Showing posts from February, 2016

Energizing Volunteerism

If I could give pastors a magic wand to fix one thing in their church, I believe most would wave the wand over their volunteer problem. I can easily hear the pain of broken volunteerism. Words like  burned out, tired  and  overworked  hang in the air.  There are a lot of things that can contribute to poor volunteerism. While working with different churches, I have picked up a few things that seem to help people get connected. Here's three things to consider when trying to people to move into serving at your church.  Build the Right Culture Are you creating a culture of obligation or opportunity. A culture of obligation uses desperation and guilt to push people to serve. The whole  "God's going to get you if you don't serve"  spill seldom works. And even if people are guilted into serving, the commitment is  usually  short lived. Volunteerism should be presented as an opportunity, not an obligation. People respond differently to  opportuniti

Weekend Service or Weekend Experience?

Whenever I serve as a secret shopper in churches, I try to look for things that can be easily changed and bring quick results. Usually the order of service always makes it to my report. I have experienced about every flavor. Some services feel like a race car that would hit seventy miles an hour, slam on the brakes and repeat. In other churches, the services were formatted and predictable. The bulletin told you when to stand up, sit down, stand up again and when to pray.   Regardless of your approach to Sunday, I think there is a critical question to be asked; "Do we want to create a weekend service or a weekend experience?" There is a huge difference between the two. Whenever my wife and I go to a Kentucky Wildcats game in Lexington, it's more than a game. We put on our blue attire and anticipate a great evening. When we walk through the doors of Rupp Arena, there is a buzz in the air. People are excited, giving out high-fives and cheering, "We're #1!&

Burning Bush Moments

When coaching pastors, I have heard a question along these lines: “My church is one hundred twenty-three years old. There have been pastors before me who tried to make changes and grow the church, but they failed. Why should I believe I could make a difference?” It’s a valid question. I could have responded with the old seminarian quote I’ve heard so many times before, “It is easier to give birth than raise the dead.” (In other words, go plant a church and let dying churches die). I’m not sure that is always the answer. So many pastors face this same dilemma — their church has been stuck at 400, 200, 100, or less for years. They want to lead a change, forge a new trail and see something fresh happen, but they just don’t know how to do it. While I agree that church planting is a fast track to reaching the world, we can’t overlook the smaller churches throughout America who, like any church, should be making a difference. There are times churches m

Small Church Hostage Crisis

  As a lead pastor for sixteen years in a small town, I have seen the good, bad and ugly. There were some great times and some not so great times. But I am thankful for all the experiences. They taught me things about myself I could have never learned otherwise. It's been especially helpful to me because I often work with smaller churches with The Unstuck Group. I understand their struggle. Small town America is a tough mission field. I am privileged to work with pastors because it gives me a front row seat to watch churches execute vision and strategy to reach people who aren't following Jesus. However, I have seen something else not so fun to watch...a hostage crisis.  When a church begins shifting from an insider focus to an outsider focus, it can cause a rift. People can't understand why worship isn't the way it used to be. And why is it so loud? Why aren't people wearing their Sunday best anymore? When change begins happening, it's normal to recei