leadership development

Pastor Appreciation Month!

Both my wife and I are “PK’s” and we have spent almost 30 years living the highs and lows of life in ministry.

This is no small reason why we love to encourage pastors and the ministries they serve through Peak Pastors!

While we still have so much to learn about life and leadership, and are grateful for the long line of pastors in our family trees, here’s what we do know…

Being a pastor is tough (see stats below). And, being a pastor’s spouse or a “PK” may be even tougher.

From my heart to yours, here are 5 ways you and your congregation can appreciate your pastor and family during this month or anytime of the year

1) Give them grace, a lot of grace. Remember, they are just people.

Your pastor and their family struggle with all the same stuff you and your kids do. They aren’t perfect. They aren’t superheroes. They are human. They need grace.

Be understanding, patient and kind when your pastor and their family struggle deeply along the way.

2) Give them encouragement. Because they are people, too, they need a lot of this.

They are often reminded of their shortcomings, failures and faults in the course of ministry, even while they seek to help others with theirs.

Determine to counter this with a constant stream of compliments and “Atta’ boys!” They need it. Besides, it’s so very hard to be an encourager when you are discouraged.

3) Give them… gifts! Your pastor isn’t in it for the money. Still, they would love to be able to go out and have a good time with their spouses and kids a little more often.

Donate gift cards to restaurants, shopping centers, coffee shops, theaters, sport venues, gas stations, and more.

If you are a Lead Pastor, do what we have done over the years and see to it that there is a table provided where members can give those cards and maybe a note of encouragement.

4) Give them your prayers. Pray a lot for your pastor! Your pastor has a great big “bulls eye” on his chest. The devil would love to discourage or even destroy your pastor and family knowing that so many more are likely to be disillusioned should they stumble.

Pray protection, endurance, discernment and, above all joy in the journey of your pastors and their families!

5) Give them more time. Whether you decide as a leadership team to extend your pastor some extra days off or an extra week of vacation… the biggest pressure on your pastor and their family is time.

No, most pastors don’t have to “punch a clock.” However, they don’t have weekends off. They often spend evenings studying, answering emails, phone calls, at meetings, counseling, at that community event, praying, planning, texting with members and more because their days are so full of, well, church business.

Allow me to offer one more rather bold suggestion on behalf or your pastoral family.

Please, don’t automatically give them an invite for yet another evening with you and a few other couples.

They have likely been visiting with people in and out of the church all week in addition to meetings, etc. While you are no doubt wonderful and fun-loving people, they desperately need to just hang out with their own families without having to be “on.”

This Pastor’s Appreciation Month, pick one or, better yet, all 5 suggestions and encourage your pastor and family all year-long!

ps – Don’t forget your Associate Pastors and families! Same pressures, different roles!

What follows are some stats concerning pastors and ministry life. Some may be anecdotal, but they certainly feel like fact to pastors and their families…

  •  90% of the pastors report working between 55 to75 hours per week.
  • 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families. Many pastor’s children do not attend church now because of what the church has done to their parents.
  • 95% of pastors do not regularly pray with their spouses.
  • 33% state that being in the ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
  • 75% report significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry.
  • 90% feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands.
  • 80% of pastors and 84% of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged as role of pastors.
  • 90% of pastors said the ministry was completely different than what they thought it would be like before they entered the ministry.
  • 50% feel unable to meet the demands of the job.
  • 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
  • 70% say they have a lower self-image now than when they first started.
  • 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
  • 40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month.
  • 33% confess having involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in the church.
  • 50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
  • 70% of pastors feel grossly underpaid.
  • 50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years.1 out of every 10 ministers will actually retire as a minister in some form.
  • 94% of clergy families feel the pressures of the pastor’s ministry.
  • 80% of spouses feel the pastor is overworked.
  • 80% spouses feel left out and under-appreciated by church members.
  • 80% of pastors’ spouses wish their spouse would choose a different profession.
  • 66% of church members expect a minister and family to live at a higher moral standard than themselves.
  • The profession of “Pastor” is near the bottom of a survey of the most-respected professions, just above “car salesman”.
  • 4,000 new churches begin each year and 7,000 churches close.
  • Over 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month last year.
  • Over 1,300 pastors were terminated by the local church each month , many without cause.
  • Over 3,500 people a day left the church last year.
  • Many denominations report an “empty pulpit crisis”. They cannot find ministers willing to fill positions.

Statistics provided by The Fuller Institute, George Barna, and Pastoral Care Inc.

“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.” (1 Timothy 5:17, NIV)

Transition Shifts

Every time there is a transition in an organization’s staff there is a cultural shift that follows, especially if that transition is among senior level staff.  Thankfully, you don’t have to be surprised by this shift and the Lord has already given you and your team what you need to lead well through it!

