3 Ways Your Team Struggles with Execution

According to Donald Sull, Charles Sull, and Rebecca Homkes in their Harvard Business Review article titled “Why Strategy Execution Unravels,” execution suffers because people fail to collaborate horizontally. After interviewing and researching thousands of employees, researchers found that execution suffers not because teams are not aligned vertically but because they fail to work together horizontally. It is important to understand the difference.

If you are a leader or if you have a leader, the people you lead or the person you report to are in “your vertical.” Execution often does not suffer because of breakdowns in these relationships. Savvy and wise leaders learn to communicate well, to hold people accountable, to set goals, and to move people in a direction.

But more than “vertical leadership” is required. Working with people on other teams, working laterally across multiple areas, is essential in execution. According to the research, struggles with execution happen because people who need to work together across teams struggle to do so. When coordination falters, so does execution. Why do teams and leaders often struggle here? From my observation, for at least 3 reasons:

1. Lack of community

People desire to help those they trust and respect, but trust takes time to build. And if there is lack of community across teams, working laterally will be a challenge. A staff at a local church, for example, can quickly degenerate into a plethora of sub-ministries that share the same office space, each focused solely on his/her areas of responsibility. When the relationships are not fostered, trust is low; thus, people have a difficult time influencing others laterally.

2. Lack of care

Execution on a broad scale requires multiple people and teams carrying the burden. If execution falters, care and concern likely did not spread widely enough. If care for an initiative or project is localized only to your team, it won’t reach levels of broad adoption. For some things, this is fine, as much of the work of your team is localized to your team. But for projects or tasks or initiatives that spread across multiple areas, a lack of care across those areas will doom execution.

3. Lack of communication

Both community and care require communication. In many ways, lateral leadership is the hardest kind of leadership. You serve alongside people but don’t report to them, and they don’t report to you either. But because leadership is about influence, execution requires influencing people who do not report to you. This will not happen without communication of goals, priorities, and sequencing. If execution is faltering, lateral communication is likely faltering as well.

Peter Drucker quipped, “Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.” The hard work of execution requires more than just you, and even more than just your team.

> Read more from Eric.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Two Really Bad Ways to Work on Your Leadership Weakness

Just as all leaders have areas of strength, all leaders also have areas of weakness. There is no such thing as an omni-competent leader. But what should a leader do with his or her weaknesses? Books have been written and speeches have been given encouraging leaders to focus on their strengths, to leverage what they are uniquely qualified to do. And while the counsel is wise, that we should focus on our strengths and operate in our gifting, the counsel is incomplete. Our weaknesses as leaders can crush us if we do either of these things with them:

1. Ignore them.

The struggle with the counsel to focus exclusively on your strengths is that your weaknesses can crush you if they are not managed. In his book, The Leadership Code, Dave Ulrich gives four key disciplines for all leaders (strategist, executor, talent manager, and developer) and argues that leaders must be at least average in all of them. You don’t have to be excellent in all of them but if you are not at least average, your weakness becomes, according to Ulrich, a debilitating weakness. But some leaders make the mistake of ignoring their weaknesses.

  • The “super administrative leader” can be tempted to shrug off his/her lack of relational skills. And while the administrative guru does not need to be the walking epitome of “how to win friends and influence people,” if the admin guru can’t look people in the eyes and have a conversation, the leader’s weakness will thwart his/her strength.
  • The “visionary” can be tempted to shrug off execution. “Oh, those are just details; I am a high level thinker.” But if the visionary can’t answer emails and get anything done on time, people won’t listen to his/her vision indefinitely.

2. Lead in them.

It takes neglect for leaders to ignore their weaknesses and pride to lead in them. A leader who insists he/she can do everything is ignorant of the gifting in those around him/her. To lead in your weaknesses proves too high a view of yourself and too low a view of others around you. It is absolutely foolish to attempt to prove yourself as “the man” or “the top leader” by failing to admit your weaknesses and rely on others around you. Leaders who lead in their weaknesses dishonor the gifting of the men and women who surround them and limit their own effectiveness.

Both the leader who ignores weaknesses and the leader who leads in them will lose credibility. Lead in your strengths while managing your weaknesses.

