community

Beat the Summer Slump

Is it possible to grow your teams and the overall health of your congregation during what most church leaders call the “summer slump?” YES!

God set the world up so that most healthy things grow during the summer season.

Where do you begin?

You have to talk about, plan for and provide practical solutions.

This starts around the leadership table and doesn’t end until it is promoted from the weekend worship and preaching platform to all of your social media outlets.

How can you strategically lead your ministry teams during the months when most people, including your team members/volunteers, are tempted to “check out?”

Consider leading a 5R Strategy with your staff & lead teams.

Check out the 5R Strategy posts on this site that offer a plan you can tailor for your teams to Rest, Review, Recruit, Retrain and then Relaunch! Start here – https://peakpastors.blog/2019/04/22/take-a-break/

Who do you talk to?

Like most strategic initiatives, you start with your staff, then engage your lead teams and then your congregation.

If it’s important, it should have both input and buy-in at all levels from start to finish.

Who knows how many creative ideas and willing people are just waiting to get on board! Great leaders are great gatherers of great people!

What should you be talking about?

Here are 5 Summer Subjects to address…

Our Need to Get Away! This is all about rest.

Lead the way in encouraging rest for your staff, teams/volunteers and members. Cultivate a culture that values the health of it’s people beginning with seasons of much deserved rest. Find out more in these posts – https://peakpastors.blog/2019/04/22/take-a-break/ and https://peakpastors.blog/2019/05/14/5r-rest/

Our Need to Gather! This is all about fellowship.

Lead the way in encouraging people to keep gathering when they aren’t enjoying their vacation or weekend get-a-way. Be creative in providing opportunities for this not only in your main weekend worship experiences, but at other times for just getting together for fun and fellowship. Cookouts and/or tailgate parties never go out of style and can be done by churches large and small!

Our Need to Grow! This is all about spiritual growth.

Lead the way in encouraging people to continue in personal and family spiritual growth.

You need to come right out and say it, “We don’t need a vacation from growing in Jesus.”

Start at the most basic place. Talk about having a daily time reading God’s Word and praying and how fundamental this is to us as followers of Jesus. Share from your heart what this has meant to you and/or have others share what it has meant in their lives and families.

Don’t “pound the pulpit” about it. Instead, talk in simple terms and transparent ways about our temptation to do this over the summer. Then, provide some practical ways to grow in a personal/family devotional life.

Here are a few reminders you can give and resources you can offer:

  • Download the YouVersion Bible App and follow a personal daily reading plan. Offer plans for groups and/or as a congregation. https://www.youversion.com/
  • Provide a subscription to RightNow Media. This resource provides an amazing amount of video teachings, messages, conferences, and entertaining choices for all ages! https://www.rightnowmedia.org/

Our Need to Give! This is all about stewardship.

Lead the way in encouraging people to stay out of debt personally and as a family over the summer.

Start with caring about their personal finances and debt so they know you truly care about them, not just what they can give! Then, lead the way in encouraging everyone to continue (or start) tithing and giving.

Here are a few suggestions for your staff/lead teams and resources you can offer:

Our Need to GO! This is all about serving.

Lead the way in serving others, starting in your local community. Provide opportunities to serve as a staff, lead teams, small groups or as a congregation.

Here are some great examples!

  • Landscaping: Gather groups to spruce up the landscaping at Foster Care family and group homes.
  • Provide childcare at your church to Foster Parents to have a “date night.”
  • Clean up a local park, recreation area, beach or other public space.
  • Host a block party for those in your immediate neighborhood.
  • Read and/or sing at a local nursing home or extended care facility.
  • Volunteer at a local homeless shelter.
  • Host a “back to school” supply drive to help parents with the expenses of school supplies. (Check out local school supply lists usually provided)
  • Go old-school with a free car wash hosted by your youth and/or young adults!

Summer Break is an annual reality. Going through the “Summer Slump” doesn’t have to be!

Email us at peakpastors@gmail.com and let’s talk about what a coaching partnership could mean for your health and growth as a pastor, lead team and congregation!

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.

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

31 Ministry Tips for 2016 – #20

Unknown-1Here is Tip #20 for Ministry Leaders in 2016…

Change your shoes.

You’ve heard the old adage, “You never truly know someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes.” This challenges us as leaders with questions like, “How well do we know the people we serve and serve with? Do we have any idea what it’s like to live and work in their world? What must it be like to work with or for me? (Ouch!) And, how do we go about finding out?”

