churches

5 Steps to Delegating Well

images-1Leaders who intentionally create and actively encourage a culture of delegation, position their teams well for health and growth. Of course, too many leaders fear delegation for a variety of reasons and this keeps them, their lead teams and the organization as a whole from reaching their full potential. This doesn’t have to be you. Learn to multiply your influence through the power of delegation!

Here are 5 Steps to Delegating Well…

Step 1: Choose wisely

Resist the temptation to pick someone too quickly, just to meet a need and, let’s face it… get it off your “To Do” list.

Do your homework. Don’t accept the first person to eagerly volunteer or press someone close to you into service just to fill the void. Delegate the same way for a short-term project you would hire a full-time staffer, keeping a sense of calling, character, chemistry and competence in mind.

John Ortberg affirms, “I don’t have a problem with delegation. I love to delegate. I am either lazy enough, or busy enough, or trusting enough, or congenial enough, that the notion of leaving tasks in someone else’s lap doesn’t just sound wise to me, it sounds attractive.”

Step 2: Explain simply

Only expect people to do exceptionally what you have communicated exceptionally well. This is all about letting people in on just what they are getting themselves into. People are far more likely to partner with you if they are aware of the level of commitment they are agreeing to. This means explaining and putting into a simple document the who, what, when, where and how of the role they will be fulfilling and/or task they will be undertaking.

Step 3: Empower willingly

The extent of authority should match the breadth and depth of responsibility. Leaders that fail to lend authority to those they have tasked with responsibility find their pool of quality people drying up fast. Explain simply to those you are empowering and to all those they will be leading who reports to them and who they report to. We are all accountable. Resist the urge to micromanage or hover. Give them space to do what needs done. Remember, you have been lent power to lend power.

Step 4: Resource thoroughly 

You wouldn’t ask someone to drive a nail without a hammer or to bake a cake without flour. Don’t task people to do something without giving them the tools to get the job done right. While these should include tangible resources such as a specific budget, gathering/working space and technology, don’t overlook the intangibles such as the details they need to lead in an informed way.

Step 5: Follow-up responsibly

“How’s it going?” and “What can I do to help?” should be common questions you ask as a leader. Realize that if you have chosen quality people to serve they will be tempted to lead without seeking out additional advice or assistance. Be an occasional but intentional presence. Listen to concerns and lend a hand. Then, when the task is complete or the role has run it’s course, sit down to process the highs and lows and glean from the experience what you would or wouldn’t do again, what didn’t work and what did.

Oh… and CHEER WILDLY!

Be your team leaders, teams and volunteers biggest fans. Lead the way in encouraging and cheering on those you are privileged to partner with in seeing your unique mission fulfilled.

Learn the power and practice of delegation well and see the influence of your teams go farther than you ever imagined!

CRUSH Your 2018 Goals!

imgresHow can you not only meet, but exceed your goals for 2018?

Find a partner and use this GoalSettingGuide18 to help you discover your “Why?”… set your goals and then achieve them with confidence. This is a limited time offer so download it today and get on your way to realizing your goals for 2018!

You can do this! We can help.

Need a partner in life, ministry or organizational coaching? I would love to hear from you and discuss what a partnership might look like. Just let me know in the discussion feed below or email me at tompelt1@gmail.com and let’s get started!

Viral Volunteerism Part 3

Unknown-1Viral Volunteerism Part 3 – “Why should I?”

Who wouldn’t love to partner with more great volunteers? Getting and keeping them doesn’t just happen. You have to give great people a great reason to partner with you. Let’s get more specific about this by answering a simple question from the perspective of the volunteer… “Why should I?”

1) Answer the “why?” first. Don’t just show them the need, give them the reason. Paint the picture for them of what their effort means to the the need at hand and, more importantly, the people involved. Show and tell people how their involvement will make a real difference.

2) Crunch the numbers of the need. The more specific, the better. How many people are being affected? How long has the need existed? Where is “ground central?” What will the stats be in 3 or 5 years if nothing is done about it?

3) Set a clear goal. You may not be able to meet all of the need. However, what is your part as a church or organization? Again, be specific with your goal. How much money do you hope to raise? How many homeless care packets do you hope to make?

