5 Ways to Start Your Day in the Right Way

Have you ever come to the end of your workday, or even a workweek, and asked yourself, “What did I accomplish?”

You know you showed up, went to meetings, worked hard, but somehow, sometimes, wonder if you really accomplished much.

You are not alone.

The good news is that there is something you can do about it.

It’s always important to start with the big picture in mind. Or as Stephen Covey has said, “Start with the end in mind.” If you don’t know where you’re headed or where you want to go, you will likely arrive somewhere else. Somewhere you don’t want to be.

At some point, however, you live out those big-picture goals based on very practical plans, one day at a time.

Admittedly, the five questions are relatively simple on the surface, but underneath they are complex, and the discipline to execute daily is not so easy. That’s one of the reasons that question number five is so important. We’ll get to that.

Before the questions, let me briefly cover three things that block daily productivity.

Distraction

The source of distraction is internal. That means it’s from within you. It can be anything from social media to doing the things that you like to do rather than the things that are required of you. The remedy is learning to focus and focus in particular on what is important.

Disruption

The source of disruption is external. Disruption comes from others around you. Being disrupted from your focused work is part of life and leadership. It’s going to happen. Your ability to handle it with poise and firm resolve enables you to greatly increase your productivity. The remedy is learning to gracefully say no, postpone the request or handle something important quickly.

Direction

The source of direction must be unified. You may be the visionary source of the direction, or you may be enthusiastically supportive, but either way, the people you lead must also buy into the direction you are all attempting to go, or you’ll end up going in circles or stuck.

In terms of productivity blockers, I mean more accurately, directionless, or multi-directions. Without an agreed-upon crystal clear direction, productivity is nearly impossible.

5 simple questions for a highly productive day.

1) What are you required to do?

Always start with the most critical projects and appointments with people that align with what you are required to do, and that produce the greatest return for your investment of time and energy.

Leaders who get things done, but not the right things slowly become ineffective.

Productivity is not assessed merely by how much you do, but if you do the right things that produce the greatest return. Even if you don’t finish your to-do list, this will increase your productivity dramatically.

As you deliver increasingly higher levels of quality and excellence in what you accomplish, your leadership begins to create space and freedom to do a little more, over time, of what you want to do.

2) Who did you help?

Long term legacy leadership in the church never takes place without helping people. Don’t fall prey to becoming an event planner with a theological degree.

Ultimately our spiritual responsibility is to lead people to Jesus and see an eternal transformation. Facets of this happen from the boardroom working on a strategy to out in the community with those who are far from God.

Bottom line – always think people.

At the end of each day, ask yourself:

  • Who did I encourage?
  • Who did I strengthen with wisdom?
  • Who did I train with helpful skills?
  • Who did I take a developmental moment with to coach their leadership?
  • Who did I bless with compassion, whether a staff member or a homeless person?

You get the idea; how did you add value to people?

It’s not likely that you can do all these things in one day, but don’t go a day where your leadership touches no one.

3) What did you complete?

This can be a discouraging or invigorating moment. A moment, literally sixty seconds, where you jot down what you accomplished.

Sometimes you finish something, and many days you advance something just a little further. All progress counts, as long as you remain focused on what is required, what is important, and what produces the greatest return.

This is where your ability to handle distractions, disruptions, and remain headed in the right direction is essential.

If your day was unproductive and maybe discouraging, shake it off, and start fresh and focused the next day.

It is smart to make a list the night before of what you want to accomplish. Remember the old adage, if you don’t plan your time, someone else will.

4) What did you learn?

Don’t skip this step, and don’t make it complicated.

This can take two or three minutes, maybe five. When you reflect on your day from what you learned in prayer and Scripture, to perhaps a difficult conversation with someone, crystalize what you learned.

The goal isn’t to make a long list. The purpose is to focus on the most significant thing you learned – that you will apply. Even just one a day is a lot over a year. I have found that I “re-learn” many things over the course of a year. The Holy Spirit makes things fresh and new as I lead at greater levels.

It might be something you read in a book or a blog. It might have been something you wouldn’t do again in a talk. It might be a deep truth that came from confession; it might be a pearl of wisdom from a friend.

If you are looking for what you learn, there is much there for you, even in a single day.

5) Why did you do it?

Motivation is a powerful subject in the life of a leader.

“Why do you do what you do?” That is an important question. Yes, in part, we do much because it is required. That’s why it’s so important to be in the exact place God wants you, with leaders you trust.

But let’s be honest about the “why.” There’s nothing wrong with a bigger church, greater opportunity, and reward for your hard work, as long as that’s not your primary motivation.

When motives turn inward for personal gain and a serving heart turns to the presumption of entitlement, any leader is in the danger zone. Guard your heart!

This may not be likely, but it can happen to any of us!

Instead, remind yourself often of why God called you to serve others. Reflect on why He gave you an opportunity to lead.

“Why” is always an important question.

And from me to you, I hope and pray that what you do also rewards you with great joy.

Scriptures to reflect on for a productive day:

  • Ecclesiastes 11:6
  • Proverbs 14:23
  • Matthew 25:14-30
  • 2 Corinthians 9:6
  • Ephesians 5:15-16

> Read more from Dan.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

3 Unpardonable Sins of the Guest Experience

Some of your visitors are looking for reasons not to return.

These guests are difficult to please. If they look for the flaws in your church, they will find them. There are no perfect churches, and pleasing everyone is impossible.  Do your best to love everyone, but the prospect of chasing people who are intent to run is usually a futile process.

Some of your visitors are looking for reasons to stay.

These guests are looking for a few things that are important to them, such as friendship, spiritual growth, help in a crisis, or a healthy environment for their kids. If they find a few things they care most about, they will overlook a few less than ideal aspects of your church.

In fact, it’s amazing how forgiving people can be if you treat them well as a person.

The musicians on your worship team may not be world class, or perhaps you don’t have enough parking, or maybe your student ministry isn’t what you want it to be. But if you treat people well they are usually pretty forgiving.

This is not an excuse to ignore the things that need attention, but it’s enough grace to know that you can still do great ministry while you work on what needs to be improved.