Get down to the business of getting to know others. Here are a few suggestions…

Don’t do business. Not only business, that is. Avoid making every staff meeting or conversation in the hall about someone’s role, potential role or task and just get to know them. Ask about their day, their family, their job (if they are volunteers), fears, problems, hopes, plans and more. Everybody has a life that goes way beyond the one we know about. So, get to it, get to know them before getting down to business. Remember this, everyone is in the people business, and this goes double for ministry leaders. After all, Jesus was and is the ultimate people person.

Load some lime. We started a new prayer ministry, seeking to involve the congregation in prayer strategies for personal, family and ministry health. In retrospect this played no small roll in helping to see dozens decide to follow Jesus in the next couple of years… not bad considering the church only ran around 80 at the time. My team leader was a hog farmer and I didn’t know him as well as I needed to. So, I got in the old jeep and headed out to the farm. A few hours and a few hundred bags of lime feed later, I understood why my new prayer team leader would sometimes fall asleep in my sermons, but was otherwise passionate about prayer. From about 4:30am until 9:00pm at night, he was raising pigs to provide for his family and supply the rest of us with the bacon, sausage and chops we love so much. Oh… and praying throughout the day as he worked in an environment (and smell!) that most would not prefer.

Is it possible to hang out with some of your team while they are “on the job?” Maybe this is overkill? Maybe not. Ride along with that police officer, sit in on that lecture, help unclog that drain, show that house, change the oil, or edit that video. Walk in their shoes by working in them from time to time.

Do lunch (or breakfast, late night coffee, etc). This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to overlook this and eat alone, or skip it all together. Call it the proverbial “breaking bread” or just chilling out together. Take advantage of our common need to feed and routinely eat with team members.

Play as a team. Whether it’s hiking, bowling, a fantasy sport’s league, softball, rope’s course, team scrabble, ping-pong, geocaching… whatever! Get to know one another by having some good ole’ fashioned fun together.

RETREAT! Plan a retreat to combine all the above. Give everyone a blank “story board” (poster board) and then give each person the floor to share their story. Don’t just vision and engage in strategic planning. Get away to get to know one another more as people, not just staff.

This is all about creating community and you can’t create it visioning, studying, planning or even praying in your office all day. If you want to lead like Jesus, follow in His footsteps as he walked with and got to know people in the marketplace, along the road, at the beach, on a boat, at the temple, in their homes, by the proverbial “water cooler” and more. Wherever people were, Jesus was… and still is.

It’s time to change your shoes.

 

Connect 1 – 2 – 3

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We live in an increasingly “wireless” age. We are less and less tethered to chords and tied to wires as technology advances at a rapid rate. However, one reality remains… we just have to stay connected. Take a look around you. People are texting, messaging and calling other people from their phones, tablets and laptops. When they aren’t they are usually looking for a plug to power-up so they can stay connected with family, friends, co-workers and clients. We can’t stand it when we don’t have access to wi-fi! I guess you could say that this is how God has “wired” us?

When it comes to our churches, what does it mean to connect with others, with those yet to become followers of Jesus? Most of us have heard the old slogan, “Each one, reach one.” The problem has always been that this is as vague as it is catchy. Let’s face it, much of our programming is. But what does it mean to really reach someone? Where do you even begin?

Check out the attached Connect123. This piece is designed to help you be intentional in three ways…

1 – Connect with one person you have yet to really know.

2 – Re-connect with two people you know you’ve needed to.

3 – Encourage 3 people that just need it! (and to be on the lookout for that unexpected “Divine appointment!”)

Jesus was the Master at connectivity. It didn’t matter who, where, when and how. He was always meeting with someone and connecting with them right where they were. Isn’t this why he came? Jesus came to re-connect us with God the Father through His life, death and resurrection. Along the way He modeled for us what it looks like to get beyond ourselves and our cultural borders in order to reach those yet unreached with His grace and truth…. fisherman, tax collectors and doctors, the “Woman at the well,” “Blind Bartamaeus,” Nicodemus, people of power and prominence and the unknowns, unwanted and so many more. He showed us how to connect with people at the point of their hurts, failures, sins and needs… the real stuff of life.

It’s time to connect. Is it scary? Yes. Will we have all the answers? No. Whatever we do, we can’t let anything stop us from connecting with others so they can get connected with Jesus.

Take the Connect123 sheet and feel free to make it your own. Tweak it to work for you and your leadership team, small group or congregation. Challenge one another to take Jesus’ example and make connectivity a lifestyle. After all, someone connected with you.