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Posts tagged ‘Church (building)’

4 Vital Parts to Reproducing Great Leaders.


Church leadership meeting

“It’s time to make time count.”

That’s the place we’re in as a church. I’m not getting any younger, and it seems we are losing Kingdom ground on a national and international level. The only answer to reversing that is building and growing Kingdom and mission minded leaders who will do the same.

I feel a great sense of urgency that we have to equip and empower an entire new army of leaders, younger leaders that have incredible passion for the mission of the church to multiply. In response to that, we have revamped our leadership development process.

At its core our new process has four parts:

1. A pre-process. It’s important that potential leaders know you are serious about multiplying leaders. That it’s not just another “program” they can sign up for. Make your leadership process by invitation only, and where some pretty high standards must be met prior to being allowed in.

2. A basic beginning. Start all at the same point. It’s important that all those with you know the vision, passion and direction of your church. Don’t make any assumptions! Remember what they used to say, “Assumption is the mother of all _________.”

It will be difficult to build on a foundation if you didn’t lay it from the beginning.

3. A measurable middle. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. You will never know where people are in their abilities if you don’t measure their progress.

Some will complete a portion of your process, and not have the gift set to continue to the next level. It’s better to know that in the middle, and release them to use what they have learned, than to frustrate them and waste unproductive resources and time.

We can’t nor should we expect that all those in our process will become level-five leaders. We have a tremendous deficit of level three leaders as well.

4. A clear call. Leaders that complete all parts of your leadership process should be equipped and have a clear call to go and multiply themselves into others. Your leadership culture must be one of calling leaders to multiply.

The end of all can’t be just completion, but one of a deep sense of call. Empower and equip your leaders to reproduce themselves. If this last step is neglected you will have only succeeded in producing a tribe of new Pharisees that will guard their territory rather than seeking to enlarge it.

It’s time to make time count.If you don’t have a leadership process, start one, a simple one. Change it as you go, but have a process! You have no right to complain about loyalty, the lack of volunteers, that no one is giving or no one is “stepping up” if aren’t imparting that to potential leaders.

Written by Artie Davis

Artie Davis wears a lot of hats and leads a lot of people. He’s a pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Orangeburg, S.C. He heads the Comb Network and the Sticks Conference. He speaks and writes about leadership, ministry, church planting, and cultural diversity in the church. You can find his blog at ArtieDavis.com or catch him on Twitter @artiedavis.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

20 Things You Should Know About Your Church.


Measuring stick

How do you measure your church as an organization? (Shutterstock)

Below you will find what I believe to be 20 very important, if not the most important, things you should know about your church. Keep in mind these are things to measure about your church as an organization. (This is not the top things to measure in terms of individual spiritual formation.)

I have told pastors for a long time I wouldn’t consider pastoring again unless I had the congregation’s commitment to measure these 20 things every two years.

But first, the backstory. For the last 12 years, the Auxano team has developed, used and refined a survey designed completely around the culture, vision and strategic midterm decision-making priorities of the church. I have led this process by turning over and inside out every possible church survey I could find. After about five years, I felt like we had a good template to start with as we helped local churches with their specific needs and challenges.

We have never advertised, and I have never even blogged about this product. Why? Despite its incredible benefit to our church clients, we did not have the capacity to offer the service to churches unless they were engaged in our core experience, called the Vision Pathway.

The desire to bring this to more churches eventually led me to LifeWay Research. We have worked with them over the past year to bring the best survey to local churches that has ever been designed for your local church.

Here is what we measure:

1. Percent of new attenders in prior two years

2. Guest percentage

3. Profile of new attenders and guests, including reason for attending

4. Age of the church versus age of the community

5. Age of the church versus age of new attenders in the prior two years

6. Spiritual growth satisfaction

7. Sense of connection to the church

8. Giving patterns

9. Adult conversion percentage

10. Influence of ministries

11. Group assimilation percentage

12. Group assimilation obstacle identification

13. Assimilation rate for groups and membership (if applicable)

14. Serving assimilation percentage

15. Serving assimilation obstacles

16. Invitation activity

17. Invitation obstacles

18. Total assimilation percentages

19. Strategic direction question cluster one

20. Strategic direction question cluster two

What other things would you include on this list? The tool we use to get this info is what we call the RealTime Survey. Feel free to download our PDF about the survey.

