leaders architect their staff structures, they must design them in a scalable manner, in a way that allows for growth. But growth creates new problems and sometimes demands new structures. Here are three common philosophical tensions that confront leadership teams as they consider their structure. There are godly and wise advocates on opposite sides of each spectrum. My goal is not to convince you of one philosophy over another or to resolve the tensions, but to help you surface the discussion points. The more a leadership team aligns on a philosophy of each of these “tensions,” the easier it will be to stretch the wineskin/broaden the structure.

As you read these, please understand I am not addressing the people—merely the structure. Having the right leaders, who fulfill the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3 and love well, is infinitely more important than structure. In fact, a good structure will never make up for bad leadership. But godly and great leaders can overcome an inhibiting structure. Still, that is no excuse for eschewing wisdom on how to steward the responsibilities given by God to church leaders.

(1) The ‘Flat/Span of Care’ Tension

Typically, a flat structure has less management. Here is an extreme example: A middle-school pastor may report directly to the lead pastor in one church. In another church, he may report to the senior student pastor, who reports to the pastor of spiritual formation, who reports to the executive pastor, who reports to the senior pastor. Those who advocate a flat staff structure point to the obvious advantages: cheaper and faster. Each additional level of staffing adds costs to the church. And each additional level of staffing slows down communication and decision-making.

But before you sign on to the flat line structure, consider a potential pitfall: the flatter the staff structure, the less development and energy each staff member receives from his/her supervisor. At one point in my tenure as Christ Fellowship Miami’s executive pastor, I had 18 direct reports. As the church grew, we kept adding to the team without adding layers. I loved the speed and the stewardship, but at that point, I could not provide the care and coaching as I should. And to encourage spiritual transformation in churches, staff teams should be nurtured. So while flat structures express stewardship, span of care speaks to the issues of discipleship and development. Span of care theorists would argue for 4 to 6 direct reports to managers.

Your leadership team should wrestle with this tension. How flat do you desire to be? If you lean toward the flat side, how will you ensure the staff receives coaching and care?

(2) The ‘Lean/Ahead of Growth’ Tension

The biblical argument for a lean staff emphasizes the priesthood of believers—every believer is gifted to serve others—and reminds pastors that they equip the body. If all of God’s people are invited into the ministry of the church, staff members are not hired to “do ministry” but to “lead and train others” for ministry.

Often churches that spend 45 percent to 55 percent of their budget on personnel costs are considered to be in the average range. We find tension here, though, because some advocate that church leaders hire “ahead of the growth.” For example, a church in a college town has few college students attending—not enough to justify a staff member in the minds of many on the leadership team. They could wait for college students to attend, though they haven’t shown up in the last decade. Or they could staff ahead of the growth and invest in the role now.

Those who staff ahead of the growth point to fruit of individual pastors/leaders. They are not as concerned with having a lean staff, because they believe their investment in staffing bears ministry fruit. Those who staff lean often point to the releasing of ministry to volunteers and the investment of resources in other areas.

(3) The ‘Leader/Manager’ Tension

Many churches are over-managed and under-led. They become slow-moving institutions designed for control rather than mission. Decision-making is cumbersome, empowerment is low, and movement is lethargic. They are unlikely to change because, after all, no one loves management as much as managers.

On the other end of the spectrum, churches are led by visionary and passionate teams with few systems in place to support the mission. And because they lack the systems and processes provided by capable managers, the church quickly becomes chaotic and unfocused. While we are much more attracted to leadership, management is just as necessary. The “down with management” and “up with leadership” thinking is unhelpful and unhealthy.

Ultimately, structure produces no life change. Nor does it produce health. Healthy churches have myriad staffing structures; same with unhealthy ones. But structure is important, because it can provide clarity. It can enable effective communication and help ensure ministry is executed well. Wise leadership teams will wrestle with these philosophical tensions beneath the structure and develop convictions that guide their staffing as they trust God with the growth he grants.

