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Showing posts from October, 2017

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…

How to Energize Volunteerism at Your Church

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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 often hear the pain of a broken volunteer strategy. Words like disengagedburned outtired and overworked hang in the air. Lots of things can contribute to a lack of volunteering, but the shifts you can make to energize this area of your ministry can actually be quite simple. While working with different churches across the country, I’ve picked up a few things that seem to help people get connected. Here are the top three: 1) Build the Right Culture When we think of volunteer health, we probably envision a church where people are standing in line to serve; and once they commit, they actually show up. I have yet to see a church with a long line of people waiting to serve, but I have seen churches do it well, and it starts by creating a culture of opportunity, instead of obligation. A culture of obligation uses desperation and guilt to push people …