Generospitality Part Six – One Last Reminder About THIS WEEK’s Guest

Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.  – Ephesians 5:1-2 CSB

First-time guests may not remember any of the points in your message or any of the words of your music, but they will remember every moment of your welcome.

A culture of joyful, or joy-full, generosity rests on a foundation of careful, or care-full, hospitality. A church that shows their love for strangers is a church that shares their love with each other, for the advancement of God’s Kingdom. Every step we take toward welcoming strangers with love moves us forward in sharing with the body in love. If the Early Church couldn’t separate loving each other from loving every other, then we shouldn’t try to either.

Consider what may be the most important metric for you to monitor: new givers. How many new people or families began to live in obedience through Biblical generosity this last year? For the most part, many of those first-time givers were also first-time guests. Your culture of welcome set the standard for their commitment to giving from the first time they visited your website. Smiling faces, manicured hedges, and helpful signage all speak to the love your church has for the stranger, those whose names we’ve not yet learned. Your church will demonstrate generosity in their hospitality before you ever communicate about giving in a membership class.

It remains then that Generospitality changes everything for you, your church body, and for your guests. Loving each other, and then loving every other, are actions that will change everything for someone this Sunday.

Stop and consider your guest one last time.

Right now the Holy Spirit is at work in someone’s life, stirring him or her to be your guest this Sunday. Some kind of crisis or challenge has moved them to make this the week they finally attend your worship service. The risk of going to your church to find God will finally be less than the risk of facing another week without Him. Your guest this Sunday will have seen your building or your website. They have likely heard someone else talk about your church. Chances are high that a friend or family member already attends and extended an invitation. They have probably prayerfully invited them for years. Of all the reasons why and how, one simple fact remains: they are coming.

This is their week to attend, and this is your week to love.

This Sunday will be the next opportunity to love each other in generosity. It will also be the next opportunity to love every other, through hospitality. It’s your chance to love by means that change the direction of someone’s life as well as the destination of their eternity. This Sunday, the Lord will add to your number those who are being saved.

Are you ready?

> Download the Seven Checkpoints of an Engaging Guest Experience Tool here.

> Read more from Bryan

 


 

Want to improve your church’s Guest Experience? Learn how at the Guest Experience Boot Camp coming to West Palm Beach, FL February 26-27!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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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. Many of us will create goals around reading in light of a New Year and, to some, a new decade of church ministry. In this episode, Bob outlines 10 Benefits of Regular Reading.

Inspired by Bob’s list, I have added some thoughts of my own and set up a personal reading goal for 2020 for each point made. Here are ten ways reading will benefit your life and ministry in 2020:

Benefit #1 – Reading builds a connection between your brain synapses. Unlike visual video media consumption, the thought required by reading forms new connections in your brain by stimulating thinking. Video media already creates the scene, moment, or location on-screen, as opposed to your mind assembling words into a picture. Read to promote brain health and growth.

2020 Goal: Read for at least 20 minutes every day.

Benefit #2 – Reading reduces stress by being a mental pressure relief valve. Reading, particularly fiction reading, takes your mind to a different place through challenging ideas or changing landscape. Reading slows your body but not your mind, in the way that Netflix watching will. Just a few minutes of reading can change your perspective and affect your emotions. Read to be a better version of yourself.

2020 Goal: Read at least one fiction or pleasurable book every quarter.

Benefit #3 – Reading increases knowledge at all levels. Reading forces you to confront new ideas and process them in light of personal experience or other reading. Reading builds your knowledge base around a particular subject allowing multiple perspectives from different authors. Even if you are only reading at an elementary level (Bob unpacks Mortimer Adler’sAdler’s levels of reading in the episode), knowledge development still takes place. Read to develop proficiency in an area or subject.

2020 Goal: Read one book on a subject or topic almost entirely unknown. 

Benefit #4 – Reading expands your vocabulary. Many books are written for a narrow scope of readers, or from a particular point of view. These books often contain a specific vernacular. Confronting and defining words you have never engaged before adds new ammunition to your conversational arsenal. New words create new worlds in your mind and your life. Read to sound and be smarter.

2020 Goal: Learn and incorporate 20 new words into everyday conversation in 2020.

Benefit #5 – Reading makes you a better writer. Everyone who communicates is, in some way, a writer. Pastors write out sermons. Managers write staff evaluations. Teachers write lesson plans. Every conversation in some way takes writing even if you never actually put words into print. Reading reinforces acceptable grammar and proficient sentence structure. Read to write better.

