More about Leadership

  • How to Use Stories to Cut Through the Information Overload

    Individuals may represent much of the accomplishment of ministries at your church, but the real work of ministry is often done through teams. Whether a staff team comprised of full and part-time employees or a volunteer team comprised of various degrees of dedicated members, teams are the backbone of church ministry.

  • Empathy During a Pandemic, Part 2: The Weirdness of Work for Now

    In Part 1, we explored how personality differences can cause us to act out during a time of uncertainty and stress. Let’s face it: It is just weird right now.

  • Empathy During a Pandemic, Part 1: Personality Differences Matter in a Virtual World

    In this unprecedented time, many people are “acting out” at an alarming pace! Many of us are finding ourselves a little more grumpy than normal. The articles and information in the first few weeks of the crisis have been about the tactical and technical; how to move things to virtual, increase your online presence or what to do if you are experiencing a financial dip.

  • Better Future Series: Adapt Your Team

    In these no-cost, 30-minute daily leadership moments, our team of Navigators is delivering timely content designed to bring breakthrough clarity in a season of unprecedented uncertainty. For these two sessions, Auxano Senior Lead Navigator Mike Gammill unpacks questions and concerns around your church staff team in a virtual setting.

  • Creating a New Scoreboard: Results, Engagement, and Strategy

    Auxano co-founder Will Mancini wrapped up his two-day introduction to the Better Future Web Series by talking about creating a new scoreboard. You can watch the video replay here.

  • Four Paths to A Better Future

    Auxano co-founder Will Mancini launched Auxano's "Better Future Web Series" today. Catch the video replay here.

  • You Cannot Fight Uncertainty with Certainty, It Takes Clarity

    “To lead by rallying people around a better future, albeit unknown, requires clarity first. ”  - Will Mancini, Auxano co-founder, in Church Unique Welcome to a world devoid of best practices, proven strategies, and models to follow.

  • How to Make Crisis an Opportunity for Growth

    Every crisis is a leadership opportunity. As a pastor, you minister to people in crisis all the time.

  • Leaders Never Stop Learning

    Our capacity for learning is a part of being a human being. From birth, we are on a fast track of learning - movement, speech, understanding, and so forth.

  • Pastoral Succession is a Family Matter

    I was recently on the phone with a pastor that wants to start the process of succession planning. Our time on the phone was another reminder of how personal the issue of succession planning is.

  • Are You Developing Leaders in These Key Places?

    Where does leadership development happen? What environments are beneficial to leaders in their development? From a Christian perspective, leadership development is not constrained to one environment. Because the whole world is His, leadership development can happen in a plethora of places.

  • How to Utilize Four Different Modes of Design Thinking

    According to the authors of Solving Problems with Design Thinking, most leaders harbor a deep, dark secret: They believe in their hearts that they are not creative, and find themselves short on delivering innovation ideas to their organizations. In today’s seemingly rampant innovation mania, managers and leaders cannot appear unimaginative, let alone fail to come up with brilliant solutions to vexing problems on a whim.

  • Keys to Unlocking the Power of Your Leadership Energy

    Some leaders seem to bring more energy to the mix than others. Leadership energy is more about intentionality than personality.

  • Are You Looking for Tools to Help Design Your Succession Planning Process?

    "Succession planning" is actually a catchphrase for five distinct conversations.   You are somewhere in one of those conversations right now - do you want to know the difference? You can lean the differences in two days of training and preparation at Auxano's Pastoral Succession Boot Camp in Phoenix, AZ.

  • How to See Beyond Today: Acknowledge the Paradox of Expertise

    It has been said that all leaders live under the same sky, but not all view the same horizon. Some leaders see a wider horizon and keep their eye on the emerging skyline.

  • The One Undeniable Mark of a Great Leader

    Procrastination has a high cost. When we cram for tests, we get lower grades.

  • How to Practice a Six-Step Design Thinking Process

    According to the authors of Solving Problems with Design Thinking, most leaders harbor a deep, dark secret: They believe in their hearts that they are not creative, and find themselves short on delivering innovation ideas to their organizations. In today’s seemingly rampant innovation mania, managers and leaders cannot appear unimaginative, let alone fail to come up with brilliant solutions to vexing problems on a whim.

  • Seven Cures for a Toxic Culture

    The culture of your church is essentially comprised of who you are, what you value, and how you get things done. All churches begin with an enthusiastic vision of a culture that is so inviting people can’t resist.

  • How to Build a Culture of Gratitude

    When shaping a team culture, gratitude may not be the first trait you think of, but it is a vital component for having a healthy team. The way you lead can either build up or break down your team’s sense of gratitude.

  • Ten Ways Reading Will Benefit Your Life and Ministry in 2020

    Recently I had the chance to sit down with Auxano’s Digital Engagement Leader (and Guest Experience Navigator), Bob Adams, and talk about reading. We captured the conversation on the My Ministry Breakthrough podcast as a way to encourage other leaders in their reading.

  • The Deliberate Practice of Reading, Explained

    One of my greatest passions is reading. I developed this passion at an early age, and have continued to strengthen it over the years.

  • Generospitality Part Three – How YOUR Welcoming Impacts THEIR Giving

    Let brotherly love continue.  Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it.

  • Growing as a Leader: Spiritually

    It doesn’t matter if you pastor a church, work in a high-pressure corporate environment, sell real estate, or toil as a full-time parent: the pace of our information-driven, globally-connected, twenty-first-century society forces us to accelerate down the tracks of modern life – and many of us feel dangerously close to flying off the rails. We are multitasking ourselves into oblivion just to keep up.

  • 3 Ways Comparing Kills Focus

    "Keeping up with the Jones’s. ” Everyone knows the old saying – it’s about seeing your neighbor driving something new, or living somewhere new, or wearing something new, and then feeling a compulsion to match them at worst, or go one better at best.

  • Killing Leadership Drift

    Peter Drucker said, “Only three things happen naturally in an organization: friction, confusion, and underperforming. Everything else takes leadership.

  • Growing as a Leader: Physically

    It doesn’t matter if you pastor a church, work in a high-pressure corporate environment, sell real estate, or toil as a full-time parent: the pace of our information-driven, globally-connected, twenty-first-century society forces us to accelerate down the tracks of modern life – and many of us feel dangerously close to flying off the rails. We are multitasking ourselves into oblivion just to keep up.

  • 4 Characteristics of a Relational Leader

    Very few leaders possess what I refer to as “Stadium Filling Charisma. ” You know what I mean, a personality that is larger than life and people flock to be around that person.

  • Vision Moves Your Church in these Four Ways

    Vision is overrated. Too many leaders put too much weight on their vision and not enough on other important matters of leadership.

  • 10 Mistakes New Pastors Make in Their First Year

    Recently, I had the chance to sit down with new Mariners Church Senior Pastor, Eric Geiger and capture his story of transition for the My Ministry Breakthrough podcast. Springing off of our conversation, here are ten mistakes that too many pastors make during their first year in a new role: Attempting too much.

  • How to Deal with Leaders Who Question Change

    Most people don’t like change. Most leaders want to challenge the status quo.

  • Five Foundational Questions Church Leaders Need to Ask

    A recent article in the Atlantic cited 17 questions every college should be asking. The point was that “we need a serious conversation about the future of America’s universities.

  • 8 Truths from Timothy Around Leadership

    If you’re a pastor or ministry leader, you can’t help but be drawn to the first and second letters of the Apostle Paul to his young apprentice, Timothy. Every time I read through them, my heart burns within me and I’m taken back to those moments when I first began to serve and fulfill the calling God placed on my life to full-time ministry.

  • Growing as a Leader: Mentally

    It doesn’t matter if you pastor a church, work in a high-pressure corporate environment, sell real estate, or toil as a full-time parent: the pace of our information-driven, globally-connected, twenty-first-century society forces us to accelerate down the tracks of modern life – and many of us feel dangerously close to flying off the rails. We are multitasking ourselves into oblivion just to keep up.

  • Why Integration is Better than Balance in the Work-Life Tension

    In recent years some consultants and counselors have encouraged people to stop thinking “work-life balance” and start thinking “work-life integration. ” While some say this is semantics, others believe the language represents a fundamental shift in thinking with “work-life balance” as a view of your life as having disparate parts (work and life) and “integration” as viewing your life a singular whole.

  • Lasting Changes Require this One Thing

    If you want to make changes to your church, you need to ask yourself this question: “Am I willing to give the rest of my life to this church?” Making a significant change in your church is at least a five-year job, if not a 10-year commitment. If you’re not willing to stay for the necessary time, don’t make the changes.

  • Three Ways to Unleash Creativity in Your Work

    A leadership book I consistently recommend is Todd Henry’s The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice. I first read it several years ago when I was new to my role at LifeWay.

  • Three Trapdoors of Volunteer Dropout

    You just had another volunteer quit your team. Ouch.

  • When You Need to Rebuild Trust

    First, the good news: Religious leaders are seen as more caring, more likely to be truthful, and can be relied upon to handle resources more responsibly than members of Congress or leaders of tech companies. Now for the bad news: Religious leaders are seen as less caring, less truthful and less likely to handle resources responsibly than K-12 public school principals, police officers, or members of the military.

  • The Hole in Your Weekend Outreach

    Our churches did well in reaching the agrarian culture. We gave the farmers time to get the chores done and get to church by 11:00 am.

  • These Three Attitudes Undermine Clarity

    Wise leaders long for their teams to be filled with people who assume the posture and attitude of servant, steward, equipper, and executor. As a result, the whole team benefits and the whole organization/ministry is healthier.

  • Leading Change Part 2: Manage Tensions of Behavior

    It has become almost a cliché that the only constant today is change. What moves it from a cliché to a truism is that the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said the same thing – 2,500 years ago.

  • The One Practice of Leadership Development That Transcends Words

    Your team isn’t developing leaders and now the shortage of leaders is creating a mess for the whole organization. Your staff is stressed out and volunteers feel unappreciated and out of the loop.

  • 3 Foundations of Biblical Decision Making

    The Bible is not primarily about you. Neither is it primarily about me.

  • Leading Change Part 1: Replace Complacency with Urgency

    It has become almost a cliché that the only constant today is change. What moves it from a cliché to a truism is that the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said the same thing – 2,500 years ago.

  • Readying Yourself to Be Used by God

    As a pastor or church leader, I know you want to be used by God. As a leader of leaders, I know you want to help others to be usable by God.

  • The Great Commission Is Not Great Numbers

    It is predictable. Any time I write about anything dealing with church sizes, some of the discussion degenerates into a debate about the best size church.

  • The 5 Non-negotiables of Leadership

    What does a leader do? The answers (and books) are endless. But there are five things every leader must do for the organization they lead, not least of which when it comes to the church.

  • 8 Succession Success Markers

    We are only ten months in to the transition at Mariners Church between Kenton Beshore (long-time senior pastor) and me (the new guy). But we are frequently receiving phone calls from churches that see succession from a long-time senior to a new leader in their not-so-distant future.

  • Three Foundations for Church Revitalization

    “Some churches just need to die. ” I’ve heard some variation of this quote several times.

  • Living as a Fully Healthy Team

    Is your staff team a healthy team? How do you know? It’s easier to know when a team is not healthy, especially if you look at the extremes. The obvious symptoms are things like: Gossip Negativity Silos Complaining Conflict Unproductive The outcome is that the team and organization do not function as they should.

  • How to Check For Blind Spots

    One of my mentors, Brad Waggoner, has regularly quipped, “Most people struggle with self-awareness, so why would I think I am somehow different from everyone else?” He is right. Everyone struggles with self-awareness to a degree, and we are foolish if we think we are immune.

  • 10 Ideas About Church in Ten Years

    In the blink of an eye, ten years will pass. The pace of change is staggering, and there is no reason to believe the pace will slow down.

  • Why Seeking Jesus Makes You a Better Leader

    Years ago, a sweet lady in our church handed me a little slip of paper to encourage me on my journey. I unfolded it and it read: God doesn’t call the qualified; he qualifies the called.

  • Bringing Out Their Best, Part One

    We all have days during which we feel as though we are running at full speed from the moment the alarm goes off in the morning till the time we stumble into bed late that night. These are the days of deadlines to meet, tasks to accomplish, meetings to lead, and … the list goes on and on.

  • 12 Disciplines to Help You Recognize Leadership Identity Beyond Your Title

    Titles are a great way to organize our world and feel good about one’s self. I am a barista.

  • Lead Your Organization with the Power of Storytelling

    Storytelling embodies an approach that is well adapted to meet the deep challenges of leadership. Situations in which story impacts people across an organization include: Persuading them to adopt an unfamiliar new idea Charting a future course Attracting the best talent Instilling passion and discipline Aligning individuals to work together Calling everyone to continue believing in leadership through the unpredictable ups and downs The underlying reason for the affinity between leadership and storytelling is simple: narrative, unlike abstraction and analysis, is inherently collaborative.

  • How to Lead by Priorities Not Pressures

    Your ministry will be shaped by either your priorities or your pressures. If you don’t decide what’s really important in your ministry, you’ll have people lining up to do it for you.

  • 5 Reasons Shortcuts Take Longer and Cost More

    With more than three decades in ministry now, I’m convinced there are no shortcuts in ministry that will help you in the long run. Perhaps the temptation to cut corners comes from our time pressures, cool technology hacks, and our drive to accomplish more.

  • Building Leadership Development Habits

    Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of habit says, "A habit is a formula our brain automatically follows. " It’s something you do that’s on autopilot.

  • 9 Reasons You’ve Not Scheduled that Staff Retreat

    Imagine a day when every staff member and key lay leader wakes up with a clear and shared understanding of God’s better future for your church. A day when the question “What’s your vision, Pastor?” brings you energy and excitement and not dread or suspicion.

  • Become a Better Leader Through Multiplication

    It takes leaders to make more leaders. As a leader, you are not out to create followers, but to discover, disciple, and distribute more and better leaders throughout your organization.

  • 6 Demographic Trends Every Pastor Needs to Know

    In light of the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, Pew Research Center offered six “notable demographic trends. ” Notable indeed.

  • Three Actions to Give You Confidence in Developing Vision

    Here are my observations. .

  • Five Benefits of a Standing Meeting

    You can sit during these meetings if you like. Standing meetings are different than stand-up meetings.

  • 3 Ways the iPhone Changed Leadership

    Before we had kids, Kaye taught public school for eight years. When we found out we were having our first daughter, we decided she would take step away from teaching for several years.

  • Be a Better Leader By Being Story Driven

    Storytelling embodies an approach that is well adapted to meet the deep challenges of leadership. Situations in which story impacts people across an organization include: Persuading them to adopt an unfamiliar new idea Charting a future course Attracting the best talent Instilling passion and discipline Aligning individuals to work together Calling everyone to continue believing in leadership through the unpredictable ups and downs The underlying reason for the affinity between leadership and storytelling is simple: narrative, unlike abstraction and analysis, is inherently collaborative.

  • Three Leadership Lessons from Timothy & Paul

    As leaders we cannot successfully walk through ministry alone. We must be connected to people who are ahead of us in the journey, people who are right behind us, and people who are walking alongside us.

  • Lessons in Leadership from the U.S. Military: Become a Leader of Leaders

    Following the 9/11 attacks, the U. S.

  • The Most Powerful Function of Leadership Development

    Entering into a leadership development relationship with someone is both a high honor and a weighty responsibility. In essence, you’re saying to them “follow me; I’ll be your model.

  • 7 Leadership Actions When Things Go Wrong

    We love to lead when the sun is shining and the wind is at our back, but life and leadership doesn’t always go that way. In fact, most experienced leaders will say that’s never reality.

  • 5 Keys to Leading an Omnichannel Church

    Recently Dave Adamson wrote a compelling article on the future of the church based on the digital tools that church leaders now have at their disposal. He applied the term “omnichannel” to church practice, and his article was the first time I have seen someone do so.

  • Assigning Seats on the Leadership Bus

    Thanks to business guru Jim Collins, the idea has become part of every leadership culture: get the right people on the bus and then get them in the right seats on the bus. It’s a good idea.

  • Lessons in Leadership from the U.S. Military: Paint a Bold, Inspiring Vision for the Future

    Following the 9/11 attacks, the U. S.

  • Should I Say Yes to Mentoring?

    In this Q&A Video I answer the question from a leader in South Carolina. Many leaders recognize the power of mentoring in developing future leaders in their church or organization.

  • When the Leader Gets Stuck, the Organization Gets Stuck

    If you continue to grow as a person and as a leader, what you lead is much more likely to keep pace with you. The opposite is also true.

  • Lessons in Leadership from the U.S. Military: Lead Yourself First

    Following the 9/11 attacks, the U. S.

  • 3 Actions to Eliminate Your Team’s Excuses

    When your team members are not reproducing new leaders it won’t be long until your leadership pipeline begins to run dry. It’s not that they don’t know leadership development is important, they just have excuses for not making leadership development a priority.

  • Three Keys to Avoiding Failure When A Change Must Come

    Nothing frustrates great leaders more than watching a project crucial to their church’s growth and missional effectiveness stall prior to completion. Hours of effort and dreaming often disappear in the span of one congregational meeting.

  • Is Leadership a Question of Growth or Control?

    The church has been on the front lines of some of the greatest humanitarian crises of the past few decades. The church has 2.

