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Showing posts from May, 2016

A Strategic Calendar and Ministry Health

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Last month I released a blog about planning an annual preaching calendar. Hopefully you have a desk calendar on the wall decorated with colorful sticky notes. If that makes no sense to you, read Building a Strategic Preaching Calendar first and then come back to this blog. 
Building a strategic calendar is a critical piece of strategy and enhances team planning. When a team keeps a visual of the entire year in front of them, upcoming events get talked about and deadlines get met.
A strategic calendar does more than ensure good planning, but can also keep ministry healthy. Too often churches focus on the ministry of the church and overlook ministry health. When ministry starts bearing the fruit of unhealthiness on Sunday, it means it has been sick for a long time. 
Here are five important pieces to add to your strategic calendar that will help keep ministry healthy. 

Vision Communication Nights
It is easy to run through the year with the assumption that everyone is clear on vision. While th…

Three Attributes of an Executive Pastor

Earlier this year I made the transition from lead pastor to executive pastor. This transition gave me more flexibility to work as a ministry consultant with The Unstuck Group to help churches get unstuck through strategic planning and coaching.  
After being the lead guy for over sixteen years, being the #2 guy was a breath of fresh air. While I enjoy teaching and preaching on the weekends, my true passion is coaching pastors and leaders to help churches grow. 
As an XP, I have several responsibilities that pertain to the daily operations of the church. However, my most important tasks surround the lead pastor and staff.  When health and vitality surround the visionary and his or her team, vision execution happens well. Here’s three attributes that should be visible in an executive pastor:

Encourage: No one knows the pain that comes with being the lead guy (unless you’ve been one). While a stage and microphone may look appealing to some, it also comes with a price. Leading people can be …

The Importance of Sunday Flow

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One of the most important elements of church is the Sunday gathering. There, people are invited to worship Jesus, hear God’s Word and challenged to grow in their faith. This is also the typical entry point for new people, which makes it that much more important. Each week we should strive to become more excellent by asking, “How can we make it better?” If there is one thing I could underline that makes or breaks a weekend gathering, it would be the flow of service. 

understanding FLOW
There should be a natural, but intentional flow of the weekend gathering from start to finish. I like to use the analogy of a swimming pool. Imagine the sanctuary or auditorium as an empty pool. As soon as the first video plays or the opening song begins, the pool begins to fill up. Each song builds on the other, and the pool gets fuller. There’s a smooth transition into preaching and then response time…and then dismissal. Everything feels great because everything FLOWS.
Unfortunately, services do not alway…

Building a Strategic Preaching Calendar

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If there is one thing I’ve learned about planning, it’s the importance of a calendar. In most cases, if it doesn’t make it to the calendar, it doesn’t get done. Building a strategic calendar takes discipline and time…but brings a great return.
An old friend and mentor of mine taught me the importance of having an annual calendar in front of me all year long. The easiest way to build a strategic calendar is to buy a desk calendar, tear all the pages off, lay them face down in chronological order and tape the back. Now you have the entire year in front of you. Writing events on different colored sticky notes gives you the ability to schedule and move things around without having to write in the actual calendar. Here's the one in my office. 




I usually encourage pastors and leaders to build their strategic calendar in the fall of the year around four themes:
Preaching/Sermon Series: Personal Vitality GivingMinistry
In this blog, we’ll talk about the preaching calendar

While the pastor is t…

Three conversations to help Churches get UNSTUCK

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The Unstuck Group helps churches around the country build strategic plans using our Four Step Process. We believe every church, rural or urban; can grow if it becomes healthy. Healthy things grow. 

A recent survey showed the majority of North American churches (mostly rural churches) average less than 87 people each Sunday. Another study (from 2011) showed the majority of North American churches either aren't growing or have been in decline for the last 30 years. This stat is still pretty accurate. While the majority of churches are under 90, there are churches who make it to the 200-400 mark, only to find themselves stuck as well. In addition to churches in decline or stuck, many are closing their doors. 

In March 2016, Ed Stetzer pushed out this tweet:
"In a given week in the United States, 77 churches were planted, and 71 were closed." -from our @LifeWayResearch report at @NewChurches (2014).

These are scary stats and makes one wonder what the future of church looks like…

How to keep vision out of Death Valley

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4 Signs Your Vision is in Death Valley 0BY ON SEPTEMBER 20, 2017LEADERSHIP & MANAGEMENT Every church needs vision; without it, there is little or no impact. Vision is simply knowing where we are today and discerning where God is leading us tomorrow and beyond. Discovering vision isn’t so difficult. God already knows the plan and He is faithful to reveal it to those who seek it. Typically pastors have no problem sharing vision. They can easily envision gospel impact and church growth. Vision causes excitement. People will rally around “what can be” pretty easily. However, vision has to become more than just words; it must generate something deeper than an emotional moment. Vision is pointless without execution (something churches often struggle with). When vision casting isn’t followed by vision execution, it probably means the the vision is stuck in death valley. Here are four symptoms you’ll experience when vision gets stuck in death valley: 1) No Vision Metrics Vision m…