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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Mr. Steven Finkill — 10/24/12 11:28 am

I've certainly seen these tensions in play in many of the churches I've interacted with. I love that Eric describes the tensions without suggesting a one-approach-fits-all solution for them. The truth is that these tensions will always exist and it's the job of good leaders to navigate them well. And that's something that's done on an ongoing basis, not once-and-done.

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Clarity Process

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Unlocking the Five Motivations for Work in Your Ministry Leadership

We all have motivations that get us out of bed in the morning. And, we all have a wide array of forces that impact our sense of identity as it relates to work.

I have found it helpful to identify these and to explore their interrelationship. In doing so there are multiple benefits to fortifying your life as a ministry leader. In fact, great leaders deeply understand these benefits  in their own life. In addition, these motivations and the benefits of understanding them, become very helpful in stewarding the gifts and talents of others. What are the benefits of exploring the five motivations? They include:

  • Building self-awareness
  • Bringing a higher perspective to everyday work 
  • Enhancing a God-focused life
  • Aiding in value-based, directional career decision-making 
  • Finding health and balance in your job. 

Explore these  five motivations for your work. While some of these categories may be defined from a negative point of view, (Careerism is selfish), I consider them from positive perspective.

#1 Work as Job: “I get paid in order to live.”

All of us, with few exceptions, start here. You get a job to put bread on the table and to pay the rent. It’s a baseline and noble motivation- survival.

#2 Work as Career: “I advance my life.” 

In addition to getting paid, its nice to know you will get paid more in the future. Progress is a life impulse biologically and emotionally. When you ad a little testosterone to the equation, watch out.  The impetus to win and to have more influence and to “better your position” becomes a significant, if not dominating motive for most people. While Jesus never rebukes the motivation for progress, he does rebuke the selfish and worldly interpretation of what progress looks like (lording over people verses serving them).

#3 Work as Fulfillment: “I enjoy using my life’s talents and abilities.” 

When people cultivate an awareness and practice of their gifts, new things begin to emerge in the motivational dynamic. “Work as job” and “work as career” motivations begin to shift. For example, I might be willing to trade financial benefit or title of influence for the euphoria of a tightly aligned role match with my passion or talents.

#4 Work as Calling: “God created my life for a unique purpose.” 

The definition of calling may have some nuances depending on your faith background. Here, I mean the term to reflect a personal relationship with God that brings the revelation of a life agenda or purpose or destiny.  It’s the movement from occupation to vocation. This is more specific than a generic, “I follow Jesus” or “God has a wonderful plan for your life.”  And this specificity is very real and concrete to those who discern it or find it or receive it. Luke wrote of Paul in Acts 13:36, “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep…”

#5 Work as Convergence: “I enjoy life for God’s glory.” 

I have struggled with the idea of calling being the ultimate “right” motivation. In some ways, that is the obviously answer. In other ways,  I believe in the nobility of every level and the opportunity to engage in as many levels as possible. “Work as convergence” is the answer. Even though one may be clear on calling, isn’t it still natural to desire a sense of fulfillment and advancement? I think so. As the Westminster Confession reminds us, glorifying God isn’t separable from enjoying him. On another practical level, convergence brings the overlap of “work as job” and “work as calling.” Many feel like they have to work a “job” in order to serve God (calling) in some other area of life. In this case there is an opportunity to explore convergence.

What’s your motivation for work?

Read more from Will here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
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What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How Not to Loathe the Culture You Are Leading

One of the dangers of a growing organization or ministry is the temptation to quickly bring people on to the team to meet the demands of the growth. Of course, there is nothing wrong with desiring to scale the team. As the organization grows, wise leaders expand the leadership base.

The temptation is to take shortcuts on ensuring those joining the team are deeply committed to the mission and values of the organization/ministry. The temptation is to settle, to quickly grab a person and put him or her in a role. When work is piling up, unread emails in the inbox are growing, and demands seem to be rising, the easy solution seems to be quickly putting someone in a role. But wise leaders know—likely they have learned—that putting the wrong person in a role is a short-term solution with adverse long-term implications.

