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Posts tagged ‘Local church’

8 Resolutions Every Pastor Should Have for 2014.

Happy New Year

Many people make—and break—New Year’s resolutions. Here are eight possible ones that pastors should consider for the upcoming year:

1. Let influence be the theme of your leadership. I often hear pastors complaining (especially young pastors) about their frustration when they don’t have control over a particular situation. My advice would be this: When you don’t have control, don’t worry. You still have influence.

Influence is built when you have great character, follow-through on what you say you’re going to do, and genuinely love people. Allow influence to be the theme of your leadership.

2. Don’t bend to critics. The critics can be so loud at times; it feels overwhelming. No matter the season of the year, there are disappointed expectations, and therefore people from all over the map who want you to do things their way.

This year, don’t bend to the critics. Listen to the spirit. Don’t allow the critics to define you, or what you do. Let Jesus do that.

3. Be transparentBeing transparent doesn’t mean you push your problems or your emotions onto other people. It simply means being honest and inviting others into your space in an appropriate way.

This year, be transparent with your staff, with your congregation, with those you lead, and with your family. When we are humbly transparent we invite the Holy Spirit in to do his transforming work.

4. Speak with your actions. You’ve heard it said that actions speak louder than words. Nowhere is that more true than in church leadership. If you say one thing, and do another, people will lose respect for you. Worse than that, they’ll actually start doing as you do, rather than as you say.

Don’t forget. Actions speak louder than words. Let your actions speak loud in 2014.

5. Choose people over performance. As a pastor, it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of performance. There’s so much to do, and the work feels important. You want to do as much as possible in as little time as possible. The pressure continues to grow and grow.

But this year, and always, choose people over performance. Those who have been entrusted to your care need love far more than they need a perfect Easter service.

6. Don’t neglect vision. Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” and I’ve seen this to be true in my many years ministry. When you take the time to create a vision that is both simple and meaningful, it is truly life-giving to your staff and congregation.

Don’t neglect creating a vision in pursuit of “getting started” with this next year. A little planning goes a long way.

7. Take care of yourself. This is one of the hardest things for pastors to do. Often we work ourselves to the point of exhaustion, telling ourselves it’s “for the Kingdom,” and justifying our sin. God doesn’t need you to kill yourself. He already died. It is already finished.

If you find yourself losing your temper, losing touch with your family, suffering in your marriage, or growing an addiction to certain foods or coffee—chances are you aren’t resting enough. Take these as a warning sign.

8.  Seek balance. God doesn’t need you to kill yourself, but He does want you to bring your whole self to the table. I don’t believe God is pleased when we play games on our smartphones, or check our Facebook status a million times, when we could be working.

It’s important to seek balance in all areas of your life—work, family, friendships, social life, health, etc. Finding this balance is a lifelong journey, but it’s more than worth it.

What are your resolutions for 2014?

Written by Justin Lathrop

With more than a dozen years of local church ministry, Justin Lathrop has spent the last several years starting businesses and ministries that partner with pastors and churches to advance the kingdom. He is the founder of (now Vanderbloemen Search), Oaks School of Leadership, and all while staying involved in the local church. He blogs regularly about what he has learned from making connection at

For the original article, visit


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

Written by Will Mancini

Church Leadership Transitions: How to Do it Right.

Pastor Benny Perez

Pastor Benny Perez

Recently, Pastor Phil Munsey stepped down from his role leading Life Church in Orange County, Calif., to take new responsibilities leading the Champion’s Network, a national network of churches and leaders founded by Pastor Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church in Houston.

But while many church leadership transitions are poorly managed, and ultimately do enormous damage to the local body of believers, the transition to new pastor, Benny Perez, was not only smooth, but the church began growing immediately. Benny is a pastor, author, and speaker who ministers both locally in Nevada and now California as the Lead Pastor of The Church LV and The Church OC.

In 2003, Benny, together with his wife, Wendy, started The Church LV, in Las Vegas, which has grown rapidly from just 27 people to well over 3,000. Charisma News recently sat down to ask Pastor Benny Perez about the transition, and lessons other leaders could learn.

Charisma News: You’ve been through a challenging few years economically in Las Vegas.  Why did you decide to reach out and expand to this opportunity with Phil Munsey and Life Church in Orange County, Calif.?