4) They need to “see it!” in person or at least video (or both). This is all about painting the picture of the “Why?” for those you hope to engage in the effort. Find those gifted at this and enlist their services from your hard-copy literature to your on-line presence, be sure to promote with honesty (don’t oversell it… people will see through this!), excellence and consistency.

 5) Finally, remember that information is inspiration! Consider using some type of graphic that tracks the giving or effort toward the goal and keep it updated. Don’t wait until the end to thank people for their investment of time, resources or money. Thank them for every step achieved towards the clear goal and then… celebrate the win!

Great volunteers will more often respond to a clear call for a worthy cause. Your job as a leader is to give them the reason why they should!

Need help discovering the “Why?” of your next effort or for your overall ministry or organization? Respond below with your contact information and let’s talk about how we can partner to take your volunteerism viral!

Viral Volunteerism Part 2

Unknown-1Viral Volunteerism Part 2 – A Worthy Cause

Non-profit organizations, churches and para-church ministries all require one thing to succeed… great volunteers! One of the common questions I hear in conversations with other leaders across the country is, “Why can’t we get more volunteers?”

Let’s talk about some practical answers to this pressing question…

Ask yourself as a lead team, “Is it a worthy cause?” And, before you insist, “Of course it is!” Think about it from several different angles (besides your own)…

Don’t assume your cause is THE cause. Could the group of volunteers you are trying to engage be otherwise invested in another or even several other causes outside of your ministry at the moment? Have you asked? Would the timing be better when other initiatives have run their course?

How many other causes are being championed within your own organization? In other words, could there be a conflict of causes? Maybe it’s time to apply the “less is more” principle? What would it look like if, instead of doing a little for a whole lot, you did a lot for fewer? I would suggest that making a greater impact less often for fewer is more impactful in the long run!

Does your cause meet a need not already being met? Let’s face it, charity has become big business. Is the organization or need you are seeking to support already well funded? Are there others in your area (another church or organization) already effectively addressing the need?

Who told you it was a worthy cause to begin with? Just because its a worthy cause and making headlines in one part of the country (or world) doesn’t mean it will rally support in your unique area or culture. Are their causes that may hit closer to home for those you hope to partner with?

If you are trying to sell an unfamiliar cause to your volunteer base, you better do your homework… we’ll talk more about what this means in an upcoming post.

There are many worthy causes. Make sure it is a cause worthy for all of the right reasons.

Need some help engaging your volunteer base? Let us help you. Reply below with your best contact information for a free coaching call! Let’s explore how a coaching partnership might help you create a Viral Volunteer culture in your ministry or organization!

The Shepherd CEO

UnknownTwo extremes pull and tug at most pastors, especially those that lead small/medium sized congregations . They may be called upon at any time of day or night to be one or the other. It can be as overwhelming as it is exhausting to find balance between caring for and leading the flock. In other words, being the Shepherd and the “CEO.”

The pastor as shepherd. This role calls on the pastor to be listener, comforter, intercessor, counselor, friend and more. While this can be as rewarding as any aspect of ministry, it can also be exhausting. Without some checks and balances pastors can easily find themselves suffering from compassion fatigue and worse, burn-out. This role isn’t isolated to the pastor and is shared in so many ways by spouses, kids and other ministry team members.

Still, being a shepherd never goes out of style. As a small church pastor I cared personally for the church one family, couple or individual at a time. When I was a large church pastor I was there for the staff, lead teams and their families who in turn cared for the larger congregation through small groups. To be honest, this is will always be the best method regardless of size… God’s people caring for one another! Regardless, the call to love the people we lead is still relevant, and always will be. Shepherding never goes out of style. Only the context changes with size.

Then there’s the pastor as CEO. Regardless of polity, structure and/or staffing, the pastor can’t ignore the realities of organization life (visioning, goal-setting, staffing, budgeting, planning, training, etc.). I have had the privilege of pastoring churches from 9-900 and the overall responsibility is the same, only the administrative method changes. For many in small and medium-sized churches, they often find themselves as their own secretary, executive assistant, administrative pastor and more all rolled into one. There is a better way and we would love to help you find it! (Let’s talk coaching!)

