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38 minutes | 20 hours ago
Speaking Truth to the Hearts of Executive Pastors with Kevin Davis
Welcome back to this week’s unSeminary podcast. Today we’re talking with Kevin Davis from 2|42 Community Church in Michigan. Kevin is one of the executive pastors and focuses on small groups, culture, and leadership development. What makes a good ministry leader? How can you learn to lead yourself well? How do you work through conflict with other church leaders and put the church first? Listen in as Kevin shares about what has impacted him the most in his own leadership development and how church leaders can best live out their ministry callings. Church first; job second. // Being a campus pastor is a difficult job in the church world because you may feel responsible for everything but you don’t have the authority to change everything. Yet the role is very important. At 2|42 Community Church each of the campuses are in varying communities and it’s critical that each campus pastor has a voice in the decisions and direction of the church so that one campus doesn’t speak for the rest and miss capturing what’s needed. Campus pastors need to bleed and know the DNA of 2|42, but also adapt and make it contextual in the communities where they serve. What helps with this is that nearly all campus pastors have been hired from within and so 2|42 is their church first and their place of employment second.Know your calling. // In order to deal with the tension between responsibility and authority, the campus pastor, or any other church leader, needs to have some good practices in place. Know your identity and where your worth comes from. You don’t always have to be right. If you know God has called you to this ministry, then you can stick with it knowing it’s where you’re supposed to be, even when things aren’t easy or there’s conflict. Develop relationships with other staff members and cultivate loyalty to hold on to the relationship side. Honor each other and work through your differences. Keep short accounts and always put the church ahead of yourselves.Submission. // Kevin notes that submission has been the most formative aspect of his own development as a leader. Being a good follower of leaders is what prepares you to be a good leader. We are not called to be famous. When you’re in your 20s, focus on developing your character – this time is about who you will BE for the church. That way in your 30s, 40s and 50s it will be about what you DO for the church. The best thing a young person can do right now is to be in submission, be mentored, give people access to all their business, to let others challenge them and form and shape them into the character of the person God needs them to be in 10 years.Learn to be a servant. // Don’t let culture (even church culture) define success for you. A large part of an executive pastor’s job is to discover the gifting and calling of the lead pastor and then fill in the gaps around that. This dynamic creates a collaborative power. Remember that all authority that is placed over us is from God and that submission is a form of chosen suffering. Your leadership structure and those in authority over you (regardless of how good or bad they are) can make you more holy as you learn to be obedient. Champion your boss, supporting him or her, and work to make them successful. Follow the leader over you in the way you would want to be followed.Leadership development. // If you’d like to develop your own leadership, Kevin recommends a few different books including How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge by Clay Scroggins as well as The Truest Thing about You: Identity, Desire, and Why It All Matters by David Lomas and also Anonymous: Jesus’ hidden years…and yours by Alicia Britt Chole. You can learn more about 2|42 Community Church at 242community.com and connect with Kevin via email. To learn more about NewThing visit www.newthing.org. Thank You for Tuning In! There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, but you chose unSeminary, and I’m grateful for that. If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons you see at the left hand side of this page. Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes, they’re extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show and you can bet that I read every single one of them personally! Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live! Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Chemistry Staffing It’s important for church leaders to pursue the right fit for the right position, which helps determine a long-term, healthy fit. It all starts with properly assessing the applicant’s resumé. Download Chemistry Staffing’s Resumé Screening Playbook and walk through a screening process that will help you discover which candidates to focus on.