2020 Goal: Work on one communication piece (ebook, blog, sermon, or consulting plan) for at least one hour every week.

Benefit #6 – Reading supports the skills to be an analytical thinker. This benefit can be a challenge. Moving beyond face value in an author’s words to confront their opinion or point of view requires effort beyond consumption. You do not have to agree with every author, or every author’s position, to appreciate their book. Read to strengthen or challenge your convictions.

2020 Goal: Read one book I would ordinarily avoid because I disagree with the author or am dispassionate about the topic.

Benefit #7 – Reading builds focus. Engaging with an author creating a case or setting up a scene forces a level of commitment and concentration very different from our quick-cut video-driven culture. Books take time to understand and to process. This practice creates an ability to stay in a moment longer. Read to remain focused on the task at hand.

2020 Goal: Finish every book before starting the next one, even if I skim/seminary read it.

Benefit #8 – Reading makes you a better speaker. You don’t have to speak to large crowds to realize a benefit in your speaking from reading. Hallway conversations are impacted by reading as much as platform sermons. Regularly engaging other voices helps to grow your distinct voice, as well as bring content and perspective to just about every communication situation. Read to communicate on a higher level.

2020 Goal: Read, or re-read, one book on public speaking before my first engagement of 2020.

Benefit #9 – Reading stimulates your mind. Some authors are more mind-stretching to read than others. Nothing impacts your dreams like reading Len Sweet right before bedtime. Creativity and critical thinking walk hand-in-hand across the landscape of the reader’s mind. Taking the time to journal and challenge the author’s assumptions strengthens your resolve, or where needed, shapes a reformed view. Read to grow in thought leadership.

2020 Goal: Chronicle the reading of ten books using a journaling system/technique.

Benefit #10 – Reading doesn’t have to cost you anything. As Bob reiterated, most public library systems are not only a numerical storehouse of reading possibility, but they also have the newest titles on hand. Leveraging your local library allows you to read a few chapters of the latest titles before purchasing a copy you can mark up and annotate. It costs nothing but time to check out some library books, provided you return them on time. Read library books to save money or preview before purchasing.

2020 Goal: Make a library trip at least once a month as a family.

Here is a recap of the ten reading goals for 2020 above:

  • Read for at least 20 minutes every day.
  • Read at least one fiction or pleasurable book every quarter.
  • Read one book on a subject or topic almost wholly unknown.
  • Learn and incorporate 20 new words into everyday conversation in 2020.
  • Work on one communication piece (ebook, blog, sermon, or consulting plan) for at least one hour every week.
  • Read one book I would ordinarily avoid because I disagree with the author or am dispassionate about the topic.
  • Finish every book before starting the next one, even if I skim/seminary read it.
  • Read, or re-read, one book on public speaking before my first engagement of 2020.
  • Chronicle the reading of ten books using a journaling system/technique.
  • Make a library trip at least once a month as a family.

Will I accomplish every single one of these goals? That’s not at all likely. However, if I were to achieve only half, the way I work, rest, parent, and impact others will be marked by these reading goals. Check out the podcast episode for a masterclass on reading in this new year. 

What is one goal you have for reading in 2020?

> Read more from Bryan.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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Clarity Process

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Generospitality Part Five – The Seven Checkpoints of an Engaging Guest Experience

Your guests feel your hospitality, or the lack thereof, as they navigate a shared set of moments across your campus environments for the very first time. Called the Guest Experience Checkpoints, these moments are common to every new worshipper and will set the tone for how they feel about your worship service. These seven checkpoints also shape each guest’s desire to come back the following week. It is important to understand that all of these experiences will likely occur in the first 11 minutes a guest is on your campus.

This means that the Seven Checkpoints often take place apart from the moments that leadership has prepared for, and invested the most pre-Sunday time in: the worship set and the sermon text. Before a G chord gets played or a Greek verb gets parsed, most of your guests have already formed a permanent impression of your church. The team-centered tool download below gives you the opportunity to unpack each checkpoint with a fun, tongue-in-cheek assessment and provide key Go Ahead actions.