Tony Hsieh (founder & CEO of Zappos) tells the story about his former company, LinkExchange, which was sold to Microsoft for 265 million. When the company was just getting started, Tony and his friends loved the culture. They worked together all the time, sometimes forgetting what day it was. As the company initially grew, they hired their friends, people who shared the same values and understood the culture of the team. But as they continued to grow, “they ran out of friends to hire.” In other words, people began to join the team who did not share the same values. And the culture quickly deteriorated, so much so that Tony said he no longer wanted to come to work at his own company. He now obsesses over cultural fit in his current role at Zappos, and rightly so. Over half of an employee’s annual evaluation is based on living their values, and he has said, “An employee can be a superstar in job performance, but if they don’t live up to core values, we will fire them just for that.”

While we often imagine that declining and crumbling organizations begin to fall apart because they have grown complacent, Jim Collins, in his book How the Mighty Fall, states that complacency is not the issue. Decline begins when the growth of an organization outpaces the organization’s ability to have the right people at the table.

Surely one aspect of “the right people” is a deep-seated commitment to the mission and values that drive the organization. As the organization grows, new people will be invited to join the team. If you move too quickly and fail to ensure the alignment of values, you may end up loathing the culture of the team you are leading.

How can you not loathe the culture you are leading? Do everything you can to ensure the people joining the team, at their very core, carry the DNA of the culture you envision.

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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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
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— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Answering the “What Ifs” of Mentoring Young Leaders

There will be a whole new set of leaders in your organization in the next few years.  The leaders of today will be long forgotten.  Some will have retired, others moved on to new callings and others simply dropped out of ministry.  Regardless of the reason, the reality is the leadership picture of your organization will change. If we care about the long-term effectiveness and impact of our mission then leadership development must be a priority today.  That means we need to be looking among the next generation to see who can take up the mantel of leadership and give them the coaching and experience they need to lead well.

So what do tomorrow’s leaders look like today? This is an important question because while we may have a few good years left, our job is to identify and develop the leaders of tomorrow.  So back to our question- what do tomorrow leaders look like today?

They’re idealistic – Many young leaders haven’t had their first big humbling failure yet.  So they’re idealistic, have all the answers and quick with an opinion.  They believe they have a better way.  The only problem is they haven’t worn the shoes of leadership long enough to really know.  Once they get a few good failures under their belt they’ll be all the wiser.  But that’s not a good reason to hold them back from trying.  Why not allow them to get some “failure” experience under the watchful eye of a wiser experienced leader?  I love young idealistic leaders, they stretch me, and they challenge my thinking.  They remind me to trust God rather than logic. They remind me not to say, “We’ve never done it that way before.”  Yes, idealism can be dangerous, but it can also has its advantages.  They tend to think, “What if?’ more than a seasoned leader.  So what might happen if you intersect the wisdom and experience of a seasoned leader with the enthusiasm and idealism of a young leader?

They’re raw and unpolished –  Have you ever gone gem mining?  When my kids were young they loved going to the mountains of Tennessee to dig through the dirt looking for these hidden treasures.  They would spend hours digging, sifting, searching until they would discover the rare gem among the rubble.  It didn’t look impressive at first but once they spent some time cleaning and polishing they held a shiny prize in their hand that they would proudly display in their room.  Young leaders can be raw and unpolished.  It’s easy to judge them for their lack of discernment and discipline.  It’s tempting to put them aside deeming them unready. But those who invest development time and energy when these unpolished leaders are young will discover a strong leader they can trust and empower in a few short years.

They’re unproven –  Young leaders don’t have much of a track record.  They’re experience is minimal and not well rounded.  They may have a success or two but can they repeat it?  However they do have energy, ideas, gifts and strengths that make them a high powered package of potential.  What if we saw it sooner rather than later?  What if we developed it today rather than tomorrow?  What if we went to work shaping them immediately rather than eventually? What if we got ahold of them before they were ready?  What if we gave them opportunities that were never given to us at that age?  What if we exposed them to great places, great organizations and great people while their minds are still moldable and impressionable?  What if we shared some of our leadership responsibility with them, passed along some of our credibility and shared some platform? When you invest in a young leader this way you not only help them build their character and competency but you’re also helping them establish their leadership credibility.