> Read more from Eric.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Three Perspectives of Using Data in the Church

Leaders have never been able to access so much data and have never been encouraged so strongly to let the data direct them. In recent years there has been an avalanche of books, articles, and conferences on leveraging big data. Data scientists are hired to bring their expertise to companies and “machine learning” is being utilized in organizations. So what is a leader to do? There are three common approaches leaders take with data and only one of them is healthy and wise:

1. Ignore the data.

Some leaders foolishly ignore data. They choose to “trust their gut” or “go with their instincts.” Some ministry leaders have viewed looking at and learning from data as unspiritual and displaying a lack of faith. It is not unspiritual to look at data and it is unwise not to. While data does not tell the whole story it does tell part of the story. It can help leaders understand the context, the challenges, and the opportunities. Data can help leaders know where to invest more resources and where to pull back.

2. Obsess over the data.

For an unhealthy leader data can be a drug. Unhealthy leaders can live from report to report for their worth and their identity. They can lead reactively, based on the latest spreadsheet, instead of proactively setting a direction. Leaders can easily obsess over the less important data points. And their obsession over those data points can cause them to lead with only those data points in view. It is unwise to ignore data and unhealthy to obsess over it.

3. Learn from data.

Professor and management consultant W. Edwards Deming quipped, “In God we trust, everyone else must bring data.” He captures the reality that leaders do not lack people offering them ideas, perspectives, and opinions on which direction to go and what decisions to make. And data can help. Data can help leaders look at the options objectively. Data can help leaders avoid being persuaded by the best sounding approaches and push toward the actual best approaches. Data can help teams learn and adjust tactics. Data should be a strong voice in the room when leaders make decisions.

Wise leaders avoid the two extremes of ignoring and obsessing over data. Instead they learn from it and view it as a tool they can use as they lead and serve their teams.

> Read more from Eric.


 

Download PDF

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

6 Yellow Flags of Using Too Much Data

Data can be a leader’s friend as it is wise for leaders to leverage data in their decision-making. While it is foolish for leaders to ignore data, it is equally unhealthy for leaders to obsess over it. Here are six problems with obsessing over data:

1. You can find your worth in the numbers.

There are some leaders who find their worth in their weekly or daily dashboards. Ministry leaders are not immune to the temptation. In our sinfulness, a desire to reach people can become about the number and what that number says about our effectiveness. Having served in a rapidly growing environment, I learned the sinfulness in my own heart and needed God’s grace constantly to rescue me from finding my worth in a spreadsheet.

2. You can allow one metric to drive you.

Leaders who wisely use data look at more than one metric, as it is possible to allow one metric to drive you and lead in ways that are not healthy for the whole. For example, in church ministry, if a leader is consumed only with the weekend attendance metric, investments will be heavily weighted toward the weekend and away from focus on leadership development, discipleship, and sending others.

3. You can miss the bigger picture.

Some leaders analyze and analyze and miss the proverbial forest for the trees of data that consume them. By living in the data, they can fail to deliver overarching direction.

4. You can miss small data.

With all the emphasis on big data (learning through looking at data in multiple ways), Martin Lindstrom released his book Small Data to emphasize the importance of observing real people and not simply looking at numbers. If you obsess over data, you can miss the stories of the real people that are more than just data. If you obsess over data, you can lose your heart for the people the data represents.

5. You live reactively instead of proactively.

Those who obsess over data are likely to react continually to it instead of proactively charting a course and letting the data speak into the execution of that course. Those who obsess over data don’t lead with conviction but can allow the data to lead them in a myriad of different directions.

6. You can re-create what has already been created.

In software development it has become common to release iterations, gather customer feedback, and adjust to that feedback. Some have pointed out that while the approach is valid, it results in creating what has already been created. If you are going to lead a team that meets a different need, data is important, but you have to look at data in light of your overarching mission.

Look at data. Learn from data. But don’t find your worth in it, and don’t obsess over it.

> Read more from Eric.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Missional Value of Being Constant

It is one thing to have a mission and quite another to have a missional lens, where all activity is viewed through the lens of that mission, where all decision-making is filtered through the lens of the mission. It is one thing to have a mission hanging on the wall and another to work hard to align activity to that mission.