Will Mancini emerged from the trenches of local church leadership to found Auxano, a first-of-kind consulting ministry that focuses on vision clarity. As a “clarity evangelist,” Will has served as vision architect for hundreds of churches across the country, including the leading churches within Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran and nondenominational settings.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

Written by Will Mancini

Greg Atkinson: The Most Beautiful Churches in the World.


Godly culture

Do the godly people in your church make it attractive to others? (Lighstock)

I’m going to list the most beautiful churches in the world. Are you ready? Follow me. If I said, “You have a beautiful church,” would you reply, “Thanks. When did you visit our building?” or would you reply, “Thanks. Who did you meet?”

It’s simple and subtle but potentially dangerous. So often we refer to churches’ facilities or campuses and define that as a church, as if they’re synonymous. One of the reasons that I love church plants and those in portable facilities is that they don’t have to overcome this hurdle like churches with their own building.

We don’t go to church. We are the church. If you want to see the most beautiful churches in the world, you’ve got to spend some time with believers that are sold out to Jesus, filled with His love and grace, display the fruits of the Spirit and have a passion to serve their community.

While I’m thinking about it, read Dino Rizzo’s book Servolution—that’s a beautiful church and a beautiful vision/ministry. Each time I’ve visited a church that has a Dream Center, including the LA Dream Center led by pastor Matthew Barnett, I’ve seen a beautiful church. The ironic thing about this is that churches with Dream Centers often are doing messy ministry and getting their hands dirty; still, they are what I consider to be a beautiful church.

I remember years ago being at the Evangelism Conference at Willow Creek and hearing Bill Hybels share his heart and vision. What I left with is, at the end of the day, it’s about people sharing their faith and life with other people.

Please understand, I ran a social media marketing company. I’m all for marketing and branding and using tools like social media, but when it comes down to it—people are the church and they, by their word of mouth, are used by God to grow a church and be salt and light in a dark world.

How can your church be a beautiful church? It can be by making disciples and growing up people in their faith. Spiritually mature Christians are beautiful in their own way. They’ve had years to practice spiritual disciplines and give off the scent of Christ. New Christians are beautiful in their own way. Yes, they’re sometimes rough around the edges, but their passion and zeal is inspiring and their newfound “first love” is a breath of fresh air.

I’m curious: If I came to your community, would I experience a beautiful church?

Note: The above was a book excerpt from Greg Atkinson’s latest book, Church Leadership Essentials, available on Amazon through Rainer Publishing.

Greg Atkinson is the campus pastor at one of Forest Park’s campuses. Forest Park is a multisite church based in Joplin, Mo. Visit Greg Atkinson at gregatkinson.com.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

Written by Greg Atkinson

Thom Rainer: Pastors and Christmas Gifts.


Christmas gift

(Stock Free Images)

I am always grateful when pastors and church members share with me topics of interest to them. Those suggestions tend to be viewed by more readers than my own ideas. I guess that says something about my creativity!

A reader recently indicated his curiosity and perhaps concern about how pastors are treated at Christmastime. In the course of posts similar to this one, I typically hear from one or two persons who are eager to point to pastors who feel entitled or who are treated too lavishly.

Please hear me clearly: Those pastors are the clear exceptions. Most pastors receive little and expect little. They see their clear call to serve and to care for the congregation.

The Question and the Concern

So I asked a simple question on Twitter: “What do you do for your pastor at Christmastime?”

For pastors, I asked what their congregations gave them at Christmas. Though my survey was not scientific, it was nevertheless revealing. I am truly concerned about how congregations treat pastors. I thought the issue of the Christmas gift would at least be an indicator of such concern.

The Responses and the Heartbreak

There were two dominant responses, each at about 40 percent of the total. One of those came from pastors or church members who shared with me they indeed did give a gift to their pastor during the Christmas season.