First time guests and people new to your church will give lots of grace for the flaws and shortcomings if you treat them with:

  • Kindness
  • Respect
  • Love

But there are some things people who are new to your church will not forgive. These are mistakes you cannot afford to make.

3 Experiences Guests Won’t Forgive:

1) If you treat their kids as a program to be managed rather than kids to be loved.

Structure can beat out spirit, and the programs and processes can become more important than the person.

This can happen in any ministry in your church, but there is little to no grace when it comes to people’s kids.

I’m willing to bet that the heart of your church is about life change, meaning, and real spiritual transformation through Christ. You want to see the children love Jesus and enjoy church!

But here’s where it breaks down. If you begin to make your children’s ministry easier on the staff and volunteer leaders by making it more difficult for the parents and kids, you are making a big mistake. You’d never do that on purpose, but it happens.

The leaders must always absorb the pressure, not the guests.

If the kids become a number in the check-in process or are scolded more than encouraged because they didn’t behave just right, or there are so many rules that it’s impossible to keep up with, it’s highly unlikely that the new families will return.

2) If you treat the adults in any way “less than.”

Most reasonable adults are pretty resilient. As I’ve said, they understand there is no perfect church. But if you treat them poorly as a person, you don’t get a second chance.

One thing that’s easy to forget is that even though someone may be spiritually unresolved or disconnected, they are still usually spiritually sensitive.

If the pastor says something that makes a person feel spiritually foolish, or an usher or greeter treats someone with disrespect, they won’t give you a second chance.

We can’t live on pins and needles worrying about offending everyone, but we can do our best to serve with intentional love and grace.

I remember several years ago trying to help a young mom tend to her crying baby in church. I did my best to be kind and respectful, but I inadvertently offended her by asking her to take her child to the nursery. Maybe I could have done a better job, or perhaps it was a no-win situation, but the result was she was upset and said she’d never come back.

Most of these situations are nuanced and unintentional, but it’s so important to do our best to treat our guests with love, respect, and kindness.

3) If you treat any guest with an eye to get more than you give.

It might seem nearly impossible for a church team to treat any guest in such a way where that person felt like you wanted more from them than for them. But once again, this is easier than it sounds.

Church leaders are often under pressure. They are under pressure for things like more volunteers, larger offerings, and support in general for the vision and direction of the church.

For example, if a church is hurting for more volunteers, they can put pressure on people, including guests, to sign up.

When pressure (or even guilt) is employed rather than inspiration and encouragement, you have fallen into the mistake of wanting more from the people than for them. Your guests have no appetite for that.

Another example might be if a church is behind in the budget. That can sometimes “leak” out in a sermon, or during the time to receive the offering. This kind of pressure makes it feel like the church wants more from the person than for them. If this is what your guests experience, they are not likely to return.

Kindness, respect, and love will always help you treat people well.

> Read more from Dan.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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Clarity Process

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What Does An Usher Really Do?

Your ushers can make or break your worship service.

The difference between a grumpy, distracted, and untrained usher compared to a cheerful, engaged, and “serve you with a smile” usher is huge!

I’ve always loved the usher team; it was one of my favorite ministries to lead.

The usher’s role is so important but often undervalued, undertrained, and less than organized.

Your ushers are a tremendous force in setting the tone for worship and helping to prepare the people to hear and respond to the Word of God.

This post is adapted from a portion of our Usher Training Manual. If you would like the full usher training manual (free) click here.

An usher is a spiritual ambassador for your church – God’s ordained and organized body of believers. Each usher serves as a “first representative” of Jesus Christ for a worship service. Though we all love the creative edge of our worship services, make no mistake, this is a holy event where God is meeting with His people.

From the tabernacle in the Old Testament to the temple and synagogue in the New Testament, God’s presence and the teaching of His word is of supreme importance.

Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  Exodus 40:34

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Mark 1:21-22

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. John 8:2

Who Can Serve as an Usher?

Not just anyone can be an usher, in the same way, that not just anyone can be on the worship team, work in children’s ministry or lead a small group. The right gifts, passion, and ability make a big difference.

As you recruit new ushers keep spiritual qualities, characteristics and usher responsibilities in mind. Please make sure you work in coordination with your team leader rather than practicing “random recruiting.”

The fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23 is a solid guideline for a good usher. The point is not about perfection, but a heartfelt motive and desire to live a life of a spirit-filled believer.

Qualifications of an Usher:

  • You understand the vital role of the usher ministry.
  • You enjoy and care about people.
  • You possess a servant’s heart.
  • You are committed to the vision of your church.
  • You are supportive of the leadership at your church.

3 Responsibilities of an Usher:

1) Commitment to Serve

Prepare yourself spiritually.

This is not to be seen as a duty, but a privilege to connect with God as part of your preparation. Don’t feel like this requires an hour of Bible study before you show up. God is far more interested in the commitment of your heart than the amount of your time. Take a few moments at home to connect with God and ask Him to use you as a representative of His love and an agent of His redemptive plan.

Take initiative!

The cardinal sin of an usher is not to pay attention. At all times watch what is going on in your section and jump in to handle it. If you aren’t sure what to do, ask your team leader. The only wrong choice is to do nothing. Never assume “someone” else is taking care of the need.  Pay attention, take the initiative, and make it happen!!

Absorb the pressure of the moment, don’t transfer it.

Most of the ministry of an usher is pure joy. Seriously, it’s a lot of fun. But on occasion, there are moments of pressure when someone is upset, or something isn’t working right. In these moments never transfer the pressure to the person entering into their worship experience. You are the leader. You absorb the pressure. Get help if you need it, but never make the issue their problem. You help deliver a solution.

Own your section, lead your section, shepherd your section.

In an average environment with average ushers, once the seats are filled the ushers relax and mentally check out. As leaders, the ushers are empowered to take ownership of the section of seats they serve in and give leadership where needed.

Each usher should do everything in their power to ensure that the people have the best opportunity possible to connect with and hear from God. Each usher can shepherd the people by getting to know them, praying for them, learning their names, and meeting appropriate needs.

Follow the direction of your head usher.

All good leaders are good followers.