At the beginning of each calendar year, I remind our team of our mission and values, our identity that is beneath all the activity. I know the reminders are redundant, but redundancy is important in communication of mission and values. I recently met with all the managers and directors of the Resources Division at LifeWay, the division I am responsible to lead. We have nearly 650 employees in the division, and they all report to the leaders who were in that room. For five years we have lived with the same mission and values and have seen the impact on the culture of being crystal clear about our identity. As I shared recently, we have been intentional about driving mission and values into our culture. I asked our team about the impact of living with the same mission and values for a sustained season, and we identified many wins, including:

1. Attracting the right players

If mission and values are not part of the hiring process, you don’t really have a mission and values. You merely have a statement on a website or a brochure. When you really have a mission, it becomes central in recruiting. And because it is central, the wrong players are more likely to be filtered out and the right players, those already aligned, are more likely to surface.

2. Mutual accountability

When mission and values are really in a culture, the leaders are not the only ones holding people accountable. The whole team views the work through the lens of the mission and the values, and the culture holds people accountable. People remind each other of the values, and violations are called out because people want to protect the culture they love.

3. Increased enthusiasm

When tasks are viewed through the lens of mission, the enthusiasm that drives the execution increases. On the contrary, when people don’t see how tasks they are fulfilling are connected to a grand mission, the tasks feel more mundane and less meaningful.

4. Unity around mission

There is strength in a diverse team, particularly when the people are united around a mission that transcends the differences. People can only unite around a mission and values when they are continually made clear.

It is challenging to live with the same mission and values over a sustained period of time as we can so easily drift from rooting our activity in our identity. But doing so is well worth it.


Learn more about the importance of viewing everything through your mission lens. Connect with an Auxano Navigator today.


> Read more from Eric.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

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

Jeff Van Gundy has coached in the NBA and has commentated NBA games (I have always enjoyed listening to him when he does). He is well respected for his understanding of the game and his ability to coach it. He is currently coaching a mix of G-league players in their quest to qualify for the World Games (no current NBA players are on the roster).

The G-league is made up of teams filled with players who are playing each other with the sole hope of being invited to join an NBA team. On a podcast, I heard Van Gundy speak of his respect for the coaches of the league because of their unique challenge to motivate and coach players who do not want to be there. It takes great skill, according to Van Gundy, to coach players who want to be elsewhere. And no players on the G-league teams want to be on their teams.

It is not only basketball players who really want to be on another team. If your place is the norm, and depending on what stats you read, 1/3 of the people on your team or even higher would like to be somewhere else. There are likely people on your team who would really rather work somewhere else. So what is a leader to do?

1. Help people move on.

There are at least two truths about someone on your team who is not passionate for the role and the mission of the team. First, if someone on your team is not committed to the role, there is someone else who would be deeply honored to be in that role. Second, if someone is not passionate about the mission, there is likely another mission somewhere else that they would love to give themselves to. So have conversations and help people move on. It is not cruel to help people move on. It is actually cruel to keep them in roles that are not best for them or the organization. Helping these people move on serves them and the organization well. As you have conversations, focus on the next two points.

2. Point to the mission.

When folks are wrestling with their role, their passion, their gifting, and how it all fits into the overall picture—there is really only one thing that can trump the restlessness (and we have all been restless): deep-seeded belief in the mission. Wise leaders herald the mission over and over again.

3. Develop for the future.

When you develop people, you are serving them and the organization well. If they move on, you will have played an important part in their future. And you will be able to attract others who are hungry to grow and develop because you have built a reputation as someone who sends people off well.

4. Lead your team to think succession and multiplication.

This week I am leading all my direct reports through their annual review process, which includes conversations about succession for the key players on their teams. If you lead your team to think about who would or could move into new or open roles, then you are more prepared when people move on. Instead of doing all you can to hold on to people who should be moving on, thinking succession helps you prepare for those moments.

> Read more from Eric.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

4 Tips for Spotting a Lazy Leader

Lazy leadership is unfaithful stewardship. Instead of wise stewardship, lazy leaders foolishly squander resources, gifting, and opportunities rather than make the most of the brief season in which they are privileged to lead. When attempting to uncover and address laziness, people often look in the wrong places. Lazy leadership is not about office hours, email response time, and vacation days—as someone can be incredibly lazy while checking emails in the office. Here are four ways in which lazy leadership tends to manifest itself:

1. Lazy leaders dump rather than delegate.

It takes work and intentionality to effectively delegate responsibilities to another person. Training, care, and being continually available are all essential in effective delegation. Dumping responsibilities on someone else requires only laziness.