Whether you have paid staff or not to handle daily operations, the reality is that the church has a business side to it and it should be handled with a practical professionalism, and a lot of prayer! After all, administration is a biblical gift. For those with the benefit of dedicated staff for all the above, you still bear the responsibility of oversight, equipping and encouraging each leader and each area of ministry well.

Pastors have long since been tasked with leading as both shepherd and CEO. “Old school” pastors and churches emphasize one while millennial ministers and their ministries have trended to the other. However, both are vital to the health of the organizational culture and congregation.

Bottom line? Pastors must be all about the business of being there for people while simultaneously overseeing the nuts and bolts of organizational life. Both never stop begging for attention and deserve equal parts compassion and excellence.

The question is, how do pastors do this without losing it? Is balance even possible?

Share your suggestions in the reply section below. Need some help finding a balance or renewing your focus on one or the other? We would love to help you find a more effective balance. Let us know how we can help through an ongoing coaching partnership. Just reply, “Let’s talk coaching!” in the reply section below and we’ll get connected!

Lonely Leadership

UnknownLeadership can be a lonely life. Beyond the online image of big events, conferences, retreats, lunch meetings, speaking engagements and more… leadership can leave you feeling isolated and wondering if anyone “gets it” or the world you live in. It’s easy to find yourself increasingly lonely and longing for something missing in all of it.

My wife and I find ourselves in just such a season as I have “moved” to a new assignment while she finishes teaching at a university in another state. Not fun. So, I came up with 5 Ways to Beat Leadership Loneliness while battling a little loneliness myself…

1) Admit you are lonely. It’s okay. While you may be surrounded by busy people in the course of your work, you can still be starved for meaningful relationships that have nothing to do with meeting your next goal or pulling off that upcoming event.

Admit to yourself, your family and a few trusted friends if you find yourself growing isolated. And, while there is solace in solitude with the Lord, isolation is a different matter. Someone has said, “Isolation is the devil’s home court.” Admit it… you miss people. That doesn’t make you weak, that makes you human.

2) Know your limitations.

You crave relationship.That’s okay. We were created for it! No, you don’t need more work related interaction, you have probably had enough of that. You need people to share the real stuff of life with. You may actually find the extremes of busyness increasing right along with isolation in a bizarre and dangerous irony. How do you know when you are reaching an unhealthy place? Read on…

3) Know your temptations.

Loneliness can lead to lesser things, much less and much worse. Let’s face it, we are all tempted to self-medicate when we are in pain. The enemy knows this and will be right there to “help” with temporary “fixes” that distract from or make the pain of loneliness go away for the moment. Everyone is tempted by some of these… from comfort eating to extreme sports/exercising, pornography to workaholism, binge watching favorite shows to substance abuse, “retail therapy,” and more. How do you keep from falling into these traps?

Know what really tempts you and let a few trusted people in on it (Hint: They may already know!). Draw close to the Lord through worship and the Word. Bring others around who will encourage and hold you accountable. You can live above these temptations! Speaking of accountability…

4) Stay open.

We all need some “alone time.” However, again, it’s easy to become a “hermit” and simply shut out the rest of the world. Resist the temptation to get comfortable with being alone. Stay open to friendships and the accountability they bring. Seek out conversations about things that truly matter. Be willing to ask and, more importantly, be asked questions about your life and leadership. Be there for others as much as you need them to be there for you. Whatever you do, don’t get too used to leading and living as a “party of one.”  We were made for fellowship with God and others!

5) Be active.

Don’t be busy, be active. Find a few things that fuel you spiritually, emotionally, physically and relationally. Find some things you and your spouse, kids or friends also enjoy and get into it! I like to hike, write, work out, read, and a new hobby of kayaking… anything outdoors! Be intentional about carving out regular time to restore, even rest. You will be a better person for your family and leader for your church/organization as you stay active and healthy.

I’ll admit it… I don’t get lonely sometimes, I get just plain pathetic. I need the company of the Lord, my wife, my friends, and a long trail to wander on with them!

What about you? How are you actively beating leadership loneliness? Share your thoughts below…

5 Truths of Organizational Culture

imagesThese truths are worth repeating. I share them at least once a year. Why? Because we need to reflect on them at least that often. Ask yourself a few questions about your lead team, ministry or organization…

Have you plateaued? Do you feel an increasing lack of momentum within your organization and influence within your community? Perhaps you are willing to take a serious “look in the mirror” but don’t know where to start or what to look for?