  • The Hardest Work You Will Ever Do

    Hard work is virtuous. And when it comes to hard work, we seem to go to two extremes in our culture… We look for a way out of it – Like, how do I get rich, quickly, with very little training, no learning curve, and in as few hours as possible? We let it become an idol – It becomes our source if identity and significance.

  • The Shape of Your Influence – Part 2

    The great (and true) quote that “we shape our buildings and our buildings shape us” is credited to Winston Churchill. Other less insightful quotes are credited to him on the Internet as well, but this quote is really good because it is so true.

  • The Shape of Your Influence – Part 1

    Winston Churchill is credited with the insightful quote, “we shape our buildings and our buildings shape us. ” He was correct; the buildings we gather in shape the culture of those in the buildings.

  • Overcome an Overloaded Life: Choose Wisely

    We’re all busy in the same sorts of ways. Our lives are consumed with the crushing weight of family, work, and church activities.

  • Overcome an Overloaded Life: Establish Rhythm

    We’re all busy in the same sorts of ways. Our lives are consumed with the crushing weight of family, work, and church activities.

  • Discerning the Difference Between Urgent and Important

    On a recent episode of My Ministry Breakthrough, Eastern Hills Community Church Pastor Phil EuBank spoke of the maturing of his leadership as learning to discern the important from the urgent. (You can listen to the whole podcast episode here.

  • The Significance Behind Recruiting One More Volunteer

    On a recent episode of the My Ministry Breakthrough podcast, Danny Franks tells the incredible story of a parking lot volunteer that eventually became a church planter in China. It all started with a conversation with some visiting exchange students and a leader taking the time to do more than only help someone park their car.

  • Overcome an Overloaded Life: Create Margin

    We’re all busy in the same sorts of ways. Our lives are consumed with the crushing weight of family, work, and church activities.

  • Five Clear Ways to Lead from a Place of Love

    The love of God is both incomprehensible and incomparable. It’s difficult to fully understand the depth of God’s love.

  • Your Preaching Will Never Be Enough

    In his highly popular book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell contrasted the ministry of George Whitefield and John Wesley. Gladwell articulated that Whitefield was the better communicator, a more powerful preacher than Wesley.

  • 5 Prep Questions for a New Year

    2019 is a month old! Is your direction clear? Are your plans complete? Is your lead team onboard? 5 Strategic Questions: 1) What is God saying to you? God wants your church to thrive. It’s His church! No one cares more than He does.

  • The Slow Death of Refusing to Change

    It was a fascinating project. Two Danish researchers traveled to 54 newsrooms in nine countries in search of desperately needed innovation in journalism.

  • The Surprising Connection Between Attitude and Attendance

    There has been much written on declining attendance in churches. Specifically, many of us have addressed the issue of attendance frequency where even “active” church members attend less frequently.

  • 5 Pillars of Every Strong Volunteer Culture

    People want to volunteer and be a part of what they love and are passionate about. There are over 10 million volunteers in only these seven organizations: Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, YMCA, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Way, and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

  • Effective Peer Leader-shift: Creating Collaboration

    Leaders, by definition (if not practice) have followers. Leaders find, recruit, and train followers for specific tasks.

  • You’re Too Busy to NOT Develop Leaders

    You’re busy. Very busy.

  • Your Phone Battery is Not the Only Thing that Needs Recharging

    You may hear “comments over coffee” about who has jobs that are easy and who has jobs that are hard. I have.

  • 3 Ways to Take the Temperature of the Environment You Lead

    My family will tell you that I’m a thermostat control freak. I have a day marked on my calendar when I have arbitrarily determined it’s acceptable to flip on the air conditioning or the heater, depending on the season.

  • The Ministry Benefits of Weekly Downtime

    “Why do you take a day-off during the week? The devil doesn’t take a day off!” said one cranky old man to a young pastor. “Because I am not trying to be like the devil” quipped the pastor.

  • Effective Peer Leader-shift: Living in the Loop

    Leaders, by definition (if not practice) have followers. Leaders find, recruit, and train followers for specific tasks.

  • 10 Leadership Skills Inherent in Missional Leadership

    Leadership essentials…discipleship essentials. What’s the relationship? You can lead and never actually make disciples.

  • 10 Ideas for Personal Leadership Development

    The work of the minister, pastor, elder, and/or church leader is to equip the church as a whole and believers individually for God’s work in the world. But how do the equippers get equipped? On a recent vacation from my full-time work as a pastor, I spent the time in three specific ways: Unhurried time with my wife Angie Reading seven books on a few topics (pictured here) Prayerfully discussing and dreaming about the future A church leader expends great effort and energy in developing other disciples.

  • Effective Peer Leader-shift: Thinking Critically

    Leaders, by definition (if not practice) have followers. Leaders find, recruit, and train followers for specific tasks.

  • Placing Volunteers Never Works, So Try This

    Last week on the My Ministry Breakthrough Podcast, Todd Adkins and I discussed a bit of the difference between just placing volunteers in ministry positions and truly developing leaders for ministry roles. It got me to thinking… how would a church staff person know the difference? Here are 12 signs you’re just placing volunteers… not developing leaders: The excuses of why they will miss this Sunday keep getting lamer and lamer.

  • The Importance of Developing Leaders with Todd Adkins

    Breakthrough Ideas with Todd Adkins:  There is a difference between just placing leaders in a role and actually developing leaders for ministry. Great leaders are not just intuitive, they are highly intentional as well.

  • The Big Four Questions of Leadership Development

    I’m not much of a handyman, but in my garage is a tool box. There’s nothing fancy inside.

  • Ministry to the Few is as Important as Ministry to the Many

    God is more concerned with your faithfulness than your fame. Ministry to the few is as important as ministry to the many.

  • Five Lies of Leadership

    How do you know you haven’t fallen for a leadership myth that simply isn’t true? Answer: sometimes you don’t. Too many leaders hold a few damaging core beliefs that simply aren’t true.

  • Understanding Gen Z: See Their Perspective

    Born between 1995 and 2012, at 72. 8 million strong, Gen Zers are making their presence known.

  • Five Developments of the Future Church

    I have a pretty good track record of seeing the future of churches in America. I hope I am not making such a statement out of arrogance or delusion.

  • Seven Leadership Traps to Avoid

    A lot of ministries begin with a bang, then explode with new growth. But after the initial growth, they plateau.

  • 3 Qualities of a Self-Controlled Leader

    Every time I see a homemade chocolate chip cookie fresh out of the oven my self-control is pushed to its limits. What’s your temptation? What about the more serious kinds of temptations leaders face when it comes to self-control? Under pressure it’s easy to be swayed by your own emotions, make reactionary decisions, or be tempted to trade long term success for more immediate rewards.

  • Understanding GenZ: Know Their Personality

    How can you be more effective about reaching and leading the generation after the Millennials? Born between 1995 and 2012, at 72. 8 million strong, Gen Zers are making their presence known.

  • Address This or Lose Your Strength

    The common leadership counsel to focus on your strengths is wise, with one important caveat. Your weaknesses must be addressed and brought to an acceptable norm or they will overshadow your strengths.

  • Mind The Gap: Bringing Generations to Lead Together

    If you’ve tried to lead employees who are under the age of 40, you’ve probably noticed things aren’t as easy as they used to be. (And they were actually never that easy.

  • The Greatest Value You Can Add to Your Team is Theirs

    Unless you are a robotic leader without any heart, you want your team to know you care for them. More specifically, you want each person on the team to know he or she is valued.

  • The Art of Leadership and Time Management – Part Three

    Do you find yourself constantly running from one issue to the next without any margin in your life? Do you feel like you are over-committed to such a degree that the truly important things have been slipping a little? Do you wish for a reset button and dream of starting over someplace new, just like you did last time? (How did that work out for you?) Many times we neglect the lasting work of ministry for the instant gratification of solving a problem or being the hero. The thing is, nobody wins when church activity replaces people development.

  • Five Movements to Maximize Outreach Effectiveness

    With culture in such a rapid state of flux, with the dominant headline being the increasingly post-Christian nature of our world, many churches are uncertain how best to respond in terms of outreach. They know they aren't reaching the unchurched as effectively as they would like, but they don't always feel comfortable trying to emulate the fast-growing models they see and hear so much about.

  • Hack the Church Conference Room: Part Two – Leading with Character

    While the phrase “natural born leader” is often used, there’s really not scientific support for this phenomenon. In reality anyone could become a leader and everyone should grow as a leader.

  • Developing Leaders Even When No One Is Ready

    Have you ever looked around your organization for a new leader only to discover that nobody is ready? That can be the most discouraging feeling, but it doesn’t have to be your reality. Today, I want to talk to you about three ideas you can use to develop those leaders who aren’t quite ready.

  • The Art of Leadership and Time Management – Part 2

    Do you find yourself constantly running from one issue to the next without any margin in your life? Do you feel like you are over-committed to such a degree that the truly important things have been slipping a little? Do you wish for a reset button and dream of starting over someplace new, just like you did last time? (How did that work out for you?) Many times we neglect the lasting work of ministry for the instant gratification of solving a problem or being the hero. The thing is, nobody wins when church activity replaces people development.

  • 3 “Check Engine” Lights for Pastors

    Discipleship is core to what we do as a church. However, discipleship represents something much more than a program.

  • Hack the Church Conference Room: Part One – Leading with Influence

    Do you know you are a leader, but need help growing your leadership skills? While the phrase “natural born leader” is often used, there’s really not scientific support for this phenomenon. In reality anyone could become a leader and everyone should grow as a leader.

  • What is Leadership Development?

    In this video I share my definition of leadership development and why it’s important that you and your team define what it is.  I give a five step process you can use to work with your team to come up with an aligned definition of leadership development.

  • 12 Reasons You’re Failing to Reach Young Families

    You would rather shame a mom and dad for missing Sunday worship than equip them to engage other travel-ball parents with the Gospel. You consistently make decisions based on anecdotal member happiness rather than analytical program effectiveness.

  • The Challenge of Conflict, Part Two: Taming It

    How do you handle church conflict? No matter how you define it, conflict is a serious issue that all church leaders face - all too often. You would think that a church “family” should be able to avoid conflict.

  • 5 Secrets to Inspiring Others

    Inspiring those you lead, is a skill all leaders are responsible to practice. It’s a misnomer to think that only the senior leaders in the church carry the role of inspiring others.

  • The Challenge of Conflict, Part 1: Redeeming It

    No matter how you define it, conflict is a serious issue that all church leaders face - all too often. You would think that a church “family” should be able to avoid conflict.

  • Two Really Bad Ways to Work on Your Leadership Weakness

    Just as all leaders have areas of strength, all leaders also have areas of weakness. There is no such thing as an omni-competent leader.

  • 4 “SHIPS” that Mark Great Leadership

    Churches should be run by teams of volunteers—those committed to work together for the cause of Christ, serving one another and the world, because they have been gifted and called to do so. Yet, this is an ongoing struggle for many churches.

  • 4 Habits that Develop Credibility as a Trainer

    In 1987 I choose to go to Dallas Theological Seminary based on one thing- I wanted to sit under the teaching of Dr. Howard Hendricks.

  • Are You Placing Your Volunteers?

    Ministry strategy hasn’t changed much over the past millennia. And nothing can propel your ministry further and faster than thriving, healthy volunteerism and ensure the long-term health and vitality of your church.

  • 4 Lessons in Leading Church Revitalization

    I fell in love with church revitalization early in my ministry when I served a church of senior adults during a brief stint teaching at a seminary. The median age of the people was 68.

  • Leading Your Team to Work Together Part Two: Culture

    How do you help your staff work together as a true team, not just a collection of individuals? Mention the word “team” and most people think in context of a sports activity. That may be the primary association with a team – a group of people we observe or cheer for, but in some way, everyone works together with others to achieve a goal: families, schools, businesses, non-profits – these are all teams.

  • What to do with People Who Don’t Want to Be on the Team

    Jeff Van Gundy has coached in the NBA and has commentated NBA games (I have always enjoyed listening to him when he does). He is well respected for his understanding of the game and his ability to coach it.

  • 4 Tips for Spotting a Lazy Leader

    Lazy leadership is unfaithful stewardship. Instead of wise stewardship, lazy leaders foolishly squander resources, gifting, and opportunities rather than make the most of the brief season in which they are privileged to lead.

  • Leading Your Team to Work Together Part One: Motivation

    How do you help your staff work together as a true team, not just a collection of individuals? Mention the word “team” and most people think in context of a sports activity. That may be the primary association with a team – a group of people we observe or cheer for, but in some way, everyone works together with others to achieve a goal: families, schools, businesses, non-profits – these are all teams.

  • Three Lessons for Broken Leaders

    I am broken. I lead a community of broken people called a church.

  • 5 Critical Building Blocks for Healthy Volunteer Teams

    In Chris Mavity’s ebook, ‘Your Volunteers: From Come-and-See to Come-and-Serve,’ Mavity explains how church leaders can better enable, empower and equip church leaders to better enable, empower and equip our greatest ministry asset – our people. Volunteers are our boots-on-the-ground and since churches typically have more people than money, space, or staff, volunteer operations require a solid game plan to help evolve people who ‘come-and-see’ into people who ‘come-and-serve.

  • Five Positive Responses to Negative People

    The grief is both real and anticipatory. The church member knows his or her church is in decline.

  • Three Items for the Most Important List You Will Make This Year

    The second law of thermodynamics revolves around entropy, the principle that things move to disorder and chaos over time. Left alone, things do not become more orderly or more effective.

  • Five Options for a Church in Decline

    It’s simple and straightforward. Leaders of declining churches have five choices.

  • Intentional Sunsets Bring Beautiful Sunrises: How to Lead Healthy Change in Your Church

    Remember when the University of Alabama Birmingham football program was dissolved? A video of player's reactions was definitely NSFW! Although the original announcement was not in the clip, based on the player response filmed… their own important, personal and emotional decisions to play ball at UAB felt overlooked and thrown to the side because “the numbers do not work. ” Immediately I recognized the passion and fervor (and honestly, some of the language) often seen and heard from church members after being told they were losing a very important, always personal and often emotional part of their church identity through changes like: A staff member transition.

  • Separate Critical and Creative Thinking to Build Collaboration Around Vision

    Effective teams do not just agree on vision, they own it and align every ounce of energy and effort toward accomplishing the vision. As a leader, you can sense the difference between your team liking the vision and your team leading toward vision.

  • How a Better How Helps Every Leader

    “People respond not primarily to what you do, but to how you’re being . .

  • Reengage Your Volunteer Teams by Recognizing Individual Gifts

    How can you re-engage your volunteers to serve enthusiastically with passion and energy? Lee Cockerell, retired Senior Vice President of Operations for Walt Disney World Resorts, brings over four decades of experience on the front lines of some of the world’s best run companies to his writing and speaking. Lee responded to the question above with this simple, yet profound thought: Leaders ARE their teams.

  • 3 Common Scapegoats for Developing Leaders

    Great leaders intuitively know they are responsible for future leadership, and all leaders have heard these catch phrases: “There is no success without succession” and “Work yourself out of a job and you will always have a job. ” Yet few leaders plan and prioritize developing others.

  • Why Innovation is Not So Innovative

    Ever wonder why some leaders hit home runs—or even change the world—and why others don’t? I wonder about that all the time. Recently I spent a few days in Silicon Valley, the tech and startup capital of the world—a strip of cities that run between San Francisco and San Jose California.

  • 4 “Must-Haves” for Weekly Staff Meetings

    I’m weird. I like meetings.

  • 7 Reasons Pastors Settle for the Status Quo

    Many people have this naïve view that a pastor just has to preach and love people. Not so.

  • Bold Vision Takes Better Leaders

    Work yourself out of a job. ” You’ve heard this before, but why is it often so difficult to do? Work yourself out of a job.

  • 8 Tests of Your Leadership Convictions

    The real foundation of great leadership is character, not charisma. And one aspect of a leader’s character is the convictions to which he is deeply committed.

  • Reengage Your Volunteer Teams by Acknowledging Team Gifts

    Lee Cockerell, retired Senior Vice President of Operations for Walt Disney World Resorts, brings over four decades of experience on the front lines of some of the world’s best run companies to his writing and speaking. Lee responded to the question above with this simple, yet profound thought: Leaders ARE their teams.

  • 4 Dangers of Leading Above Your Work

    Leaders are often encouraged to lead at 30,000 feet, which is a metaphor to lead above the daily grind and think further out, plan ahead, and navigate towards the future. Just as airplanes fly high to rise above the turbulence and above the clouds, leading at 30,000 feet allows a leader to rise above the urgency of today and strategically think and plan the future.

  • What Church Leaders Must Know About Going Multi-Site

    For churches with plans to go multi-site, navigating what should be unique about each campus and what needs to be consistent can be tricky. Because no matter the number of campuses your church has or plans to have, multiplication is the goal – multiplying believers, ministries, groups and churches.

  • Jesus Built a Pipeline, Not a Platform

    Imagine for a moment never having to say, "I don't have the right leaders," or "I don't have enough leaders. " What if, in the next few months you could eliminate the need to look outside your own leadership pipeline for your next strategic staff hire? You can - with two days of training and preparation at Auxano's all-new Leadership Pipeline Boot Camp in Houston, TX.