I’m always amazed when I think about how young some of the great biblical leaders were.  Joseph stepped into leadership as overseer of the Captain of the Guard in Egypt at age seventeen (Gen 37:2). Josiah was only eight when he became king!  Okay that may be a little to young, but he reigned for thirty-one years and “walked in the ways of his father David and did not turn aside to the right hand or the left” (2 Chron. 24:1-2).  We don’t know how old he was but Timothy was a young man when Paul began to entrust him with leadership.

So what are you looking for in young leaders? If you’re looking for maturity, perfection, experience, consistency, reliability you may not find it.  But if you look for their strengths, gifts and passion you can develop the other qualities that will one day make them great leaders.

Read more from Mac here.

 

 

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Mac Lake

Mac Lake

I am the Chief Launch Officer of The Launch Network, a new church planting network based out of West Ridge Church in the greater Atlanta, Georgia area. My role is to get The Launch Network up and running, networking with churches and planters to establish healthy church starts across the U.S. and the world. Our goal is to plant 1000 churches in the next 10 years. My passion is growing leaders for the local church. Every time I hear Bill Hybels say “The local church is the hope of the world” my heart comes out of my chest and it increases my sense of urgency for developing leaders who produce leaders.

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Clarity Process

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Boundaries for Leaders

Ultimately, leadership is about turning a vision into reality; it’s about producing real results in the real world. And that is only done through people doing what it takes to make it happen. So, as a leader, how do you get that to happen? What are the things that you have to do to ensure they will do what will make it work? What do you have to do with a team, a direct report, or an entire organization?

Why is it that some leaders are able to get those results when they implement those principles? When they cast vision, engage talent, work towards execution, create and implement strategy… great results happen. Yet, other leaders do not get those same results, even with good plans? Why?

I believe that among all of the things that a leader does, one of the most important is to set “boundaries.” Basically, a “boundary” is a property line. It defines what will exist on a property and what will not. The property line around your home is like that. It defines where your property begins and ends, and you are in charge of exactly what will happen on that property—and, to our point here, within your business or organization.

Leaders must establish some boundaries in some very key areas if they want to get results.

And, thanks to brain research, we now can scientifically get a peek into why the leaders who do establish these kinds of boundaries get the results that they get.

Clinical psychologist Henry Cloud, author of the recent book Boundaries for Leaders, has identified the following 5 key boundaries.

  • The Boundary of Focus – “What are we doing?”
  • The Boundary of Emotional Climate – “What does it feel like to work here?”
  • The Boundary Against Disconnection – “Where’s my buddy?”
  • The Boundary Against Negative Thinking – “Yes, we can!”
  • The Control Boundary – “What can I do that matters?”

When leaders realize that they are ridiculously in charge of what happens on their “property,” the lines that exist under their leadership, they ask themselves what they are either creating or allowing. And as we have seen, much of it can be improved if they take charge and establish some good boundaries that help people’s brains work well. They can create good brain cultures.

When that happens with good people, results will follow.

 

>>Download Dr. Cloud’s understanding of these 5 key boundaries here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Henry Cloud

Dr. Henry Cloud is a clinical psychologist with an extensive background in both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs, and he has a well-established private practice in California. He is also an international speaker and the author of the The One-Life Solution , as well as coauthor of the bestselling Boundaries, The Mom Factor, Raising Great Kids, and How People Grow.

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
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What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Don’t Let Fear Sabotage the Development of Your Ministry Leaders

What would happen if the Christ Centered leaders in your church began to pour into and develop new leaders?  The impact on your church and community could be massive.

You can’t argue with the power of multiplication.  It just makes sense.  We’ve all heard the mathematical logic for the development of leaders.  For example:  If one leader develops two new leaders over the next six months, then those two leaders join the first one in developing two leaders each over the next six months, you suddenly have 9 leaders.  If this continues for just one more year you end up with over 80 leaders in two years!  Imagine the possibilities of what might happen with 80 new leaders!