37 minutes | 8 days ago
Moving a Fast Growing Multisite Church from Centralized to Decentralized Leadership Structure with Rachel Long
Thanks for joining in for this week’s unSeminary podcast. Today we’re talking with Rachel Long, Executive Pastor of Families and Multisites at Emmanuel Church in the greater Indianapolis area. Making the decision to go multisite and growing to multiple campuses will inevitably lead to a discussion about who answers to who on staff. The dotted lines and solid lines conversation can really get messy and at Emmanuel Church they found that it began to limit their growth and how they could serve the community. The answer? Decentralization. Listen in as Rachel shares about how to go about restructuring to a decentralized leadership structure in a multisite church. Centralized and on-the-ground. // Early on Emmanuel’s staff realized the question of dotted lines and solid lines was going to get their staff all tangled, so they redefined it for their culture as they moved toward decentralization. If you’re a centralized employee without on-the-ground functions at one of the campuses, then your main objective is to bring excellence and continuity to the organization. If you’re an on-the-ground employee at one of the campuses, your main objective is to grow your campus both numerically and spiritually. Another change was that central staff reported to a central manager but on-the-ground staff now would report to their campus pastor.Green light, yellow light, red light. // Previously the campus pastor had zero autonomy. But with the decentralized structure the campus pastor would be able to make their own decisions in certain areas. Emmanuel now uses a green light, yellow light, and red light framework. For green light items the campuses have full autonomy. Yellow light items are open for discussion with central. Red light items are centralized and can’t be changed.Campus constants. // The team at Emmanuel also created campus constants. This looked like getting everyone around the table, team by team, and dissecting each of the roles within the team. The host team (parking, greeting, coffee, etc.), for example, no longer had a centralized person in charge of everything. Instead each campus had a person that reported directly to the campus pastor. Facilities, production, worship, children’s ministry, student ministry, small groups, and connections all were addressed. It took Emmanuel from May 2018 to August 2019 to fully decentralize everything and give the staff the framework. At first the staff wasn’t bought-in and it took round table meetings where people were face-to-face discussing and agreeing upon the changes. The staff needed to come to a place where they could walk out of that meeting room, ready to live out the mission and make the needed changes in order to see people come to Christ and grow in Christ again.Working through the difficult transitions. // One area that was particularly tricky to decentralize was the weekend worship side of Emmanuel Church. The level of excellence in that area is expected to be super high and there were a lot of shared artists that were moving from campus to campus previously. With the new framework, certain artists would now only be at one campus. That was tough because it separated friendships and affected volunteers rather than only staff. Where Emmanuel landed is that there are worship teams at each campus, but also a central team that has the talent, passion and capability to travel around to multiple campuses and lead worship. When working through these particularly tough scenarios, leadership needs to have solidarity on the final decision or this won’t be handled well.Heart Touch Initiative. // Like most churches, when the pandemic started the staff at Emmanuel transitioned to working at home. In order to better serve their congregation, they launched the Heart Touch Initiative during this time. Staff either called, sent handwritten notes, or Facetimed with people within the congregation (17,000 connections!) These touch points gave the congregation someone to connect with should they need pastoral care, and it kept people connected to their campuses and in the loop. The Heart Touch Initiative was so successful that Emmanuel continues to use it as part of their language and goals now. You can learn more about Emmanuel Church at www.eclife.org and reach out to Rachel at her email address. If you want to learn more about Emmanuel’s Campus Constants, you can download examples of them for each team here. And here are documents focused on Emmanuel’s decentralization process. Thank You for Tuning In! There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, but you chose unSeminary, and I’m grateful for that. If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons you see at the left hand side of this page. Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes, they’re extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show and you can bet that I read every single one of them personally! Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live! Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Leadership Pathway We all want millennials and GenZ on our team to reach the next generation. We need them like never before. But the first years of anything is tough. Reduce turnover, stresses, avoid the pitfalls of quitting or termination with those who are just beginning their journey by engaging a coach for them. Avoid early departures on your team. Young leaders quitting too soon or getting fired is more than just a sunk cost. Don’t wait to get them a coach to help them face the unique challenges of starting in ministry. Visit Leadership Pathway to see how they can help.