The most common gift noted was a cash gift equivalent to one week of salary. The pastors who received such a gift expressed deep appreciation for the thought. I sensed no attitudes of entitlement in their responses.

A second dominant response, from both pastors and church members alike, was that the pastor received nothing at Christmastime. Church members were more likely to comment on this attitude than pastors. One person said, “If it’s anything like pastor appreciation month, they won’t even know it’s Christmas.”

My heart broke as I read many of those type of responses. My pain is not so much related to the failure of a church to give a monetary or material gift; rather, it’s the failure of a church to acknowledge the gift that a pastor is during this season.

The Exhortation and the Inquiry

There are a few hundred thousand pastors in America. The vast majority of them sacrifice and give for the sake of their congregations and for the glory of God. Many of them struggle financially and, often, emotionally. A gift of some sort would do wonders for the pastor and the pastor’s family. The amount or cost of the gift is not the issue here; it is the encouragement the pastor receives when he knows he is loved and appreciated.

As we approach the season of Christmas, please remember your pastors and staff. Please let them know in some tangible way how much you truly value them.

And I would also appreciate your help informing this issue. What does your church do for the pastor and staff? What do you think your church should do for these servants of Christ?.

Written by Thom S. Rainer

Thom S. Rainer is president of LifeWay Christian Resources. For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.

 

5 Suggestions for When People Leave Your Church.


Empty church

(Stock Free Images)

One tough reality of being a pastor is when then people you thought were supportive leave the church.

For a variety of reasons, people will leave. Make any change, and someone is not going to like it. Life changes and relationships often impact a person’s church attendance. Misunderstanding and unmet expectations cause some people to leave. There are a variety of reasons. I wrote about some of them here.

The point of this post is addressing how we respond as pastors and church leaders.

How do you respond when people leave? Here are five suggestions:

1. Accept that it happens. It actually happens in churches where everything seems to be working. Regardless of the reason, people leave. We shouldn’t be surprised simply because they do or think it can’t or won’t happen in the church in which we minister.

2. Admit it hurts. God is in charge of numbers. I get that. People are responsible to God and not the church. I get that too. People may leave because it’s the best thing for them spiritually. I totally get that also.

The bigger issue is whether or not a person leaves “the” church or “a” church. If they are attending another church, we should take comfort in that—but pretending it doesn’t still sting a little is like saying you didn’t feel the Band-Aid being ripped off your arm. You are human. It hurts. It is difficult not to take personally. Depending on the circumstances or way it happens, it may hurt more sometimes than others, but it always hurts.

3. Analyze the reason. This requires asking the hard questions, and admittedly, this too can hurt. But it’s helpful to know even if the answer is you. It requires humility to admit you’re not the church for everyone nor the minister everyone wants to shepherd them. But you can’t address what you don’t know, and there are often valuable lessons to be learned from why a person chooses to leave a church.

4. Adjust if necessary. Don’t be afraid to admit you could be wrong. If people feel the church wasn’t meeting their needs, try to discern if it’s them or the church. If it was a matter of style they didn’t appreciate, that’s one issue. But if it’s something lacking from the church’s offerings that you should have available, you may need to make some adjustments. Be willing to learn.

5. Attune your vision. OK, it was obvious I was looking for an “A” word, but this is actually a good one. Attune means “to bring into harmony.” And that’s often necessary when people disappear from the church. Most likely their absence will affect others. You may need to realign people to the vision, especially when those leaving were previously and visibly committed. Assure people you are listening, and genuinely be listening, but in the end stay true to the God-given vision God has called you to lead.

Again, no one wants people to leave, especially if they are leaving upset with you or the church. But it is a part of church leadership. Learning to process it will make us better equipped to minister to the ones who stay and the new people God will bring.

Pastor, help me out with this post. What tips do you have for addressing this issue of what people leave the church?.

Written by Ron Edmondson

Ron Edmondson is a pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky. He is also a church leadership consultant who is passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Prior to ministry, Ron had more than 20 years of business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner. Follow Ron on FacebookTwitter, and his blog at ronedmondson.com.