In each case, the goal is to move away from the typical hands-off “we think you can figure this out” Sunday morning approach. What if your Sunday experience communicated to the guest “we are expecting you to be here” every week? The goal is to build confidence in your guests, through each of these moments. Great guest systems communicate that we are ready for you this morning and that we are anticipating God to do a work in you. These seven checkpoints will help your team be great stewards of your church’s first time guest experience and demonstrate Biblical hospitality to a community waiting to know they are loved.

Download the Seven Checkpoints of an Engaging Guest Experience Tool here.

> Read more from Bryan.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 

Clarity Process

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Generospitality Part Four – Three Terrible Messages Your Welcome Team Sends

“‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in;”  – Matthew 25:35 CSB

In your church, love begins every week with your welcome. From your church’s website to your worship bulletin, every step of your hospitality systems will either speak to the love found in your body, or it will reveal one of three conflicting shadow mindsets. Instead of communicating, “We are expecting you to visit this Sunday because we love you and want you to know Jesus does too,” some other message will be received by first-time guests. It will likely be some form of these three:

“We think you can figure out where to go and sit because we are only tolerating your presence until we approve your theology.”

“We desperately want you to come back again because we need you to help us survive another week around here.”

“We are surprised you actually showed up because most of us have been looking for a good reason to leave for years.”

One or more of these messages are communicated every week when our hospitality systems fail to reflect the “love for strangers” that the Acts 2 Church modeled for us. Our meeting places and ecclesiology might look different from those spiritual ancestors, but our welcome should be just as warm – if not more so.

Statistically speaking, anywhere from 2-8% of your congregation this Sunday will consider themselves a guest. Are you ready to welcome them with love? Have you ever thought about what their experience might be as they seek the Lord in your midst? What will their experience be from website to welcome lunch? These are critical questions to ask because your hospitality sets the pace for your generosity.

There are seven moments in your weekly welcome that should serve as critical gauges of your church’s hospitality systems. Each moment is a checkpoint that every guest will experience on a typical Sunday, and a place to steward a love for others, motivated by God’s desire for us. At Auxano, we call these the “Seven Checkpoints” of the Guest Experience and every church, no matter the size or tribe, will lead guests through each this Sunday.

> Read more from Bryan.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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— Okello.moses
 
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— Russell C
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 

Clarity Process

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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. – Hebrews 13:1-12 CSB

For today’s church, our generosity promotes our hospitality. And similarly, our hospitality proves our generosity. The way we love each person inside our congregation influences the way we love every person outside of our church. Welcoming with love into our church will set the tone for giving with love around our church. These two concepts really cannot be separated. It is hard to imagine a church full of selfish people being very welcoming to outsiders. And likewise, it seems impossible that an unfriendly people will ever be very generous with their resources.

Even though our current church models often separate the functions of generosity and hospitality, we have multiple instances of New Testament authors instructing the Church to hold both generosity and hospitality together as a unified front of loving people. The most known example is found in Hebrews 13. Here we see the author wrapping their letter to the Jewish followers of Christ, landing the plane after a strong message on faith throughout the generations. And we get a simple affirmation to let brotherly love (philadelphia) and a strong warning to not neglect hospitality (philoxenia). Generosity toward each other and hospitality toward every other are not separate biblical concepts.

In a similarly instructive pattern, Paul brings those two concepts to the Roman followers of Jesus as he clearly describes the practice of life in Christ in Chapter 12. Verse 13 places generosity and hospitality as one concept of love, with two directional expressions. Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality. (Romans 12:13, CSB). Not even an “and” in there to connect two different thoughts. The audience would not have known these to be different systems, only that they were called to be generous as they love each other inside the body and be hospitable as they love every other outside the body.

The more Auxano serves as strategic outsiders in churches across the country, the more we believe that a congregation expresses love through welcoming and giving. A church will never give with generosity if they are not living every Sunday with hospitality. Sadly, many leaders fail to connect these concepts in either theology or missiology. We teach sermons and offer 12-week “discipleship” courses on generosity, but rarely mention hospitality apart from a random announcement geared toward filling Easter volunteer positions.

The problem remains that your hospitality will always set the tone for your generosity. Loving the stranger every Sunday by way of our welcome makes it easier to love each other by way of our offering. This does not mean that better systems to receive and enfold your guests will always guarantee better and more consistent givers. However, you can be assured that church members who do not love the people they do not know, will never fully love those whom they do.

> Read more from Bryan.