Before diving in, let’s define culture. Culture is a combination of what we create and what we allow as leaders. (Craig Groeschel) This combination, over time, defines an organization and says “This is how we do things here.” 

What should we expect during this season of shift? How can we prepare for and walk well as a team and organization going forward? 

There are several Major Shifts that take place around a leadership transition…

Gift Shift

Every leader is uniquely gifted by the Holy Spirit. They are simply different than other leaders that may have filled the same or similar roles. In addition, their personality, communication style, leadership strategy and more are different. This is just as God designed it. Their gifting, along with other senior level leaders, will find it’s way into the leadership culture and, in time, the greater culture of the church.

Relational Shift

A healthy culture is simply made up of healthy relationships working in harmony towards a goal. And, how and who a leader relates to others is as different as each God-given personality. Discovering and understanding our shared gifts and personalities will be an important venture into knowing ourselves and one another better relationally.

Who a leader relates to on a more personal level will be different. Not better, not worse. Simply, different. We all have a small circle of interpersonal relationships we can maintain in a healthy way. In other words, close friends. This is just how God designed it.

Jesus had 12 disciples, hung out with 3 of them a little closer (Peter, James and John) and had 1 best friend (John). This is neither right nor wrong, just as it was with the previous leader. We simply need to recognize and flow with this as it naturally develops. 

The new leader will gravitate to a different circle, although every leader should prioritize their staff and lead team (Pastoral Staff, Elders, Team Leaders, etc). I recommend they become like family! 

Vision Shift

The Holy Spirit partners with leaders to communicate and carry out a unique vision for seasons of life and ministry. This big picture reality should also be both anticipated and embraced. 

The new leader should seek to partner with the broader leadership team to pray, process, promote and walk in the new vision as the Spirit reveals it through them and the team they are privileged to lead with. 

Values Shift

Values simply define HOW we do what we do (and don’t). No surprise here… different leaders hold to a different set and level of values. However, there are some values that organizations of greater influence all have in common. When values are clear and defined over time, a culture thrives. When values are not clear, a culture suffers, insider RELATIONSHIPS suffer and with it, influence with outsiders.

It will be very important to pray and process through the values of the incoming leader in partnership with the lead team, and then live them out and promote them until they become part of the culture at the DNA level. Over time, these Values will simply say, “This is how we do things here.” 

Preaching/Teaching Shift

Elijah and Elisha had unique voices. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each communicated about Jesus’ ministry in very different ways. Paul and Barnabas had differing styles as well. Simply put, leaders communicate in their own God-given voice and way. This will take some getting used to for everyone. What matters is that a leader communicates God’s Word faithfully. 

Still, it will take time for the congregation to adjust. Many will love the new style. Most will be fine with it. A few might leave over it. Accept this as the natural part of the shift in preaching and teaching style.

Organizational/Administrative Shift

This area concerns day-to-day functions of a leader and team. Some leaders have a high organizational gifting, and some not as much. Further, what was simply assumed, delegated or done by one leader administratively, isn’t always the same with another. Some of these functions can and should be anticipated and talked through. However, most will need to be handled with clear communication and a high level of grace as they naturally arise in the course of ministry life. 

How do we navigate Cultural Shift? 

First, we pray about it!

This is more than the “Sunday School” answer. The Holy Spirit can and will help us make inevitable changes throughout the organization, while helping everyone involved to adjust to them. We simply need to stay prayerful about it! Pray specifically for fellow team members and the congregation as they adjust.

Second, we talk about it.

This is about the health of the church we are privileged to lead. With much love and respect for both former, present and new leaders, we simply talk about differences in leadership style and vision and how they affect the church at each level. Again, this is more about culture than it is personality.

Third, we clarify it.

Again, what roles, duties and functions that simply were assumed by and/or of a previous leader, may not be so with a new leader. Many of these cannot be anticipated and will simply be addressed in the day-to-day course of ministry life. However, major responsibilities, direct reports, etc, should be discussed and then affirmed going forward. 

The Holy Spirit will give us everything we need to love and lead well through the shifts that always occur during seasons of leadership transition.

Remember, you simply can’t over communicate as a new leadership culture is established through a season of transition. 

What “shifts” have you experienced during seasons of transition? Let us know in the reply section below!

Want to drill down deeper on leading through transition? Email us at peakpastors@gmail.com and let’s see how we can partner in a coaching relationship!

3 Truths in Transition

Do you find yourself in a leadership transition in a key ministry area of your church? Are you in an executive level staff transition?

There are realities that come with the territory of transition.

Bringing your staff, lead teams and congregation around these will go a long way towards walking together well going forward.

I recently began walking with my home church through this season. It is the 7th church I’ve had the privilege of coming alongside during a Lead Pastor transition, and I have learned so much along the way! I say this only to highlight the fact that, although each situation is unique, there are some common threads woven through the fabric of each experience.