2. Lazy leaders rely on personality rather than preparation.

Here is why laziness does not always reveal itself immediately. Someone can rely on his or her personality for a while, but in time the lack of preparation is obvious.

3. Lazy leaders take on too little rather than too much.

I am not suggesting that it is wise to perpetually take on too much, but lazy leaders never get close to that threshold. They avoid overwork like the plague and err toward taking on too little.

4. Lazy leaders offer excuses rather than results.

Lazy leaders may have new excuses, but they always have excuses. Someone else is always at fault for the lack of execution or follow-through.

The people of God have always understood laziness to be a sin. Laziness is a sin because laziness fails to appreciate the gift and blessing of work and fails to make the most of the time we have been graciously given. The writer of Proverbs exhorts us:

Go to the ant, you slacker! Observe its ways and become wise. Without leader, administrator, or ruler, it prepares its provisions in summer; it gathers its food during harvest. How long will you stay in bed, you slacker? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest, and your poverty will come like a robber, your need, like a bandit. (Proverbs 6:6-11)


Developing a Leadership Pipeline will minimize the risks of lazy leaders. Connect with an Auxano Navigator to learn more.


> More from Eric.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

6 Ways to Maximize Your Budgeting Process

Some people believe a budgeting process is a waste of time. I don’t mean the people who have a visceral reaction to budgets and strategy, but there are prudent and wise leaders who view a long budgeting process as bad stewardship. They say things like:

We don’t even know how this year will end.

“We are using this year as a starter for next year, and this year’s story is still being written” is not an unwise or untrue statement.

My budget is irrelevant the first day.

Because things are changing, this is true. Budgets are based on a forecast of the future, and financial forecasters even articulate that the first rule of forecasting is that they are wrong. So why in the world would one invest inordinate amounts of time in a budgeting process?

I agree with their sentiment. A long and complex budgeting process with layers and layers of meetings and communication is overdone and a waste of important time. But before you go overboard with that statement, understand that I am not willing to abandon the budgeting process all together. Instead, I would rather maximize it, make it fruitful, and ensure it is helpful to the team. Here are some thoughts on how not to waste your budgeting process:

1. Start with mission and strategy.

Jack Welch declared that strategy is merely resource allocation, meaning a budget is really a reflection of your strategy. It shows what you value and where you are putting emphasis and focus. Connect any strategic planning you do to your budgeting process. Disconnecting strategic planning from budget planning is not wise. Make budgeting about strategy, not finances.

2. Identify the biggest opportunities for growth and impact.

As you plan, look for the biggest opportunities for growth. Set goals in connection with those opportunities, and plan to finance the biggest opportunities generously.

3. Find waste and re-invest it.

If you and the team have gotten stronger, there is always new waste to pull out of the spending. If you use the budgeting time to uncover expenses that could be better used elsewhere, you are often able to finance the big opportunities. Budgeting lesson: Take funds from what is less fruitful to fund what could be more fruitful. To do that, you must read the next item:

4. Don’t straight-line.

A common mistake in budgeting is to take what you are currently spending in a category and project that for the next year (called straight-lining). Basically, current expenses are copied and pasted as next year’s expenses. But there may be some unwise spending and waste within the category. If you straight-line, you may be straight-lining bad stewardship.

5. Use the time to learn and re-learn.

I learn something new every budgeting cycle. Because people are focused on the type of questions that budgeting raises, the conversations are quick and helpful. Approach budgeting time as a time to learn and re-learn how resources are allocated in light of your strategy.

6. Form a contingency plan.

For the last decade, I have used budgeting to form growth plans. But I have also learned to use that time, the time when everyone is looking deeply into the finances, to form a contingency plan. What will we do if we need to cut 10% from our budget? The plans can be high-level and even on just one page, but I would rather think about a challenging scenario before the chaos of the scenario hits. File the plan away and hopefully you will never need it.

> Read more from Eric


 

Connect with an Auxano Navigator to learn more about a Generosity Culture in your church.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

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

The second law of thermodynamics revolves around entropy, the principle that things move to disorder and chaos over time. Left alone, things do not become more orderly or more effective. Your once well-ordered garage digresses to clutter. No matter how much you attempt to wish it into existence, your garage will not get more clean and organized without your intervention.

