Posts

Launching an Additional Sunday Service

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For a pastor, hardly anything is as exciting as seeing people fill the chairs on Sunday morning. Pastors and leaders love it when people have to look for a seat. While leaders get excited, guests don't, especially when they are looking a place where they can sit together as a family. When seating capacity consistently hits around seventy to eighty percent each week, something needs to be done. Usually there are three options: 
1) Expand the current building 2) Start a new campus 3) Add an additional service

Out of the three, adding a new service makes most sense, as it would take less time and money. However, that doesn't mean it should take less planning. There is a lot of value in having more than one Sunday gathering each week. In addition to utilizing your current space and facilities, it can create energy, momentum and gives people options.
I have worked with churches who have done a superb job adding an additional service, while others not so much. The latter group are those …

Confessions of a Conference Junkie

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I try to attend at least two or three leadership conferences each year. There is a lot of value in hearing talented, gifted people share their stories and experiences. In addition to hearing great speakers, the conversations with other attendees are priceless. Some of my greatest learnings and takeaways have happened over a cup of coffee in-between sessions with like-minded leaders. 

Rewind several years ago and you could find me, not at two or three, but at several conferences throughout the year. 

I confess. I was a conference junkie

I was at every conference that my time and budget allowed. If conference paraphernalia (pens, notebooks, laniards, etc) are considered trophies, I had enough to fill two trophy cases. One of the opening questions almost always asked at the beginning of each event was, "Are you ready to drink from a firehose over the next two days?" For a junkie like me, there was only one answer. 

Bring it.

When the conference ended, I returned home and in a few …

The Church That Voted for a Slow Death

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The Church That Voted for a Slow Death 0
BY ON OCTOBER 17, 2017LEADERSHIP & MANAGEMENT The average age of the congregation was 62 years old. The budget had been red for a while; the church was only a few years away from being cashless. They were on life support. The elders knew it, and that’s why they called The Unstuck Group.   This church of 120 people is located in a highly populated, major U.S. city. It’s over a hundred years old and has been experiencing steady decline for a long time. During the strategic planning part of our process, we determined several priority action initiatives to bring the church back to an outward focus, as well as a major budget revision to stop the bleeding. Without difficult changes, the church would continue to dwindle as it focused only on itself — but it would also run out of money, and fast. Here’s the kicker. Digging into the budget revealed a disproportionate amount of spending on staff. Specifically, the senior pastor was paid a six-fig…

Dealing with Team Conflict

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Team health is vital when it comes to ministry effectiveness. This is true with paid staff and volunteer teams. A healthy team encourages vitality and growth, but malignant teams leak poison into the organization. Creating healthy teams isn't easy and they do not live in conflict-free environments. Every church, large and small, experiences internal friction because people will always be people. And people are wired differently. Plus, we have an adversary who’s always trying to disrupt the work of the church. There are many things than can generate antagonism. Things like low job performance, vision drift, lack of communication and poor attitudes are just a few. Regardless of the root of conflict, there are right and wrong ways to handle it. 
Here are four common mistakes church leaders make when dealing with team conflict:

Sweep it under the rug and pretend it isn’t happening.
Say what people want to hear to keep all parties happy.
Have side conversations about the person(s) of confl…

Is Your Church a Fallout Shelter?

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One of my favorite movies is Blast from the Past starring Brendan Fraser. The movie follows the Webber family, and is set in the 1960’s, when everyone thought that a nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union was possible. The father spends months building a fallout shelter in preparation. Eventually, a plane crashes into the Webber’s home, causing him to believe the end has arrived. In his mind, it’s the beginning of a nuclear war, so he takes his pregnant wife to the fallout shelter. The massive steel doors to the shelter are armed with time locks that, once engaged, could not be unlocked for thirty-five years. No worries of anyone getting in…or out. The family is secured in their shelter while the world above continued as normal. During the first year, the mom gives birth to their son Adam. While sheltered for safety, the world above drastically changes without the Webber’s knowledge. Then finally in 1997, the timer releases and unlocks the doors. Adam finds himself immerse…

The Real Reason Guests Come Back to Your Church

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Getting people to come to your church is the easy part. Convincing them to come back is an entirely different story. Today, churches try nearly everything imaginable to keep first time guests. Gift bags, doughnuts, t-shirts and coffee mugs are handed out in hopes of making guests feel appreciated and valued. Gifts are nice but people are really looking for an experience. Unfortunately, in smaller churches the experiences can end up being a little scary. I have been to churches where guests were publicly recognized, asked to stand and be greeted by total strangers, with extended, sometimes sweaty hands. Other times, new guests are completely ignored. The secret to getting guests to come back is love. People can easily sense love–or the lack therof. Whether they realize it or not, love is what they are looking for…we all are. Love moves people. If love is the trump card that can cause new guests to become returning guests, what does love look like? Love is intentionally engaging people…

Is Your Church Making Any of These Three Giving Mistakes?

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If a church is going to become intentional about reaching people for Jesus, there are a few things that must be in place. The church must be welcoming to unchurched people, children’s ministry needs to be top notch, and there obviously must be a clear gospel message. But there’s something else that is critical as well, and that’s giving.
It’s not a popular subject, but the reality is, it costs money to reach lost people. Taking an offering isn’t a strategy designed by the church; it’s God’s strategy. Giving is meant to accomplish two things. First, it ensures God has our entire heart. Jesus said, “No one can worship God and money…” (Matthew 6:24). It’s no surprise that money often competes for our heart. Secondly, giving is God’s plan to finance the work of the gospel. Although scripture is clear about how Christians should handle money, many churches still struggle financially. In many cases, this isn’t the result of disobedient church members. “Taking an offering isn’t a strategy de…