Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My latest post at Christianity.com:

“Moving the ministry of your church forward requires a delicate dynamic of giving and receiving between the leaders and members. If not monitored closely, this dynamic morphs into a tug-of-war match, which always ends up with one side tumbling. If not both.

When the effort behind the ministry tugs toward the leaders, programmatic ministry results. This is when the church does things through events and campaigns run mainly by the pastors and elected church leaders. On the other hand, when the members mostly pull the ministry forward, organic ministry will characterize the church. That is to say, spontaneous, relational service and outreach will be deemed most valuable and authentic.

Both programmatic and organic ministry have strengths that all churches desire. We need pastoral ministry teams that can dream big and make big things happen. Furthermore, it is every pastor’s dream to have members so invested in kingdom work that they reach out to their fellow church members and cities without being prodded.

Despite the strengths that each model brings, if either programmatic ministry or organic ministry is allowed to run the church, the church’s ministry efforts will soon be hindered.

Here’s why.”

Read the rest here.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

4 Must-Haves of Good Leadership

Every nation, every organization and every church needs effective leaders. Because so much hinges on the quality and performance of leaders, leadership has emerged as a major area of study.
Key question: What makes a good leader? What qualities are important for effective leadership in society generally, and in the church?
More basically: What is leadership? “Leadership is influence,” some say. That’s only partly true. It would be equally true to say, “Leadership is character,” because what a person is fundamentally shapes what she or he does. People of strong character and moral integrity do have influence and often become leaders, perhaps unintentionally.
But good leadership is more complex than this. It can’t be reduced to just one quality or dynamic.
From a Christian standpoint, effective leadership is a combination of four basic ingredients: character, ability, vision and experience.

1. Character

Character denotes a person’s inner being; their fundamental moral nature. Character is shaped largely by family influences and by the choices a person makes throughout life. Good character results from good choices; bad character from choices that are bad and ultimately self-destructive. Good character includes the virtues of integrity, patience, humility, moderation, self-control and determination.
Biblically speaking, good character means embodying moral wisdom. The book of Proverbs, especially, teaches character formation. For the Christian, good character is having the mind of Jesus Christ (who is “the wisdom of God”) and manifesting the fruit of the Spirit.
The greatest leaders are those with upright moral character—people who recognize their own character flaws, but refuse to yield to them, controlling themselves so they focus their energy and creativity on worthy goals.

1 2 3

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Why Thinning the Herd Can Be a Bad Idea


Larry Osborne: Jesus came to make the kingdom of God more accessible, not to impose stricter standards to exclude people.. Image Info:
Larry Osborne: Jesus came to make the kingdom of God more accessible, not to impose stricter standards to exclude people.


Excerpted from “Accidental Pharisees: Avoiding Pride, Exclusivity, and the Other Dangers of Overzealous Faith” (Zondervan)

For over two thousand years, those who fashion themselves as spiritual leaders haven’t been able to leave well enough alone. They keep trying to raise the bar to entry higher than Jesus placed it. They pile on heavier and heavier burdens and call it discipleship. They shut the door to the struggling and weak and call it purifying the church.

Their intentions are noble. But their fruit is rotten. They unwittingly play the same role as the Pharisees of old, trying to keep out the very people Jesus came to reach.
So why do we do that? What tempts someone to want to thin the herd that Jesus came to expand?

The Desire for Exclusivity

The first thing is our fallen human nature. We have a natural bent toward creating and maintaining exclusivity, especially after we’ve found our own way into the fold. We want to hold on to what we’ve earned. We want to keep the undeserving out. And sometimes we simply don’t want to share what we’ve gained.

It’s a pattern found in virtually every profession.
Whether it’s hairdressers or accountants, people who are already in the field will sooner or later find a way to raise the standards and entrance requirements to make it harder for others to get in. They will tell you that it’s to maintain quality. In reality, it’s to cut the competition.

Consider higher education. Most colleges and universities start out with a desire to put education within the reach of the masses. But once they attain a measure of success, they leave the masses behind. They demand higher GPAs and institute tougher entrance requirements in a desire to join the ranks of the elite. The alumni love it. It increases the value of their degree. But ironically, many of them couldn’t get in under the new standards.