Benny Perez: I have had the vision for Orange County in my heart for years. I am from the area and believed God would give me an opportunity to reach out to where I am from. So when the opportunity came to take Phil Munsey’s church and continue his legacy in reaching Orange County I stepped out in faith and added the campus to our ministry.

Charisma News:  What’s the secret of churches making a successful transition from one pastor to another?

Benny Perez: I have learned that one of the things is to honor what God has done and move the people forward into the next phase God has for them. We are building on the foundation that has been laid by Phil and Jeanne. I believe when you honor the past, God blesses the future.

Charisma News:  Is it more difficult in this situation, since you’ll still be pastor at The Church at South Las Vegas?

Benny Perez: It is definitely a new journey for Wendy and I along with The Church LV. However we have raised up great leaders that will be spearheading the new campus in Orange County. We have been making strategic leadership shifts before this happened in preparation for the new multi-site location.

Charisma News:  What are the greatest similarities between these two churches and the biggest differences?  In other words, do church cultures matter?

Benny Perez: Both churches have a bent towards worship and being Presence Driven. We both want people to encounter the Presence of God in a tangible way. The biggest difference is that the Orange County church is an older church. Not very many  youth, young adults and children. Also their structure and systems are different than the way we do church in Las Vegas. Changing culture takes time and must be done intentional with the right spirit. Culture is always more important than vision. Culture trumps vision every time.

Charisma News:  What’s former Pastor Phil Munsey planning next?

Benny Perez: Pastor Phil Munsey has moved into working with Pastor Joel Osteen full time with the Champions Network and being a teaching pastor on the Lakewood staff. He will be encouraging and working with pastors and leaders nationwide.

Charisma News:  We’re seeing more and more multi-site churches opening locations in different states.  Is this a good thing?

Benny Perez: I think it is a good thing as long as God has called you to do it. Don’t do it because it seems sexy and new. Believe me, it takes work but as long as you know God called you to do it, He will give you the Grace for it.

Charisma News:  If you had one thing to say about the importance of the local church, what would it be?

Benny Perez: The local church is the hope of the world. I believe that starting new churches is the proven way to see people come to Christ.

Charisma News:  What’s next for Benny Perez?

Benny Perez: Continue to raise up campuses and leaders. I want to empower the next generation to reach the world. I believe we are in a moment when God is going to use us to reach more people in ways we never thought of before.

Written by Charisma News

Pastor Benny Perez’s new book is “BUILT: Seven Principles of Leaders Who Beat the Odds, Escape Average, And Make a Lasting Impact. Find out more at

What People Want at Work, Part 2.

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland (Facebook)

We all report to someone, right? So we can all relate, in some way, to being staff. Part 1 of this miniseries focused on a great boss. This post focuses on a great employee.

In my leadership as an executive pastor, I’ve been hiring the best staff possible for a long time. I know how tough it is to find those eagles! I’m so grateful every time we bring a great leader onto the team. The same thing is true when inviting volunteers to step up to significant leadership.

Let’s do a quick review from Part 1. Here are three characteristics for both boss and staff member. I added Scripture for just one area—humility—primarily because it sets the stage for nearly all other areas.

1. Love Jesus

  • Humble spirit (2 Chr. 7:14; Dan. 10:10-12; Ps. 147:6; Prov. 3:34; Matt. 23:12; Luke 14:11; Eph. 4:2-3; James 4:10; 1 Pet. 5:5-7)
  • Servant heart
  • Hears God’s voice

2. Growing Leader

  • Secure
  • Learning
  • Practicing

3. Strong Character

  • Trustworthy
  • Lives by the same standards they expect of others
  • Discipline to do the right thing

What do people want in a great staff member?

(What kind of leader do you want on your team?)

This article is written with a 60 percent or more weighting toward staff than volunteer leaders, but it’s easy to translate to both.

I began by interviewing several bosses with ages ranging from late 20s to early 50s. I asked traits they desire least in any staff member. They all answered with striking similarly.  I’m calling the composite “The Foul Four.”