It is important that each usher follows the leadership of the team leader. Be supportive and encouraging. Offer suggestions if you have good ideas, but don’t be overly sensitive if your ideas aren’t used. Your head usher will do his or her best to serve and lead you and the rest of their team well.

2) The Core Tasks

Help people find a seat.

This seems obvious, but there is an art to it. The art is all about making people, especially new people and people far from God, feel comfortable. Their insecurities can rise, and their feelings of self-consciousness prevent them from connecting with God.

Imagine what it feels like to walk into an unfamiliar restaurant or other environment and not know what to do.

  • Do I seat myself or do I wait to be seated?
  • Who do I talk to if I have a question?
  • Who do I tell if I have special circumstances? (e.g. potential medical condition)

The usher’s job is to move toward and engage people quickly and with the confidence to help them know what to do.

 Don’t leave people hanging. Let them know that you can handle anything they need and that you are the one that can make this a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Don’t make them come to you and ask. You approach them with confidence and a smile. Take charge with grace and poise.

Collect the offering.

On a spiritual level, the offering is part of worship. It is the opportunity for worshippers to express their love, trust, and obedience toward God. On a practical level, the financial needs of a large church are significant. Your smooth and coordinated execution of an offering can and does impact the resources that fund the Kingdom. On a security level, this is one of the most detailed functions of an usher.

The ushers need to be trained in the actual physical process for receiving an offering in a live service.

The ushers need to receive detailed training that will help us ensure compliance with legal guidelines and practical security issues.

Assist in the execution of special moments.

Many churches are known for creativity in their worship services. From motorcycles to doughnuts, to tractors and bottles of soda, you just never know what may be coming down the aisles! Some of the special moments are fun, some are crazy, and some are deeply spiritual. Things like crossing a bridge, writing in journals, or taking communion. The service of an usher is crucial to these moments being leveraged toward life-change.

The service depends on your flexibility. Don’t get flustered when last minute changes are made. That will happen. Just keep positive, stay flexible and know that creativity is at work to help people connect with and hear from God.

Get an accurate people count.

Why does this matter?  Why must these numbers be so accurate? Why can’t we just make a good estimate? The answer is that every number represents a person. We want to be good stewards of all that God has entrusted to us, and therefore it matters that we know how well we are reaching people.  Just like in the book of Acts, they counted, recorded, and celebrated how many people were saved. Your church counts too!

Reset and clean up the auditorium.

People will leave papers, cups and “stuff” behind. The glamorous part of an usher’s ministry is cleaning up after each service. Also, supplies such as Bibles and pens are replenished.

Remember, many hands make light work.  If all ushers jump in and help, it takes just a few minutes.

3) Common sense

  • Maintain proper appearance and personal hygiene.
  • Show up on time.
  • Read the bulletin – get informed, stay informed.
  • Wear your name tag.
  • You will probably not be required to usher every Sunday, but when you are on the schedule, give it 100%.
  • If you are on the schedule and can’t make it, be sure to call and let your team leader know. Don’t just no show. People are counting on you.
  • Smile, talk to people, and learn their names!!

Happy ushering!!

> Read more from Dan.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

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.

But it’s not always that obvious because most teams are not in the red zone of extremes. There may be some isolated problems but not pervasive conditions.

Many teams are in fact healthy, but experiencing a temporary setback.

A good comparison is the human body. A healthy body will function as it should. All organs and systems are working together as designed.

However, a healthy team doesn’t mean a perfect team.

Your body can have a bad cold, flu, or bacterial infection and still be perfectly healthy. You can have a cut or a pulled muscle and still be in good health. The condition temporarily affects how you function, but you are still healthy.

Your healthy body goes to work to restore the condition.

If you ignore the health condition, it can get worse. If multiple issues arise, what was a simple cold or flu can become a complicated health risk, and your body may function poorly.

Your staff team is very similar. A healthy staff can handle difficulties, recognize problems and solve them. It has built-in systems to restore the condition back to health.

It’s possible to get overloaded if too many things happen all in the same season, but you can still regain maximum health, (functionality), it just takes longer.

Symptoms of health look like this:

  • Trust
  • Honesty
  • Alignment
  • Joy
  • Commitment
  • Results

What is the state of your team’s health? Excellent? Good? Average? Poor?

Whatever the condition, this process will help you gain full health as a team.

5 Steps to Restore Health:

1) Don’t ignore the current condition.

If you have high blood pressure, it’s not smart to ignore it. Right? The same is true for your staff.

Get honest about whatever condition might be present in your staff team. From performance to attitude, always deal with reality. If a ministry isn’t working, expectations are unclear, trust is low, etc., get it on the table.

Don’t gossip in the hallways. Do what you can personally, and if you can’t solve it alone, get it to the table that can make a difference.

2) Play hurt.

It’s nearly impossible to run consistently for more than thirty years and not have some minor injuries, but I just keep going.

More than twenty years ago, I was inspired by a friend in San Diego who had severe shin splints but kept running anyway. Jan would ice them down and keep going. It was painful, but she pressed on. I asked her why and she said, “Until I simply can’t run, quitting is not an option.” I’ve never quit since.

Sometimes your team is hurting. Keep leading. It’s not a good practice to shut things down and focus so entirely inward that you can’t keep building. You build new leadership muscle when you press through.

Make another phone call, invite another guest, pray again tomorrow, but keep going.

3) Shift leadership energy and stick together.

A friend of mine asked for advice about a situation on his staff that really rattled the whole team.

One of their staff fell into significant ethical and moral misconduct. The repercussions shook up the team and part of the congregation.

It caused doubt, mistrust, some people took sides, and a few left the church. The staff was definitely off their game and results began to wane.

I’ve been around too many churches that shoot their wounded, and leave others to pick up the pieces themselves. That never helps.

Healthy teams stick together. They do make the necessary tough decisions, but with as much grace as possible. Other leaders on the team will need to shift some of their time to step in and help with the ministry that is now suffering.

In this story the staff member had to be released from the team, in other situations, restoration is possible.

In all cases, talk openly with the staff. Treat them like adults; they know what’s going on. Talk about it and process it appropriately. Stick together.

4) Establish benchmarks.

What does health look like for you on your team? Make that clear and talk about it openly.

