Three Best Practices when Firing a Staff Member

No one enjoys firing people. If you do, you're on the wrong side of the desk. Firing people is never fun, but sometimes necessary. There will be times we hire the wrong person. Other times an organization outgrows a staff person's skill set and they aren't able to perform at a higher level.  Having the wrong person on staff can be detrimental, because a staff must function as one team. This is especially true in church. It takes a lot of effort and teamwork to create a church that impacts people with the gospel. And yes, there are times that churches, just like secular organizations, have to let people go. The struggle is, most church staff are tied together relationally and formed around Jesus and ministry, which can really make firing feel very icky. 

While the primary focus of most pastors is (and should be) vision and teaching, the church has a business side that must be managed and monitored. Part of that business is evaluating the performance of staff. When consistent…

The Value of Understanding your Current Location on the Life Cycle

Many of the churches I work with are seated in small towns across rural America. While their challenges mirror those of other churches, their context can present different hurdles, especially when compared with churches in large cities. Typically towns with low population and dated communities aren't at the top of the list for young leaders; if having a Starbucks was a deal breaker, many towns would be crossed off the list. As a result, churches in rural areas can struggle in attracting leaders from the outside. Even raising up and training local leaders can be a challenge because people often move away for better opportunities. 

Here's are some stats from Lifeway Facts and Trends that further reveal the challenges of leading a church in rural America. 

The Hartford Institute for Religious Research, most American churches now have fewer than 100 in weekend worship attendance. As the percentage of small churches grew since 2005, median weekend worship attendance dropped across t…

Polishing your Discipleship Path

It's exciting to see new people at church each weekend. The number of new guests play a vital role in church growth. While it is important for churches to be appealing to new people, it is equally important to make sure you have the right next steps so guests can find and follow Jesus. In Tony Morgan's book, The Unstuck Church, he talks about the importance of creating pathways instead of programs. Unlike programs, a path offers a relational journey where people can grow in their relationship with Jesus and other people. 
Here's the big question. Are you wanting to produce members or disciples? If membership is the end goal, you'll probably get a lot of names on the roster, but few people involved in ministry. Since Jesus made it clear that making disciples is the objective of the church (Matthew 28:19), we can't settle for a path that simply creates church members. 
At the end of the day, every church has some sort a pathway. Unfortunately, it isn't always a pro…

Polishing Your Easter Guest Strategy

Holidays can bring new people to your church and create opportunities for impact. Most pastors can easily name the big days that bring high attendance. But knowing about big days and planning for them are two different things. Too often, these calendar-given gifts sneak up on pastors, resulting in last minute planning and low impact. One of the biggest days comes early this year. Easter weekend is only a few weeks away! When big days sneak up on you, the rule of thumb is to polish what’s working instead of trying to create something new. Creating new requires time and planning, and time isn’t on your side. The most important thing to polish to enhance your Easter weekend impact? I think it’s probably your guest engagement strategy. Gary McIntosh’s book What Every Pastor Should Know reports the responses from a number of interviews with people who visited a church for the first time. These people were asked, “What made the biggest impression? What affected your decision to return the foll…

3 Changes Leaders Avoid Making

Why Small Churches Get Stuck: 3 Changes Leaders Avoid Making
 0BY ON JUNE 12, 2017LEADERSHIP & MANAGEMENT I am fortunate to serve as a ministry consultant with The Unstuck Group. Helping churches get unstuck is very fun and rewarding. I also serve as a coach, where I get the privilege to talk with pastors on a monthly basis to help them fight for healthy growth within their church. Although I work with churches of all shapes, sizes and flavors, they all have one thing in common: they want to grow. It’s not uncommon for a client to ask, “How long will it take to see growth?” That’s a loaded question and one that I can’t answer with a number. The bigger question is: how willing are you to lead change? It’s easy for people to get excited about growing a church, but when the change begins, it often brings more hesitation than excitement. I’ve learned something really important: growth and change are synonymous.<

The Leader Vitality Wheel

There’s a reason you can find thousands of books, blogs and podcasts on leadership: Leading people is hard inany organization, and especially in the church.

Many people believe preaching and teaching are your only duties. (These people obviously have never been involved in church leadership.) In addition to sharing God’s word, you deal with hurting people, broken marriages and other life crisis situations regularly. You have the complicated task of leading a combined workforce of paid staff and volunteers of all ages and many different giftings. During my 16 years as a lead pastor, I remember coming home from work completely empty countless times. Consistent exposure to life crisis and the everyday pressure of leading a church can rob pastors and leaders of their personal vitality. It’s like starving to death in a grocery store. You feed everyone but yourself.
Vitality Myth:If I take care of everybody else, God will take care of me.Vitality Fact:I am the only person who can take care of me…

Launching an Additional Sunday Service

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 …