The “Foul Four” traits in staff members:

  • Excuse-maker
  • Complaint-giver
  • Negative thinker
  • Entitlement-believer

These need no explanation. As soon as you see the words, you know exactly what they mean and can think of a person that fits each category. Are the “Foul Four” skills or attitudes? They are all attitudes! That is an important insight. The key question is: Will you allow any of this on your team?

The good news, though we are all susceptible to at least one of these, is that we don’t have to live in any of them. I know which one is my weakness, so I watch for it. By being aware, I’m in the game to intentionally not live there. Yes, I might slip, hopefully very briefly, and then quickly rise above.

5 Characteristics in a Great Team Member

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:15-17).

1. They bring leadership energy to the table. At 12Stone Church we say about a great new staff person, “Someone just showed up.” You don’t have to be in our culture to immediately get a feel for what that means. We all know how wonderful it is when someone else jumps in and brings leadership energy into the room. They help make things happen!

A great staff member is driven with passion for the mission.In the healthy sense of the word, they are driven—or, perhaps better said, they are self-motivated. They take responsibility for their own inner motivation rather than being carried by the efforts of others.

Great staff members understand how to bring leadership intensity without being an intense person. You know when to hit the throttle and you know when to ease up. No one wants to be around an intense person, but leaders must at the right times lead with intensity.

Great staff are proactive. Leadership energy means you take initiative about the right things. Simply being proactive alone isn’t the answer. Anyone can be fast.

It’s being out in front about the right things that makes you good.

2. Their consistent self-leadership results in noticeable maturity.

Great staff are self-aware. One of the best examples of people who are not self aware is every really bad singer that auditions on American Idol. You’ve probably seen some of those horrible moments! Scary, huh? They really can’t see themselves! They so desperately want to be something they are not.

It’s true for all of us; we can’t see what we can’t see. So we all need people who can speak into our lives to help us see ourselves accurately. This helps us embrace the right position with the right attitude.

Great staff manage emotion well. Life and leadership doesn’t always go your way.

  • You lead in proportion to your faith.
  • You control in proportion to your fear.

When you are angry, you give up influence. When you’ve lost control of your emotions, you have quit leading. If someone can push your buttons, they can steal your leadership. People like to watch an explosion, but they don’t like to be near one. Emotions are stepping-stones to either spirit or flesh. Be careful!

Great staff are OK when a teammate gets more than they do. They are able to authentically celebrate the blessings of others.

3. They absorb pressure with grace and composure. It’s natural to want to get rid of pressure—or at least make it lighter by taking the matter to your boss. It’s natural to want a feel for what your boss would do. Sometimes you have to. That’s OK. But the best leaders absorb as much pressure on their own as possible. You become absolutely invaluable if you consistently step in, step up and handle the pressure-filled situations, whatever they may be.

Great staff lead well at home. There is something I call “the personal pressure ratio.” If there is too much pressure at home, you can’t lead well at your job. If there is too much pressure at work, it can erode things at home. The goal is to offset your total pressure level enough by keeping pressure low at home. Focus on what you can control, and you can’t always control things at work. It’s just too big. If you pour energy into the priority of a good family life, that will help you lead better at church!

Great staff lead up well. I recommend 360 Degree Leader by John Maxwell.

  • Leaders who don’t lead up have too little fire or too much fear.
  • Playing it safe or political isn’t smart. It’s not about getting what you want or even just winning your agenda; it’s about the good of the church. That allows you to relax if it doesn’t go your way.
  • Leading up means lightening your leader’s load.
  • Do your job. Do it well.
  • Tell your leader what they need to hear, not what you think they want to hear.
  • Go the second mile.
  • Stand up for your boss whenever you can.
  • Leading up requires that you be prepared every time you take your boss’ time.
  • Don’t make your boss think for you.
  • Bring something to the table.
  • When asked to speak, don’t wing it.
  • Learn your boss’ communication style.
  • Offer ideas!
  • Give a return on your leader’s investment.

Great staff members solve problems. Leaders solve problems! Do you remember the 1994 movie Speed with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock? They had a problem! There was a bomb on the bus. Once the bus went 50 miles an hour, the bomb got armed. If it dropped below 50, it blew up. There are rules. No one leaves the bus! What do you do?

The incredibly tough problems we face seem like they have no solution. That’s where great leaders step up and rise up. You carry the pressure; you figure it out!