The same holds true in our neighborhoods. After the pioneers have moved in, they almost always band together to keep the future settlers out. Land developers cal it NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard). It shows up as the obligatory lawsuit that’s filed anytime someone wants to build on a vacant piece of land. The NIMBY mindset says, “Now that I’m here, we’ve got just the right amount of people.”

Though an outsider can see how self-serving these kinds of behaviors are, people on the inside rarely see it. They really believe that they’re maintaining quality, creating a better school, or protecting the neighborhood.

It’s not different in the spiritual realm. People who decry low standards of salvation and spiritual maturity tend to forget their own past. And most are unaware that their definition of a genuine and mature Christian bears an uncanny resemblance to their own current walk with God. It’s an interesting form of spiritual NIMBY.

But here’s the real problem. Such thinking and actions aren’t only self-serving; they are also diametrically opposed to the purpose and work of Jesus. They are at odds with the very reason why he came.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Church Organized: Make a Leaderboard

We had a saying that our church was driven by God, but fueled by volunteers.  The church is a volunteer organization – you’ll never be able to hire your way out of developing volunteer leaders. 
So let me ask you a question…
Who is caring and leading EVERY volunteer in your church?  
Every single volunteer needs a staff member or a committed leader to pastor them, a person involved in their lives, who cares not just about their tasks, but about their souls.
Since volunteers fall through the cracks when they are not personally pastored by someone, you need to be absolutely sure that every volunteer has a clear place on someone’s radar.  One of the best ways to do this is to create a leader board.
A leaderboard is a large, physical org chart – not for your staff, but for your volunteers.  It should have every single volunteer on it, along with clear lines identifying who is responsible for them.  You can use a dry erase board, chalkboard, or large sheet of paper, but your leaderboard needs to be large and visible, so that the names of your volunteers are constantly before your team.
Here’s how we did this:
  • We attached a 8’ piece of sheet metal to a wall in our office.
  • We purchased a bunch of colored dry erase magnets and wrote the name of every volunteer on one of the 1” magnetic strips.
  • We color coded them by teams (group leaders, kids, students, production, etc)
  • We could move and rearrange people, since the whole thing was magnetic.
  • Every single volunteer was underneath a leader, who had the job of providing pastoral care to that person.
When you see the names of all your leaders and volunteers every day, you’ll be reminded that ministry is about people, and effective ministry takes people.  Create a visual representation of pastoral care.
P.S. You can use an online tool like gliffy.com to make a digital version of this.  That may be a great place to start, but I highly recommend you put up a big, visible chart with everyone’s name on it somewhere in your office.  There's something about seeing it on the wall.