  • 10 Questions You Need to Be Asking Your Team – About You

    If you are like me, you are constantly looking around for the best next move to grow as a leader. I frequently ask why, when, what, and how while looking to enhance who I am as a leader, how my team can improve, and ensure the why is staying at the center of what we do as a team.

  • Lead Others Better by Leading Yourself Well

    How does developing someone else actually develop your leadership? It has been said that the people close to us determine our level of success. Moses learned this lesson in the wilderness and so implemented a plan to put competent, godly leaders next to him.

  • Six Ways to Beat the Summer Slump

    Summer often means vacation time and travel for many church members. It also means lower attendance and participation numbers in many churches.

  • 2 Ingredients for Leadership Success

    Have you experienced a teacher or professor who was brilliant in their subject, but didn’t seem to care about you as their student? Have you encountered a doctor or nurse who seemed to be a genuinely caring person, but only average in their skills? This is a common experience and can be true in anyone from a plumber to a therapist. But when you find someone who is both competent and cares, that is an extremely valuable person.

  • 8 Tips on Engaging an Expert for Free Advice

    After walking out of a crowded breakout session at the recent Exponential Conference, a guy handed me a folded-up note. The kind of note you get from your best buddy in middle school, crinkled and hand written.

  • The Danger of Seeking Stability

    Change or die. That is reality for churches today.

  • 3 Signs Your Team is Getting Along But Not Going Anywhere

    Healthy teams are both aligned and attuned.  Alignment refers to the commitment to the mission and identity of the organization.

  • 7 Change-Killers in Every Church

    Almost every leader I’ve ever met wants to change something. If I asked you right now what you’d love to change in your church or organization, you’d probably be able to offer an answer within seconds.

  • Leaders Must Model One Thing First

    What can my church learn from the mission-focused leadership of the United States Marines? A clear, executable mission is the key to success for every branch of the military. An outstanding attention to teamwork and training make the United States Armed Forces the most formidable fighting force on the planet.

  • The Three Temptations of Isolation

    Isolation is often very attractive, and it is on the rise with no signs of slowing down. Over 20 years ago, Robert Putnam wrote a landmark article that became a book about the rise of isolation in America.

  • 8 Principles for Teaching Leadership from the Bible

    It is a foregone conclusion by many believers that leadership is easily taught from the Bible. It is and is not a true idea.

  • The Leadership Secret Every Navy SEAL Knows

    What can my church learn from the mission-focused leadership of the United States Navy SEALs? A clear, executable mission is the key to success for every branch of the military. An outstanding attention to teamwork and training make the United States Navy SEALs the most formidable fighting force on the planet.

  • Three Battles Inside Every Leader

    Leaders who are fully engaged in their mission fight battles. There is no way to avoid battles if you want to make progress consistently.

  • Standing Strong…Why Church Structure Affects Church Growth

    Structure is essential. Like a body without bones or a building without supporting walls, an organization without a structure goes nowhere, fast.

  • Six Reasons to Avoid the Pitfall of Isolation

    An isolated leader is a dangerous leader. The sting of criticism, the burden of the responsibilities, and the pace of leadership can nudge a leader towards isolation, but every step towards isolation is a step towards danger.

  • Alignment Eats Accomplishment for Lunch

    When you have a vague or undefined strategy, your leaders will invent their own. Auxano Founder Will Mancini believes that over 90% of churches in North America are not functioning with strategic clarity.

  • The Lasting Impact of Leading Up

    I am fortunate in that I serve on a high performance team (auxano. com).

  • Regular, Healthy Sleep Patterns Will Make You a Better Leader

    Who takes care of the caregiver? Does being focused on serving the needs of others makes it easy for you to neglect your own health? In your role of a leader and servant to your church, you probably push yourself to a point of exhaustion and beyond, rationalizing that you don’t have time for diets or exercise or that you will catch up on sleep later. The reality is that the more you neglect your personal health, the less effective you actually are at caring for the spiritual health of others.

  • 4 Unsung Traits of a Biblical Leader

    A simple online search for “leadership” yields 734 million results including definitions, articles, magazine subscriptions, videos, and books. If you add the word “Christian” to “leadership” you trim the results down significantly, but there’s still almost 12 million.

  • Lead a Culture of Positive Risk-Taking

    I’ve said many times that I want everyone on my staff to make at least one mistake a week. Through Saddleback, I’ve learned that if you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not trying anything new.

  • 6 Habits That Grow Your Influence as a Leader

    Ever wonder why some people are influential, and others, well, aren’t? Take getting others to buy into your ideas, for example. Some people seem always to be able to win the day with their ideas.

  • Play Church Staff Summer Bingo

    Ahhhhhh Summer… when the days grow progressively longer and church staff meetings grow regressively shorter. Some weeks – Thanks VBS! – they do not even happen at all.

  • 3 Steps to More Effective Teamwork

    As you lead your church, a team, or your readers, there are many times that effective teamwork is pivotal. Effective teamwork is a multiplier that transforms individual contributions.

  • Leading “THAT” Generation Matters

    Somehow we’ve gotten a little confused about the essence of leadership. If you think it’s all about getting bigger, going higher, and commanding more respect and attention from others, you’ve missed the point.

  • Develop Leaders from the Inside Out

    When ministry leaders start to consider an intentional plan for developing leaders, inevitably they get to this question. The answer to the question will dramatically impact how they execute leadership development.

  • Why Great Leaders Must Be Vulnerable

    You don’t know it all. There are limits to your knowledge, ability, and energy.

  • The Slow Leak of Leadership Influence

    If a leader loses influence, it rarely evaporates instantly. It’s usually more like a pin-sized hole in a balloon.

  • 5 Reasons Encouragement is a Non-Negotiable

    If you read any leadership book, you are likely to be encouraged to encourage the people you lead. If you have served with an encouraging leader, you know the impact the encouragement makes on the morale of the team, the focus of the people, and the commitment to one other.

  • Learning to Live a Healthy, Biblical Lifestyle

    Who takes care of the caregiver? In your role of a leader and servant to your church, you probably push yourself to a point of exhaustion and beyond, rationalizing that you don’t have time for diets or exercise or that you will catch up on sleep later. The reality is that the more you neglect your personal health, the less effective you actually are at caring for the spiritual health of others.

  • 5 Ways Taking Care of Your Body Also Takes Care of Your Mind

    I recently read Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain and walked away from the read more convinced in the importance of exercise. While we often think of exercise as critical to a healthy body, it is also essential for a strong mind.

  • Ten Time Management Ideas for Leaders

    Several months ago we ran a blog survey seeking to understand those who read the blog on a regular basis and what would be helpful to them in future posts. Many people asked about managing schedules and getting the most out of time.

  • 6 Benefits of Personal Goal Setting

    Over the last couple of years I’ve stumbled upon a nonlinear approach to personal goal setting that has greatly impacted my life for the better by changing my behavior, and thus transforming my life.  The simple drawing below represents not only how I set my goals, but how I tackle them.

  • Technology, Leadership and Their Influence on Ministry

    We are about three months into a new year – new goals, new ideas, new plans. But for some, there are old problems hanging around like questions about technology.

  • 7 Ways to Help Your Team Find Rhythm and Energy

    The quickest way to destroy a team is to burn them out.  And you don’t have to look around the field of ministry very long to realize that the ministry is filled with burned out leaders.

  • The Pastor’s Heart, Part 2: Simplicity as Personal Rejuvenation

      It's time to get back to the basics in my inward spiritual practices We live in a society that demands instant gratification. We are always connected with devices that bring the world to our fingertips.

  • Two Common Hiring Mistakes to Avoid In Your Next Staffing Decision

    Every hire is a risk. Every time I have hired someone or have been hired, there was a risk involved.

  • 5 Reasons to Stop Imitating

    If you’re like me, you like to track with people who are ahead of you in what they’ve accomplished, both in terms of their lives and in terms of their leadership. Chance are you do this in real life (I hope you have mentors).

  • The Marathon of Leading Yourself: 9 Areas for Constant Improvement

    Recently I had the opportunity to host a younger friend that I’ve coached through the years, in my home. While we were on an afternoon run he asked me to share with him some of my life’s lessons that had impacted me the most.

  • Five Tools to Develop a Strong Work Ethic

    A church that breaks barriers needs a leader that breaks barriers. Dealing with sin is of the utmost importance for a leader.

  • 4 Distinctions of Telling Time for Church Leaders

    If influencing others is a key component of leadership, then Christian leadership will be about influencing people spiritually, leading them in a direction that helps them become more like Christ. I’ve always liked Henry and Richard Blackaby’s definition of spiritual leadership: “The spiritual leader’s task is to move people from where they are to where God wants them to be.

  • The Pastor’s Heart, Part 1: Prayer as Personal Examination

    It's time to get back to the basics in your inward spiritual practices We live in a society that demands instant gratification. We are always connected with devices that bring the world to our fingertips.

  • Seven Commitments to Refocus Your Leadership

    I see the New Year as a time for recommitment and re-focus. And though it is simply the changing of the page of a calendar, it is still a good time to be reminded about those areas that are most important in our lives.

  • 10 Ways to Build Your Church Staff Dream Team

    I love the church staff team I have the privilege of leading at Meck. They are dedicated, loyal, unified, joyful and deeply missional.

  • Why Your Meeting Should Have Been an Email

    Last week I gave indicators that your email should have been a meeting. There are times when a push for efficiency via email backfires and actually creates more work.

  • Simplify Your Church Calendar with Five Significant Steps

    For many good reasons, church leaders often desire to simplify their schedules. They know too many programs is paralyzing for new people, as the next step is unclear.

  • Does Your Church Possess the Right Skills to Take on Tomorrow?

    Over a decade and a half into the 21st century, one thing has become clear: change is the new normal. In business, it's called innovation, and it’s a strategic pillar in nearly every organization.

  • Lead Like Jesus by Making the Conscious Decision to Serve

    Below is a weekly series posting content from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders. SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; and each solution is taken from a different book.

  • Three Consequences of a Busy Church Calendar

    Adrian Rogers is quoted with the pithy statement, “If Satan cannot make you bad, he will make you busy. ” There is much wisdom in the statement, as cluttered lives are typically not Christ-centered lives.

  • Succession Planning Is: A Springboard for Planning

    Dictionary. com defines the word “Springboard” as “something that supplies the impetus or conditions for a beginning, change, or progress; a point of departure.

  • Break Through Ministry Silos with 4-Phase Collaboration

    Below is a weekly series posting content from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders. SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; and each solution is taken from a different book.

  • Your Succession Journey: New Coaching from the Clarity Thought Leaders at Auxano

    Auxano’s succession planning service is designed to help ministry leaders navigate the following questions. What leadership transition process makes the most sense for our situation? There are three basic ways leaders transition.

  • 5 Critical Conversations in Succession Planning

    When the topic of succession planning first landed on my radar (early 2007) there were very few ministry leaders that would entertain the conversation.   This was true at both the denominational and local church level.

  • Succession Is: A Shift in Stewardship

    The farmer’s day-to-day activities look different from season to season.  Sure, some things are the same, but his changing priorities have a significant impact on how he manages his time from season to season.

  • 5 Bible Truths to Help You in Succession Planning

    I’ll never forget my very first observation about succession planning. Succession planning is personal long before it becomes tactical.

  • What Process Do You Have in Place for Succession Planning?

    Here are five common questions leaders wrestle through when trying to decide what their succession planning process should look like. Q – WHAT DO YOUR GOVERNING DOCUMENTS REQUIRE? Don’t expect a lot of guidance here.

  • Why Church Leaders Need Coaches

    We love a good software solution to help church leaders find a better “how” to carry out their ministry vision. Obviously we do, because that’s what we provide day in and day out! But any software, no matter how awesome, can’t do everything when it comes to truly growing and nurturing disciples.

  • The Secret Principle that Separates Good Leaders and Great Leaders

    Good leaders are, by definition, good at their jobs. They know how to motivate their teams towards a desired result.

  • Leaders Serve.

    One of the things that I love about working for my organization is the commitment to service. Sure, we have a commitment to serve our guests, but we also serve one another.

  • Why Being Fruitful is as Important as Being Faithful

    In many corners of the church today, there’s an unhelpful and unhealthy division between theology and practical ministry. This division is damaging to both the discipline of theology and the practice of ministry because one without the other causes an imbalance.

  • The Natural Flow of Leadership Development

    I’m finding more and more pastors who are getting discouraged with the lack of leaders in their leadership pipeline.  The problem is serious because if there’s a lack of leaders then the growth of the church will be hindered.

  • 7 Observations of Outstanding Leaders

    They are the two most common causes of forced termination of pastors. Weak leadership skills.

  • 6 Practices of Unfocused Leadership

    D. L.

  • 3 Ways Church Leaders Can Learn from Business Leaders

    If you read that headline and instantly checked out because ‘business’ has no place in the local church, you’re missing out. Business leaders often have key insights and perspectives that could help you reach more people with the life-changing news of the Gospel.

  • 6 Core Responsibilities of the Senior Pastor

    "I  can’t do it all. ”  “I just can’t seem to get out in front enough to lead.

  • 5 Warning Signs of a Dying Church

    Change or die. Imagine hearing those words from your physician.

  • Burying a Program

    Since writing Simple Church with my boss Thom Rainer, a common question has been, "How can we eliminate a program or an event?" Those who ask the question often know that a program on their church calendar accomplishes very little for the Kingdom and is not aligned to the mission of their church. But they wrestle with the impact that canceling a program or event will have on the people they serve.

  • Leadership Requires Accountability

    Who a leader listens to shapes much of what a leader does. A leader who surrounds himself with wise counsel is a leader who is much more likely to lead well.

  • 3 Ways to Reduce Complexity at Your Church

    We know that leading a church is complicated. But why? Shouldn’t it be easier? I’ve been thinking about that, and it occurred to me that writing down why it’s so complex could provide insights that help us lead better.

  • 4 Steps Toward Change All Leaders Take

    I seldom address a gathering of pastors without "the" question being asked, in one form or another: "How do you change a church?" Whether moving from a traditional model to one that is more contemporary, a complex structure to one that is simpler, or an outdated outreach strategy to one more relevant and effective, knowing the target on the wall isn't the problem. It's how to actually lead the change to hit it.

  • 5 Investment Strategies for Leadership Equity

    When you walk into a leadership opportunity, you go with a little bit of equity by virtue of your position and the inevitable honeymoon period during which those you lead will let you get by with just a bit more than they will a decade later, but you have to be very careful with that equity. Every decision you make, and every risk you lead your organization to take will require an investment of some of your leadership equity (the trust people place in you).

  • 6 Really, Really Bad Ways to Respond to Problems

    Naturally, there are things you love about the ministry or organization you lead. Probably lots of them.

  • 4 Questions That Can Prevent Your “Leadership Autopsy”

    I didn’t see that coming.   Everything seemed fine at first, well, for awhile, then seemingly out of nowhere we were in conflict and in a few months he was off staff.

  • 3 Features of Church Government NOT Found in the Bible

    When it comes to ministry, the process of decision making is so important because bureaucracy can become incredibly inhibiting. To make matters worse, a church's structure is often wedded to some of the most deeply rooted customs within the life of a church.

  • 5 Advantages of a True Leadership Pipeline

    Leadership is a mixture of both poetry and plumbing, but unfortunately a lot more is written about the former than the later. The leadership systems and structure of a church are the major pieces of plumbing I am referring to today.

  • Why Not Caring is a Mark of Great Leadership

    Great pastors care about a lot of things and a lot of people. But with the non-stop opportunity to minister to peoples' never ending needs, every pastor must eventually face a crazy question: "Is it possible to care too much?" An essay I read as a young pastor marked a pivot point in my life.

  • Empathy: The Voice of Catalytic Leadership

    Change is inevitable. Whether we're talking about business, society, politics, or life, we all know that trying to stay still is a recipe for stagnation.

  • Removing the Invisible Walls in Your Leadership Team

    Last week I was completing the Vision Frame with a church in California. They could feel the removal of what one pastor  called their “invisible walls.

  • 5 Guidelines for Conflict Resolution

    Conflict is no stranger within the local church. Different opinions, diverse perspectives, and opposing priorities can cause your best leaders and staff to experience conflict with each other.

  • 4 Balancing Acts for Church Health

    Church health is the result of balance. Balance occurs when a church has a strategy and a structure to fulfill the five New Testament purposes for the church: worship, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, and ministry.

  • 3 Steps to More Effective Teamwork

    Effective teamwork is a multiplier that transforms individual contributions.  Effective teamwork starts with a clear and clearly stated vision.

  • 14 Compelling Reasons to Get Away with Your Team

    Finding the time and money to pull the staff offsite for an annual vision retreat challenges every leader. The temptation to lay-up and schedule yet another week in the church conference room lulls us into yet another year of marginally effective visioning.

  • When Mature Leaders Know It’s Time to Crash the System

    It’s happened on several occasions as I’ve worked in the publishing industry. An event, an issue, or a person comes across our collective radar screens in such a blazing fashion that we need to react.

  • Good Team Spirit Doesn’t Guarantee Better Team Decsions

    Most church teams enjoy hanging out together.  The weekly rhythm of doing church brings staff and volunteers together across a broad span of activities– the laughing and praying of our leading and meeting.

  • The ONE Truth Behind All Successful Leaders

    Thirty pages in, the realization hit. Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin is not only one of the best leadership books I have ever read, it may the only leadership book I have ever read cover to cover.