Yes that’s exciting.  Yes that makes sense. But why isn’t it happening?  Because we allow fear to out reason logic.  While leaders give many excuses I believe the one overriding reason they don’t develop others is fear.  Most leaders are so focused on growing themselves that they don’t feel adequate to develop others.

The truth is we can be hard on ourselves.  Our fear is nurtured by our leadership weaknesses, imperfections, and inadequacies.  We’re painfully aware of our leadership mistakes and failures.  So consciously or subconsciously we question: What qualifies me to teach someone else to lead?  How can I answer others questions when I have so many questions of my own?  How will they respect me once they see my weakness?  What if I don’t know what I’m doing? What if I fail them? What if I steer them wrong?  What if they know more than me?  A million questions can run through our minds.  And even though we know the math makes sense…fear out reasons logic so we avoid developing leaders.

The best leader developers I know acknowledge their weaknesses.  They use their failures and mistakes as teachable moments and a tool for others to learn from.  Great developers recognize that ultimately it’s not about their strength it’s about their surrender to the Holy Spirit to be used to help others along the leadership journey.  If you wait until you’re the perfect leader then you’ll never take the first step toward developing others.  But if you trust what you have, what you’ve learned and who you are to be used by the Holy Spirit then He can use you to start a leadership development revolution.

So replace the fear driven questions with faith driven questions:  What if I took a chance on ____________ (you fill in the name)?  What if I spent the next six months pouring into two new reproducing leaders?  What if I allowed a couple of potential leaders to take some of my responsibility?  What if I invited a couple of young leaders to shadow me throughout my week?  What if I faced my fear and started developing leaders instead of just doing the ministry myself?  What if I embraced Paul’s mentality when he said, “imitate me as I imitate Christ.” What if I trusted the Holy Spirit to use my experience and my gifts to pour into the lives of others?

Imagine the possibilities.  Sometimes it’s not logic that helps us outwit fear…it’s allowing ourselves to imagine a better future.   Imagine what could be and determine to take a risk starting today.

What are your next steps to start a leadership development revolution in your organization?  

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mac Lake

Mac Lake

I am the Chief Launch Officer of The Launch Network, a new church planting network based out of West Ridge Church in the greater Atlanta, Georgia area. My role is to get The Launch Network up and running, networking with churches and planters to establish healthy church starts across the U.S. and the world. Our goal is to plant 1000 churches in the next 10 years. My passion is growing leaders for the local church. Every time I hear Bill Hybels say “The local church is the hope of the world” my heart comes out of my chest and it increases my sense of urgency for developing leaders who produce leaders.

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Jon Pyle — 03/24/14 11:52 am

What would you say about performance-based fear? Like "I'm afraid to take time to invest because so much needs to be done on a high level?" I'm somewhat familiar with Mac's writing, so I've read that he encourages to always take another leader along, etc. I totally agree with the principle. But speaking practically (and as transparently as I can), I struggle with managing the tension of performance and development. Particularly at the start, when starting a leadership development process. Thoughts? Insights?

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Clarity Process

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Three Common Mistakes Pastors Make

I was honored to discuss leadership on a panel at the Southern Baptist Pastors Conference with Greg Matte, Rodney Woo, and Jack Graham. People submitted questions beforehand, and one of the questions that Pastor Greg sent my way was “What are the most common mistakes pastors make?” Here are three:

1. NOT OFFERING CLARITY

Marcus Buckingham said, “Clarity is the preoccupation of the effective leader. If you do nothing else as a leader, be clear.” Wise church leaders clarify, guard, and preach the essentials over and over again.

Most importantly, pastors must be clear on the theology that serves as the foundation for the church. Without theological clarity, churches will drift from the faith that was delivered once and for all to the saints (Jude 3). Without continually reminding people of the gospel, a church will no longer stand on the strong foundation of the faith (1 Corinthians 15:1-2). Or as D. A. Carson has stated, “To assume the gospel in one generation is to lose it in the next.”