For the original article, visit ronedmondson.com.

The Two Dimensions of Vision.


by Frank Damazio

Vision for a church always has two dimensions: the big picture and the implementation.

Once you have clearly stated your vision and mission, the possibility of forming a unified leadership team and congregation has begun. Every church has its own divine destiny, because each is led by God just like each individual is uniquely led. The church vision is tied to those who lead the vision, along with their spiritual maturity, integrity, wisdom, preparedness, unique gifts and personal experiences.

Let’s delve into the two dimensions of vision.

1. The Big Picture

This dimension includes the vision and mission statements that describe the overall, general thing you see as the target. It needs both the vision and mission statements to communicate both the target and the process.

But a vision also needs the detailed strategies and plans. We’re great at the big picture. Where we tend to get tripped up is getting the big picture into production. Without a doubt, you need to see it and say it – and say it clearly. But you also must do it wisely and accurately. Seeing and doing – both are necessary for fulfilling vision.

2. The Implementation

You’ve seen the vision and stated it clearly, but now you need to delve into more detail. What does a person who is fulfilling your vision look like and how does a person continue living out that vision? Leaders must paint a bright and detailed picture of the mission and keep it in front of people all the time.

Your preaching must take on the general dimension of the big picture, but it also must narrow the big picture down to specific ways of living out the mission. The preaching and the church structure must reflect your big picture. All church ministries, outreaches, programs, leaders and members must work toward the same mission. That is how we see vision fulfillment.

5 Commitments That Propel and Sustain a Thriving Small Group Ministry.


Bible-study-group

Bible study group

Ever wonder why some small group ministries seem to steadily move to new levels of success and health while others start with a bang and go out with a whimper?

Here are five commitments that make the difference:

1. Connecting everyone to a small group is a top objective every year. By “everyone,” I mean everyone. And it’s not just 50 percent or 80 percent of the weekend adult attendance. I’m talking about 150 percent of the weekend adult attendance number! In addition, the commitment is to a small group (i.e., not a class or a Bible study that meets in rows). And it’s not about off-campus versus on-campus. It’s all about connecting to a group that includes the essential ingredients of life change. (See also “Essential Ingredients of Life Change” and “Design Your Group for Life Change.”)

2. Small group membership is an essential step in the strategy. This is sometimes a little tricky but always very important. If your church features a kind of buffet or a menu with multiple options to choose from for adults (i.e., Sunday morning classes, Wednesday night classes, discipleship groups, off-campus small groups, etc.), there is a strong possibility that you’re not clearly identifying active membership in a small group as essential. (See also “A ‘Plated Meal’ Leads to a Church Of Groups” and “5 Ways Your Small Group Ministry Is Being Throttled.”)

3. Small group ministry is designed to make disciples. If your church offers a discipleship ministry for high-achiever adults with greater commitment and more extensive expectations than mere group membership, you are likely missing the great potential of group life to make disciples. (See also “4 Leading Indicators of Small Group Ministries That Make Disciples.”)

4. Significant investment in leadership development is a priority. Are you budgeting significant money, staff energy and calendar time for leadership development? If you’re skimping on this commitment, it’s unrealistic to think that you’re on the path that leads to a dynamic, thriving small group ministry. “See also “Steve Gladen on Saddleback’s Leadership Pathway” and “Budgeting for the Preferred Future.”)

5. The senior pastor is the primary champion/spokesperson for the small group ministry year in and year out. Are you there? Does this describe your senior pastor’s involvement? This has nothing to do with administrative involvement or behind-the-scenes planning or management. It has everything to do with living and breathing small groups as essential to life change. It has to do with the most influential person in your congregation serving as the main spokesperson. (See also “Your Senior Pastor as Small Group Champion Leads to a Church Of Groups.”)

Written by Mark Howell

Mark Howell is the founder of SmallGroupResources.net, committed to helping churches launch, build and sustain healthy small group ministries. He’s also the pastor of discipleship communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church. You can read Mark’s blog at www.markhowelllive.com or follow him on Twitter.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

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