  • Healthy Organizations are Aligned AND Attuned

    Roger Harrison is a recognized leader and author in organizational and cultural development. He has articulated that healthy organizations are both aligned and attuned.

  • When Your Church Needs New Wineskins

    One day a group of people approached Jesus, confused that his disciples were not fasting. After all, John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees were fasting.

  • How to Conduct Visual Meetings to Boost Productivity

    There’s nothing more annoying than a meeting that goes on and on and on – except maybe a meeting that goes on and on and on AND doesn’t accomplish anything. Many ministry teams fritter away precious time during meetings on unfocused, inconclusive discussion rather than rapid, well-informed decision making.

  • 5 Ways to Learn and Lead from Failure

    It’s not really how you got lost as much as how you lead back to the right path. Every great leader has experienced failure at some point, well… except one glaring exception.

  • 7 Characteristics of Great Team Chemistry

    Port City Community Church (PC3) in Wilmington, NC is a cool church. The founding and senior pastor is @MikeAshcraft — a great guy with a strong Kingdom vision for the future.

  • 4 Mistakes to Avoid When Dealing with Conflict

    Conflict is going to happen. After sin entered the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, God told Eve that the relationship with her husband would no longer be perfect: “Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will rule over you” (Genesis 3:16).

  • 5 Lenses to Clarity of Your Ministry Calling

    Is God calling you to serve Him in ministry? First of all, it’s a big YES. God draws lost people to himself to save them, and his desire is that all saved people serve people.

  • Your Team Can Either Meet or Work, But Not Both at the Same Time

    Note: Starting in 2016, we will be routinely posting content from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders.  SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions with each solution is taken from a different book.

  • 5 Strategies to Minimize the Downside of Staff Tenure

    There are a plethora of upsides to staff tenure. You learn the organization over time.

  • 2 Elements in the Formula of Team Success

    Jesus led the most remarkable ministry in history. Jesus had a laser focused vision and was able to transfer it to His team in such a way that even though His personal ministry lasted only three years and His small team consisted of unqualified men, over 2000 years later, about one third of the world’s population identifies with Him.

  • Six Principles for Raising Up New Leaders in Your Church

    1. Exemplary in overall character.

  • The Difference Between Living IN the Past and Living OUT of the Past

    Does your church have a past? Of course it does. Your church had a beginning, and the movement that birthed your church has a history also.

  • 5 Reasons You Need to Take a Global Missions Trip

    Local church ministry can be the most demoralizing and challenging, yet amazingly fulfilling and rewarding, of callings. Regularly placed near the bottom of any ranked list of occupations, pastoring well requires consistent time away to recharge and reconnect with your family and, especially, with God.

  • Leaders Taking These Actions Drive Their Team Nuts

    If you lead, you are more than aware of the incredible responsibility you have toward others.  Leadership, by definition, is not a solo sport.

  • 10 Steps You Know You Should Be Taking to Grow Your Church – But Aren’t

    What if I gave you a list of ten things that any church could do that would bring almost immediate renewal and growth? Would you be interested in the list? Most would be. So here it is: Simplify your structure by putting the authority to make most decisions related to the practice of ministry in the hands of those with responsibility.

  • 3 Ways to Reimagine Your Church’s Dashboard

    When you think of Tesla, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? For most people, it’s electric cars, but what if I were to tell you that this was not going to be their greatest legacy? Yes, they did vastly expand the driving range of an electric vehicle from 73 miles (117 km) to 200 miles (320 km) on a single charge. Yes, they did reimagine the electric car and the way that it is powered.

  • 3 Simple Steps for Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

    On a recent morning text to our team, Auxano’s Founder and Team Leader Will Mancini posed the following question to be asked of church leaders: >> Where could you use break-thru clarity on your leadership team?  Most leaders can immediately identify a barrier or roadblock that stands in their way of moving forward to better future. Many leaders also have some idea about how to break that barrier.

  • Mixing the Color Palette of Your Leadership Team Brings Better Results

    With our leadership team, we use the Insights Discovery tool to help each other understand our unique personalities. The tool is validated and has proven helpful to our team in serving and communicating with one another.

  • Asking These 20 Questions of Others Will Help You Become a Better Leader

    A leader needs to be a learner. And, the learning needs to be constant.

  • 6 Critical Steps in the Difficult Decision to Move a Staff Member

    It’s one of the toughest parts of church leadership. You feel like a staff member is not a good fit.

  • Real Leaders Risk Messing Up

    Having an ambition to lead is great, but it doesn’t produce actual leadership. Taking risks does.

  • 5 Guidelines to Help You Lead When You Find Yourself In Over Your Head

    Here’s a leadership secret. Almost anyone who has ever led anything significant has felt like they’re in over their head at one point or another.

  • How Leaders Can Have Both Thick Skins AND Tender Hearts

    Leaders are often applauded for and encouraged to develop “thick skin. ” A leader with “thick skin” is not crushed by criticism nor destroyed by disappointing results.

  • Rapidly Growing Churches Place a Premium on Intentional and Strategic Leadership

    I’m pretty sure that I’ve never met anyone who became a pastor so that they could spend their time worrying about strategy. Those of us who are pastors and church leaders generally invest in ministry because we love people, not because we love spreadsheets and flowcharts.

  • 10 “Different Numbers” That Really Matter

    Being loyal to a denomination, I'm no stranger to filling out forms and reporting stats. There are good reasons for this accountability, and we at 12Stone® Church are good team players in the Wesleyan Church.

  • Leveraging Leadership Development Golden Opportunities

    While they may not say it out loud, many people feel like they don’t have time for leadership development. This mentality underscores a fundamental misunderstanding that training leaders always necessitates long hours of teaching and instruction.

  • 5 Success Factors in Changing Organizational Culture

    Culture transformation is an advanced leadership skill. The primary way to change a culture is to use your Conversational Intelligence to create an environment that infuses energy and commitment into relationships, teams, and the whole organization.

  • Bearing the Leadership Burden

    Leadership, whether of an organization or of a Bible study or of a family, is a burden. A joyful burden much of the time, but a burden nonetheless.

  • 12 2nd Tier Practices that Produce First Rate Leaders

    Ever wonder what separates great leaders from poor leaders? Ever wonder whether you’re developing the practices and qualities of great leadership? I’ve met more than a few ineffective leaders who have great intentions, but just haven’t developed the skills and attitudes that separate great leaders from poor leaders. So what separates great leaders from not-so-great leaders? There are many things, but these 12 overlooked practices stand out to me as often-missed qualities and characteristics of the best leaders I know.

  • Understanding the Importance of the Critical Path in Your Next Ministry Project

    The longest string of dependent, non-compressible tasks is the critical path. Every complicated project is the same.

  • Leadership Should Start with Apprenticeship

    Someone asked me the other day what my advice would be to young leaders. Then they followed it up with this: "and if it could be just one piece of advice.

  • Moses and the Temporary Nature of Leadership

    Leadership is always a temporary assignment—always. It is a temporary assignment because leaders do not ultimately own the teams, ministries, or organizations that they lead.

  • Steps to Measure and Monitor Your Church Ministry Teams

    When was the last time someone asked you, “How is your ministry going?” The most common answer people give to that question is something like ‘fine’, ‘busy’, or ‘growing’. Those answers are OK, but they really don’t provide much insight.

  • Recharge: 7 Ways to Improve Innovative Thinking

    In this volatile world the old model of process innovation needs a new framework. It isn’t in sync with the way our minds work, which brain research tells us is more serendipitous than linear.

  • 7 Types of People You Need to Lose the Most

    In leadership, you always face your share of critics. Everyone has an opinion, and if you’re like me, you can get focused on keeping people happy, which is always a critical leadership mistake.

  • 8 Actions of a Confident Leader in the Face of Conflict

    Balancing conflict is inevitable. Most of the time, I find that I am either coming out of conflict, in the midst of it, or heading back into the storm of a new one.

  • Four Rules of Thumb to Get You Started Toward Ministry Innovation

    Solving a difficult ministry challenge requires imagination, focus, endurance, and a tolerance for failure, to name but a few key ingredients. However, the real secret behind delivering world-class ministry innovation actually depends on what we lack rather than what we have.

  • Leading A Cause Bigger Than Ourselves

    Church movements are tricky things, but the phrase has never been more popular. People keep referring to themselves as “a movement for global change” or “a church planting movement.

  • Unlocking the Five Motivations for Work in Your Ministry Leadership

    We all have motivations that get us out of bed in the morning. And, we all have a wide array of forces that impact our sense of identity as it relates to work.

  • To Bless Many, Focus on a Few

    As a leader, where should the majority of your focus be? Should you be focused on the crowd or on a smaller group of people? As you read through the gospels, you find Jesus being incredibly intentional with His disciples and intensely focused on their development. Jesus was focused on a few, for the blessing of the many.

  • 5 Practical Points in Leading a Turnaround Church

    A church split, a failed leader, changing economics or an aging congregation, there are many reasons for a church to be struggling and in decline. In fact, of the approximately 350,000 churches in the U.

  • How Failure Can Be a Vital Strategic Resource for Your Church

    Failure’s just another word for something else to learn. Failure is the gift that keeps on giving – if you’re realistic, humble, and honest enough to address it.

  • Pastor, Do You Live Under the Burden of Being a 5-Tool Player?

    Baseball is the Greatest American Sport. Those who moan about the slow pace or belittle the idea of hitting a 3” diameter sphere hurled at speeds of up to 100 miles-per-hour do not understand the nuance, strategy and simple beauty of The Game.

  • How Not to Loathe the Culture You Are Leading

    One of the dangers of a growing organization or ministry is the temptation to quickly bring people on to the team to meet the demands of the growth. Of course, there is nothing wrong with desiring to scale the team.

  • From Burning Platform to Burning Ambition: How Leaders Sustain Change

    Leaders must shift from the proverbial burning platform to a burning ambition, and get underneath organizational reasons for change to make the journey personal. There are thousands of books presenting dozens of lists on the attributes of great leaders.

  • 12 Strategic Summer Activities to Keep Volunteers Connected to Ministry Vision

    Summer scatters your congregation and is typically a season of lessened activity, with groups on hiatus or a simplified service schedule. Most leaders surrender to the summer and count on one to two weeks of furious activity in late August to prepare their leaders for the high-impact season of ministry in the fall.

  • The Cowardly Leader Checklist

    In his classic book Spiritual Leadership, Oswald Sanders lists courage along with humility, sincerity, and integrity as essential qualities for leaders. He writes, “Leadership always faces natural human inertia and opposition.

  • Rick Warren Shares 8 Characteristics of a Healthy Church

    B. H.

  • Becoming a Servant Leader Through Strategic Thinking

    Last week I gave a sketch of the Eisenhower Matrix, which has challenged leaders to focus on the most important things and to not allow the urgent to dominate and derail them. As a reminder, here is a sketch of the matrix: While many leaders have been served well with the thinking behind the framework, as Christians we must view the matrix through the lens of our faith.

  • The Effective Pastor Checklist

    Determining the effectiveness of a pastor is a highly subjective exercise. While certain metrics may prove helpful, they do not tell the whole story.

  • Answering the “What Ifs” of Mentoring Young Leaders

    There will be a whole new set of leaders in your organization in the next few years.  The leaders of today will be long forgotten.

  • Planning, Strategy, and the Eisenhower Matrix

    Dwight Eisenhower is noted as saying, “What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important. ” He is credited with the quote because of his emphasis on planning and strategy.

  • 6 Reasons Cynicism Develops in Leaders

    Find yourself becoming a little more cynical every year as a leader? Few of us decide we’re going to be cynical…we just kind of end up there. How does that happen? How does a heart grow hard? How do you end up trusting no one? How does hope die? Cynicism grows in the hearts of far too many leaders.

  • Does Your Leadership Structure Impede the Progress of Discipleship?

    At LifeWay Research, we are passionate about the state of the church. It is the focus of the vast majority of our work.

  • Planning Takes Too Long

    “Planning takes too long. Let’s just get started.

  • 11 Secrets Church Leaders Are Struggling With

    Leadership is a journey…a journey that’s probably different than you thought it would be before you stepped into leadership. When I was young, I always thought leaders had it all figured out.

  • 5 Keys for Building Ministry Momentum

    There are seasons in your ministry when you can feel momentum happening … it seems like things are just flowing a little easier and the energy of the church is pushing the ministry forward. I’ve lead in ministries where the momentum is tangible … every step does seem to be easier than the one before.

  • Work Simply to Live Fully: Exploring 4 Productivity Styles

    Why can’t you stop procrastinating? Why can’t you get more done? Why isn’t your inbox under control? Carson Tate, expert on workplace productivity and founder of Working Simply, believes that the problem is not you. It is how you are trying to overcome your busyness that is the problem.

  • Why Your Volunteer Problem is Really a Vision Problem

    As I pulled into the parking lot, the temperature on my dashboard read negative twelve degrees.   And there he was… standing there waving.

  • The Art of Balancing Ideology and Progress

    Healthy churches have many points of tension. For example, churches grow by adding new believers.

  • The Pharisee Checklist: Just Who’s Running Your Church?

    So are the Pharisees running your church? Interesting question. How would you know? And perhaps, more appropriately, how would you know if that was you?  You could argue that the since the religious leaders nailed Jesus to the cross, there’s no way you would have done that.

  • Honoring the Life and Legacy of Lyle Schaller

    Lyle E. Schaller, one of the greatest voices of the American Church since the late 1960s, passed away on March 18 at age 91.

  • 9 Things You Can Learn from Skipping Out on Your Church This Sunday

    When was the last time you took team members from your church to visit another church? Whether it’s across town or across the country, a well-planned visit to another church can make an impact on your team like nothing else. Here are some reasons I think you should “get outta here!” and go to another church soon! Conference Speakers Oversimplify // I coach and speak at conferences, and I’m confessing that everyone who speaks in those contexts makes it sound way easier that it actually is.

  • Follow These 7 Steps to Be An Effective Leader at Your Church

    What makes a successful leader successful? And—here’s the next question— could you adopt any of their characteristics to help you become a more effective leader? Sometimes it’s easy to think that some people were just ‘born’ successful or that they ‘have it’ and you don’t. For sure, some people are gifted communicators, visionaries or organizational wizards who seem to naturally know how to lead churches and organizations.

  • Boundaries for Leaders

    Ultimately, leadership is about turning a vision into reality; it’s about producing real results in the real world. And that is only done through people doing what it takes to make it happen.

  • You Can Get Everything at Amazon – Including These 14 Leadership Principles

    Amazon continues to be a force in our culture. In the run up to to Christmas 2014 they sold 426 items per second! I just finished reading Brad Stone’s fascinating study of Amazon called The Everything Store.

  • Positive Learning from Negative Feedback

    Leaders in all sizes and types of organizations often face negative feedback and criticism – and many have problems dealing with it. Maybe it’s time to blow criticism away with “TNT”.

  • Cultural Transformation is a Leadership Skill Everyone Can Learn

    Culture transformation is an advanced leadership skill. The primary way to change a culture is to use your conversational intelligence to create an environment that infuses energy and commitment into relationships, teams and the whole organization.

  • The Power of the Pause in Successful Leadership

    The demanding pace for leaders has never been more challenging. Digitally connected every moment, we are increasingly tied to a 24-hour global clock.

  • How to Overcome 3 Common Criticisms When Leading Your Church Through Change

    There is no growth without change. And there is no change without loss.

  • Entering the Discomfort Zone: How Leaders Can Turn Difficult Conversations into Breakthroughs

    The best leaders make us feel unsure of ourselves. They help us recognize that what we think is true, is not.

  • Three Critical Changes the Growing Church Must Make

    Perhaps one of the biggest challenges leaders in growing churches face is the sense of failing to meet expectations, particularly of some who were in the church when the church was not as large as she currently is. Here are a couple of examples from recent conversations with church leaders: Example A: Some members of a church of 2,100 in attendance expect the senior pastor to visit them if they are in the hospital.

  • Why Changing Strategy Without Changing Culture Changes Nothing

    I see it almost everywhere I work with leadership teams. Let me tell you what it is and what you should be doing differently.

  • The One Competency That Hard Core Ministry Leaders Need Most

    So you walk into a co-worker’s office to open up about something that’s bothering you. Two minutes into the conversation all you start hearing from your colleague are phrases like: It’s not that bad Why don’t you just try X? Compared to what Josh is going through, that’s nothing.

  • Leaders Count People Because People Count

    Fifty years ago, many churches had signs posted within the building showing weekly numbers on them: worship service attendance, Sunday School attendance, offering total, and even how many people brought their Bibles. We live in a different age now.

  • Your Church is Struggling, But Do You Recognize It?

    Often in church leadership we get so busy working “in the church” that it becomes harder to work “on the church”. We’re focused on making weekends happen and caring for people that we lose perspective on whether we’re seeing a difference in our community.

  • Ten Red Flags Indicating Ephesians 4 Might Be Turned Upside Down at Your Church

    I don’t think my pastor understands what I do or believes my work and ministry matter. This oft-repeated, sad comment reveals bad theology and, more sadly, the neglect of church leaders.

  • The Four Deadly Sins of Emerging Church Leaders

    The following four sins are excerpted from a TeamUp tool that helps your team engage key concepts for emerging church leaders around Steve Saccone’s book, Protege. You can download the TeamUp tool here.