4. They are socially adept. It’s difficult to overemphasize the importance of strong and natural relational abilities. This is especially true in the church, where every situation is relationally driven. The following attributes are simple to understand but tough to live consistently. Leaders who are good with people live them well.

Great staff are encouragers. You are likeable and people want to be around you. You naturally speak with uplifting words that are fully genuine.

Great staff are positive by nature. You avoid gossip at all costs and assume the best about others. You quickly give the benefit of the doubt, and when problems arise you lean into solutions.

Great staff possess a sense of humor. You take God seriously but don’t take yourself too seriously. You smile and laugh easily, and you’re not a “thin-skinned” person.

Great staff members have a personal peace that enables them to pay attention. Great people skills do not require you or me to be a genius. It’s more about common sense and paying attention, but paying attention requires a sense of personal peace. To possess this peace, your walk with God needs to be solid and consistent. If you are off with God, you will likely be “off” with people.

5. They are really good at what they do. We all want to be on a winning team, and winning teams have staff that are gifted at what they do.

Great staff possess talent and skills that are recognized and requested. One sure way to gain confidence in your capability is that an increasing number of people ask you to help lead using the special skill set that you have.

Great staff members see the big picture. Effective leaders not only have great clarity about what they do, but they know why they do it. They see how all the parts work together. This helps prevent tunnel vision that creates silos and poor teamwork.

Great staff members have a competence that leads to greater capacity. To get hired at 12Stone, you need to be good at something—really good. But that’s not what actually makes our staff highly valuable. They become highly valuable to the team when they demonstrate capacity to lead at the next level! That’s true for all of us. We are expected to lead at our current level, but the success of the mission depends on our ability to lead larger.

Like Part 1, this is a lot to master. The good news is you don’t achieve all this overnight. What are the two to three areas you need to begin with? Start there, and keep growing!

Written by Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland is executive pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Ga. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as executive pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as vice president of leadership and church development at INJOY.

For the original article, visit


{ Day 325 }.

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. —Ephesians 4:15-16

Under the new covenant we don’t usually see prophets who live by themselves in the wilderness. The prophetic ministry is a vital part of the greater body of Christ. Prophetic ministers are validated by their involvement in and with the local church, not by their separateness. The church becomes evangelistic through its evangelists, caring through its pastors, serving through its deacons, and prophetic through its prophets. Prophetic ministers serve within the church to help it fulfill its function, enabling it to be the prophetic voice in the earth. But just because we have called and ordained evangelists, pastors, and deacons, that doesn’t mean every believer cannot share the gospel, care for others, and serve the church and the world. In the same way, the prophetic word can be manifested through any believer, not just those called by God as prophets.


Lord, I thank You for permitting me to be a part of Your body and to fellowship with the local church where You have placed me. Show me Your will for me in that place.

Prophetic ministers are validated by their
involvement in and with the local church,
not by their separateness.


10 Things People Want Before They Will Give to Your Church.

Written by RSI Stewardship
Money-tithingDo members of your congregations give financially based on conditions?

It’s common sense: Church leaders can’t expect people to grow in generosity if it’s not talked about.

While some leaders try to avoid the topic at all costs, the truth is most churchgoers aren’t as resistant to talking about money as we think. In fact, many already give to a variety of organizations and causes.

This shows there is a gap to fill between what we know the Bible says about money and our willingness to act on what we know.

Talking about money in church can be tough for the person on the platform and the person in the crowd. But it’s not impossible to do—and do well. You just need to better understand what to say and when to say it.

To help, here are 10 quick things people want before they start giving:

