4 Characteristics of a Relational Leader

Very few leaders possess what I refer to as “Stadium Filling Charisma.”

You know what I mean, a personality that is larger than life and people flock to be around that person.

When they are in the lobby of the church there is always a crowd of maybe 20 — 25 – 30 people gathered around them!

I don’t have that kind of charisma, do you?

The good news is, that kind of charisma is not a qualifier for you to become a great leader.

In fact, in some cases, it can be a detriment. Organizations tied to a leader with a big personality can become dependent on that person.

That can happen even at a church campus, a ministry team, or in a small group. That isn’t always the case, of course, but the point is, don’t assume that’s the ideal.

And most importantly, don’t think you are handicapped as a leader if you don’t have a big outgoing persona.

That said, some degree of an appealing personality is necessary to lead effectively, and to that end, everyone can have what I refer to as “Relational Charisma.”

However, relational charisma is not defined by the size of your personality, but the generosity of your spirit.

Many great leaders with a high quotient of relational charisma are more subdued, thoughtful, and some have a slight bent toward introversion.

So when it comes to charisma, don’t think personality, think intentionality.

Relational charisma is a kind of personal magnetism that everyone can have. If you want it, and if you are willing to work on it intentionally, it’s yours to develop.

Relational charisma carries an authentic personal appeal that endears people to you and allows you to lead more effectively.

This is the foundational practice to develop relational charisma:

When you walk into a room,
focus on helping the people in the room to feel better about who they are,
rather than causing the people to feel better about who you are.

In other words, make it about them, not you.

In concept, it’s simple, but in practice, it can be challenging to remain consistent with this idea. We all get what it feels like to be moving fast, and under pressure with lots to do!  That truth about leadership makes it more challenging than it appears.

It’s really more of a way of life; that is often life-changing for both you and those you are around.

A quick list of 4 things that will shut down your relational charisma:

  • Insecurity – You are focused on or worried about what others think of you.
  • Lack of social-awareness – You fail to notice or be aware of what is happening in the room.
  • Pre-occupied or distracted – Your body may be in the room, but your mind and heart are elsewhere.
  • Image focused – You walk into a room, and it’s all about you. How the people see you, the impression you make, connecting only with people who can help you, and your agenda.

4 characteristics that enable you to live out a genuine sense of relational charisma consistently:

1) You genuinely love and care about people.

You know if you sincerely care about others and when you don’t. My assumption is that you do!

However, it is possible to want to care, but without gaining some ground in self-confidence and self-awareness, it is difficult to genuinely care because you are consumed with your own concerns.

This is not an indictment; it’s an encouragement to give yourself grace and work on self-confidence and self-awareness. The idea is this, when you set your needs and wants aside, and focus on others, you become a “larger” and more effective leader.

2) You have a sense that something is happening that is bigger than you are.

Have you ever walked into a room and wondered what God thinks about what’s happening in the room?

It’s a great way to approach your spiritual leadership and embrace relational charisma.

Who would Jesus want to talk with? What would he say? What would He want to see happen in the room?

When you practice that kind of thinking, you gain a sense of something larger, a glimpse of eternity. You connect with the Kingdom of God and the body of Christ in a deeper way.

3) You possess a healthy sense of self-confidence.

A healthy self-confidence means you think about yourself the way that God does, nothing more and nothing less. With that as a foundation, when you believe in yourself, you know who you are, and you like who you are, your confidence as a leader increases tremendously.

You possess a sense of personal security that allows you to make your presence in the room about others and not about yourself.

In general, you think to yourself, “I can do this.” Not out of personal bravado, but from an inner sense that God is with you.

4) You possess a strong degree of self-awareness.

If a leader walks into a room and is mostly unaware about what is going on with others, and or has little idea how he or she is perceived as a person and a leader, their social awareness is low.

Gaining a stronger sense of social-awareness begins with a healthy sense of self-awareness and personal security.

Knowing who you are, your strengths and weaknesses, abilities and capacity, etc., help you become more secure in yourself. That security creates mental and emotional margin that allows you to be more aware of others, and available to them at a heart level.