In the same way, our calendars and organizations become more cluttered without intervention. Organizational entropy is currently happening unless you are actively fighting against it. For this reason, leaders are often encouraged to develop “stop doing” lists so they may transfer time and energy and resources to what is more important. Without a “stop doing” list, unnecessary tasks will remain on job profiles and unfruitful meetings will remain on calendars.

So what items should make a “stop doing” list? Here are three:

1. The Unnecessary (no one should be doing)

An unnecessary task is something no one should be doing. Not anymore. Think of scaffolding that is used to build a building. The scaffolding, though extremely important at one point in time, does not always remain. Sadly, some unnecessary work and systems can remain if leaders don’t regularly remove the unnecessary. Peter Drucker said, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” When you eliminate unnecessary work, you are able to reallocate energy and resources to what is most important.

2. The Redundant (someone else is doing)

A redundant task is a task someone else is already doing. There are necessary tasks that are often redundant, meaning, someone else is already handling them. Instead of two people doing the same thing, two people can focus on two different important actions and add more value to the mission of the team.

3. The Less Important (other things should be done instead)

The most difficult task to stop is the less important one so that something more important can receive more resources and time and thinking and organizational focus. It takes great focus and discipline to steal energy from the less important and devote it to the most important. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wisely said, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

Because of entropy, a “stop doing” list is not a one-time exercise.

> Read more from Eric.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Pastors and Their Personal Finances…Why the Struggle is Real

Of the more than 700 pastors’ spouses surveyed in a recent LifeWay research project, more than half expressed that their income from the church is insufficient, and more than two-thirds are concerned they do not have enough saved for retirement. Why is this? Why do so many families in local church ministry struggle financially?

While there are likely many reasons, I want to offer four possibilities—three of which place responsibility on the church for not providing enough support and one that places responsibility on the pastor for not being a wise steward. In my more than twenty years of serving in local church ministry and working alongside pastors and churches, I have seen all four reasons at play.

1. Churches comparing apples and oranges in compensation

Early in my ministry I was in a committee meeting and heard someone make a complaint about a pastor’s salary. The printed number that the person was looking at was the total cost of compensation—which included social security tax at 15%, retirement, book allowance, and health insurance. The person said, “I did not know we were paying this.” The reality is the pastor was not being paid that. And if asked about his own salary, the person making the argument would never have given total cost of compensation. You don’t budget or live on the total cost of compensation. While it is important for those who prepare budgets to understand total cost of compensation, total cost of compensation analysis can give the perception a pastor is being paid more than the reality.

2. Church members projecting old costs to a new context

Imagine someone who bought a house in a growing community fifteen years ago. If a pastor moves in next door this year, the pastor will be paying much more to live in the same size house. The costs of property taxes and the price of the house (mortgage payments) are much higher. The person who has been there fifteen years is locked in at a much lower cost. So people who have been in the church a long time can easily make decisions without really feeling the weight of how much it costs currently to live and start a ministry in an area.

3. Bad theology in a church

The first two reasons are common and can happen among good people who just are not thinking clearly. The third reason is erroneous thinking about the Lord, about spiritual growth, and about the relationship between a church and the pastors. It is bad theology to believe it is a church’s job to keep a pastor humble by paying very little. It is the Lord’s role, not the role of the compensation package, to keep a minister on his knees. While it is scriptural malpractice to teach the godly will be wealthy and not suffer, it is also a disregard of Scripture not to take care of a church’s leaders. The Lord commands His people to take care of those who lead and preach and teach (1 Timothy 5:18). Sanctification ultimately comes through the Lord, not through poverty or prosperity.

4. Bad stewardship among pastors

Pastors are not immune to the temptation in our culture to live outside of one’s means, to accrue lots of debt, and to grow cold in generosity. Pastors who are bad stewards of their own finances lose credibility to manage the finances in a church. According to the apostle Paul, managing the home is no small matter for a pastor, and this includes our personal stewardship. “If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:5).

A local church does not benefit if her leaders are struggling financially. A church benefits when her leaders are able to serve with joy (Hebrews 13:17), and ministry leaders who are struggling financially are often distracted and filled with constant grief and worry.

Read more from Eric.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.