  1. People want to know that they matter to their church. The act of giving is an emotional response—not a pragmatic one. If someone doesn’t feel valued or connected, they won’t be willing to give.
  2. People want to know how their giving makes a difference. Today’s givers will invest their time in organizations that make a difference. If they think what they can give doesn’t matter, then they will invest their giving dollars elsewhere.
  3. People want to know how their resources will be used. This is one of the most overlooked aspects of cultivating a culture of generosity. People today want financial transparency.
  4. People want to know and see the vision they are giving toward. The vision of the church should drive the investment of its resources. That’s why communicating the vision—your preferred future—is vital to the conversation about money.
  5. People want to know the plan for reaching that vision. If leaders of the church talk about their dreams for the future but don’t have a step-by-step plan for moving toward the vision, people will grow weary and stop believing the vision.
  6. People want to know how they can start giving from where they are right now. Some people need to learn why to give and how to give. Educate people about giving, and they will give for a long time. Coerce them into giving, and they will eventually tune you out.
  7. People want to know how to reorder their life priorities. Many people who don’t give don’t see how much of a blessing giving can be. They need someone to help them reorder their life priorities. This is where church leaders come in.
  8. People want to know how they can get involved in the ministry they are financially supporting. Some people would give more if they had an active role in the ministries of the church. If you want people to support the student ministry, look for ways to get them involved and serving in that ministry.
  9. People want to know the traction the church is making because of their generosity. Some church leaders don’t want to give people constant updates, especially when the numbers aren’t meeting expectations. However, providing honest updates on the progress your church is making because of the financial contributions of your members will provide the transparency and showcase the progress your church is making in fulfilling its mission.
  10. People want to know who has experienced life change because of their generosity. With today’s technology, there is no reason for people to be unaware of the ways their money is being used to change lives. These stories should become celebratory moments in the life of the church.

For more insights into each of these statements, you can download our latest resource from Bill McMillan and Kem Meyer for free here. You can also find more resources on communicating vision and cultivating generosity in your church here.

How are you encouraging people to give for the first time in your church? How are you measuring results?

For the original article, visit

The One Key to Achieving Social Media Success.

Written by Justin Lathrop

Social-mediaIf you’re operating social media for yourself or for your church and you’re trying to grow your platform, I’m sure you’ve heard the one key to social media success is this: “Content is king.”

But have you ever wondered: What exactly does that mean? Does it mean that “if I build it, they will come”? Does it mean all I have to do is have a well-written article and hundreds of people will line up to read it?

If you’ve tried this, I’m guessing you know it doesn’t necessarily work.

If you haven’t tried it, let me save you some grief and wasted hours—there’s more to it than that.

I would argue there’s more to building a platform than simply writing great content, although that is a big piece of it.

If I had to narrow your social media success to one key element, I would say it is this: likeability.

What if growing your skills in social media isn’t that much different than growing your social skills in real life? What does that look like?

Resourcing Others

I wonder if the reason we use “Content is king” as our mantra for social media is because something powerful happens when we resource others with great content. When we do our job to ask questions, listen and give someone else what they need, we literally change their life.

Of course they will come back. They feel loyal to us. And we feel loyal to them.

Helping others get what they need actually has a positive effect on all parties involved. Treat your social media like this, and you won’t be able to keep readers and followers away.

Being Generous

One of the first things you ever learned in preschool or kindergarten was how to share. You learned to share your toys with others, and this was the way you made friends. Each of us carried this lesson into high school, college and our adult life.

When we share what we have with others, we make friends.

On social media, sharing—sharing your platform, sharing articles and information from others, sharing your voice by guest posting—has the exact same effect. People like other people who share. Suddenly, it’s easy to make friends.

Being Authentic

You know the person at the party or conference whom you can tell is only telling the best stories about themselves so they seem important? Nobody is drawn to that person in real life, and yet so many of us run our platforms like that.

We feel like this is the place where we can be perfectly happy, put-together and successful all the time.

But more than we are drawn to important people, we are drawn to authentic people. People who tell us the truth. So if you want to grow your social media accounts, start to tell the truth.

You don’t have to be graphic or crude. In fact, its better if you’re not. But just be real. Just be you. No posturing. No performing.

For more thoughts on likeability, check out my latest eBook. You can download it for free by clicking here.

I’m curious to hear: What has helped you to be more likeable—on social media or in real life?

With more than a dozen years of local church ministry, Justin Lathrop has spent the last several years starting businesses and ministries that partner with pastors and churches to advance the kingdom. He is the founder of (now Vanderbloemen Search), Oaks School of Leadership, and, all while staying involved in the local church. Justin serves as a consultant in the area of strategic relations predominantly working with the Assemblies of God, helping to build bridges with people and ministries to more effectively reach more people.

For the original article, visit

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