Pastors must also be continually clear on the ministry philosophy and direction of the church. People long to have a direction painted for them, to see how all that the church does is built on the theology and philosophy of ministry that drives the church. Pastors who fail to offer directional clarity leave a massive vacuum of leadership. Consequently, others will step in with competing visions of what the church should be and do, and the church will move in a plethora of directions, unsure of who she really is.

2. UNDERESTIMATING THE POWER OF CULTURE

By culture, I am not referring to the ethnic or socio-economic mix in the church (though this is important too). I am referring to the shared values and beliefs that undergird all the church does. Peter Drucker is credited for famously saying, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” He was not diminishing the importance of a wise strategy, but he was stating the overpowering strength of culture on an organization.

If a church leader attempts to implement a strategy without first addressing the culture, if the two are in conflict with one another, the strategy is doomed before it even launches. Culture will win. And while the doctrinal confession in a church is absolutely critical, if the culture is in conflict with the confession, the culture will trump the confession.

For example… A church has the doctrinal confession that all believers are priests and ministers because Jesus’ sacrificial death for us tore the veil of separation and His Spirit has empowered all believers. But that same church has a long-standing culture that the “real ministers” are the professional clergy—that whenever a need arises, it lands on a staff member’s plate. Thus, when a tragedy occurs or someone needs counseling, it is the culture that drives the behavior, not the doctrinal confession.

Wise church leaders will continually check the culture and, by God’s grace, seek to bring it into deep alignment with the theology and ministry philosophy of the church.

3. SWITCHING STRATEGIES TOO FREQUENTLY

Many churches never realize the full potential of their plans or strategies because they switch them too frequently. They abandon their direction for a new direction and confuse the people as to where the church is really headed. Switching strategies too frequently is really a symptom of not possessing or providing clarity and not having a culture that is deeply connected to the theology and philosophy of the church. Continually switching strategies will harm the overall effectiveness of the pastor’s leadership.

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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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jim mcfarland — 03/23/14 7:13 pm

I would also suggest Culture eats Strategy for lunch, dinner and the midnight snack! Unfortunately the emphasis on excellence and quality in ministry execution robs the Eph 4 priesthood of their God directed ministry because staff need to show a competitive product come Sunday. That's what we hired them for and if the unpaid staff fall short, fall off or fall flat, well...ya get what ya pay for!

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Clarity Process

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Four Questions Every Young Leader Should Answer

The leader in trouble is not the one who doesn’t have all the answers; it is the one who doesn’t know the right questions.

As a young leader I craved answers. I had just graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary, was recently married, and had little experience as a leader.  There was so much I didn’t know. We all crave answers.  We need to make things happen. You find yourself moving fast and when you don’t know what to do it slows you down. You want someone wiser and more experienced to help you clear the fog and keep moving forward. To a degree, that is normal and good.  But it lacks long-term development and depth.  A good answer is valuable and helps you keep moving forward, but it doesn’t necessarily help you think and grow.

A coach that asks the right questions of you is often more helpful in the long run than the one who provides the answers you seek.  As an executive pastor and leadership coach, there are times when I need to provide answers, but candidly I think I’m of greater value when I ask my team the right questions.

What makes a question good? Is it the question itself? Not necessarily, the art is asking the right question at the right time. That said there are a few essential questions that all leaders, and especially young leaders should ask themselves. Here are four of those questions for you.

  • What do you want?

The most frustrated people in the world are those who don’t know what they want. They are the most difficult to lead and often do not possess an inner peace or genuine happiness. Leaders who don’t know what they want are dangerous. Instead of serving the people they, (unknowingly and without malice), use them in an attempt to discover what they want from life. That pursuit is often preceded or paralleled by attempting to discover who they are.  Candidly, they need people rather than lead people.  You don’t have to know the full depths of that answer when you are in your twenties, nor are you locked into one answer for your entire life. But the sooner you have a solid grasp of knowing what you want, the better you will lead and live.

  • Who do you listen to?

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.  (Matthew 16:13-17)

You don’t have to be a biblical scholar to understand this passage of Scripture. Who you listen to matters. Who are the people that speak into your life? Do you give them permission to tell you the truth? Are you receptive and responsive?