  • 7 Important Lessons Every Church Leader Can Learn from Their Critics

    They are in every church. They are critics.

  • Don’t Let Fear Sabotage the Development of Your Ministry Leaders

    What would happen if the Christ Centered leaders in your church began to pour into and develop new leaders?  The impact on your church and community could be massive. You can’t argue with the power of multiplication.

  • A Sinful Leader is the Only Kind of Leader Your Church Needs

    There is only one kind of leader. "Sinful.

  • Are You Leading for the Good of Those You Serve?

    Jony Ive is the senior vice president of design at Apple and is known as the great design mind behind the products at Apple. In a rare interview, Jony shares some lessons he learned from working with Steve Jobs.

  • The Single Most Important Factor of Leading Change in a Resistant Setting

    I speak about change regularly. And you deal with change almost every week, if not every day.

  • 3 Ways to Develop Your Church Leaders Without Having More Events

    Leadership has become the hottest topic among growing church leaders these days. And I think for good reason.

  • Rick Warren on the 3 Privileges & Temptations of Leadership

    Do you think it’s easier handling success or failure?  Thomas Caryle once said, “For every one hundred people who can handle adversity there is only one who can handle prosperity. ”  I think most people can’t handle being at the top.

  • Three Common Mistakes Pastors Make

    I was honored to discuss leadership on a panel at the Southern Baptist Pastors Conference with Greg Matte, Rodney Woo, and Jack Graham. People submitted questions beforehand, and one of the questions that Pastor Greg sent my way was “What are the most common mistakes pastors make?” Here are three: 1.

  • Good to Great to Anointed: 10 Leadership Traits to Pursue

    Have you ever been a part of a good church? How about a great one? Still even better, have you been on a run when you experienced a unique anointing from God? I know when you begin to differentiate between good, great, and anointed you can get on sketchy ground when it comes to churches. Nevertheless, I have definitely experienced some leadership intangibles that are rather consistent, and I would like to pass them on to you.

  • Stop Becoming an Overworked Pastor by Becoming an Essential One

    I run into overworked pastors every week. In this second post of a series reflecting on the book, Essentialism, by Greg McKeown for the benefit of church leaders , I want to explore the reality that you are bombarded with the “trivial many” every day in ministry.

  • 5 Ways to Help You Build a New Team When the Current Team Isn’t Working

    So…have you got the right team? I hear from leaders all the time who say things like: I feel like we just don’t have the right leaders in place. I’ve got a vision, but I just can’t get it past my team.

  • Seth Godin Delivers 8 Key Insights for Church Leaders

    Seth Godin is an American author, entrepreneur, marketer and public speaker. Over the years I’ve been inspired, challenged and shaped by Seth’s approach to communications and marketing.

  • Rick Warren’s 7 Tips for Being a Better Leader by Being a Better Reader

    If you’ve ever been to Israel, you know there’s a real contrast between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. The Sea of Galilee is full of water and full of life.

  • 3 Mindsets You Must Conquer to Live Your Mission Each Day

    Living your mission each day requires an emotional, daily connection to one core or essential idea. That one thing applies to your life, family, church and vocation.

  • Four Questions Every Young Leader Should Answer

    The leader in trouble is not the one who doesn’t have all the answers; it is the one who doesn’t know the right questions. As a young leader I craved answers.

  • 13 Key Principles to Help You Navigate Change in Your Church

    You’re probably trying to change something right now. And — if you’re honest — you’ve already thought about backing off.

  • Life is Like Whitewater: 5 Strategies for How to Ride

    We all want to live with purpose. One of my very short-term mentors is Kevin McCarthy.

  • Three Ways to Bring Out the Best in Others and Release Creative Leaders for Ministry

    It’s impossible to have a healthy church that experiences multi-dimensional growth without trusting people enough to delegate leadership to them. Having said that, this remains one of the greatest bottlenecks to growth for thousands of churches.

  • 8 Responses of Leaders When Their Church is in a Slump

    The meaning of “slump” is more evident in sports. When a baseball player, for example, is in a slump, we surmise that he is not hitting as well as he was earlier in the season.

  • 10 Tips to Help You Connect with the Largest Generation on the Planet

    I’d like to introduce you to Generation Z. I know, some of you are still trying to catch up with Busters, or Generation X, or whatever we called whoever followed the Boomers.

  • 3 Interview Guidelines for Finding the Best Next Hire for Your Church

    Mistakes are most often made when hiring is based on surface characteristics like stage ability, resume experience or fashion sense, rather than on the foundation of church culture.  Your values define your church’s culture.

  • Growing Leaders Crave Silence and Solitude

    When was the last time you had meaningful time alone? No meetings, no appointments. No phone buzzing.

  • Leading a Church to Die Well Rather than to Live Poorly

    It is better for denomination or network leaders to be prepared to respond to dying churches rather than to react to the despair of confused churchless members as churches move toward closure. Many churches will reach the end of their life cycle without making the necessary moves to experience real change.

  • 3 Tips to Leverage Your Capacity for New Ministry Ideas

    Suppose you’re invited to participate in a brainstorming session. The facilitator says that “every idea counts” and invites you to propose as many ideas as you can in the next 15 minutes.

  • 7 Reasons that Proactive Churches Get Legal Advice

    I recently got to know David Middlebrook of the Church Law Group. My eyes were reopened to the scope of legal implications for the church.

  • Evaluating Effectiveness in Your Church Ministries

    Winston Churchill was an amazing leader, diplomat, and politician. One of the most notable parts of his legacy, however, is his collection of inspiring, and often humorous, quotations.

  • Leadership is a Lot Like a Train, and All Leaders Are Conductors

    Have you ever thought that leadership is a lot like a train? Here’s how leadership and growth expert Kirk Dando thinks of it: The cars sitting on the tracks are loaded with different but valuable cargo (like team members: They’re all different but collectively valuable); they have a destination (the vision, measurable goals and expected time frames for arrival at the goals); and they have a route to follow (the mission and strategic plan). But they do not have a way of getting anywhere on their own.

  • Breaking Thru to High Capacity Leaders

    The question of key donors always comes up wherever I speak, teach, or coach on stewardship. It typically revolves around a few topics like these: what should and shouldn’t a pastor know about donations and issues of favoritism.

  • The Positive Benefits of Ministry Calendaring with a Systems Approach

    “Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most out of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). It’s that time of year again.

  • Is Your Organization Optimized for Efficiency or Strategic Agility?

    Organizations everywhere are struggling to keep up with the accelerating pace of change—let alone get ahead of it. Most people don’t feel the full rush going on around them, which is a part of the problem.

  • 10 Factors That Determine the Size of Your Vision

    I often see leaders with radically different size visions, despite having a lot in common. Pastors may have the same gifting, the same budget and the same amount of people attending worship services and yet still be on entirely different vision wavelengths.

  • Seth Godin with an Anatomy Lesson for Your Church

    Seth Godin delivers a simple, but profound anatomy lesson for your church: Most organizations are built around three anatomical concepts: Bone, muscle and soft tissue. The bones are the conceptual skeleton, the people who stand for something, who have been around, have a mission and don't bend easily, even if there's an apparently justifiable no-one-is-watching shortcut at hand.

  • How a Simple Organizational Leadership Equation Can Change the Way You Lead

    On September 27, 1905 an obscure clerk in the Swiss Patent Office published an article that changed the world. Although few of us can explain the premise of the article we all recognize the clerk’s revolutionary equation, E = mc2.

  • Ministry Success is a Moving Target You Have to Hit Again and Again

    We live in a time of brutal competition. Fickle consumer trends, friction-free markets, and political unrest threaten the existence of many organizations.

  • 7 Key Characteristics of Break-thru Churches

    If you want to experience an “aha” moment about revitalizing churches, this research may be the near the top. Most of you have heard the dire information and statistics about congregations in North America.

  • 4 Keys for Developing a Vibrant Church Life Filled with Multiplying Leaders

    Churches should be run by teams of volunteers—those committed to work together for the cause of Christ, serving one another and the world, because they have been gifted and called to do so. Yet, this is an ongoing struggle for many churches.

  • Balancing Life, Work, and Ministry: 6 Issue for the Bivocational Pastor

    For the last three years, I’ve served as a bivocational pastor with The Fellowship. Over a year ago, I also joined our body of Elders to serve alongside the men who give strategic and missional leadership to our church family.

  • 5 Lessons Our Family Vegetable Garden Taught Me About Nurturing Growth in Church

    Our family project for the summer revolved around the first-ever backyard garden. Neither my wife nor I profess to have a green thumb, in fact we can kill aloe plants in our family… and those things grow in the desert.

  • 10 Principles for Discipling Key Donors

    Recently I had several pastors step into the ranks of being committed to providing ongoing discipleship to key donors. It began during the planning phase of a capital campaign which laid the foundation for a long term fruitful ministry.

  • Four Leadership Failures That Will Help Move Your Leadership Development Forward

    When you come across a young leader who shows great potential, it’s easy to see them for what they could be.  We imagine what a great communicator they’re going to be, we envision the influence they’re going to have with our team, we anticipate how they’re going to take on significant responsibility.

  • Lessons from Netflix: Church Leaders Who Can See the Future Can Seize the Future

    Netflix and other on-demand video providers, have already changed the culture more than you think. And they’ve probably changed you more than you think.

  • 4 Ways to Hit Your Rhythm This Fall

    With the beginning of fall, ministry at most churches kicks into high gear. This is a common rhythm of church life.

  • 6 Critical Reasons for Developing the “Middle” of Your Teams

    Look at leadership development and you see the focus of most conferences and materials is on leaders at the top, or leaders on the front line. This is great – I love to work with senior-level teams and leaders, and have spent decades training volunteer group and team leaders for churches and businesses.

  • Why Having the Right People is Better Than Simply Having More People

    You spend a lot of your time trying to grow your ministry. When it comes to the mission of the church, it seems almost unthinkable to reach fewer people.

  • Snuffing Burnout: Rick Warren’s Advice on How to Discover a Healthy Working Rhythm and Energize Your Team

    The quickest way to destroy a team is to burn them out.  And you don’t have to look around the field of ministry very long to realize that the ministry is filled with burned out leaders.

  • 6 Steps to Identify and Engage Your High Potential Ministry Leaders

    The engine for your vision is your leadership. Period.

  • Leadership and Church Size Dynamics: How Strategy Changes with Growth

    A church's functional style, its strengths and weaknesses, and the roles of its lay and staff leaders will change dramatically as its size changes. One of the most common reasons for pastoral leadership mistakes is blindness to the significance of church size.

  • 7 Steps to Church Failure

    It only takes a 30-second internet search to find blog after blog listing the top 10 things your church must do to be successful, transform lives, and generally be a wonderful, fantastic place.   The myriad of blogs on the subject are both helpful and informative.

  • Does Your Onstage Performance Reflect Your Backstage Practices?

    News stories tend to focus on destructive and tragic events in our culture. Like most major metropolitan areas, the Chicago evening news fills the first ten minutes with murders, fires, accidents and natural disasters.

  • Wise Leaders Adjust Their Leadership Role to the People They Lead

    I remember hearing sports commentators debate the rightness and fairness of Phil Jackson’s admission that he led each of his players differently—that he treated Michael Jordan differently from another player on the team. Some cried foul, insisting that a coach is responsible to ensure equity, and in doing so, each player must be treated the same way.

  • Applying Four Lessons in Constructive Conflict

    Are you tired of fighting fires in your organization? Maybe you are putting out too many fires because you are not starting them. That’s right – maybe you need to fight fire with fire.

  • 8 Charts Depicting Cultural Change: How Will Your Church React?

    One of our roles as church leaders is to have our pulse on the shifting cultural around us so we can serve our community better. We need understand the times so we can have clarity on what actions we should be taking as a church.

  • Staying in Ministry May Be Harder Than You Think

    Working in ministry can be the most fulfilling and challenging thing that someone can do with his or her life. Every year thousands of people answer the call to be a full-time minister, yet all too often, they find themselves struggling with burnout and considering a career change.

  • What Will You Do When the Very Worst Thing Happens?

    In spite of all the hype about the 2013 George Clooney/Sandra Bullock movie Gravity, my expectations were rather low. I was wrong.

  • How to Thrive in Today’s Culture of Haste

    One of the great frustrations in organizations are leaders whoose enthusiasm to make a project happen overrides their patience. Great things take time, and it doesn’t help to push your team to the point of damaging the outcome.

  • Achieving Excellence in Ministry Begins by Looking in the Mirror

    So you want to claim the title of “excellence” in your personal and professional life? Or are you a leader of an organization or manager of a department and you want to be seen as best of class, at the top of your game? In short, you desire a score of a ten out of ten in all that you do. Neither the silver nor bronze will do.

  • 11 Disciplines that Deliver Energy to Your Team

    I completely agree with Bill Hybels. The best thing you can bring to your team as a leader is your energy.

  • Helpful Tools for Honest Self-Assessment

    You can't see what you can't see. I drive a Toyota Avalon and it's a nice car.

  • Making It Happen: Shifting Your Focus from Something Else to It

    See if this sounds familiar. You’re trying to focus on a task at work, but It just won’t leave you alone.

  • 5 Skills for Discovering Creative Ideas

    Consider the talents of the following two groups who were asked these three questions: How many of you are good singers? How many of you are good dancers? How many of you are good artists? About 2 percent of the first group responded positively to each of these three questions. That’s a typical response of most leadership teams.

  • Kill Status Quo: How to Ask Better Questions

    Hulu, iPhone, and Prius didn’t come to market because their creators asked status quo questions. They didn’t happen because somebody began a meeting with “Who has an idea for improving the industry?” or “How are we going to increase sales?” Those innovations exist because disruptive, transformative, even uncomfortable questions without easy answers were asked.

  • 8 Habits of a Highly Effective Campus Pastor

    I’ve had the privilege of seeing a lot of multisite campuses over the last 10+ years of leading in multisite churches. During that time I’ve had the opportunity to see dozens of Campus Pastors up close as they lead their locations.

  • Five Reasons You’re Not Getting Leadership Development Results

    You’re spending time, money and man power trying to develop leaders in your organization but your leadership pipeline remains dry and devoid of any new potential leaders. Why aren’t you getting the results you want? Here are five potential problems you should consider as you evaluate your efforts.

  • Pastor Geoff Surratt on 4 Lessons of Healthy Ministry

    My heart broke recently as I watched pastor Ron Carpenter pour out his heart in his weekend message to his congregation. It was a gut wrenching experience as he shared with his church the devastating pain his family has endured over the past ten years, and the incredibly difficult future they now face.

  • The Beautiful Mess of a Successful Leader’s Leaving

    My friend, Rob Wegner, announced to our church in September that he is leaving. Nineteen years ago when I joined the staff at Granger, a new church meeting in a movie theater and averaging less than 300 each weekend, there were only five people on staff.

  • 5 Questions to Discern Ministry Idolatry

    Local church ministry can be thrilling, even addictive. Seeing the Lord transform lives and bring people into a relationship with Himself provides a buzz that nothing in this world can provide.

  • Understanding the 4 Common Places Bright Leaders Often Get Stuck in Their Development

    Todd Henry, founder of the Accidental Creative consultancy and author of the books Accidental Creative and Die Empty, wants us to redefine work: Work is any way in which you contribute value to the world using your available resources. Your body of work comprises the sum total of where you choose to place your limited focus, assets, time and energy.

  • 3 Costs to Constant Ministry Imitation

    If you’re like me, you like to track with people who are ahead of you in age and stage, and probably ahead of you in their level of ‘success’. Chances are you do this in real life (I hope you have mentors) but you also do this online.

  • Beyond the One Dimensional Scorecard: Count Vertically AND Measure Horizontally

    Disclaimer: I’m not a certified church growth expert. I’ve not written a book on growing churches, nor do I pastor a large church that’s had a ton of numerical growth.

  • Tradition Prefers Failure to Innovation

    I remember the first time I heard of IDEO - a famous firm that seemingly few have heard about – a company that helps others innovate. It was at a company meeting with Fellowship Technologies where CEO Jeff Hook was inspiring us to help innovate in the church market.

  • Ministry Innovation Travels on Two Legs: The People-Centric Process of New Ideas

    When we talk about things like disruption and radical innovation, and innovation tools and processes, it’s easy to forget that people drive innovation.  But if innovation is a process (and it is), it is surely a people-centric process.

  • 7 Key Steps of Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Church Volunteers

    I’ve written on burnout (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 & also this one) and volunteer issues before, but the key to avoiding those issues is right-fitting volunteers and placing safe boundaries around their workload. In my experience, there are three parts (Recruit, Train, Retain) to this process, so I’ve included my 7 Steps of Recruiting, Training and Retaining Volunteers.

  • Build New Habits to Insure You Meet Your Goals

    The problem with goals is that most of them are too big, and they take a long time, and that requires work.  That’s also what makes them worthwhile!  But on a day-to-day basis, you need to figure out how to build the habits that will eventually get you to your goals.

  • Which Path Will You Choose When Dealing with the Future?

    According to Seth Godin, there are three paths to choose from when dealing with the future. .