In a practical summary, relational charisma looks like this when you “walk into the room.”:

You embody a positive spirit and sense of hope about the future.
This point is about your personality. You can be an easy-going person and still be positive, hopeful, and bring some energy to the conversation.

You ask questions and listen well.
Make it about their agenda, not yours. Smile, and if you don’t know them, learn their name quickly. Approach them, don’t wait for people to find you, take the initiative.

You look for the best and believe in each person you connect with.
It’s easy to find good stuff about people when you look for it.

You encourage sincerely.
You just can’t encourage people too much. The most important element in your encouragement of others is sincerity. People see and smell surface level hot air really fast.

You add value to others.
Ultimately your role as a leader is to add value to a person’s walk with God that results in their spiritual growth as a disciple of Christ.

Adding value, however, is not limited in its scope. It includes a vast range of practical value, such as helping people to be better leaders, parents, friends, and spouses, etc. I hope you lean into relational charisma as a natural part of your life. It truly makes a life-changing difference for you and for those you lead.

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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.

The Case for Healthy Church Membership

Church membership should not consist of rules to keep people out, but ramps to help people grow.

Membership in a local church may seem outdated or unnecessary, but if led well, it adds great strength to your church.

Candidly, nearly all churches have some form of “membership.”

  • Some formal, calling it church membership.
  • Others informal, using words like belonging, discipleship, culture, team, or community, etc.

Both are referring to the same idea, but with different words, in a different style, and with differing amounts of emphasis.

I’ve served in two churches that are part of The Wesleyan Church, a great denomination. In both churches, I’ve taught all or part of the membership class for many years.

It’s been my practice to remain after the class and field questions from anyone who wants to talk. I’ve listened to thousands of questions over thirty years.

These are among the five most often asked questions.

  1. What if my spouse is not a believer?
  2. What if I’m not sure about being baptized?
  3. What if I don’t have time to serve in a ministry?
  4. What if I can’t give a full tithe?
  5. What if I’m not qualified to be a leader?

These questions are packed with doubt and uncertainty. Those who have asked these questions wonder if they measure up to what they’ve been encouraged to embrace for spiritual growth.

In each case I emphasize a grace-filled path for growth rather than an either-or, you are in or out, kind of membership loaded up with a list of do’s and don’ts, rules and requirements.

Church membership is most effective when you emphasize vision, values, teamwork, and life change. Church growth is essential, but focus on the growth of the person, not the growth of the church.

I’ve wondered at times why questions like the five I mentioned arise in a class taught with so much grace, encouragement, and opportunity. So, I’ve asked those who attend.

The most common response includes two things:

1) Their church background.
Their previous experience is not always positive. They have often only known a list of do’s and mostly don’ts.

2) Culture is changing – rapidly.
Membership is no longer something desired unless there is perceived value. People want to be part of something they value.

Membership in current culture does work, from frequent flyer miles on Delta to discounts at Costco, and from a free sandwich at Subway to Prime Membership with Amazon where you receive free shipping.

People do join where they perceive value.

This might sound like an approach that builds consumer Christians, that’s not at all what I want to communicate.

In fact, it’s the opposite. Let’s not use the word membership for a minute.

Maybe you communicate; become part of our church family, or find a place to belong within our community, or discover your place on the team.

Use whatever language you would prefer and fits your culture.

The concept of belonging to a body of believers, (whether you call it membership, team, community or family, etc., is about spiritual growth, a call to maturity, and giving yourself away to others.

The foundational leadership principle that makes this work is: You as the leader(s) give first.

Good leaders always give first and invest more. When you model this lifestyle, the people in your congregation discover that you really do want more for them than from them.

5 ways you can invest first and invest more in those you lead:

1) Give generous amounts of spiritual encouragement and challenge.

Your primary responsibility as a leader is to provide spiritual guidance based on God’s word that results in growing spiritual maturity. The person must own the process of personal growth, but as a leader, you are the champion of their growth.

2) Provide leadership development.

For all who are ready and willing, invest in their potential for leadership or increased leadership capacity.

This development is not only focused on leadership for church ministry but even more for their leadership at home and in the workplace. (. . . more for them than from them.)

3) Communicate love and concern.

Your role as spiritual shepherd is one of prayer, nurture, and care.