 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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comment_post_ID); ?> It is a good idea to to know how christians should be good leaders. Thanks
 
— Okello.moses
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
— Russell C
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 

Clarity Process

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Generospitality Part Two – The Early Church Practiced This ONE Thing

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  – John 13:34-35  CSB

Beyond gathering, eating, singing and serving, the Acts 2 Church pursued one practice above all others: The early church loved people.

In context, the love of the first century church would have been quite revolutionary. The Hebrews earned love. The Greeks intellectualized love. The Romans debased love. And within each of those people groups, love was exclusive to those on the inside, rarely extended to anyone, not a part of “their tribe.” Then along came the early followers of Jesus who perfected love. They demonstrated the lavish love of Jesus, to every people group, albeit somewhat begrudgingly at times. Clearly hidden in these verses is a caring for others that made these people of “The Way” unbelievably attractive to a watching world.

But theirs was not love as a generalized and ethereal concept, like when my mom used to tell me to love my little brother and not lock him outside the house in his underwear. I had no clue what that meant apart from just being nicer to him, which didn’t seem nearly as much fun. It appears that the Early Church understood love to be more than an idea of behavior or more words. For them, caring for people was more than a catchy scriptural saying painted on their walls inspiring everyone to “love God and love others.”

For these early followers of Jesus, love went beyond the words and consistently manifested itself in two distinct parts. First, love for each other, the insiders, marked by their generosity. They gave to all who had a physical need among them. At the same time, the Church demonstrated love for the stranger, the outsiders, marked by their hospitality. They welcomed all from outside of the church who had a spiritual need. These were twin concepts. Like a coin with two sides, love appeared on the inside of the church through giving, and on the outside through welcoming.

Think about this for a moment. The early church, if any generation of Christians, were a group of people in possession of every reason to circle the wagons and focus on survival. But, after being given a boldly public platform at Pentecost, they left the upper room and immediately reached out to those outside of themselves. The lost without Christ were drawn every day to a new religion, one built on relationship over rules. The Lord added to the early church every day through their love, expressed inside the body as generosity and outside the body as hospitality. It would have been unimaginable for a first-century believer to claim the name of Jesus without also pro-claiming the love of Jesus. This love exploded throughout Jerusalem through their giving, or loving the ones they knew, and in their welcoming, or loving the ones they did not yet know.

Love for those in the body of Christ, brotherly love, motivated the generous heart of the Early Church, found throughout the New Testament as philadelphia. Love for those outside of the Church, literally love for the stranger, moved the welcoming arms of the Early Church, known to all as philoxenia.

It is, and always has been, that simple. Be generous and love those inside of the Church. Be hospitable and love those outside of the Church. Even today, how your church loves makes a difference.

> Read more from Bryan.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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comment_post_ID); ?> It is a good idea to to know how christians should be good leaders. Thanks
 
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comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
— Russell C
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Generospitality Part One – The Missing Piece of Every Church Growth Model

Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. -Acts 2:44-48 CSB  

In my early days of ministry and seminary, these verses from Acts were the Holy Grail of church leadership. Rick Warren had just inspired us to live and lead Purpose Driven, and the vibrant picture of an effective and evangelizing church harkened back to the Early Church. We all wanted to be the church to which the Lord was adding to every day, and we all worked hard to restore parts of that Eden-like utopia of the Acts 2 Church. Well, all but the persecution parts, nobody was pursuing getting beaten or stoned.

In those days, we worked hard to be Purpose Driven and organized every ministry and job title in one of five ways to become effectively attractive. Then we wrote songs, dramatic sketches and leveraged the arts, like Willow, to become sensitive to those seeking Jesus. Or we created a culture of leadership like Andy and built churches for people who gave up on the church but not on God. And some of our churches grew, and then hosted conferences of their own. But most of our churches did not experience that hoped-for exponential growth of Acts 2.

Soon enough, a new generation emerged and brought a natural course correction in ministry practice, buoyed by their conviction that church was not singularly about the weekend after all. This new generation raised the intellectual bar on church growth and filtered everything through a Missional Church lens. Community in, and outside of, the church became the new Acts 2 standard. We needed to meet together, eat together and serve together… to do life together. We began to resist the large gatherings inside the church walls, and instead, shifted resources and energy to breaking bread daily and letting that be our witness to the world. We would even use words if necessary. Today, this missional renaissance has now survived its adolescence to emerge as a mature, and surprisingly reformed, disciple-making young adult.