  • Can you discern the difference between a wrong turn and a wrong direction?

All leaders make mistakes. If you don’t make mistakes, you are playing it too safe and therefore not leading. The important thing is to not make the same mistake twice. Making a mistake is a wrong turn, making the same mistakes repeatedly is heading in the wrong direction. Mistakes are temporary. The wrong direction can result in an epic failure. The difficulty is that in the daily grind it’s hard to tell which is which.

The best way to avoid heading in the wrong direction is to possess a clear picture of the vision and keep your heart and mind focused there. Distractions, pressures, problems and difficult people can take you temporarily off course, but if you keep your eyes on the big picture you won’t lose your sense of the right direction.

  • What trades are you willing to make?

Life is a series of trades. Because time, energy and resources are finite, you must make choices. Your worldview and belief system shapes your trades as well.  Over the course of time those choices or trades determine your leadership effectiveness, quality of life, and ultimately, your legacy.

A classic set of trades that pastors make is what it takes to grow a small church to a large one. You can’t have it all. There is something special about the warmth and closeness of community in a small church. There is something powerful about the leadership and programming of a large church. As a leader you trade either way.

In order to make good trades, you have to know what you want. You need to listen to God and wise counsel. You need to be willing to make mistakes but keep heading in the right direction – and then just keep praying through the trades trusting that God is guiding your steps as a leader.

Are you asking the right questions?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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COMMENTS

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Dave Shrein — 12/31/13 10:18 pm

This is instantly one of the most helpful articles I've read all year. I have heard over and over that a good leader asks the right questions but I've never heard anyone explain what those questions are. I just sit around trying to think of questions that sound intelligent cause that's what it seems like other leaders are doing :-) This is very helpful and I am so grateful to have found it tonight. Thank you!

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

6 Critical Reasons for Developing the “Middle” of Your Teams

Look at leadership development and you see the focus of most conferences and materials is on leaders at the top, or leaders on the front line. This is great – I love to work with senior-level teams and leaders, and have spent decades training volunteer group and team leaders for churches and businesses.

But many groups – especially Non-profits – really need to develop the middle, and the opportunities are endless!

So what about development for the MIDDLE? People have skills and experience beyond entry-level leadership and yet do not desire, are not ready for, or not gifted for – top-level posts. Where are the development strategies for these emerging leaders?

My “Leaders at Every Level” process is designed to develop and support leaders at every level of your church, non-profit or small business.

Here is why it is so important to DEVELOP THE MIDDLE layer of your organization:

1)     This is the pool from which you will draw many of your inner circle leaders in the next 4-5 years.

2)      An investment here has a huge trickle-down effect, as these leaders become better at passing along the DNA of your organization.

3)      You can see whether these leaders can reproduce the investment you have made in them. Can they, and will they, shape the people below them the way you are investing in them?

4)     It is a testing ground for greater responsibility. You can takes risks here and let leaders fail without causing too much pain in them or the organization. Yet they have time to learn and recover from failure before advancement to higher levels.

5)     Turnover drops dramatically and is directly proportional to the investment you make in people. After a few years people wonder if they are stuck, so they either level off (and just hang on to a job) or move on to better opportunities for growth. If you want turnover, ignore the middle. Here is some great info from The Wharton School that validates this point in business…but I think it is even MORE essential for churches and Non-profits.

6)     When top leaders move on or die or retire, there is no “crisis” because you have a built-in succession plan!

 

So what is your strategy? Share your ideas for development in the middle and I will forward them along. This is a great challenge!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bill Donahue

Bill’s vision is: “Resourcing life-changing leaders for world-changing influence.” Leaders and their teams need a clear personal vision and a transformational team strategy. This requires work in 3 key areas: Maximize Leadership Capacity, Sharpen Mission Clarity & Build Transformational Community. Bill has leadership experience in both the for-profit and non-profit arena. After working for P&G in New York and PNC Corp. in Philadelphia, Bill was Director of Leader Development & Group Life for the Willow Creek Church & Association where he created leadership strategies and events for over 10,000 leaders on 6 continents in over 30 countries.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.