4) Create and offer opportunities that are not possible on their own.

The vision of your church is much larger than what any one person can do on their own. That’s the beauty of team, family, and community. The “member” is part of something bigger than they are on their own.

The opportunities are many such as, being part of a grand vision, being connected in a community within a small group, biblical insights, and inspiration on Sunday, and incredible serving or global mission experiences.

In all these elements, you add value to their life by providing what an individual or family cannot create on their own.

5) Model a life of integrity and consistency.

Your character is the foundation not only for the principle of authentically modeling the life you teach but for the entirety of your leadership. This serves as great inspiration and encouragement for those you serve.

The consistency of your life and character paints a hopeful picture for those you lead.

Your church structure may or may not embrace a formal membership, but we all want people to find a place to belong and join the team to experience meaningful spiritual growth by pursuing God and serving others.

To this end, a membership class is a great opportunity to inspire, encourage, and breathe life into people who have already indicated interest in your church.

Let them know you love and appreciate them! Emphasize the vision and what you have to offer that helps them mature in their faith and live life to the full. (John 10:10)

Here’s a practical list of the kinds of things you can focus on:

  • Your culture and values – who you are.
  • Your vision for the future – where you are going.
  • Stories of life change – the meaning and purpose of the church.
  • The value of serving – the beauty of giving yourself away.
  • Opportunities for meaningful serving that are directly connected to the vision.
  • The benefit of participating – the joy of sharing life with others. (Small groups)
  • The power of prayer and scripture – the nature of an intimate walk with God.
  • The significance of reaching the lost – the primary focus of ministry energy.

Make the class fun, serve those who attend well, and keep the energy up. Make the class a gift to the people rather than appearing only as an ask of the people.

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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 Ways to Engage the Sermon, not just Evaluate It

After the service what do you hear about the sermon? What do you read on social media?

  • “It wasn’t deep enough.”
  • “I loved the message, God spoke to me!”
  • “Pastor Bob’s sermon from 1st Church was better, he connects better.”
  • “That teaching was challenging and convicted me, thank you!”
  • “It was boring and I didn’t get anything out of it.”
  • “Pastor brought the heat, can’t wait for next Sunday!”
  • “I really couldn’t listen, I’m not happy with the Pastor right now.”

If you have been part of a church for some time you’ve heard all these and more. It’s not a slam on the local church, it’s part of our humanity, but that doesn’t mean it’s all good.

There’s nothing wrong with some constructive criticism, in fact helpful critique is good. But there is a big difference between helpful critique and hurtful criticism about the Sunday sermon.

A pastor and close friend showed me the manuscripts of his sermons that one person in his church typed out every week, and marked all the grammatical errors, how many times he said the word “I,” and corrected his theology – all in red.

Yes, that’s extreme, but the art of evaluating the pastor’s sermon is at an all-time high. That’s why I’m eager to write these thoughts on moving away from evaluating the Sunday message to engaging it.

Most of my teaching is in the arena of spiritual and strategic leadership for church leaders, so I don’t personally get many of these sermon-oriented comments. But I coach the pastors that do, so I’m current and know how real the impact is.

I’m hoping this post helps us all stay focused on the purpose and value of a Sunday sermon.

Candidly, the Sunday message is designed for people’s spiritual growth, not their evaluation. There should be a small team in place to evaluate the sermon and help the pastor become a better communicator. Let them do that part.

Before we jump into a list of practical thoughts, let me offer three simple, “Please don’t do this, it’s hazardous to your spiritual health,” statements.

  1. Don’t allow your spirit to become critical, thereby lowering or possibly blocking your receptivity to God’s Word.
  2. Don’t compare your pastor to the dozens of other communicators you can hear online.
  3. Don’t think about all the other people who need to hear the sermon until it has changed you first.

Let me be very candid, there are some sermons that could have been better, I know, I’ve delivered a few of them. Thank God for people’s grace and my improvement over time.

However, I honestly believe that if you and I want to get something out of it, we can – every Sunday.

5 practices that will benefit your spiritual growth from the Sunday message:

1) Focus on the message not the messenger.

What is the main point of the sermon? What is God saying to you?