All of these ideas and practices of church leadership over the last two decades are right in many ways. Purpose, creativity, community, and development are all evident in these verses from Acts 2. God has used each of our movements through the years to accomplish His will. However, it remains clear, today more than ever, that many of us still miss the beautiful simplicity of what was happening in those early days of Christianity. There was a different kind of movement underneath all Luke captured. Beyond gathering, eating, singing and serving, the Acts 2 Church pursued one practice above all others.

> Read more from Bryan.


 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

See more articles by >

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> It is a good idea to to know how christians should be good leaders. Thanks
 
— Okello.moses
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
— Russell C
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

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:

  1. Attempting too much. There will likely be a long list of needed changes to culture and process waiting as you step into this new role. It is equally as likely that much of that list can be done over time and not all at once. Do not mistake activity for ministry. Plans are important, but your greatest influence will come not from the doing as a pastor, but from the being.
  2. Attempting too little. In this season, building relationships become a critical part of establishing your leadership. Meetings are important but so is making some needed and incremental changes. You will set the tone for the whole staff in your first year of work. It could be easy to mistake your desire to spend too much time getting to know them as instruction away from effective progress. Remember, it only takes 21 days to form a habit and your team will follow your lead quickly. Year two should not be spent breaking bad habits over fueling new initiatives.
  3. Forgetting the power of questions. The wisest leaders enter most of their meetings in year-one prepared with a set of thought-out and instructive questions. There is wisdom in placing a priority in asking, then listening for something to learn – instead of – telling, then expecting for something to happen. Also, remember it is often in the follow-up questions in which the most discovery usually occurs.
  4. Never leaving your last church. It is natural, and often necessary, to remain connected with good friends and leaders of the church you just left. You will miss some of the processes you helped to develop and some of your favorite places to eat or unwind. However, an unhealthy longing for “what was” will likely keep you and your current church from “what will be.” Using the phrase “at (fill in the church name) we…” too often is a good indicator it’s time to leave mentally as much as you already have physically.
  5. Trying to prove your organizational worth to the formal and informal leaders of the church. PowerPoint presentations and Gantt charts are useful and certainly make a new leader look smart. But, what needs to be proven – what is of most Kingdom value to those leaders – is your dependence on the Lord. It will be your commitment to His Word, to walking in the Spirit and to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ that brings the longest lasting impact to the organization.
  6. Equating time in the pulpit as equal to time with the people. Balance the time spent preaching and preparing to preach with time spent listening and getting to know your congregation, and especially its leaders. Learning who they are and what they struggle with will help to move your preaching past assumptions and simple anecdotes to applying the truth of scripture to the real challenges your people are facing.
  7. Forgetting to help your family grieve the loss of friends and ministry they’ve just left.Holding the two tensions Eric talked about is as critical for your family as it is for you as a leader. The best thing you can help them to do is celebrate the impact of the last season. Like stopping to watch a mid-summer sunset, gather your family to tell the stories of what God has done. Stop and frame a picture from this last season, then reframe from what is lost to what is learned. Think as much as about what we have learned as what we have loved. Help yourself and your family to look back, intentionally and briefly, like a slingshot to looking forward hopefully and expectantly.
  8. Spending extra time in the office instead of at home. In a new pastorate, there will be much to do at work. However, there will always be a lot to do. Ministry activity expands directly with the amount of time available. Be stingy with your time at home. Disappoint your congregation with how much you are not disappointing your family. It is more valuable to your ministry to care for your family and lead them to Christ in this season of transition than to be at every meeting or event someone else has deemed to be critically important.
  9. Believing everything the search consultant or committee told you. It is not that they lied or deliberately misled you – for the most part. Keep in mind that their perception of reality around your new position and their assessment of the condition of the congregation was directly connected to who did the reporting and to their hopes of the outcomes. In some cases, it was their job to present a prettier picture than reality. Therefore do not be discouraged, and remember that there will always be more problems than were first reported and that there are equally as many victories than were ever celebrated. In this new season, walk wisely, with great anticipation, and without assumption.
  10. Forgetting to take care of yourself. Establish a rhythm of health that is sustainable. Work out. Eat healthy, because you will be eating out a lot. Guard your off days as if your life depended on it. Understand the meaning of Sabbath and protect time away from study, meetings and to-do lists. Double down on a hobby or activity that creates room for your mind to breathe and focus on the Lordship of Christ in your life. Your inability to rest or set aside work for a Sabbath is a better statement of your theology than a sermon ever will be.