You might include some of the things I mentioned like trust, honesty, alignment, joy, and commitment.

It’s important to be clear on vision, direction, expectations, and results.

What does full functionality look like and what outcomes do you desire? Think that through, write it down, and make it clear.

At 12Stone, we use a process we call MAPs. (Ministry Action Plans.) They contain measurable goals and elements of leadership development. The MAPs lead to an annual coaching conversation where open and honest conversations take place. This is a huge contribution to the health of a team.

5) Get some help.

There will be some things you and your staff can’t handle without some outside help.

I had some trouble with my left foot that required minor surgery not too long ago. It was not going to eventually heal merely with the use of homeopathic remedies and by continuing to “run through the pain.” I needed some help. I needed a good doctor!

You may need an outside consultant or leadership coach to come in with “fresh eyes,” who can help you gain a better perspective. Perhaps a pastor from a larger church can help.

The point is, sometimes the continued health of your staff needs a specialist who can help you focus on the issue and restoration to full health.

I have flown hundreds of miles just to get a couple of hours with a leader who could help me work through a problem that was bigger than my experience. That advice was transformative.

When you or your team needs some assistance, do what it takes to get the best help you can.

> Read more from Dan.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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Recent Comments
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
 
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— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Other Reasons People are Not Attending Your Church

There’s a big difference between missing a Sunday and disconnecting from your church.

Vacations, travel for work, and kids have travel ball. That’s part of life. But when part of life, turns into a different life, it may be time to re-think your new trend and the possible results.

A long-time friend and volunteer leader in his church had not attended in months. I asked him if something had upset him.

He said, “No, I love my church. We just got busy, started missing here and there, and then, well you know, it was just easier not to go. Oh, and we watch online sometimes.”

We talked for a long time. It was a great conversation.

He concluded by saying, “You know, I really don’t have a good reason for no longer attending church, I just got lazy. My family (they have three kids), and I will start again next week.” And they did.

As human beings, we follow habits and patterns.

When it comes to church, drift leads to distance and distance leads to disconnection.

The point of weekly worship is not attendance; it’s participation in the body of Christ.

Christianity was never designed to be an independent endeavor. God created us to be in relationship with Him and each other. He made us on purpose with a purpose, and we live that out best together.

If you’re not worshipping at your church much these days, I hope this post encourages you to return. There is something special about worship with the body of Christ.

People return to church for a variety of reasons, including a direct prompt from God.

Sometimes they return because of their kids. That’s great! Sometimes it’s because of personal tragedy, that’s always heartbreaking, but I’m still glad they return. It might be a wedding or a funeral. Your church is happy to see you again, but I truly believe your life is more enriched when you regularly participate as part of the body of Christ. If any of the following excuses ring true for you, perhaps this is a good time to return to church.

5 practical responses to the most common reasons for drift:

1) “The church doesn’t meet my needs.”

It’s possible that a church may not meet all your needs; in fact, it’s likely.

The question of expectations is usually at the core of this issue. What should a church, your church, be expected to do, offer, or provide?

What is the role of the church, according to the Bible?

This post would be far too long if I wrote a detailed answer to that question, but I can summarize the primary purpose of the church in two words: “make disciples.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

That means the church’s primary function is to help people mature in their faith, to grow spiritually. (And that includes first reaching those who are far from Jesus.)

After that, all “programs” are an option. Since no one church can do everything, it’s a choice the leaders must make.

The most common example of a church not meeting someone’s needs is a complaint that the sermon lacks in some way. It doesn’t “feed” them.

I’m the first to agree that the Sunday message should be well prepared, based on scripture and bathed in prayer. But as a person grows in their spiritual maturity, they become able to dig out biblical truth and wisdom from the Bible on their own. The Sunday sermon becomes a gold mine for anyone to find a nugget of applicable truth and wisdom.

Ultimately, the church is a place where you help meet the needs of others.

2) “I attend online.”

Online church is awesome. Technology helps advance the purpose of the church in significant ways. You might not be feeling well, traveling for work or on vacation. There are many times when online church is a great resource, and some people physically can’t attend.

One advantage I love about online church is sharing a sermon with a friend who is not a Christian.

However, let me offer an analogy. Let’s say a mom and dad’s kids are grown and live in another state. So, they make a regular weekly Skype call to catch up. That’s great. But my guess is that the family would rather be together in person. That experience is different. The connection is more personal, and they feel it. The result is memorable.

Let me push the point just a little with this example. No one wants a visit in the hospital, from someone online, you appreciate the visit in person.

There is something about being together in person that the human spirit hungers for at a soul level. Online is great when needed, but was never designed as a substitute for the body of Christ and meeting the needs of others.

3) “My pastor made a decision I didn’t like.”

I’m a pastor, and I make decisions I don’t like. Yes, I’m smiling, but sometimes leaders have to make decisions that are not popular. Further, sometimes, we make mistakes; all leaders do. That’s not intended to justify poor leadership; it’s merely a reality.

Here’s a good question for you to ask. Was the decision sinful or subjective? My hunch is that the decision that bugged you was subjective, and not your preference.

Perhaps a better approach is to consider the big picture – with the following questions.

  • Does your church teach the Bible?
  • Is it loving and friendly to people?
  • Are people saying yes to the invitation for eternal life from Jesus?
  • Are people’s lives being changed?
  • Does it make a difference in the community?

I’m sure you could ask more questions, but candidly, if all that is happening, it’s probably a great church, and the pastor a great pastor!

4) “I don’t need church to be a Christian.”

It’s true. You don’t need to go to church to be a Christian. But as I mentioned, Christianity was never designed to be a solo deal. From the garden of Eden to the covenant with Abraham, to your walk with Jesus, it’s all about relationship.

My experience is that the more independent and isolated a person is in their faith journey, the higher the likelihood they will stall out spiritually. As I stated in another post, “You tend to drift spiritually when you are not connected relationally.” You can read that post here.

As I read scripture, the role of the pastor is not to “do” the work of ministry, but to train and equip the congregation to do the ministry God has designed for them to do. (Ephesians 4:11-16) I’ve written a post on that subject, and you can read it here.

God has a purpose for you that is part of His church. Don’t miss out.

