Three Conversations that can inject Health into Leadership Development

One of my favorite 80's movies is The Karate Kid. It's a story about a kid named Daniel who moves to California, meets a girl and soon after, meets her karate trained ex-boyfriend.  After getting beat up a few times, he meets Mr. Miyagi, a highly skilled Japanese martial artist.  Mr. Miyagi teaches Daniel about life, love, honor, and yes (my favorite part), karate. In short, Mr. Miyagi developed Daniel from ordinary to extraordinary. In the world of church, that’s  the definition of leadership development; helping people discover  and use the extraordinary gifts and talents God has placed inside of them.

Developing leaders is always a hot topic. It comes up at nearly every church The Unstuck Group works with and showed up as a top trend in a recent Leadership Network study.I believe there are several reasons leadership development is always a front burner conversation, so I wanted to take a moment and share three of those reasons to help pastors and teams have helpful conversat…

Creating the Right Assimilation and Path for Discipleship

Improving the weekend experience helps you expand the “front door” of your church. But on-ramps and next steps are what “close the back door.” In ministry, the word “assimilation” is often used to describe the process of integrating a new person into the life of a church. A good assimilation process provides a path for people to take. Most assimilation processes flow something like this:

First time guests are sent to the welcome center for a gift where their contact info is gathered.
The church sends an email or text to follow up, usually sharing more information about the church and its programs, or an upcoming event, like a Bible study.
If they return, they are asked to mark "Returning Guest" on their card.
If they take that step, the returning guest is usually asked to attend a class, at which the church invites the guest to become a church member.
Do you notice any issue with this process?
There’s an subtle but underlying assumption in the steps and their progression that th…

The Importance of Planning Christmas (and other big days) Early

Even if you have no idea what Christmas looks like today, it’s not too late to put something on the whiteboard and start brainstorming. Planning can be a struggle for pastors. Especially when it comes to Christmas. Last month, I spoke with several pastors who had not yet had a conversation about Christmas (which is right around the corner). I totally get it. I remember the days as a lead pastor. Every Monday morning, we are reminded that Sunday is coming… again. Unfortunately a lack of planning can result in missed opportunities to impact people with the gospel. Late planning usually means poor planning, which leads to frustration among volunteers that are trying to pull off last minutes ideas (that are under-resourced and unorganized). In the blink of an eye, Thanksgiving will be over, which is when many pastors start thinking about Christmas. If that’s your normal planning rhythm, keep reading. Having early conversations about Christmas can result in gospel impact. It removes the “I wish…

Three Things that can Heighten Your Church Security

For most people, the church has always been a symbol of peace; a safe place for people to gather and worship. That has drastically changed over the last few years. It is heartbreaking to hear stories of violence that destroy the lives of innocent people. When I work with different pastors, these stories sometimes come up and security becomes a part of the conversation. Questions like these are usually asked, “What does security look like in a church?, Who qualifies? What are the liabilities? Do we really need a security team?”

A few years ago, I asked my brother to come to our church and speak about the importance of church security. My brother served in the Air Force for four years, followed by several years in the Secret Service under President Bush. After 9/11 happened, he became a Federal Air Marshal and spent the next several years flying around the world. He went through extensive training on how to deal with terroristic violence.
One thing that I vividly remember him saying is, “…

Three Truths to Embrace When Hard Work and Planning Hasn't Produced Numerical Growth

Recently I had a conversation with a pastor that I have been coaching for over a year. Over the course of the last several months, he and his team created plans, landed a focused vision and made a lot of significant changes. During our last conversation he shared some of the discouragement that he and his team were experiencing. He said, “We’re a little frustrated because, despite the changes we have made, we still haven’t seen numerical growth.” Matter of fact, the average attendance of his church wasexactly what it was one year ago.  Understanding growth principles can be helpful, especially when you're gaging the success of planning and execution by the increase of attendance.  When I was a kid, I remember helping my grandfather plant his garden. Each day I would go there expecting to find fresh vegetables. It didn't take long to understand that growth has a process and my desire to see it now did not speed it up. The same is true in the church. 
If you're a pastor or lea…

Moving Planning to Action: 5 Areas the Pastor Can't Ignore

I love seeing churches get Unstuck. Not very long ago, I received this email from a pastor after facilitating the Unstuck Strategic Process at their church. 
I can't thank you enough for being willing to work with us on a personal level. You brought a big process, the strategic planning retreat, to [our] church in the middle of Pennsylvania. The result, our people are now motivated to make a difference for Christ with their lives in this area and even beyond. And, our planning team is convinced God is getting ready to do great things through us for His glory!
Thanks again for getting us off on the right foot and being willing to walk along side of us for the next 12 months to help with accountability, follow through and focus on the goal we believe God has given to us.

Receiving emails like this is my favorite part about working with The Unstuck Group. However, not every email is so positive. Sometimes they are just the opposite. When teams fail to follow through, it creates a l…