It’s easy in our current culture to assess and evaluate the speaker, and not necessarily in a mean or attacking way.

We are all evaluated, so we naturally evaluate. However, in the Sunday morning setting, evaluating the speaker is rarely helpful or productive.

If the pastor stumbles on a word or two, looks at the notes too often, has a unique speaking idiosyncrasy, etc., let it go. Let the designated team work on that.

Your sole focus is to engage the message in order to hear God’s voice with anticipation of an insight just for you. That takes us to the second practice.

2) Listen for insight more than entertainment.

I’ll quickly admit I love humor and communicators with a sense of humor. But I sometimes catch myself talking more about my favorite funny story than the spiritual insight that God meant for me.

Purposeful humor is a strong and desirable asset in a sermon, but entertainment isn’t the main thing the hearer should look for.

Enjoy the humor but seek the insight the Holy Spirit has for you, look for it. Look for what is new for you in that moment.

A biblical or spiritual insight can be new or a refresher, but either way it hits you as an “aha moment,” something relevant and meaningful to your life right then. Anticipate the aha moment.

3) Make it an act of worship more than education.

God teaches us through His Word, and that is always important, but information over transformation is not the point of the Sunday message.

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

I thoroughly believe in biblical education, but there is something else, arguably larger, in play. It is the worship of God from the self-revelation of His Word.

Worship is the high calling for all Christians. As you listen to the message what does God reveal to you about his character, heart and will? What is He making known to you about who He is?

The more you know the one and true God the greater the depth and passion of your worship.

4) Engage the moment spiritually rather than remaining detached.

No one walks into church completely carefree. We are all distracted by the burdens we carry, the problems we face and the curve balls that life throws our way.

Yet, that 60 minutes or so of worship and teaching may be exactly what you need most. In fact, my hunch is that the more engaged you are the more you receive God’s guidance for you.

Worry, stress, and problems keep us distracted and detached when we desperately need to be engaged to what God is saying.

A great way to resist being detached and fully engage the moment is to not only seek what God is saying to you, but to be aware of what is happening in the room and pray for others.

For example, the pastor may be making a point that you sense a need to pray for others in that moment. Pay attention to what is happening in the spiritual realm and engage God in his work.

The Holy Spirit may put someone on your mind, pray for them right then! In this way you are actually entering into and aligning with what God is doing.

5) Pursue personal change over perfect content.

Spiritual growth is the purpose of your Sunday morning experience and your hearing of the message in particular.

There may be days where you just need comfort, wisdom or to sense the nearness and love of God. That’s good. But ultimately, the purpose is the development of your faith, spiritual maturity and to be transformed by the power of God.

Candidly, the content does not need to be perfect and polished for that change to take place. The power to change is up to God, the choice to change is up to you.

Yes, your pastor needs to work hard to be prepared, but in the end, God delivers what we need, then we choose if we will respond or not.

I’m often amazed at what people have said to me after I preach. (Besides “When is the senior pastor coming back?”) 😅

They tell me about the thought that really helped them, challenged them, or was exactly what they needed in the moment. And that thought was nowhere in my notes, nor did I say it even once!

It is simply God at work speaking to the person who is fully engaged and seeks to change.

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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 Hopes for the Future Church

There is a rising tide that the Church has lost its edge, and for some, even lost its way. In some cases, there is truth to that. But ultimately, the general conclusion cannot be that the Church is irrelevant.

I know the “irrelevant” message can be discouraging to so many of you who serve your church in positions of leadership. This post will encourage you and provide positive direction.

The Church was never meant to remain the same; change is part of its design.

As the Church changes, largely to adapt to the shifts in culture, it’s vital that we stay focused on the original purpose of the Church.

“His [God] intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Ephesians 3:10-11

This article is not written as a position of defense. It’s not a “how to” article to fix all the problems. It’s a clear reminder of foundational truths that help us all stay focused no matter the pressure or opposition, and practical helps to keep going.

The Church is a great force for good. The stories of salvation, baptism, and life change worldwide are too numerous to ignore.

Yes, some churches are ineffective, but the most ineffective church is more helpful than the person who does nothing.

Let’s jump into the reasons the church has a promising future.

5 Reasons:

1) An attempt to dismiss the Church is like an attempt to dismiss God.