  • Less Can Be More: How Ruthless Calendaring Will Make Your Work More Productive

    Here are two words that you do not expect to read in a single phrase: “ruthless” and “calendaring. ” But, I hope that by the end of this post, I will have made them make sense together for 2014.

  • Rewriting the 10 Myths of Creativity

    If we want to be more creative, if we want our organizations to be more innovative, then we have to learn from organizations and individuals who are rewriting the myths of creativity. David Burkus, professor of management at Oral Roberts University and a researcher on leadership, innovation, and strategy, has conducted studies into how individuals and organizations approach the creative process, The research by Burkus found ten myths widespread in the modern world relating to creativity and innovation.

  • You Cannot Be Changed and Comfortable at the Same Time

    All people everywhere possess a natural, inherent bias in favor of status quo. We resist change, and prefer keeping things just as they are because change involves risk and stress (even good change, or change from worse to better), and we are naturally wired to reduce risk and stress wherever and whenever we can.

  • Being Crazy and 7 Other Traits of Church Planters

    How do you know if you might make a good church planter? There are great online tools to help determine your readiness to plant and every church planting network and denomination has some form of formal assessment, if you feel called to plant that’s where you should start. But what if you don’t know if you’re called? What if you just kind of wonder if planting a church (or helping plant a church) might be in your future? Here are eight traits based on eight biblical characters that might indicate you have the stuff to start a church from scratch.

  • Develop Your Leadership Skills While You Advance the Mission of Your Church – 4 Tips for Experiential Learning

    Want to learn what it takes to lead and develop a team? Or steer change? Persuade your peers? Manage a problem employee? "Then do it," says CCL's Cindy McCauley. "You will broaden and deepen your leadership capabilities as you do leadership work.

  • How Churches Can Improve the Development and Training of Leaders

    Today, I’m excited to welcome Barnabas Piper.  Barnabas writes weekly for Worldmag.

  • Hitting the 2014 Reset Button: 5 Opportunities to Make a Significant Kingdom Impact

    I love New Years. Its an annual opportunity to hit the reset button, to explore who we could be, to dream about a better future.

  • The Art and Science of Predicting What’s Ahead for the American Church, Part 2

    In my earlier post last week, I offered the first seven of fourteen predictions for American churches for 2014. I must admit I am concerned about my focus on American congregations when so much is taking place in churches around the world.

  • The Art and Science of Predicting What’s Ahead for the American Church, Part 1

    Predicting is as much of an art as it is a science. And if any prognosticator is honest, he or she will tell you that they don’t always get it right.

  • 10 Guidelines to Help You Find Staff and Build Culture

    Recently I had the opportunity to teach at Exponential West. There were leaders from all over the country, churches small and large, and we talked about how to build a great team, and then how to keep a great team by paying attention to culture.

  • The Secret Sequences & Systems of Ministry Innovation

    Sequencing matters.  Service matters.

  • How Do You Resolve the Tension of Enthusiasm vs. Oppression in Your Staff Position?

    It shouldn’t come as a surprise that many naturally wired leaders and driven types rise to the helm of our churches. Each one is following the call of God in their lives and comes with a mixed bag of healthy leadership traits and “type-A” hang-ups.

  • Learning to be Present in an Increasingly Noisy World

    For each of us, there are unique, everyday distractions that call us away from being here—now: The temptation to linger in the past or to hope for a better future; the alluring eyes of a coworker who appreciates you more than your spouse does. And every time we are lulled away from our lives and distanced from the moment, we lose something of ourselves and our purpose.

  • Do What You’re Capable Of

    Start Your Journey Before You See the End The resistance wants to be reassured. It wants a testable plan.

  • Leading Change: Painful, But Worth It

    Can there be change without pain? The answer, of course, is, "No. " (Ok, so this may be the shortest blog post ever.

  • Not Just a Leader: An Effective, Strategic Leader

    A strategic challenge is a leadership challenge — and one that top-level managers and executives can't ignore. Studies suggest that the ability to lead strategically is essential for success in senior roles, and in a way that is different from other management levels - CCL's Stephanie Trovas.

  • 3 Critical Systems for a Healthy Culture

    There are many systems in place at churches of every size, location & style; most are borne out of necessity, but some are adopted because they’ve been seen at work in other churches. While the list of church systems could be exhaustive, I’ve come to define them into three distinct but important categories.

  • Jazz Leadership Means Learning How to Improvise

    I used to think that running an organization was equivalent to conducting a symphony orchestra. But I don’t think that’s quite it; it’s more like jazz.

  • 5 Ways People Manage Conflict

    Relationships break down for a variety of reasons, but some feuds and fights could easily be prevented if, during the initial stages of conflict, disagreements were handled wisely. Relationships are more likely preserved when people on both sides recognize the different ways that people go about managing and resolving conflict.

  • Lead Like Jesus

    You often hear people talk about how we need to lead like Jesus. I completely agree.

  • 5 Big Leadership Mistakes in Your Ministry

    Not long ago CEO Ron Johnson was fired from JC Penney. Brad Tuttle, who covers business and personal finance for TIME believes there were 5 main reasons.

  • Seven Disciplines that Make Leadership Development Stick

    Leaders don't always finish well or finish what they start. Leadership development sustainability isn't easy.

  • The Law of Subtraction

    The Problem: Excess Everything Our organizations are more complicated and difficult to manage than ever. Our economy is more uncertain than ever.

  • 3 Keys to Unleashing Your Church’s Growth Potential

    Have you ever been to the circus and wondered how one small rope tied around the leg of a huge elephant can keep it from moving? When elephants are young, their handlers use the same size rope tied to their leg, with the other end tied to a rod buried deep in the ground. At that age, since they are still small, it’s enough to hold them.

  • Facing Criticism as a Leader: 3 Responses

    One of the things young leaders are often unprepared for is the amount of criticism they will face.   Their enthusiasm and optimism lead them to believe everyone will be just as excited and committed to their mission as they are.

  • 7 Reasons a Church Planting Effort Fails

    The number of failed church plants in the Denver area over the past decade is staggering. Depending on which organization you talk to the number is dozens to hundreds.

  • Thriving Ministries Do Something Different Tomorrow than They Did Yesterday

    Why is it so hard for organizations to understand what Tony Hsieh did with customer service at Zappo's? Instead of measuring the call center on calls answered per minute, he insisted that the operators be trained and rewarded to take their time and actually be human, to connect and make a difference instead of merely processing the incoming. People hear this, see the billion dollars in goodwill that was created, nod their heads and then go back to running an efficient call center.

  • 10 Differences Between Starting and Launching Ministry Initiatives

    I’ve been involved in a lot of “new things” in my church leadership life over the years.  In fact, I’ve seem to have a track record of being on the front end of new projects all the time.

  • Recognizing Generation iY in Your Church: Leadership that Works

    Some years ago, I watched an unforgettable documentary on TV.  Michael Weisser and Larry Trapp lived in the same town, outside of Lincoln, Nebraska in the early 1990s.

  • Four Ways Your Church Can Break Attendance Barriers

    Almost anytime I mention numbers related to church life, I anticipate some responses about the value of numbers and congregations. In the 1980s, this type of discussion came primarily from more liberal churches that weren’t growing.

  • Recognizing Generation iY in Your Church: Ready or Not, Here They Come!

    Millions of high school and college students have just graduated nationwide. Today’s grads are part of the Millennial Generation.

  • 5 Questions to Help You Select Ministry Team Members

    Watching a leadership team come together can either be highly frustrating or highly energizing. Of course, all leaders prefer the latter.

  • The Science Behind Effective Ministry Leadership: 3 Tips to Help You Navigate the Crossroads of Results & Relationships

    Effective leaders shoulder a lot of responsibility. They are responsible to shareholders for financial results.

  • Top Ten “Old School” Checklists for Church Leaders

    I still love to hold a book in my hands, mark it up and get it a little dog-eared. I like to hold a pen in my hand and write, that tactile experience helps my creative juices flow.

  • Less is More: Dealing with Sideways Energy in Your Ministry

    I’ve posted about SIDEWAYS ENERGY before, but I wanted to bring this topic back up. Are you busy but not intentional? Do you feel like you are just spinning your wheels and not getting any traction? Does there seem to be a lack of any kind of momentum in your organization? Could be you are dealing with way too much “sideways energy.

  • Developing Leadership

    Spiritual leaders are the carriers of God ’s DNA in the church, the shapers of a church ’s vision and core values. They are influencers of what the church embodies.

  • Seven Suggestions for Dealing with Differences of Opinion in Your Church

    At a recent conference the three of us on the panel (all pastors) were asked the question, “As a layperson, should I start a grassroots movement to change my church?” All three of us basically said, “No. ” Following the conference I got a long and heated email from someone who was very upset with my answer.

  • Ministry Innovation Requires a Bias Toward Action

    Dwight Towers wrote a post last week reminding us that a lot of people have their ideas rejected not because everyone else is stupid, but because their ideas aren’t actually very good.  He was basically taking on the commonly used Galileo’s Gambit, which goes like this: They made fun of Galileo, and he was right.

  • Why New Pastors Meet Resistance to Change, Part 2

    In a previous post, I discussed why people in the church resist change. If you lead well, then resistance to change will eventually shift to an acceptance of the necessity of change.

  • Why New Pastors Meet Resistance to Change, Part 1

    “It’s my first week, what should I change here?” Perhaps new pastors don’t vocalize the question, but I know they think it. At least, I don’t believe I’m the only one.

  • 4 Indispensable Leadership Investments

    This is the golden age of "The Conference. " It seems like there is a new conference every week.

  • 3 Ways to Gauge Great Ministry Team Collaboration

    Collaborative teams represented a crucial driver of Thomas Edison’s legendary innovation success.   Although we often envision Edison as a ‘lone wolf’ who generated innovation breakthroughs by closeting himself in an attic or remote laboratory cubicle, in fact his innovations embraced the work of small, diverse teams collaborating in vibrant environments.

  • Pushing Ministry Innovation Forward: The Desperate Effort that Comes from Being Hopeful

    As organizations and individuals succeed, it gets more difficult to innovate. There are issues of coordination, sure, but mostly it's about fear.

  • Check Your Ministry Blind Spots: 7 Ways Your Mind Blocks Out Reality

    Many of us act as though we all see the same reality, yet the truth is we don't. Human Beings have cognitive biases or blind spots.

  • 10 Challenges for Your Ministry Team

    Here are 10 specific challenges I would recommend you make to your team. Challenges to put in place and act out on a regular basis.

  • Changing Culture in Your Church, Part 1: 5 Principles for Interdependent Leadership

    What does it take for an organization to set and execute strategy in a complex and interdependent world? Collaborative work across boundaries is increasingly seen as a requirement — but collaboration in most organizations is not a natural act. A shift in thinking, alongside a change in behaviors, is usually needed for genuinely collaborative work.

  • Responding to Ministry Innovation Negatives: Learn to Experiment and Prototype

    Encountering an Air Sandwich I was teaching an executive education class recently when I saw a textbook example of an "air sandwich. " If you're not familiar with the term, here’s how Nilofer Merchant describes it: An Air Sandwich is a strategy that has clear vision and future direction on the top layer, day-to-day action on the bottom, and virtually nothing in the middle—no meaty key decisions that connect the two layers, no rich chewy filling to align the new direction with new actions within the company.

  • 5 Hidden Leaders in Your Church Waiting to be Asked to Jump In

    Chances are your church is looking for more leaders to serve within various ministries. Whether your kids ministry needs some more coaches to motivate the teams … or your small group ministry is needs some great new leaders … or maybe even your weekend services needs some support to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

  • The Values of Your Senior Leader Become the Values of Your Organization

    There is a bullish, uncompromising law that you cannot ignore as you consider building a leadership development culture: The values of the leader become the values of the organization.   Now, I’m not necessarily talking about the values that are posted in the hallway by the water cooler, but the values the leader lives out on a day in day out basis.

  • Midnight Lunch Team Worksheets

    Sara Miller Caldicott, great grandniece of Thomas Edison and author of the new book Midnight Lunch, has translated Edison’s world-changing innovation methods for use in the 21st century. Here are some of her thoughts on collaboration: True collaboration embraces: A discovery learning mindset versus a pure task orientation A belief in anticipating and creating rather than merely reacting and responding Presence of inspiration across multiple facets of both individual and team endeavors Coherence of purpose A dedication to elevating the performance of every team member Connections to human and social networks of influence Do these qualities sound different from the ones valued by your team? Do they draw upon ideas that feel new or seem broader than your current concept of what teamwork embraces? Based on experience, the answer would be yes.

  • 5 Hidden Axioms of Volunteer Management in Your Church

    Effective church leaders are excellent volunteer managers. Managing your volunteer teams within your church is a nuanced and mysterious journey … It’s not always obvious what it takes to lead them well!  Here are 5 truths that I’ve found that weren’t obvious when I first start leading in church! Volunteers are Donors // In a very real way volunteers are paying us to create a positive service environment for them.

  • Ministry Problems Can Produce Ministry Leaders

    In the past I have blogged about the idea that good things can come from bad situations, when those situations force us to do something good we normally wouldn’t do. Whether it’s laziness or lack of motivation, our intentions are better than our actions.

  • 6 Pressures Leaders Put on Themselves – and How to Overcome Them

    Every leader faces pressure. How you handle that pressure matters.

  • Recognizing Obstacles as Open Doors for Ministry Innovation and Greater Impact

    What’s stopping you?  Are there barriers blocking the path to your dream?  What’s hindering the forward progress of your mission?  What’s deterring the realization of your vision?  And more importantly what’s your attitude about your situation? Your whole attitude can be transformed when you recognize that obstacles can be open doors for innovation and greater impact.   Pause, and ask yourself a few important questions and see if you gain a new perspective.

  • 10 Ways Ordinary People Become Good Ministry Leaders, Part 2

    On my blog yesterday, I looked at seemingly ordinary people who had become good or great leaders despite limitations of intellect or circumstances. Here is how I introduced that blog: I recently compiled a list of good leaders (a few I would characterize as great leaders) who, by most definitions, are common, ordinary people.

  • 10 Ways Ordinary People Become Good Ministry Leaders, Part 1

    The literature on leadership can be discouraging. After reading multiple case studies, theories, and biographies, one can be left with the impression that good leadership is next to impossible.

  • 5 Actions to Help You Overcome Struggles in Ministry Leadership

    Struggle is a part of any human endeavor and leadership is no different. The problem is we view struggle as a negative.

  • Tracking an Emerging Role in Church Leadership: Pastor of Innovation

    What may be emerging is a new role in the church: pastor of innovation. (Granted this may not become mainstream where every church would have one, since most churches have more pressing operational day-to-day needs.

  • 6 Shifts Necessary in Leading and Mentoring the iGeneration

    Have you been keeping up with demographics? Almost half the world’s population is 25 and under. That’s about three billion young people.

  • 12 Questions to Help New Leaders Thrive in a New Ministry Position

    Congratulations! You made it! You're the new leader. Now what? I know you're supposed to always look like you know what you're doing but -- truth be told -- new leaders often don't even know where to start.

  • Improving the Ineffective Leader: Moving from Bad to Good

    Leadership literature is chock-full of ways in which an average leader can become great. We all believe we’re good.

  • Understanding How Culture Drives Your Ministry

    In organizations, it is the culture that provides the beat.  This means that the same idea will perform differently in different organizations, even if nearly everything around it appears to be the same.

  • When Leading Change in Your Church, the First Question to Ask is “Who?”

    Marketing is about change--changing people's actions, perceptions or the conversation. Successful change is almost always specific, not general.

  • Will You be Like Moses or Joshua?

    Moses and Joshua enjoyed a very special relationship. Moses poured his life into Joshua, entrusted Joshua with responsibility, and prepared him for service.

  • 5 Reasons Pastors Should Read Over Their Heads

    Whenever I talk about reading I try to throw in a lot of disclaimers. Reading is my “thing.

  • More Collaboration is Better for Your Ministry – Until It’s Not

    Collaboration is an important part of innovation.  The days of the lone genius are gone (if they ever really existed at all) – now, it takes a network to innovate.

  • 5 Stages for Launching Creative Projects at Your Church

    We get asked all the time about how we come up with new and fresh ideas for Catalyst. It’s a pretty simple process that has proven to be effective.

  • What Does “Healthy” Mean in Your Church Leadership?

    I was talking with a young hurting pastor recently. He resigned after several years of trying to turn around a dying church into a healthy church.

  • Working Through the Obstacles to Innovation in Your Church

    Providing leadership in a church setting always necessitates change. Change implies something is going to be different in the future.

  • 7 Ways to Adjust How Your Ministry Teams Work Together

    Different than a bureaucracy, an adhocracy is a theory of organizational management within which functions, groups, and structures within organizations cut across traditionally defined lines and defy standard bureaucratic constructs. At the risk of sounding like I’m describing organizational anarchy (I’m not), it’s a philosophy that has some pretty attractive-sounding tenets, at least when those tenets are reasonably applied to certain scenarios.

  • 5 Ways to Invest in Next Generation Ministry Leaders

    It's never too early to learn leadership, according to a CCL survey. Fully 90 percent of respondents believe leadership development should start before age 18 — and certainly should be part of early-career learning.

  • Six Principles for Raising Up New Leaders in Your Church

    There’s always a bit of risk involved in handing off ministry batons of various sorts. In everything from equipping and launching guys to take over Sunday gathering set-up, to music, to home groups, and evangelism, no baton-passing is hazard-free.