Gather your team and walk through these tried and tested truths from Pastor Andy Stanley. You might even want to unpack them one at a time to discover what they say about you and, more importantly, what you need to do about it…

5 Inescapable Truths of Organizational Culture

by Pastor Andy Stanley 

Culture: That set of unwritten rules that determine how a people in an organization act, react, solve problems, treat people, live out expectations, approaches… the stuff that makes up the personality of the organization.

Culture incorporates Values: For example, excellence is a value. How we express (apply, live it out, etc) excellence creates our culture. Culture says, “This is how we do it here.”

Culture impacts how people carry out and focus on the vision/mission. It is difficult but EXTRAORDINARILY important to embrace cultural change.

Reality: Every church has a culture. What is ours? Describe it in 3 words… _________________   _________________   _________________

Truth 1: Leaders shape the culture whether they intend to or not.

Leaders either adapt to the present culture (become invisible) or create culture (change agent).

What is the driving force of our culture? God may be blessing… but what is He blessing and to what end? When you are sure about this, protect it and promote it at all cost!

Truth 2: Time in erodes awareness of.

If you aren’t intentional, the longer we are in leadership the less aware we are of our culture (how we appear to others).

These first two truths compound one another. You have to build into your culture ways to stay aware. i.e. Guest Ready! For example… new staff/guest evaluations and “Main Event” reviews.

Truth 3: Healthy cultures attract and keep healthy people.

Unhealthy people (i.e. consumers vs. producers; self-absorbed; negative; critical; tradition-bound; power-brokers; “needy” drama kings & queens, etc) are attracted to unhealthy cultures. Healthy people  (producers, others-oriented, not easily offended, “get it done”, etc)  have a low tolerance of unhealthy cultures… and they just leave. If we really want to be able to minister to unhealthy, hurting people, we must constantly strive to be healthy people in healthy environments.

Unhealthy Indicators:

1 – Unhealthy people (Consumers) are drama oriented & healthy people (Producers) are “get-it-done” oriented.

2 – Unhealthy people are self-focused & healthy people are others-focused.

3 – Unhealthy organizations use sideways energy and are busy, busy, busy… with little productivity (and wore out, uninspired leaders). Healthy organizations are others-focused (making disciples) and use forward energy, resulting in high productivity (and energized, inspired leaders!).

Truth 4: The organizational culture impacts the long-term productivity of the organization.

Territorialism is replaced by collaboration. Mediocrity is replaced by excellence. Red tape is replaced by simple systems that empower people. Feelings don’t get hurt and leaders don’t have to walk on “eggshells,” killing momentum and productivity again and again… and there is healthy growth!

Truth 5: Unhealthy cultures are slow to adapt to change.

The churches that grow the fastest and are the healthiest are those that are NOT focused on their church members. (NOTE: This is assuming you have created healthy discipleship environments and processes for your members). An unhealthy culture is generally focused inward, on itself and their back is to the marketplace. An unhealthy church resists change. Healthy churches seek outward focused, forward moving change and can act, react, morph, adapt and create in a high-energy environment. Members needs are cared for as, together, they share life and care for others.

“Does this really matter?” YES!

If our productivity is tied to making disciples and impacting a culture with the Gospel of Jesus Christ… then intentionally growing from the inside-out into a healthy culture eternally matters!

Notes: What spoke to you? How can you identify these truths in your organizational culture? Share at least 2 examples or take-a-ways…

*5 Truths in bold by Andy Stanley… summaries from his teaching are from yours truly.

How to be a BIG Church

Unknown-12I Love BIG Churches – Part 4

How to be a BIG Church!

Bigger is always better when it comes to some things… but we aren’t talking about mere numbers. Regardless of the size of your ministry and the greater demographic you are hoping to influence, here are some ways you can go BIG for Christ.

5 Ways to be a BIG Church…

1) BIG prayer. You can be certain of this, “Whenever God determines to do a great work, He first sets His people to pray!” (Charles Spurgeon) Fast and pray together in increasingly creative ways… 24hr prayer summits, days of fasting, scripture praying, prayer walls, stations and more. Simply put, you and your ministry family cannot pray enough as you align yourself with God’s unique purpose for you!