The Church isn’t a building, and it’s not limited to one day a week. The Church is the Bride of Christ, the people of God, destined for the hope of eternal life.

We are sent out into our communities and the world to make a difference for Christ.

Currently, most churches meet in buildings and on Sunday. That may change, but what God set in motion won’t be dismissed.

In the last few years, there has been a great deal of meaningful and productive conversation about changes to the mega-church and the attractional approach to ministry.

The result has been re-focusing from a church service with an emphasis on drawing the people in to hear the message of the gospel to sending the believers out to share the gospel. It’s not an either or, but the shift is intentional and good.

I’m listening in on what changes smaller churches are anticipating they need to make.

(Leave a comment at the end of this post if you have an insight that may help.)

Regardless of the size of the church, God’s plan is still in full force.

2) The purpose of the church is not yet fulfilled.

The New Testament makes the mission of the church clear. From the well-known
Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 to the passage in Ephesians 3 – I mentioned earlier, the purpose is communicating the gospel and grace of Jesus. With the clear end of making disciples of Christ.

God’s heart has always been for eternal life. For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!” Ezekiel 18:32

In Gwinnett County (population of just under one million people) where 12Stone’s eight campuses are located, a suburb of Atlanta, hundreds of thousands don’t profess to follow Christ.

What would you estimate that number or percentage to be in your city?

There is much more for us to do. Let’s continue to help our churches get better so we can reach further.

3) The church is imperfect, but not ineffective.

As I talk with leaders across the country, I get to hear incredible stories of transformation and life change. It’s so inspiring.

At 12Stone Church we have begun casting vision for what is next and new — what God has in store for the next couple years.

One element is the transformation of families and how we are elevating Re-Engage, an approximately twenty-week marriage small group based on the gospel.

Each time Pastor Kevin talks about Re-Engage, people can’t hold back. They interrupt and tell their story of a stuck marriage, or one headed toward divorce and how it is now restored, healthy, and growing again!

It’s truly astounding. Transforming families is only one of three areas we believe God is stirring. The other two are transforming souls and transforming communities. The vision is huge and humbling at the same time.

12Stone is an imperfect church that is being used by God to change thousands of lives.

Your church is imperfect too, but no church needs to be ineffective.

Don’t let the difficulties, problems, and setbacks of your church discourage you; they are part of life. The Church has always faced difficulties and solved problems.

Personally, I love solving problems when they are attached to a purpose greater than myself!

This simple plan may be helpful to you:

  1. Be honest about what needs to be improved.
  2. Prioritize the list.
  3. Select the top three problems that must be addressed. (Set the others aside for now.)
  4. Commit to solving those three problems in the next six months. (Or the appropriate time-frame.)
  5. Measure your progress against pre-determined goals and celebrate what God does!

4) People still intuitively head to the church when in need of help.

I briefly mentioned a point similar to this one in a recent article offering seven reasons why I stayed in ministry for thirty-seven years. You can read it here.

Marriage breakdowns, spiritually lost or confused, wanting a positive environment for kids, health concerns, lonely and hungry for meaningful relationships, these are just a few of the reasons why people still seek the church. I meet them every week.

The church, Christianity, or God himself never promises to remove trouble and difficulties from a person’s life, but they do show us a better way to live our lives with resilience and purpose.

5) Personal growth and strategic innovation continue to be objectives church leaders strive for.

The church is never stronger than its leaders.  First, pray for them! Ask God to grant them wisdom, favor, stamina, and clear vision.

The leaders I know are passionate about personal growth; they are truly hungry for it. They change, get better, and increase their capacity to improve the church.

Healthy and growing leaders lead healthy and growing churches.

What is your plan for personal growth?

Healthy and growing leaders are also passionate about innovation. They never settle for the status quo.

Innovation is not about change for the sake of change, and it’s not merely making something different.

Positive innovation embraces practical change that makes a measurable difference directly connected to your vision.

What one or two innovative improvements are you making to your current ministries that will increase the effectiveness of your church? I pray this article encourages your love and commitment to the future of the church.

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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 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

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

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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COMMENTS

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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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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.


 

Download PDF

Tags: , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

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.