10 Traits of Great Leadership Figures

By: Dan Schawbel on Wednesday, August 14, 2013

When hiring companies come to our executive recruiters in order to find them a great sales or marketing employee, leadership is always a quality that our clients ask for. Though, for the job seeker, to best be able to give the hiring company what they want, they need to be able to define leadership.
Therefore, for your next interviewing gig and to help you obtain a better career, our headhunters have compiled a list of 10 traits of great 44 leadership figures:
  1. Leaders know how to deal with adversity. They know that each adversity brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage. Instead of thinking they are defeated, leaders consistently know that the only limitations they have are set in their own mind and continue to pursue their goals.
  2. Leaders create a desire for success in those under them. When managing other people, leaders make those individuals achieve things that they did not think were possible through motivation via sincere interest for their well-being. Leaders don’t demand perfection, but they do demand that their subordinates reach goals that average managers would not have dreamed possible.
  3. Leaders know how to make unpopular decisions and can make decisive decisions in a quick, yet well thought-out manner. When necessary, they take matters into their own hands even if the subordinate consensus says to do otherwise. They are decisive; they don’t waiver.
  4. Leaders don’t treat every subordinate the same, rather they give recognition where recognition is due and, unfortunately give reprimand where reprimand is due. However, they are not afraid of reprimand as weeding out poor performers is for the greater good.
  5. Leaders are optimistic, energetic and their enthusiasm trickles down to those under them. Leaders don’t think about defeat, rather they treat hurdles as just another challenge which is part of the job of a leader. Leaders know that the attitude in the office starts and ends with them and embrace the importance of optimism around the office.
  6. Leaders dream. Edison who was the world’s greatest inventor went from a telegraph operator to a name that will live on in American history because he had a vision and pursued it despite setbacks. Leaders know that these dreams don’t happen overnight, but they also know that dreams must be clearly conveyed to the subordinates so everyone is on board.
  7. Leaders listen as they know they don’t have all the answers, rather they gather all the information then make the best decision that they feel exists. They don’t accept mediocre ideas from their subordinates, rather they demand imagination, innovation and vision.
  8. Leaders are team players and exist not to serve themselves, but to serve a great good which is the benefit of those under them and the well-being of the company, though not the entity, rather each individual in that office whom they consider a team member.
  9. Leaders have faith. They have a belief that if the work that needs to get done is completed, their goals will be met. While many get discouraged when pursuing goals that prove difficult, leaders have faith that they will be rewarded for their efforts and this positive attitude drives not only them, but their subordinates as well. Leaders have faith in themselves and faith in those under them.
  10. Leaders are self-confident. They are able to dispute self-doubt in a manner that leads to action rather than capitulation. They not only practice self-confidence, they demand it from themselves and make those under them confident in their abilities.
Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement a recruiting firm based out of New York City.
About the Author
Dan SchawbelDan Schawbel is the founder of the Personal Branding Blog, a site that offers branding and career advice from Dan and his team of experts. The blog, which has been syndicated by Aol Jobs, Yahoo! Shine, Forbes, FoxBusiness.com, Reuters, Hoovers, BusinessInsider.com and many others, helps professionals learn how to build a personal brand for their own career and job search success.
- See more at: http://www.chamberofcommerce.com/business-advice/business/10-traits-of-great-leadership-figures-5652/?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


If [his spiritual gift] is leadership, let him govern diligently . . . ~ Romans 12:8 
READING: Romans 12:1-8 
What capability does a church planter need more than any other? My answer would be: LEADERSHIP. 
A church planter must be a leader of other people if he is to establish a single cell church. He must be a person that people are willing to follow. A single cell church is one composed of thirty to eighty people in which everyone knows everyone else. However, if he wants to establish a church that grows beyond a single cell, a church planter must be a leader of other leaders. 
Leadership is a spiritual gift. Some people are just gifted by God to lead others. Leadership is also a multi-faceted set of skills and attitudes that can be learned. If you are in a position of overseeing others, you need to learn to guide them effectively whether or not you are a talented leader.
The top Christian leadership teacher in the United States is John Maxwell. He offers many resources to empower leaders, including The Maxwell Leadership Bible. This study Bible is filled with hundreds of biblical leadership lessons that flow out of the Word of God. It’s a wonderful resource. To become a better leader, I use this Bible in my personal devotions. I am using it to mentor my son, Brandon, in leadership. I use the Maxwell Leadership Bible to train my staff in leadership every Monday morning.
Whether you are a gifted or not-so-gifted leader, you can learn to direct your ministry more effectively. This is a lifelong process. Make a resolution: I will learn to become a better leader, starting today. And then, take action! 
Lord, Help me to be a good leader to your glory. Amen. 
Source: churchplants.com

Thursday, August 15, 2013

ARDA blog reports on a study that features seven characteristics of congregations successfully attracting young adults:
A new report analyzing the 2010 Faith Communities Today study of more than 11,000 congregations provides insights into what makes congregations with significant numbers of young adults distinctive. The profile by researchers Monte Sahlin of the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership and David Roozen of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research explores the characteristics of the mere 16 percent of those congregations where 21 percent or more of participants are ages 18 to 34.
The KISS principle: Keep it spiritual, stupid:Eat, pray, read the Bible
Keeping up with new technology
Electric guitars rock
Gender balance
Promoting young adult ministry

Read what each one means here.
More of the study at Faith Communities Today.
The title of this article may seem both presumptuous and audacious. Do I really believe every pastor should have a blog? Yes I do. I speak to pastors in numerous settings, and I am able to share with them the benefits of such a discipline in writing.

Understand that writing a blog can begin simple with little time pressure. The pastor can commit to write 400 words a week in one post. I do recommend that the number of posts increase to at least twice a week later, but you need to start somewhere.

I think you will be amazed how much the blog benefits the church and your ministry. Here are seven reasons why it is so important....

Read it all.