What mistakes have you made or seen made in the first year of a new ministry role?

Hear Eric Geiger’s leadership transition story here. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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Clarity Process

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15 Looming Failures in a Vacuum of Vision Casting

WHERE THERE IS NO VISION, THE PEOPLE PERISH: BUT HE THAT KEEPETH THE LAW, HAPPY IS HE.   – PROVERBS 29:18 (KJV)

“We don’t need that vision stuff. We just love God and love people.”

“I don’t like to sit around and talk about mission or values or strategic plans, I like getting things done.”

“I’m not a visionary like [successful pastor in town], people just need more commitment to the Word.”

“Just preach Jesus, that’s all the vision the church needs.”

Recently, I have heard more than just a few pastors use statements like the above. For some, even using the word ‘vision’ brings forth a kind of extra-biblical, crystal-ball, predict-the-future fear. However, casting vision is simply this: articulating a picture of God’s better future for your church.

Vision casting is critical because people need a picture. They can focus with a picture. They can mark progress in their own spiritual growth with a picture. They can see beyond Sunday worship attendance with a picture. They can survive seasons in the wilderness with a picture. They can understand the real nature of discipleship with a picture. Jesus cast vision of a coming Kingdom and taught His followers with pictures.

Without a picture… people wander. They more easily prioritize ball games and lake vacations over the things of God.

As leaders, when we fail to cast a clear, concise and compelling vision of where God is taking us, people drift in and out of church. They fail to find the greater value, because we are living off of Sunday-to-Sunday leadership. This holds to be particularly true for the younger generations, who are seeking to make a tangible impact and realize purpose with their lives, not just attend another Sunday event. After all, they have near instant access to uplifting worship music, podcast sermons, and live-streamed services. Vision unites people around a calling that is contextual to a local church and catalytic to spiritual growth in everyday life.

At Auxano, we introduce the need to “rethink vision” with (non-exegetical) wordplay on the KJV language of Proverbs 29:18, saying that where there is no vision, the people… cherish. They cherish things like paint colors, or casual dress, or hymns, or electric guitars, or children-down-front moments, or even ric-rac-edged Sunday School bulletin boards. And often, these well-intentioned people will fight until death over seemingly insignificant, non-eternal issues. Why? When we fail to introduce them to a lasting picture of discipleship and growth in Christ, they will eventually make the temporal holy.

Lately I have been wondering what else happens when leaders neglect vision in their churches. After 20+ years on church staff, or serving alongside church staff, the failures of living in a vacuum of vision casting are more clear every day.

WHERE THERE IS NO VISION…

…THE PEOPLE CHERISH.

…THE PREFERENCES FLOURISH.

…THE SURROGATES NOURISH.

…THE FEW ACCOMPLISH.

…THE STAFF RELINQUISH.

…THE SPARKS EXTINGUISH.

…THE TRENDS DEMOLISH.

…THE POWER-HUNGRY ADMONISH.

…THE CONTROLLING ABOLISH.

…THE BORED REFURBISH.

…THE PASSIONS DIMINISH.

…THE ENEMIES RELISH.

…THE VALUABLES TARNISH.

…THE INSECURE EMBELLISH.

…THE LEADERS VANISH.

Avoiding any, or all, of the failures above begins with a clearly-cast vision of where God is leading the church. Here is a powerful article from Auxano founder, Will Mancini, on what a clear, Biblical picture of the future could look like for local church leaders through the Horizon Storyline tool.


Want to know more about the Horizon Storyline? Talk with an Auxano Navigator.


> Read more from Bryan.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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comment_post_ID); ?> It is a good idea to to know how christians should be good leaders. Thanks
 
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comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
— Russell C
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 

Clarity Process

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Five Keys for Effective Church Communication

Your church is the only one struggling to communicate effectively. Your website is quite possibly the worst church website ever created. You are the only leader who loses a half-day to social media distraction while trying to post a simple announcement.

Of course none of those things are true.

In this era of over-messaging and under-communicating, every church struggles to ensure people live excited and on-mission. While this may be comforting to some, the uncomfortable reality is that there is also no single silver-bullet solution. Effective church communication is an art, not a science. Yet all is not lost. It remains possible to successfully reach your congregation and encourage them toward next steps in Christ.