2) BIG worship. It doesn’t have to be a large venue or a long service to worship well and dive deep together into the Word of God. Make your times of gathering as a congregation a priority not only for you, but for those neighbors and friends you are inviting to join you. Give your best and make it all about Jesus!

3) BIG service. Who are you partnering with in your community to meet needs and be the hands and feet of Jesus? From a local school’s tutoring program to a homeless shelter, from a foster parenting group to a ministry fighting human trafficking, there are people with a heart for service you can partner with in your sphere of influence!

4) BIG giving. Don’t be afraid to inspire and inform often about the importance of tithes and offerings. Why? Because of the partnership potential it brings to the Kingdom of Christ. Keep the motivations before your people… from missionaries abroad to local and regional ministries, remind often that giving makes it go as God multiplies it for His glory!

5) BIG love. “Love one another.” The most influential thing any church has going for them is their capacity to love each other. People are attracted to people who genuinely care for one another, in spite of faults, failures and sins. Through small groups gathering often to simply being there for each other on a daily basis… leave no doubt in your communities mind that you are love by God and love one another in a BIG, BIG way!

Be BIG and go BIGGER and BIGGER in the ways that truly matter. The numbers will take care of themselves as people come to Jesus and you grow disciples who make disciples!

Here’s a BIG BONUS for small/medium sized churches… check out Breaking 200 Without Breaking You by Carrie Nieuwhof.

I Love BIG Churches!

Unknown-2I Love BIG Churches: Part 1

Are You BIG Church Bitter?

We all know the story.  One of those “BIG Churches” starts growing and then explodes in number. They get bigger and bigger while other churches get smaller. Some even close their doors and it’s all the fault of that “BIG Church.” But, is this an entirely true story?

Why are we tackling this “elephant in the room” among church leaders? It’s simply because we want to see churches of any size grow and gain more and more influence for Christ in their communities! Who knows? If more leaders spent less time criticizing others and more time uniting, praying, leading, serving and simply being God’s people in their communities, maybe their own influence would grow a little more? Oddly enough I began working on this series over a year ago when I was leading a wonderful, smaller congregation and, having pastored two of “those BIG churches” (and now on staff at another “BIG Church”)… my heart hurt every time I needed to confront BIG Church Bitterness.

If you find yourself a critic of big churches, and an even bigger critic of “mega churches,” this mulit-part series may be for you.

Here are 5 Signs You are BIG Church Bitter…

1. You speak negative about their leaders. Do you find yourself questioning or, worse, condemning big church leaders for things like preaching too shallow or leading too “CEO?” Your inner narrative is even worse when you think about these leaders!

2. You speak negative about their people. Obviously everyone that attends “that big church” does so because they can stay anonymous. They show up for the “big show” and leave. They don’t have to be and aren’t truly invested.

3. You are convinced you are deeper spiritually. You wouldn’t dare say it, however, your leadership and your people are simply deeper and better followers of Jesus Christ. You preach, teach and practice the truth, the whole Gospel and they don’t. Besides, they can’t possibly be true to the Word and have that big of a following.

4. You are sure they make a bigger impact only because they are bigger (and have more money). Here’s a good question to ask yourself, “Can big churches do what they do because they are big… or are they big because they’ve done what they’ve done?”

5. You secretly wish you were like them. Someone once said, “Methinks he doth protest too much.” (Hamlet paraphrase) Of course, you aren’t one of these. Some leaders might, but you insist you would never want their level of influence or the responsibility that comes with it. You have never once coveted their salaries which, of course, are too big. Yet, for someone who doesn’t care about “that big church,” you sure spend a lot of time and emotional equity thinking and talking about them among your leadership and people.

Here’s the problem with these 5 signs… they are all sin. They don’t curry the favor of God and only keep His favor from flowing. Talking bad (often disguised as sarcasm) may score points with people who are quick to agree and then stroke the egos of their far more spiritual leaders, but God simply hates it for what it is… disunity. It’s one thing to critique leadership and organizational styles and systems, it’s another to get personal. I’ll refrain from the Bible lesson. Needless to say God’s Spirit and Word combine to oppose BIG church bitterness and the counter-productive culture it creates. If you truly love the Lord, His Body, and desire to reach the lost for His glory… you’ll stop.