So, let me say it again, a little differently.

You don’t need a church to be a Christian, but maybe the church needs you.

5) “The church is all about money.”

The church does need money to operate, and that won’t change. However, I can tell you that no church I know of charges you to attend. It’s free. That’s a great deal!

You can experience, enjoy, and benefit from all your church offers for no charge at all — not many places like that.

The pastor may talk about money, but it’s an invitation to give, not a mandate. You don’t have to, and you really don’t.

Your pastor is just talking about what the Bible says. If the church has a strong vision, I’m certain they will seek financial resources to fulfill that vision, but that vision is all about reaching more people.

My strong hunch is that your church really isn’t all about money.

Here’s a helpful suggestion for you. Read what the Bible says about giving, and ask God what He wants you to do, and do that.

Make it about you and God. No one else. Tell God what you think about giving to the church, He will listen. Then listen to what He says to you.

> Read more from Dan.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

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. Fair enough.

I’ve even heard some leaders slide “cutting corners” into the category of working smarter not harder. Don’t believe it. We need to work smart and hard.

You might be tempted to cut corners just because you can. You are faster, smarter and more experienced than most others in the room — big mistake.

I was coaching a young student pastor who was a naturally gifted communicator, but he never prepared. He was that good. He taught from a few thoughts scratched on a 3×5 card. He winged-it every week, and in time it began to show. His wit and charisma would only carry his ministry so far, and in time it started to suffer. It was time to dig in, or his ministry would get stuck. (When the leader is stuck the ministry gets stuck.)

My challenge to him was about stewardship. God gave him talent, gifts, and responsibility, but he was stewarding none of them very well.  The issue wasn’t limited to just one talk or even to several years of student ministry. Shortcuts impact a whole life.

A friend of mine once said about the employees in his company, “There are two groups on our staff. In one group there are people that when faced with a technical problem they don’t know the answer to, they’ll stay up all night reading complex and detailed manuals until they figure it out. In the other group, they just come and ask for an answer. You can guess which group rises.

The deeper you dig, learn, change and grow over many years, the greater the results.

Let’s take something more basic, but still very important. If you exercise once a week for 20 minutes is that good? Yes! 52 workouts a year is good. If you exercise 3-4 times a week for 30 minutes, is that better? You know the answer.

Now consider the benefit of exercising 3-4 times a week for a lifetime. Shortcuts never help you.

My friend and mentor John Maxwell has spent a lifetime in personal development, intentional study, working hard, and paying the price. Today the results are extraordinary. His greatest joy is helping others succeed and generously shares his wisdom with leaders who want to grow and make a difference.

The promise of compounding return is true. The more you invest, the greater the cumulative effect.

Sometimes a few more minutes in a conversation, or taking some time to figure something out yourself rather than Google it, or praying till you get an answer on a big decision will make a much bigger difference than you imagine in the moment.

When you refuse to take shortcuts, the reservoir of what you will have to offer others becomes deep and rich. It’s like a deep well of wisdom.

Sometimes more than a few extra minutes are required. There are things you’re working on that need many more hours. You can’t escape that if you want results, you’ll be proud of.

What’s the secret? It’s about paying the price, but it’s so worth it. It’s the key to living without regret.

A practical help is to be laser focused. Do only the things you are required to do, and responsible for, then invest your time in what you do best. Figure out your lane and stay there for a long time.

My list is perhaps intuitive, but the brief content includes helpful practices and ideas.

5 paths where shortcuts don’t work, and practical insights that do work:

1) There are no shortcuts to meaningful relationships.

There is no substitute for time with relationships, but there is a path to increased depth and significance. When it comes to relationships, it’s not just about minutes; it’s about meaning.

Being present and engaged in the moment is a game changer. Connecting at a heart level in honest and meaningful conversation is essential. That mixed with joy, laughter and experiences together will deliver what your heart longs for.

2) There are no shortcuts to spiritual growth that transforms your relationship with God.

No preaching needed here, and no judgment either. Grace abounds. Again, don’t think in minutes, think lifestyle. Consider your lifetime and how you would approach things like prayer, scripture study and worship to be as close to God as you desire.

3) There are no shortcuts to investing in people with life-changing results.

When it comes to investing in people, love everyone, equip many, and deeply develop a few. Choose wisely.

You cannot microwave the development of people, especially leaders. It requires intentionality and the long view.

The good news is that leadership development is not like a weekly program. It’s much more organic in approach. My mentors coach me a couple of times a year each. I spend the rest of the time practicing their wisdom.

I understand that developing leaders in your church requires some system and structure; however, I urge you to keep it simple.

4) There are no shortcuts to a career that makes a difference.

Let’s look at one example of dozens we could pick from.

Most of us in leadership give talks regularly. Perhaps you deliver a Sunday message nearly every week, I teach some form of a leadership lesson most weeks. We get busy, juggle many demands and get tempted to cut corners. Candidly, it’s better to say no to the opportunity or invite someone else to teach that week than to take a short cut and deliver poorly.

The important discipline on the weeks you don’t teach is to invest deeply somewhere else. Don’t use it to “catch-up” on little things that don’t matter. Make that time count. One of the best ways to invest that time is to work on your craft of communication that week, even if for just a couple of hours. Over a lifetime, the reward is huge.

5) There are no shortcuts to character that people respect.

Your integrity is a lifetime work. You can damage your character in one careless decision, but it takes a lifetime to build so that others respect it.

Traits within your character that enhance your influence such as generosity, humility, and courage are the result of intentional deep development over the years. None come by accident. The good news is that they are not difficult if you set your mind to it.

So how does all this work? Do less. Go deeper, not wider. Going deep will lead to wide.

It’s not easy, I’m still working on it and will never get it all right, but I’ve done it long enough to know it works.

> Read more from Dan.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Great Teams Have These 5 Characteristics

Who’s your favorite team in the NFL? How’d they do last season?

Are you proud or was it painful?

I know… we all want to win. Of course, we do. Who wakes up and thinks, I hope we lose?

Your church team is no different. It’s God’s church and His purpose, so positive results are important. As long as it’s all about Jesus and not so much about us, let’s press the pedal to the metal.