  • How to Keep Your Future Leaders Where They’ll Do the Most Good

    Last week I discussed how to identify current and future leaders inside your company. The tactics include observing colleague interactions and basic skill testing (but I encourage you to read the details if you haven’t yet.

  • How to Find and Develop Leaders in Your Organization

    One of the consistent struggles we hear from organizations is how to identify and train current and future leaders. It’s such an important topic that I’m splitting it into two posts, the first is how you can identify leaders, and the second is how to train and keep the leaders you identify.

  • People Are Job 1

    As a leader if you are not devoting your time to people issues, you’re missing the big picture. Amy Lyman, author of The Trustworthy Leader, was once asked what could you do if you only had five minutes a day to devote to people issues? It is a stunning question on its face but reveals something deeper.

  • Defining Your Leadership Pipeline

    When someone first steps into leadership what should they focus on learning?  There are dozens of possibilities.  As a mentor I don’t want to frustrate a new leader by having them focus on things that are too advanced or even too simple.

  • Hurdles to Established Church Innovation

    Does the established nature of some churches hinder innovation? Is an established structure antithetical to quick, nimble changes? For most established churches, yes, but it does not mean established churches cannot innovate. A church plant is an innovation.

  • Are Your Young Leaders Getting Reps?

    Are the young leaders in your organization getting the reps they need to truly sharpen their leadership skills? Coaches understand the importance of their players getting reps in practice.  In baseball each player gets time in the batting cage to get swings at the plate.

  • Mind the Gaps: Build Basic Innovation Skills First

    What are the connections between these three things? First: Comics – the magic happens in the gaps between panels In his terrific book Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud explains that comics are special because all of the real action occurs in the gaps between panels – this is the part that readers fill in using their imagination.                         A huge amount of effort and creativity goes into making the comic, but then the reader finishes the story in her head.

  • Seven Major Questions When Considering a New Leadership Position

    Numerous articles have been written about questions a pastor should ask before going to a new church. After listening to hundreds of pastors, I have developed my own list of major issues that a pastor should consider.

  • 5 Reasons Some Leaders Finish Poorly

    I was recently in a meeting discussing the future of an evangelical movement. The person I was with shared a great challenge-- one of the most prominent leaders of their movement was not finishing well, making it hard for the movement to envision a successful future.

  • Is It Ok for a Church Leader to be Excited About Their Church?

    One of the things that a few church leaders have questioned me about recently is my repetitiveness in regards to saying "the best is yet to come," or that the next Sunday or event is going to be "the best ever!" Honestly, I'm glad people have talked with me about it because it has allowed me to reflect on why I am always saying those things.  There are several reasons.

  • Midnight Lunch: The 4 Phases of Team Collaboration Success

    According to Sarah Miller Caldicott, great grand niece of Thomas Edison, Edison viewed true collaboration as a value creation continuum. If one were to find a single notebook entry capturing Edison’s definition of true collaboration, Caldicott believes it would read something like this: Applying discovery learning within a context of complexity, inspired by a common goal or a shared purpose.

  • Who You Influence: 5 Types of Followers

    Either people are on board with your leadership or not, right? Nope. There are degrees of influence and different types of followers.

  • Creative Leadership: Avoiding Fatal Mistakes

    Leadership is hard. It’s a lonely role, you face crushing uncertainty with elevated stakes, and you’re expected to deliver not only on your own work, but also to corral the creative minds of others and parade them into the promised land.

  • Can I Be An Effective Pastor If I Don’t Like Management?

    Pastors are not managers, at least in a corporate-business-world-publicly-traded-company-sort-of-way. But pastors are shepherds.

  • Facts and Trends Snapshot, Winter 2013

    Expanding on their name, the Facts and Trends staff is providing a snapshot of current issues, cultural and spiritual beliefs, and church trends. It's also a report of what churches are doing to connect with their communities.

  • Is Innovation a Part of Your Organization’s DNA?

    It’s been a brutal period for retail firms since the global financial crisis hit.  Despite this, I’ve spoken recently with the CEOs of four different retail firms (Lorna Jane, Unit, Di Bella Coffee and The Cloakroom) that have all more than doubled their sales in that time.

  • 5 Things Smart Risk Takers Do Well

    Doug Sundheim’s book, Taking Smart Risks, isn’t really about making your next risky decision smarter or safer; it’s about pushing all of your choices to be riskier, but smarter on a daily basis. We tend to view our choices as risky or safe.

  • Contagious Generosity

    What does it look like when pastors cultivate a culture of generosity in the church by actively teaching and mentoring people in the spiritual act of giving? It's generosity that's contagious. A growing number of leaders are beginning to discover that there are key factors that make some churches thrive with abundant resources while others struggle with shrinking budgets.

  • Pay the Price for Growth

    I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t have a desire to grow. We know that growth increases our sense of joy and contentment.

  • 8 Nations of Innovation for Your Church

    4. Elimination: What part could we take out to make it simpler? Software designers who are truly innovative ask this question.

  • 8 Nations of Innovation for Your Church

    7. Illumination: How can we look at this in a new light? When you’ve been working with something for a while, it’s hard to look at it with fresh eyes.

  • 8 Nations of Innovation for Your Church

    Great innovations come from great questions. The quality of your ministry will be determined by the kind of questions you have the courage to ask yourself.

  • “Yes” is Great, But at Times “No” is Even Better

    At work, we want our jobs, assignments, projects and "stuff" to move along smoothly: achieving objectives, getting promoted, winning contracts. It's almost a twitch reflex to want our jobs to behave themselves.

  • 10 Principles of Church Planting and Expanding

    It was in 1999 when Bobbie and I were given the opportunity to do something - which for us at that time was a bold and innovative step. We were asked to take on the leadership of my parents’ inner-city church in ADDITION to the church we were already pastoring in the Northwest of Sydney - Hillsong Church.

  • Six Insights for Leading Lay Volunteers at Your Church

    One of the greatest blessings in churches today and throughout history is the number of men and women who gladly and often sacrificially give of their time and energy to do ministry in local congregations. Indeed, churches across the world would not function as they do without the giving spirit of these lay volunteers.

  • The Transition from Idea to Change

    All leaders have ideas, but not all ideas lead to change. What separates the dream from reality? Businessweek recently reported on the history of the bar code.

  • A Personal Conviction About Change

    I had a convicting experience recently. It was one which will actually help me in the current church work I am doing, but also in the future as I implement change.

  • Why We Find It Hard To Change Our Behavior

    We know every behavior begins with a thought. So if we want to have lasting change, the beginning point has to be our thinking.

  • Inventing the Future, Edison Style

    Can we learn to be innovative? What factors allow us to establish a vibrant relationship with the future? Thomas Edison was the most outstanding figure in an era marked by an extraordinary confluence of American innovation – including the work of Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, George Eastman, Harvey Firestone, John D. Rockefeller, George Westinghouse, and Andrew Carnegie – that accelerated America’s leadership in global business.

  • Ten Things a Church Member Desires in a Pastor

    Many of my articles come from the perspective of pastors. That will not change in the future.

  • The Secret to Leadership Growth

    The number one way leaders grow is by listening. Leadership feels like a talking role, but it is predominately a listening role.

  • The Simple Church Revolution

    Simple is in. Complexity is out.

  • Management is (Still) Not Leadership

    A few weeks ago, the BBC asked me to come in for a radio interview. They told me they wanted to talk about effective leadership — China had just elevated Xi Jinping to the role of Communist Party leader; General David Petraeus had stepped down from his post at the CIA a few days earlier; the BBC itself was wading through a leadership scandal of its own — but the conversation quickly veered, as these things often do, into a discussion about how individuals can keep large, complex, unwieldy organizations operating reliably and efficiently.

  • The Executive Pastor: Five Trends

    For the past four decades the number of executive pastors has grown across America. Before the second half of the twentieth century, the staff position was rare to non-existent.

  • 7 Warnings for Aspiring Leaders

    Almost on a weekly basis I hear from a young pastor who wants to grow as a leader. He feels the pressure placed upon him and knows that others are looking to him to steer the church on a healthy course.

  • 4 Reasons Your Change Effort Lacks Urgency

    Leading change is difficult work. Helping walk an organization through a transformation effort is a complex thing.

  • The Need for More Homegrown Leaders in Your Church

    The church needs more homegrown leaders. It’s not a novel plea.

  • Thirteen Issues for Churches in 2013, Part Two

    In a previous post, I noted six key issues facing many American congregations. I will discuss seven more issues in this article, and thus provide 13 issues for 2013.

  • The Four Stages of Visionary Leadership

    I have reflected over a decade on the question of how visionaries develop. These are some initial thoughts that I want to share with blog readers as I think out loud a bit.

  • A Ministry Momentum Killer

    I have a crucial piece of advice for any ministry leader who is seeing God bless them with a current wave of momentum: Make sure your private devotion keeps pace with your ministry momentum. As your ministry gains speed, the demands on you are just going to become greater.

  • Thirteen Issues for Churches in 2013, Part One

    As the new year unfolds, it is always a healthy exercise to look ahead to key opportunities and key challenges. Certainly such an effort is in order for congregations in North America.

  • New Year, New Job

    A friend who lives and works in another state recently asked me for vocational advice. He is in full-time ministry and is happy and loves the people with which he works.

  • Favorite New Year’s Planning Posts for Church Leaders

    Your favorite posts on my blog have often come during the New Year window. And I always enjoy creating new content at this time year just for you.

  • A Checklist for Making Ideas Happen

    To help take a look back at 2012, we rounded up our most popular features, essays, 99U Conference talks, and tweets. We hope it gives you a chance to discover (and rediscover) content from throughout the year while providing the spark needed to start 2013 off right.

  • Don’t Let “New” Become a Sideshow

    What's the most urgent, important, celebrated element of your organization's work? If it involves the status quo, the thing that got you here, it means the new stuff is going to be treated as a little bit of a sideshow or a distraction. (Another example: The team that typesets traditional books at most publishers is talented and driven.

  • 5 Signs of an Up and Coming Leader

    In 1 Samuel 10 Saul is anointed as King over Israel. As soon as he was anointed as the leader, 5 signs occurred that I see in the leaders of today (or I should say the great anointed leaders of today).

  • 7 Specific Behaviors to Improve Your Communication and Leadership Effectiveness

    Business, political and religious leaders around the world aren't getting much love these days. A study conducted by Ketchum showed deep dissatisfaction with leaders in "every category of human endeavor.

  • Be a Finisher

    I love leaders who execute. Leaders who get it done.

  • Looking Ahead to 2013: What Should the Church Expect?

    If you do not make assumptions about the future, then you are not leading. Good leaders constantly assess the cultural climate.

  • Developing an Innovation Checklist in Your Leadership Pipeline

    A deliberate focus on innovation is critical for organizational growth and development. To truly lead innovation, pay special attention to this checklist: Culture that supports innovation.

  • How Do You Face Change?

    Change isn't just something that gets pushed upon us. Change is also inspired, explored, embraced and created by leaders.

  • Still Not Professionals – an eBook by John Piper

    Still Not Professionals: Ten Pleas for Today's Pastors is a celebration and extension of John Piper's Brothers, We Are Not Professionals. With two brief exhortations from Piper and eight others from veteran pastors, this short ebook aims to strengthen and challenge Christians in general, and pastors in particular, for the labor of everyday life and ministry.

  • One Lesson of Zig Ziglar’s Legacy that will Change Your Life

    Zig Ziglar died November 28 2012 at the age of 86. He was motivational maven with millions of followers.

  • Learning How to See

    If you want to make something new, start with understanding. Understanding what's already present, and understanding the opportunities in what's not.

  • The Four Disciplines of Getting Things Done, Part 1

    A great strategy without execution is merely wishful thinking, a dream on paper that is never translated into real life. I have found that many leaders, organizations, and ministries struggle with execution, with actually getting things done.

  • The Four Disciplines of Getting Things Done, Part 2

    Winston Churchill famously said, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. ” Execution is the hard work between designing the strategy and the results, the impact.

  • Characteristics of Great Teammates

    Great teams are a joy to watch. OKC Thunder, LA Kings, Miami Heat, New England Patriots, and more.

  • Leadership is More Than Leading

    I find that one of the most common missing ingredients in the leaders I work with is adequate training. I don’t mean that they haven’t received adequate training.

  • 10 Things Leaders Need to Know About Effectively Leading People

    Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church gives the following list for leaders who lead people: #1 - A leader cannot effectively lead people that he does not love. #2 - A leader cannot effectively lead people that he does not listen to.

  • Why Either/Or Thinking is Dangerous

    Here’s a quick quiz – see how you do: Do people love change or hate change? Are big companies more innovative or are small ones? Is innovation good or bad? Is growth good or bad? Is Google making is stupid or smart? All five questions have the same answer: both. How did you do? I was struck by the response to my post Actually, People Love Change.

  • Red Flags When Interviewing for Your Staff Team

    In my role at LifeWay, there are more than 500 employees in the division I am responsible to lead. As we have been looking to bring passionate people to the team who are deeply committed to our mission of serving churches in their mission of making disciples, I have been involved in a lot of interviews.

  • 7 Characteristics of an Effective Critic

    A few days ago I had a long conversation with a critic of me. Actually, it would be better to say that he is a critic of a decision I made.

  • The Burden of Church

    I was inspired to post on this topic because I keep reading all of these blogs from pastors called, "I love my church!!" and "I love pastoring!!" and "If I loved my church and loved pastoring any more than I do, my nipples would burst!!" And I think it's cool that they feel that way, but I often don't. Yesterday I explained WHY I pastor anyway, but for me it's not because I get a lot of joy out of it.

  • The Burden of Church

    In the Bible, the Apostle Paul talked about the "burden" of the church. This week I've been confessing that, while I read lots of blogs where pastors rave about how great pastoring is, and how great their church is, I resonate more with Paul and often find it more of a burden than a joy.

  • The Burden of Church

    One thing I've noticed in the pastor blogging world is that most rave about how much they love their church, how much they love pastoring, how it's the greatest thing in the world. That is not the case for me.

  • A Seven-Step Program for Innovating Right Now

    You can’t wait for permission to innovate – you’ll never get it. You need to start changing things on your own – right now.

  • Avoiding an Organizational Growth Cap at Your Church

    When I consider companies like Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon, the one constant I think of is change. Interestingly, after I typed that first sentence, I Googled “Most Innovative Companies” and found Fast’s list for 2012.

  • What Happens When Your Church Slows?

    I was talking with a young pastor recently. He is battling the leadership of the church to make changes he feels he was called to the church to make, but because they have experienced some difficult years recently, they are resisting any efforts he makes.

  • Don’t Ask What, Ask Why

    Instead of accepting a given constraint, ask whether this is the right problem to be solving. Every parent knows how infuriating 5-year-olds can be with their constantly questioning “Why?” But for design thinkers, asking “Why?” is an opportunity to reframe a problem, redefine the constraints, and open the field to a more innovative answer.

  • Is Your Church Microsoft or Apple?

    For many years I was a Microsoft devotee. I laughed at all the Apple fanboys to the point that when I met one of Steve Jobs right hand guys I proudly announced, “I’m a PC”.

  • Developing Creative Confidence as a Leader

    Most people are born creative. As children, we revel in imaginary play, ask outlandish questions, draw blobs and call them dinosaurs.

  • Developing Creative Confidence as a Leader

    A video by IDEO Mananging Director David Kelley on "Developing Creative Confidence As a Leader. To read an accompanying article, go here.

  • Closing the Collaboration Gap on Your Leadership Team

    In an age of smart devices and breathtaking changes to familiar business models, innovation continues to magnetize our attention. Every day the business press is packed with information on how to innovate more effectively.

  • The Danger of Outranking Your Team

    I was enjoying a meal with a well-known Christian leader a few weeks ago. He is a brilliant man who leads a large team of great people.

  • Sparking Creativity and Innovation

    A few weeks ago, my wife and I found ourselves in need of a new vehicle after our previous one died on us unexpectedly. We immediately started our research online in hopes of purchasing a well kept, used Prius (a vehicle we had hoped to purchase one day given the current gas prices!).

  • How to Survive – and Thrive – in a Crappy Culture

    Everywhere you turn, you hear about the great cultures at Apple and Zappos and other organizations on those endless “best places to work” lists — and you’re urged to do what they do. But what about organizational cultures that are irreparably poor? How are leaders supposed to function? A recent blog from Dan McCarthy, a former exec at Paychex and Eastman Kodak, addressed this common reality head-on.

  • 12 Leadership Competencies to LAUNCH Your Church

    Churches Multiplying Churches LAUNCH helps local churches form area networks to identify, train, and send out new leaders. These cooperative efforts, called Hubs, consist of multiple churches committed to a holistic approach of leadership development.

  • We’re All About the Numbers

    I’ve been sharing some of the top viewed posts on my blog, and today’s seems especially appropriate as we head into the Christmas season. At our church, we’re expecting thousands of people to make professions of faith in Christ this week in our worship experiences.

  • College Football and Your Church: Lessons about Systems and Process

    Man, I love college football!! It is, by far, my favorite spectator sport. The energy, excitement and yes, even the controversy, is unmatched by any other sport.