One approach to developing a focused and holistic pattern of regular communication sits literally at your fingertips. The expertly crafted and balanced tool of the human hand presents a strategic picture of how complementary channels of connection might work in unison to accomplish the singular task of effective communication.

HERE IS THE FIVE-FINGER CHURCH COMMUNICATION STRATEGY

THE THUMB: WEEKLY EMAILS

The opposing thumb is an anatomical separator of humans from the majority of the animal kingdom. Thumbs allow people to use tools through grasping and gripping. Your thumb is a key part of daily life. The thumb is the unsung hero of eating Chinese food, changing channels and crafting witty text messages. But the thumb is somewhat useless by itself. Imagine your hand with just a thumb. It would be hard to do anything very well. Most churches rely on a weekly email blast as their only venue of informing and connecting people. In today’s world, digital communication is a must. But weekly emails are somewhat useless and easily ignored by themselves. Worse yet, when every department sends a separate email email blast to the same people, it is as if everyone has two hands full of thumbs. Your weekly email should anchor a communication strategy in the same way the thumb anchors your hand: one vital part of a greater whole.

THE POINTER FINGER: STAGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

Each Sunday, someone on your platform or pulpit stands and verbally points the church toward key events or next steps of growth in Christ. Stage announcements relate as a pointer finger points, by focusing attention on what lies ahead. And each Sunday the congregation either hears three minutes of announcements, or receives 180 seconds of visionary communication. One form results in continued inattention, the other toward immediate engagement in God’s better future. Stage announcements, or videos, each Sunday morning serve to align and point people toward what matters the most.

THE MIDDLE FINGER: SOCIAL MEDIA

What can you really say about the middle finger that was not completely obvious by Middle School? A raised middle finger is all about making a statement. It is sharing an emotional response and often designed to directly impact a specific audience: like the jerk behind you in traffic. A middle finger message is more sender-centric than viewer-concerned, and therefore comes with consequences when the wrong person or group receive the message. In this way, social media functions as a middle finger (so long as we can take the horribly offensive nature of the symbol out of this illustration). Facebook and Instagram posts are egotistically self-serving. They are typically designed to evoke emotion or communicate a quick point. Response is infrequent, and when a response happens, it is rarely helpful or healthy. Understand your social media strategy as a powerful and emotional communication tool. But brace yourself if the wrong people get the message.

THE RING FINGER: FAMILY MINISTRY

One of the most powerful symbols in our culture today, as well as every young pastor’s go-to baptism illustration, is the wedding ring. It goes without saying that the ring finger stands for family. And family is where our culture lives. In communicating to the church, meet every parent right where they are spending the majority of their time, their waking hours driving, and every bit of their income: with their kids. Essential to any full-formed communication strategy is integration into the weekly rhythms of preschool, children and student ministry. Invest the extra time to craft take-home moments each week, in every ministry, that speak to what matters most at your church. Leverage parent meetings and milestone moments to communicate directly with families. In these seasons, parents are most attentive. And if you really want your parents to engage in the larger story of church vision, get their kids excited about it first.

THE PINKIE FINGER: CHURCH WEBSITE

What exactly does the pinkie finger do but, when extended, signify a special moment? It is found in a sip of exquisite liquid or in a particular affinity to the University of Texas. The pinkie is all about small dose savoring and a specialized approach to the finer things in life. Your church website should be approached in this same way. More than 80% of the everyday users of church websites are guests looking for information. The other 2-20% are church members trying to figure out what time something starts. Unfortunately, the amount of design time and effort most communication teams invest in their church website in no way reflects this imbalance. Churches often bury essential information on service time and campus location three-to-four clicks deep. They use language that only insiders understand. They post 8 minute-long videos that are rarely viewed all the way through. Instead of thinking about small engagements, and a special audience (first time guests) church websites are burdened by by-laws, expired announcements and labyrinthine navigation menus. Approach the design and content of your church website with an eye for small doses. Ask yourself and the team: what is most important? How can it be accessed quickly? Who is actually looking at it?

Great church communication is as balanced and useful as the human hand. It can be as powerful as a solid punch, with every finger involved in making impact possible. After-all, what challenges are you facing in your weekly church leadership that a good punch wouldn’t solve?

> Read more from Bryan


 

Connect with an Auxano Navigator to learn more about great communication at your church.

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Communication >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> It is a good idea to to know how christians should be good leaders. Thanks
 
— Okello.moses
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
— Russell C
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.