It’s time to see that”BIG church” (and maybe yourself) in a different light. Ask yourself, “Am I BIG Church bitter?”

Coming up next in this series:

I Love BIG Churches: Part 2… How to Beat Big Church Bitterness.                                        I Love BIG Churches Part 3… Exposing BIG Church Myths                                                                                           I Love BIG Churches Part 4…Questions to Ask about BIG Churches

7 Ways to Restore It!

imagesWhat do leading change and restoring old furniture have in common? When it comes to reworking a team, process or event, here are 7 practices I have discovered from refurbishing antique pieces (sometimes the wrong way!) to renewed beauty and use…

1) Start with the end. What do you want it to look like when the piece is finished? Will you be painting or staining? Flat or glossy finish? Will it be an everyday piece or only for special occasions? The same holds true for organizations and the programs within them.

Ask these vital questions and more before going to work… Why are we reworking it? Whom will it serve? What will it look like when fully functional? Start with the finish in mind.

2) Know before you go. In the same way it is vital to know the type of wood and grain you are working with, you need to know the people you will be teaming with towards your goal. Where do they come from? How are they wired? What “stains” do they have that go below the surface? Knowing before going will help avoid at least some of the inevitable challenges that are sure to surface along the way. How do you go about this? Keep reading…

3) Remove the layers. Just as there are often layers of finish on older pieces, there are always multiple layers of structure, training, experience, relationships and emotions that have become part of the organization, project or annual event you are reworking. It’s tempting to say, “What’s another layer?” and just add it on. However, over time multiple layers have a tendency to show themselves, and it isn’t pretty. They crack, chip, peal or wear thin due to repeated use. These must be removed with purpose, patience and care or you are only compounding the problem. “Un-learn” some practices and un-do some complicated processes during a season of training as you re-work your plan and, more importantly, patiently restore people to renewed purpose.

4) Look it over… again. Looking a piece over from a variety of angles and in different lights will give you the best idea of your progress at each stage. Don’t be afraid to get different perspective from a fresh pair of eyes. “You missed a spot…” isn’t always what we want to hear. However, these words may mean the difference between a job merely done and one that is done well. The same holds true for a ministry or business project. The more qualified input you have into the process, especially before you begin the restoration, the better the chances of success and the more creative the finished product will be. Consider the value of outside coaches to speak fresh perspective, challenge and inspiration into your team.

5) Test your finish. Know exactly what color and texture you want to use? Do yourself a favor and try it out in a spot other than the most visible surface. Sure, you can always re-sand or re-strip. However, each time you do this you are taking away something from the piece itself. This will be part of the final steps in the process as you avoid the temptation to rush the overall project.

When it comes to a process or event, try a test-run or “dress rehearsal” before the actual “opening day” whenever possible. Talk it through with the team at the very least. While perfection is never the goal, you want to put your best foot forward. Better to reset the launch date than to start poorly. Besides, “You never get a second chance to leave a first impression.”

6) Finish well. Finishing a piece includes the actual staining of a piece. Two thin but ample layers are always preferable to “laying it on thick.” The same holds true for preserving it with anything from a matt or satin to a high-gloss sealant. I liken this to the training needed before you actually implement a new structure or launch a new initiative.

Again, take your time and know that multiple opportunities for training, resourcing, beta testing will only make the actual launch more likely to produce the desired results. Make sure everyone knows their role and is well-equipped to perform with excellence.

7) Celebrate! Celebrate by putting the restored piece to use. The satisfaction of restoring old bookshelves is in seeing books, old and new, find their place on it. Or, in antique chairs filled with the people you love sitting around a table that will now host many a meal and meaningful conversation. This one is often missed.

Plan strategically to put the reformed structure, reworked plan, or a restaffed team to good use sooner than later. Capitalize on the momentum and excitement that restoring something to renewed use brings.

Remember that we all need refurbished, reformed and remade throughout life and the same holds true for the organizations we lead. Isaiah reminds us, Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8, NIV)

How do you restore or refurbish a project or event? Who are the people involved and how can you invest in them throughout the process? Add your own advice on leading renewal in the discussion thread below…