  • 5 Leadership Lessons from Abraham Lincoln

    When I discovered a new movie on the life of Lincoln was in the works, I was curious to learn more about Lincoln’s administration and his political career. The fhit movie is based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s popular book, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, a masterful telling of Lincoln’s story that follows the lives of each of his cabinet members.

  • Keeping Inspiration Alive in Your Church

    A while back I had to get my drivers license renewed. This meant a trip to the Department of Safety’s Driver Service Center.

  • The 4 Biases Within Any Group (a Facilitation Tip)

    Every meeting I facilitate is unique. The primary distinctive of each gathering is not the subject of the engagement but the collective bias of the group.

  • The Greatest Secret for Continuous Learning

    Auxano is a ministry guided by three values: Clarity First Carnivorous Learning Contagious Passion for the Church, the Bride of Christ   Our second value is anchored by the mantra: Lead with questions, not answers. To some degree learning comes natural and is guided by human curiosity.

  • 4 Mindset Shifts to Transformational Leadership

    Leadership might be the most confused term that we use in the body of Christ. We all assume a picture of leadership when we hear the word.

  • Understanding the Change Process in Your Church

    Ron Johnson is not off to a good beginning; the former Apple retail leader is now CEO of JC Penney and the most recent quarterly results are not encouraging. After making wide, sweeping changes, same store sales have dropped 26 percent and stock prices are at a three-year low.

  • 3 Kinds of Results in Church Leadership

    Instead of counting Christians, we need to weigh them. – Dallas Willard Clear vision requires clarity about the results you are after.

  • How to Use a Bucket List for a More Meaningful Life

    If we did the things we were capable of, we would astound ourselves. – Thomas Edison This week I got to check something off my bucket list- a great escape to the island of Santorini, Greece.

  • 7 Practices to Grow a Culture of Innovation

    Innovators working on solving problems and coming up with creative solutions rely on crafting the right questions. Leaders who are helping others to grow and innovate are always trying to craft the best questions to make a difference.

  • Innovation Big and Small

    Can big companies innovate? Of course they can. Even though that question has been getting asked a lot recently, it’s not really a very interesting one.

  • The Laws of Subtraction: How to Innovate in the Age of Excess Everything

    “Our businesses are more complicated and difficult to manage than ever. Our economy is more uncertain than ever.

  • 7 Reasons Your Project Stumbles

    Not as catchy a title as Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, but I hope you'll walk through this with me: I can outline a strategy for you, but if you don't have the tactics in place or you're not skilled enough to execute, it won't matter if the strategy is a good one. Your project's success is going to be influenced in large measure by the reputation of the people who join in and the organization that brings it forward.

  • 8 Questions that Leaders Should be Asking Themselves

    Perry Noble, the founding and senior pastor of NewSpring Church in South Carolina, offers eight questions that leaders should be asking themselves on a regular basis: #1 - Is there ANYTHING that God is really dealing with me about right now that I am trying to deny?  (Denial doesn’t make us a great leader…if God’s pressing in on YOU then He wants YOU to do something. ) #2 - Am I known as the person who sits around and complains about a problem or the one who rolls up his sleeves and dives into how to deal with it? #3 - Would I rather hear about the church down the road having a major win or a major problem?  (This reveals our heart!) Read the rest of Perry's list here.

  • 5 Practical Ways to Try Leadership the Very First Time

    Help! I can’t find enough leaders! I don’t know about you…but that is the most common complaint/concern I hear when I talk with small group champions.   And the most common question I hear is “How can I find more leaders?”  I’ve written a number of articles in answering that question.

  • Want to Get More Done? Stop Doing So Much!

    The world is accelerating, and there are more platforms and opportunities for expression than at any point in history.  As a result, we often expect more of ourselves and others.

  • How to Avoid a Financial Crisis

    As a church leader, you have a lot of things on your plate. Hopefully, most of it is good stuff.

  • Invest in People

    I recently read a great e-book by Greg Nettle and Alex Absalom titled One Of. In this resource, Greg and Alex unpack the process of moving churches from an attractional model to one which is more missional in the approach to outreach and ministry.

  • Turning Ideas into Reality, Part 2

    Organization Not Optional Once an idea is recorded, we are now getting into territory where personal preference becomes more of a factor than before. Getting your ideas down isn’t optional.

  • Turning Ideas into Reality, Part 1

    Yesterday I told you I would be giving you access to my system for recording, cataloging, and implementing my ideas. After writing it out, I’ve decided it’s much too long for one blog post.

  • A High-Level Leadership Question

    I want to give you a simple, high-level leadership question you can ask every day that could significantly enhance the way you lead. This question is for everybody.

  • Do You Trust Your Pilot?

    Can you remember a time when you were flying in a plane and it made a sudden turn that made you feel scared, helpless, and wondering if you could trust the pilots to get you to your destination safely? Do you remember feeling out of control, as someone else was in charge and your fate was in their hands? Working for an organization, including a church or ministry, is kind of like a plane in flight. The senior leaders are up front getting data from private channels and have a perspective out the windshield that no one else has.

  • Entrepreneurial Leadership in Non-Profits

    I came across an old file in my desk when I was teaching on change and innovation recently. It was a chapter by Peter Drucker on Entrepreneurship in Service Institutions.

  • 10 Signs of a Healthy Team

    Want a great list of things to discuss in your next team meeting?  Take a look at these… #1 - You actually enjoy being around one another instead of trying to find ways to avoid one another. #2 - Truth is spoken IN LOVE and not in a condescending or condemning way.

  • 8 Principles for Churches that Want to Grow

    When it comes to numbers, churches tend to err in one of two ways: they either discount them as unimportant or they put too much emphasis on them. The reality is that numbers are important, and though they aren’t the only sign of a healthy church, they are an important measure.

  • Lead Small

    Leading small is a big deal. When churches (or other organizations) are new and small, we tend to lead small.

  • How’s Your Church’s New Scorecard Working Out?

    The church's new scorecard targets the shift from an internal to an external focus and from program development to people development. Download the full report from Leadership Network here.

  • The Changing Roles of Senior Pastors

    From multi-site to multi-ethnic to becoming bigger faster, today's senior pastor faces a changing role as his church grows. Download the full report from Leadership Network here.

  • Lean Staffing – How to Handle Your Church Staff with <35% of Your Budget

    When staff costs move beyond half of your church's budget, something gets squeezed out. Discover some ways your church can move toward "lean" staffing - less than 35% of your budget.

  • Leadership Development – An Age Old Problem with a New Twist

    Leadership development has always been a concern for churches. But trends today - including multi-site, rapid growth, and reduced staff size  - are challenging senior leaders in producing new leaders.

  • 12 Keys to Authentic Leadership

    Here are 12 points on the importance and practice of being Authentic as a leader. Authenticity rules.

  • Can Mega Be Missional, Part 4

    When many hear the word megachurch, they think of polished productions, big personalities, an expansive building, stellar programs (lots and lots of programs), and crowded parking lots with orange-vested attendants. Maybe a great worship service that leaves you laughing, crying, or both.

  • 5 Indicators That Your Church’s Average Age Has Increased Without You Realizing

    #1  The senior pastor has been there for over 10 years and is still preaching over 90% of the time. (No team presence) #2  You could not tell the difference between the worship (music, praise, liturgy) last Sunday and a video of worship 5 years ago.

  • The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

    This lively RSA Animate, adapted from Dan Pink's talk at the RSA, illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates us at home and in the workplace. .

  • The Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs

    Steve Jobs is among America's greatest business leaders. He transformed industries, changed society, and altered how companies do business.

  • The 10 Best Teams Ever Assembled (and What We Can Learn From Them)

    No man is an island. From time to time, we all find we’ve gone as far as we can go on our own.

  • What to Do When You’re Burned Out

    It happens to everyone sooner or later. You’re producing great work, everything seems to be running smoothly, and in short – you’re on fire.

  • How to Run Your Meetings Like Apple and Google

    Careers have been built on poking fun at meetings. From commercials to comic strips it's no secret that most of us would rather be, you know, working.

  • 7 Sabbatical Insights for Pastors

    The church I served as executive pastor for eight years (Christ Fellowship) graciously gives their pastors a sabbatical. Mine was scheduled for six weeks in the summer of 2010, but I was not quite sure I was going to make it until then.

  • 5 Things I Wish I Had Known as a Young Pastor

    I left my breakfast meeting with a young pastor and realized, with a measure of sadness, that I was no longer a "young pastor. " He was facing a number of ministry challenges that seemed very familiar to me.

  • A Talent Development Quick Win

    What can you do right away to improve your talent development process? "Help your leaders so they don't screw up performance reviews," advises CCL's Roland Smith. "Teach them how to hold talent conversations with employees.

  • Tips for Improving Your Learning Agility

    Learning to be an agile learner takes practice. In a new white paper, Learning About Learning Agility, a team of researchers from the Teachers College, Colombia University, describe the five main facets of learning-agile behavior.

  • The Importance of the Pastoral “I Don’t Know”

    “My happy conviction is that pastors ought not to be experts on everything. ” - John Piper One of the most valuable sentences in a pastor’s arsenal is “I don’t know.

  • What Does It Take to Lead Innovation?

    Does your organization stifle creativity even as leaders push for innovation? Have well-meaning efforts to become "more innovative" stalled or fallen short? In a new white paper, "Becoming a Leader Who Fosters Innovation," CCL's David Horth and Jonathan Vehar argue that actively pursuing innovation requires considerable resources and deliberate focus — and that innovation leadership is often missing. In the paper, Horth and Vehar create a picture (and to-do lists) for leaders who seek innovation but have been frustrated by lack of results.

  • Northwest Bible Church Leader Guide

    In 2011, a process for clarifying our vision prompted us to ask, “What does the community of Northwest Bible Church uniquely have to offer?” From that question, we gained a greater sense of what we’re about, where God is leading us, how we are to get there, and ways to make sure we’re on the path. And from that process, we also discovered a clearer understanding of what it means to serve as a leader in this community of believers.

  • Stop Trying to Reach Most People

    Before engaging this post, please know that I want you to reach as many people as possible with the gospel of Jesus for the Glory of God.  The challenge is simply a matter of how.

  • The Essential Lesson of Tribal Communication

    Seth Godin writes with a dash of bravado and his overstatements are both playful and insightful. But on the topic of communication, he delivers what he calls “the essential lesson” and it’s not exaggerated.

  • Pastors are Tribal Leaders – 4 Things We Must Do

    Today I want to apply Godin’s perspective about leading a tribe, to Jesus. As we do, I invite you to allow the life of Jesus shape your own identity as a leader.

  • How Passionate is Your Tribe? 5 Questions

    Here are my three favorite Seth Godin quotes pertaining to tribal passion: “Do you believe in what you do? Every day? It turns out that belief happens to be a brilliant strategy. Can you imagine Steve Jobs showing up for the paycheck? It’s nice to get paid, its essential to believe.

  • Take Seth Godin to Church, Part 1

    You’ve probably been exposed to Seth Godin’s book, Tribes. But have you integrated his ideas into your thinking and leadership at church? Integrating new learning for me always happens in stages.

  • The 4 Reasons You Stopped Empowering Others and What to Do About It

    Someone once asked “Are you going through life or are you growing through life?” I love that question. Right now I am going through significant transition in how I lead.

  • 15 Assessment Questions for Potential Leaders

    You know who they are: the young talents everyone eyes as executive material. But sometimes these high-potential stars derail on their way to the top.

  • The Pivot Point of Organizational Change

    We know that the vast majority of organizational change initiatives fail. Why? The general answer is our resistance to change.

  • 17 Leadership Laws

    In honor of John Maxwell, who could come up with 1700 leadership laws, here are 17 of mine. 1.

  • A Missional Incarnational Leadership Guide

    This week I had a chance to share some coaching pointers with some great leaders at the New Thing Network. As the church is changing, so leaders must change and the coaching questions we used to use may not fit the life, tensions, or reality that many leaders now face.

  • Disrupt Something and Think the Unthinkable

    When was the last time you shook up the thinking at your office? If it’s been too long, then maybe it’s time to start thinking the unthinkable, seeing what nobody else can see, and breaking a few rules. We are all creatures of habit, and it usually takes a jolt to shake us out of our rut.

  • Are You Investing Your Best Resources in the Wrong People?

    It is easy to see other people making this mistake. It is more difficult to catch yourself doing it.

  • You’re Not That Smart: Avoiding the Moses Complex

    As I was reading the Bible in YouVersion this morning, I was reminded of an article I wrote a few years ago about seeking the counsel of others. I think it’s worth a refresh, so here’s part one of the series.

  • Who Does What? 5 Observations on Clarifying Leadership Roles

    Here’s what is on my whiteboard right now. I’ve been processing this because my sense is that there’s a lack of clarity about roles within the church.

  • 7 Ways Leaders Destroy Their Teams

    Often times when it comes to “leadership” we hear the warm and fuzzies or the great success stories. There are so many great books and tools at the disposal of leaders that growth, competency and effective leadership should be inevitable.

  • Say Yes to the Mess

    Frank J. Barrett, a professor of management and global public policy at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.

  • Creating Teams

    Performance within groups typically does not just happen.  For a group to really perform well it needs practice.

  • 5 Thoughts on Innovation in Organizations

    Every organization must deal with change. The crux of the matter is not if change will take place, but if the organization can lead change rather than just react to it.

  • 7 Elements of a Strategy for a New Leadership Position

    I am a month on the job in my new church. It’s been challenging and fun at the same time.

  • Laypeople and the Mission of God – Killing the Clergy – Laity Caste System, Part 1

    "Laypeople" is a common word we use around churches but I don't like it. The word actually can be applied to any non-professional population as it relates to any profession (doctors, lawyers, etc.

  • We’ve Confused Leadership with Discipleship

    Five years into North Coast Church, Founding and Senior Pastor Larry Osborne realized the programmed discipleship classes his Vista, Calif. , church was teaching weren’t making disciples.

  • Conquer Big Creative Projects Using Past, Present, and Future Focus

    In the past 25 days, I have written five chapters for my first book, which currently stands at 35,554 words of text. This writing has happened around also taking three out-of-town trips, working with clients, writing my newsletter, completing guest posts, giving virtual training courses, keeping in touch with family and friends, and still sleeping an average of 6.

  • Reactive vs. Creative Leadership

    “Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve.

  • The 3 Lenses of Visionary Leaders

    Good leaders create a vision, passionately articulate the vision, and relentlessly drive the vision to completion. ” Before we look at organizational vision, consider the literal example of vision and the human eye.

  • Senior Pastors Roles Change as Churches Grow

    Twenty-two years ago, when Tim Harlow became the senior pastor of Tinley Park Church of Christ, the following newspaper ad was considered the cutting edge of church marketing. Senior pastors who have been at the same church for any length of time can most likely complete this exercise: Think back through some of the stages of your congregation’s development, and take note of how your role as a senior leader had to shift during those various stages.

  • Play to the Size of Your Heart, Not the Size of the Crowd

    A band recently taught me an incredibly simple truth about being awesome. Their name is Seryn and they’re from Denton, TX.

  • Design to Handle the Exception – Not for the Exception

    While going through security at the airport the other day, I was reminded of an important design and innovation concept. Things were going smoothly until a bag was flagged during the X-ray procedure.

  • What Pastors and Business Leaders Can Learn from Each Other

    A couple of years ago Mike Myatt interviewed me and asked some great leadership questions. Not sure how good my answers were, but in any case, you can watch the entire interview here.

  • If You Have to Live by the Rules…

    Write better rules… That principle came to me recently in a personal illustration. Cheryl and I love to travel, and we have done a lot of it together.

  • Managing Innovation is About Managing Change

    Innovation is about change. Companies that successfully innovate in a repeatable fashion have one thing in common – they are good at managing change.

  • Where’s Your 10X Performance Improvement?

    1969 was a pretty interesting year for the Swiss watch industry. That was the year the Omega Speedmaster became the first watch on the moon.

  • Seven Characteristics of Advancing Leaders

    I am a leader watcher. Indeed I have observed and learned from leaders as far back as my memory takes me.

  • The Two Lists You Should Look at Every Morning

    A study of car accidents by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute put cameras in cars to see what happens right before an accident. They found that in 80% of crashes the driver was distracted during the three seconds preceding the incident.

  • Interdependence Day

    It may seem odd to discuss interdependence when many people are celebrating independence this week on July 4. In leadership, however, independence may be inadvisable.

  • Leadership and the Power of Listening

    Great leaders are great listeners, and therefore my message today is a simple one – talk less and listen more. The best leaders are proactive, strategic, and intuitive listeners.

  • 8 Ways to Create Great Meetings

    Poorly run meetings start in the wrong place and end up rushed before they’re done. Right place: Leave inconsequential items for the end.

  • When Innovation Fails

    In business we speak a lot about “innovation” — how to foster it, how to drive it, how to implement it. But what do we mean when we talk about “innovation”? A recent WSJ article broached the subject and, rather accurately in my opinion, revealed what we have all known for some time: even when organizations are not necessarily doing anything groundbreaking or new, they still call it “innovation.

  • Serving the Second Chair

    Whether it’s a paid or unpaid position, formal or informal, most churches have a strong leader serving under the lead pastor. In smaller churches, this person can be a prominent lay person.

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
— Dave
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
— Argaw Alemu
comment_post_ID); ?> Amen!!
— Scott Michael Whitley

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.