I acknowledge that we might sometimes measure long-term success differently than God does. For example, we can all agree that the Great Commission calls us to reach more people and help them mature in their faith. But I don’t think that we get to determine how large our churches become. I think that’s up to the sovereignty of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.

As long as we acknowledge that, we can invest ourselves deeply into the mission of successful church leadership. And your church team, your staff, make all the difference.

  • Your vision determines the direction you go.
  • Your structure and strategy determine the path you take.
  • Your staff determine if you get there.

Your staff (your team) may be paid staff or volunteer. And the fullest scope of your team includes all your volunteers.

(This post will lean toward your paid staff team, but again, ultimately includes many more people.)

For your team to get along and perform well, the overall environment needs to be healthy. As a rule, toxic teams do not win, and if they do, they don’t win for long.

Five indicators of a healthy team:

  1. Trust and morale is high.
  2. Insecurity and politics are low.
  3. Honesty and ownership about flaws and problems is open and evident.
  4. Commitment to the vision and each other is unwavering.
  5. Accountability is high, and a passion to succeed is strong.

5 Core Components of Great Church Teams:

1) Trust is at the core of all great teams.

When someone says “I trust you,” what are they saying? What does trust mean?

There are several possibilities such as:

  • I trust your character.
  • I trust your intentions.
  • I trust that you have my best interests at heart.
  • I trust that you have the ability to help me grow.
  • I trust that you won’t betray me (hurt me) (turn on me) (abandon me).

Trust is a powerful word and concept.

Trust is a powerful word and concept.

Kevin Myers is the founding, and senior pastor at 12Stone Church and I can tell you that I trust him without question, and he trusts me. The same is true among are full senior leadership team. Trust always starts there.

Trust can break down further out in the organization, but trust will never span the full scope of your team if it isn’t solid at the top.

Three core components establish trust:

  • First is character, (trustworthiness). You are who you appear to be, and people can count on you.
  • Second, is competence. You have the ability to lead and the skill to succeed.
  • Third, is caring. You demonstrate that you have their best interest at heart.

When it comes to trust, your team will catch what is modeled.

2) Unity in vision and alignment in strategy is essential.

Narrow your focus.

Your vision will help unite your team. A great vision draws your team together in such a way that makes it possible to achieve together what you could not accomplish alone.

What is your clearly defined purpose or goal? How will you measure your progress?

It’s very easy for your church vision to be so broad and all-encompassing that you accomplish far less than you hoped to and certainly less than your potential.

The point isn’t to see how much you can include under the banner of your mission statement. You are better served to think through and decide what few things will help you reach farther and more effectively than ever before.

Narrow your focus.

What will you all agree on as your central target, that if accomplished, God will be pleased and you can celebrate your intentional efforts?

3) Uniqueness among a team is something to embrace.

I love people and the uniqueness of their personalities. The different temperaments and wiring among the people on your team makes life interesting and work fun. It’s important to create an environment where people are free to be themselves. They will lead better and enjoy their work more when they are their true selves.

There are so many possibilities. Introverts and extroverts. Morning people and night owls. Planned and spontaneous. Detailed and big picture. Grace and Truth. Risk takers and play it safe. Dominant and easy-going. Which ones are you? Do you know your team well?

This doesn’t give anyone the license to have a bad attitude, behave with insecurity or in general – be a jerk. That’s not what freedom means. Freedom to be you at its core includes your responsibility to do your part well and in the best interest of others. That kind of freedom is life-giving.

4) Conflict resolution is an ongoing endeavor.

The best teams experience conflict, and they’re not afraid of it. However, they don’t live in a perpetual state of unresolved conflict. Great teams learn how to resolve conflict quickly, grow from it, make better decisions and greater progress.

A good test to discern if your team is maturing is similar to the test of a maturing marriage relationship.

A husband and wife are a team of two. All couples experience conflict, and the way to test their growth is two-fold.

First, when you have that occasional argument, it’s about something new. That means you are moving forward in life and experiencing new territory. You are thinking and growing.

If you’re arguing about the same things you were arguing about last year, that’s not growth, and it might be immaturity.

Second, you resolve those arguments faster and easier than before. That’s also a sign of growth and maturity.

That guideline also applies to your team and will serve you well. Don’t hesitate to have the difficult conversations, even if they lead to tough decisions. You and your team will be better for it. Unresolved conflict, or worse, conflict that is ignored, is toxic to a healthy and productive team – just like it is in a marriage.

5) Results matter.

Just because church teams ultimately win and lose in a spiritual realm, doesn’t mean that measurable results don’t matter. In fact, they matter more.

It’s all about Kingdom-based stewardship. The combined time, resources and talent of your team are God-given and God-provided. They belong to Him, and we are the servant-leaders that steward what has been entrusted to us. If we bury it or use it poorly, we have missed the opportunity. If, however, we multiply what we have been given, God’s Kingdom is expanded!

How do you measure results on your team?

One of the best ways is to intentionally mine stories of life change. Tell the stories and thank God for them!

> Read more from Dan.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

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. Things may be going well, you may even have good momentum, but there will always be obstacles to face. That’s part of leadership.

However, there are times when what you’re facing is more than everyday obstacles to overcome and problems to solve. It seems more like a storm at high seas.

There are times when your difficult circumstances create personal doubt and discouragement, but there is a way to lead through the storm.

This may seem like an unusual thing to say, but you can find some solace in knowing you’re not alone. These conditions have been navigated by many before you.

Here are just a few things I’ve heard recently from different church leaders.

  • Our church just got sued.
  • Our board chairman just became seriously – possibly terminally ill.
  • Our offerings have been under budget now for six months in a row.
  • Our student ministry just experienced a 13-year-old break his arm at the youth meeting.
  • Our worship pastor just announced his resignation without any warning.
  • Our new property planned for relocation has an easement that kills the deal.
  • Our young church plant just lost the school we were meeting in.
  • Our church has lost 20% of its attendance in one year.

Any one of these can drain you of enthusiasm and energy, but two or three at one time and it’s all you can do to hold on.

Leading in tough times when things are going wrong is difficult to say the least.

But it’s in the tough times that you grow more and see the hand of God at work.