Here’s some of what we shared together…

As Interim Lead Pastor let me be the first to let you know about a few things that almost always happen in seasons of leadership and church transition. You need to know that these are OK!

For some it’s exciting and they embrace it like a faith adventure. For others it’s just plain scary, and that’s OK!

When it comes to the will of God for the future of TCAB (The Church at Bradenton), we don’t know yet, and THAT’S OK. God knows and that’s enough in this moment. We won’t always be in this season. The Spirit will guide in His time as we worship, fast, pray and seek wise council together.

There will be change over time, and THAT’S OK.

Change either happens to us or through us.

Let’s be a part of it, together! This excites me because another word for change is growth.There can never be growth without change. Healthy things grow (like our kids). See Romans 12:1-3.

People sometimes come and go before, during and after a transition, and THAT’S OK. I WANT EVERYONE TO STAY and get behind what God is doing! Still, this rarely happens.

Don’t overdo trying to talk people in or out of these important decisions. Listen, love and pray for them as the Spirit leads.

Should people decide to leave, they may simply be finding another local church where they can be “all-in” for the Lord. Love them and the church you are serving enough to let them go. That’s a very good thing for everyone!

Again, whether you are facing a change in a strategic area of ministry or in an executive level staff position, you don’t have to be surprised by these realities. You do need to pray and process them well together.

Why are these realities so common?

Join us in our next post as we explore several “Shifts” inherent with leadership transition.

Want to drill down on some of these? Email me at peakpastors@gmail.com and let’s see how we can connect in a coaching relationship!

What are some of the realities you’ve experienced in your seasons of transition? How did you and your lead teams walk well through them together?

Share some of your experience in the reply section below…

5 Steps to Delegating Well

images-1Leaders who intentionally create and actively encourage a culture of delegation, partner with and 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 4

Unknown-1Viral Volunteerism Part 4 – Timing is Everything 

It’s been said that, “Timing is everything.” While it may not be everything, it does play a valuable role in gathering and keeping great volunteers in your ministry or organization.

Answer the following questions from the perspective of those you seek to engage as volunteers..,

When is the training? How long will it take? When training is involved, be clear about the investment of time this will take in addition to the actual event.

What is the prep or setup time? Cleanup/tear down? Follow-up? It’s easy to overlook these practical parts of the equation as “givens.” However, factor this in so that people have a realistic view of what they are committing to and how much time it will take.

When does it start? Your event or initiative isn’t likely the only thing people have going. Are other things in your ministry starting at the same time? Be clear about when their commitment begins so they can plan effectively.

When does it end? Remember, people have other places to go and things to do. This one is BIG!!! Create a culture where things “running late” are the rare exceptions.

When people know you value them and their investment, they are far more likely to partner with you. Few things say this like valuing people’s time. Create a culture where people can “set their watch” by the way you communicate and stick to the timing you have asked your volunteers to give.

Need some help taking your volunteers and teams to the next level? Let us know the best way to contact you in the thread below. Let’s partner together to take you volunteerism viral in the coming year!

 

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 1

Unknown-1Viral Volunteerism Part 1 – Clarity of Vision

“How do I get more volunteers?” I hear this question from leaders across the country. Why? Because of what I have never heard from anyone, anywhere… “We have too many volunteers!”

So, how do you get (and keep) more volunteers? Let’s explore this together over the next few posts… It all starts with leadership.

Let’s be more specific. By leadership we mean CLEAR leadership. Why? Because, the leadership must have clarity in several essential areas for people to develop the trust necessary to follow. Here are a few of those vital areas…

Clear Vision. Do people have a clear sense of where all of this is going? Are the leadership teams united in the pursuit of a shared vision for the church or organization? Has this been clearly communicated to those being asked to get on board? If not, get this done! People are slow to get on board a train with an uncertain destination.

Clear Goal. This is different than the overall vision of the organization. This one is specific to the initiative or event you are asking people to volunteer for. To get people to not only volunteer but to be excited about it, you have to clarify the win.

In other words, what does success look like if all goes even better than expected? The more specific you can be, the better. For example – Our goal is to pack 450 homeless care packets and deliver them to the shelter by 1pm.

Clear Information. This one is simple, but essential. Do people know what they are getting themselves into? Have you taken the time to let people know the who, what, when, where and how of what you are asking? We will cover this more specifically in an upcoming post, especially as it concerns the #1 factor in people’s willingness to volunteer.

Again, people will be slow to sign-up and show up if they aren’t sure what they are signing up for.

Clear leadership is central to creating a culture of Viral Volunteerism where the people have a high level of trust in a team that has done their homework!

Need some help gaining organizational clarity? Reply below and let’s get started with a free coaching call!

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…