7 proven basics to help you lead well when things go wrong:

1) Don’t panic.

Sometimes the situation is a surprise and you find yourself blindsided, and other times you could see it coming. But in either way, panic is not the solution. Granted it is easy to panic.

Panic comes from being overwhelmed and not knowing the way out. Panic is a result feeling trapped with no solutions, like being caught in a building that’s on fire. But if you panic, you perish. That’s true for you as a leader too.

Step back, get quiet, think and pray. Whether you have only a couple hours or a couple days, take some time. Insist on it no matter how big the pressure or how loud the demands.

Collect your thoughts, regain your peace, and write a few sentences that summarize the problem(s) clearly and succinctly. The outcome will be far better.

2) Own what’s yours to own.

The natural instinct is to source the problem, find blame, or place the responsibility somewhere else. The reason that’s natural is because the human system seeks ways to lower pressure.

There are good ways to lower pressure, like in the previous point I mentioned think and pray. And there are poor ways, like try to pass the hot potato to someone else, make excuses or fix blame.

Own what is yours personally to own and take responsibility for the whole situation. This will not only help you grow as a leader but will increase the people’s trust in you and respect for you.

3) Get in front of it.

In many cases you may already feel behind the curve. I understand that. But whatever your circumstance, now is the best time to get out in font and lead.

It starts with what I talked about in the previous point. Own it. Take responsibility. And you need to go public. (Important note: Not necessarily to the whole congregation, but to the appropriate group, and that may be the whole congregation.)

The only thing worse than a leader facing serious troubles is if it seems like either the leader doesn’t know they’re facing big problems or if they are sticking their head in the sand and doing nothing about it.

People are resilient, they can handle more than you think. Don’t keep them in the dark. When trust is established, your people can be surprisingly supportive. Not everyone will be, obviously, but enough. That leads to the next point.

4) Establish who’s with you.

Establishing who’s with you when things aren’t going well is not about allies, politics or forming a coalition. It’s not about finding the people who are on your side. That never solves anything, well, not in the long run. There are no sides, its one church. (Or you may lead one campus or one department within your church.)

I’m referring to your inner support team of trusted advisors and your key leadership base.

Let’s be candid, among your key leaders there may be some who think you made a mistake. Or, you didn’t handle it right. But they love and support you and the church. These leaders are invaluable because they tell you the truth and stick with you.

Talk with them, receive their counsel, pray together and make a plan. That’s the next step.

5) Stick to a simple plan.

The kind of plan you need when things aren’t going well is simple, concise and action-oriented.

Deep thinking is necessary, but don’t over-think. Deep thinking involves deeper layers of new solutions, over-thinking is circling the same thoughts over and over again with no new results.

There is no perfect solution. Land one that is sound and the team can agree on. Then stick to it.

At risk of seeming contradiction, you must remain adaptable. The title of this point is “stick to a simple plan,” and that remains true, but some steps in your plan may need to be adapted to meet new turns in your circumstance.

6) Focus on doing the right things not on being successful.

A successful outcome is the obvious desire, but if you make that the focus of your process you make be tempted to take short-cuts in order to get an early success.

You can’t cut corners and get the result you really want.

It’s like a church that does things to draw a crowd on Sunday morning rather than the things that will build disciples of Jesus. (Please forgive the over-generalization, but I’m confident you know what I mean.) Both ways can fill the room, but one can do it in seven days and the other takes a long time.

There simply is no instant success, especially when things aren’t going well. Focus on the right things and don’t give up. That takes us to the last point.

7) Face reality, but don’t quit.

Remember, leaders face problems and solve them. That’s what we do. That’s reality. Your situation may be more difficult than what “normal” problems present, but this truth still applies.

When John Maxwell and I were at Skyline Church in San Diego we faced open opposition to relocation for ten years. Yes, a full decade! That was the reality, but we (the whole staff and congregation) didn’t quit.

It turned out that our job was to find the land, pay for the land and get it re-zoned. Then Dr. Jim Garlow was the leader to build the building and relocate. That process was also filled with great opposition, but they did it! The Skyline congregation is truly amazing!

That wouldn’t have happened if the leaders or congregation quit.

Keep going, it’s worth it!

> Read more from Dan.


Leading in tough times when things are going wrong is difficult to say the least. There are times when your difficult circumstances create personal doubt and discouragement, but there is a way to lead through the storm.

Download PDF

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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COMMENTS

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— Russell C
 
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— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

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. If you stop growing, in time, so will what you lead.

Change, adaptability, and improvement are essential.

Over many years in ministry and thousands of conversations with church leaders, the one thing that seems to separate those who keep moving forward and those who don’t is continued personal growth. (That includes spiritual growth.)

Personal growth never gets old. In fact, it keeps you mentally young, increases your energy and has a dramatic impact on your whole life.

Your ministry success, impact in people’s, lives and leadership legacy is not dependent on how smart you are, luck, the current size of your church, whether you’ve written a book, personality, or who you know.

Next to the power and presence of God in your life, personal growth is the key to deeper and continued impact in other’s lives and a deep and meaningful leadership legacy.  And that’s up to you.

Be careful not to confuse busyness with growth. You can be working hard and running fast, but that doesn’t mean you are learning, changing and growing. It sometimes indicates the opposite.

Don’t connect the size of your church with the rate of your growth. You can be in a smaller church and growing personally like crazy, or just doing the same things repeatedly. The same is true if you lead in a larger church. You can be so busy you barely have time to think. Or you may be growing, changing, and continuing to adapt.

If you think you’re stuck, you don’t have to stay there. Whatever your circumstance, if you feel a little stale, in a rut or just plain stuck, there is a way out. And that path is always connected to personal growth.

3 guidelines for personal growth:

1) Your motivation matters.

Discipline is important, but by itself, it’s not enough. Discipline without fruit will suck the life out of you in time. The question is… what drives you?

Why do you do what you do?

Grow your church? Gain Spiritual Influence? Drive Change? Buy a brand new Lamborghini Veneno? (just kidding)

I don’t know what motivates you, but my hunch is that it has something to do with making a difference in people’s lives on a spiritual level – because of Jesus. Therefore, personal growth for the sake of personal growth can become stale.

That would be like going to college indefinitely, which would eventually become a hollow experience. At some point, a deeper drive that results in action is needed to keep you going.

The practical point here is to align your goals and dreams with your motivation. That means your goal isn’t personal growth; it’s making a more profound impact in the lives of more people. And the value you add to people can be as specific as you desire. Pick your lane.

2) Your method needs to fit your wiring.

For decades I’ve listened to people I respect and admire talk about the value of journaling, and how important it is for their personal growth. But it just doesn’t work for me.

It’s not about writing; I write thousands of words every month. Candidly, I think it’s because I write so much, and I’m tempted to turn my journal into something to be published. Writing does help me figure out what I think, but the model of classic journaling doesn’t fit me.

Discover what works for you.

Some leaders love podcasts. Some love talking with a mentor, and others need the focus of their undivided thoughts. It also changes according to your age and stage, so continue to experiment and try new things.

For me, in this season, I focus my growth avenues in three areas:

Books. I love and appreciate good books that contain deep wisdom and practical truth. I’m a thought junkie. Wisdom inspires me. I can stand up from reading one sentence or one chapter and feel like Rocky Balboa running up the 72 steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (If you’re a young leader, google it.)

Young Leaders. I love hanging out with young leaders, especially young leaders in their twenties. I learn so much. I want to know what they think, but more importantly, how they think. They keep me fresh and on my toes. I want to know what music they listen to, what TV shows they like, and I’m always getting hot tips on where the best tacos are!

I’m intentional in learning how young leaders think about the gospel, church, and leadership, but mostly I just love being with them.

Mentors. I love, and I’m grateful for those who invest in me, whether it’s one time over lunch or those who have believed in me and added value to me for years and years. You don’t need many mentors; it’s more important that you put to practice what they tell you!

Please notice something here.

Each one of my paths for personal growth began with the words, “I love.”  Each one reflects and connects with my wiring. That’s so important if you want to keep growing. Figure out what works for you.

3) Measurement helps you make progress.

How you measure your growth helps you determine if you are making progress. For example, if I measure my growth by how many books I read or the number of conversations I have with young leaders, I’m not going to get an accurate sense of how I’m growing. I won’t really know if I’m making progress.

It’s not the books and conversations; it’s what I do with them. How I apply new realities, wisdom and practical ideas get me closer to true measurement. But growth can’t be measured without a connection to change. If I’m not changing, I’m not growing. The same is true for you.

Ultimately, for me, and I’ll take a risk and say for you too, the end-game-legacy kind of measurement is how many lives you’ve touched for their good. Don’t make the number a competition or treat it like a scoreboard; it’s all about stewardship. God gave you gifts, and you want to make a difference.

If you change just one life, but that life is the next Billy Graham, I’d say you are making significant progress in God’s plan.

What about your kids? How many do you have? 1, 2, 5? Start there.

It’s not a number, but as leaders, we do want to reach people, as far as our gifts and opportunities will allow.  Ask God to clarify your motivation, grant wisdom and open doors of opportunity.

The growth process requires that you keep praying and all the while keep investing in others. Don’t wait till you’ve arrived… I’ll let you in on a little secret. You will never “arrive,” so make a difference now.

> Read more from Dan.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Three Personality Traits You Need for Clear Communication

Many local churches function as if the primary communicator is also the single vision caster. It’s true that the senior pastor is the lead vision caster, but that only paints a part of the picture.

It is also an insufficient way to view how a good vision is shaped, sustained and continually communicated to more and more people.

You’ve heard the phrase, “vision leaks.” It’s true. And, because it’s true, the vision of your church must be said over and over again, including one to one, small group huddles and meetings, and from the main stage.

Before I list the three traits, here’s a perspective of communicating the vision in your church.

There are three roles in leading and communicating the vision:

  • Vision Creators
  • Vision Castors
  • Vision Carriers

The vision creators typically consist of a small group of senior staff leaders (or volunteer leaders in a smaller church) along with the church board, who follow the senior pastor’s lead and prompts from God. Together, they seek clarity, alignment and begin to secure buy-in from the rest of the leaders.

The vision castors are a slightly larger group who stand on a stage of various sizes and communicate the vision in a public way. This would include, for example, groups like Campus Pastors, Student Pastors, Worship Leaders, etc.

The vision carriers are a massive group and often underutilized. In fact, nearly anyone in your church can be a vision carrier – and often are, depending on their level of enthusiasm, buy-in, and participation.

Or, another way to say it is, the further it will be carried.

A vision is carried relationally to far more people than any one vision castor can take it, regardless of how gifted a primary communicator is.

After an inspiring talk from the senior pastor; people will sit in homes, coffee shops and where they work saying something like, “So, what did you think about what Pastor said?”

That’s when the vision carriers kick into gear.

3 Traits of Your Best Vision Carriers:

1) They speak up positively

The people who love your church speak enthusiastically and positively to far more people than the pastor or church staff will ever reach. They answer questions and encourage others to join in their enthusiasm. The help put out fires and help others understand the vision.

2) They contribute generously

Vision attracts the resources needed to advance the mission. The people who have bought in at a heart-level contribute financially, and often at a generous level. They have either personally experienced life-change because of your church, or they see life-change in your church, and their spiritual maturity allows them to make Kingdom investments.

3) They serve joyfully

The opportunities to serve as part of a local church are nearly endless. The number of ministry options within the church should be limited, but the opportunities to carry the love of Christ into the community are endless. Your best vision carriers serve with joy, and their enthusiasm is contagious!

3 Quick tips on strengthening your army of vision carriers:

Make it clear
Make sure your vision is simple to understand, fresh, and captivating. If it can’t be said in a minute, it’s too complicated.

Invest
Always endeavor to want more for your people than from them. Your people are not tools to grow the church; they are the church. Grow your people, and they will reach more people.

Give them tools
From brief training sessions to window clings, give your people tools to help them communicate. Most importantly, give them a reason to tell others.

___

Here’s how to know it’s working:

Vision carriers invite people!

You can measure how well you’re doing by the number of guests and the retention rate of those guests.

> Read more by Dan.

Download PDF

Tags: , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Communication >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
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
 
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.