13 minutes | 10 days ago
The Reason Your Church Marketing Isn’t Working
Are you wondering why those Facebook ads that you’ve been running for the last few months don’t seem to be translating into people connecting, neither in person nor online? Have you tried multiple flyer drops in your neighborhood and you’re desperately hoping that maybe one person would show up, but it just hasn’t happened? Are you worried about how you can leverage the next big day that’s coming up at your church to see people connect with your church? Did you update your website last year, but it seems like people haven’t even noticed and it hasn’t translated into more guests walking through your church doors? Whether those doors are physical or virtual! Are you doing tons of live video on every platform and at the end of the day, these efforts don’t seem to be translating into lives being changed? Why does so much church marketing seem to not work for so many churches? Over the decades I’ve spent so much time thinking about the connection between church marketing and church growth. It goes back to when I was in college. After a History of Christianity class, I remember talking to my professor about what he believed was going on during periods of great revival. There seemed to be two options: One was that the people who were leading in those seasons were more qualified and skilled, which meant they were able to attract larger audiences and ultimately see people connect to Christ. This is a non-satisfactory answer because it feels like it all has to do with people and our own skills rather than a move of God.The other was that maybe God loved people more in those periods of revival and so he moved in a way that ended up seeing tons of people connected with Christ. This is also an unsatisfactory answer because it would mean that God seems to be more interested in certain people, at certain times, and in certain places. What I am left with is that we as church leaders are responsible for thinking carefully about how we communicate the life-changing message of Christ and invite people to plug into our ministries. Here’s the dirty secret of church marketing: None of it works. If you’re looking to market your church by using outbound communication approaches to try to connect with people who have no relationship to your church, chances are that’s not a wise investment of your time or the financial resources associated with these efforts. Churches that grow have built a system that encourages their people to invite friends to connect with their church, whether that’s in-person or online. Let’s look at this idea more closely. After years of study and hundreds of interviews with leaders within the fastest growing churches across the country, my deep conviction is that churches that grow have built a series of systems that reinforce an invite culture. These churches don’t see “church marketing” as the core of their strategy. They aren’t trying the latest Facebook ad hack, flyer drop, or some other form of “interruption-based marketing” designed to “convert cold leads” into active parts of their churches. The fastest-growing churches in the country consistently encourage their people to invite friends and family to be a part of their church. It really is that simple. Growing churches have an ever-expanding invite culture. The reason your church marketing isn’t working is it’s got the wrong target. Your communication as a church leader needs to be directed toward the people who are connected to your church and motivate them to invite their friends and family to connect with your church. Until this system is completely developed, fully capitalized on, and worked out, it’s a waste of energy to try to market more broadly. Here are four areas to consider when trying to develop an invite culture at your church. Use these as a filter to think through how robust your invite culture is at your church. Gather your team and discuss whether these four areas are robustly represented in your church. Chances are you need to stop thinking about church marketing and start working on building the invite culture at your church. You Need a Flywheel Building a robust invite culture at your church requires more than a single silver bullet. There isn’t one simple step that will do this. It’s hundreds of small steps in every avenue of communication that we share with our people. It’s about consistently showing how it’s normal for people to invite their friends to church. People like us do things like this. It’s repeated steps in a consistent direction over a long period that will see people connected and motivated to invite their friends. It’s like a flywheel. It takes tons of effort on the frontend and the more you push it, you go from pushing hard to hardly pushing. Over time, all that cumulative effort makes a difference in your community. Big Days are Still a Big Deal Every church has three or four Sundays a year that I would call big days. These are days where two things happen: Your people are more likely to invite their friends. They’re more inclined to invite people on Christmas, Easter, and a few other days during the year.Their friends are more likely to attend. Even in the most post-Christian communities that we serve, there are a few days during the year that people who don’t normally attend church are more likely to walk through your church doors. You need to build a strategy around how to encourage your people to invite their friends on that day so that when their friends attend, they have a successful experience and ultimately see them return. That’s why we like to say that “big days are a really big deal.” It’s an important time of year for you to focus a disproportionate amount of energy to increase the invite culture of your church. What are you doing on Easter to ensure that the maximum number of people in your church invite their friends and family to be a part of it? How are you crafting the Mother’s Day experience so that every Mom in your church invites everyone in their family? Or are you providing a great enough Mother’s Day experience that every kid will invite their Mom? A Sunday Series Builds Momentum Have you ever logged onto Netflix or maybe Disney+ and you don’t just want to know what to watch but you want to know what else is on that you might want to watch next? The human mind is wired to want to know what’s coming next. This happens with our weekend services. People attend, whether that’s in person or online, and they may not connect with what’s going on here and now, but they wonder what’s coming next. Chunking your teaching into pieces that create a series will help build momentum. A series can be anywhere between 4 and 12 weeks long and can focus on a particular book or a theme. A series takes a logical approach and provides multiple opportunities for people to invite their friends and family to attend church. It’s an important principle of church growth that we help communicate in a way that ultimately captures the imagination of the people who we are attempting to see change into the people God wants them to be. How are we going to see people change if we can’t first capture their attention? Preaching a series of weekend messages will help us build that kind of momentum. Having a common system for onboarding every new series in a way that focuses your people on who they can invite is a critical piece of church growth that we’ve seen time and again in the fastest-growing churches. Just Be Cause Growing churches are the kind of churches that develop a system that reinforces the value of their people inviting friends into your church’s community. The underlying assumption here is that your church is the kind of church that people not only want to attend but want to tell their friends about. Time and again, we’ve seen in the fastest-growing churches across the country that they go out of their way to not just be a Sunday church but repeatedly find ways to encourage their people to get out of their seats and into the streets to make a difference in their communities. We know that this is a “God thing” but the community also sees it as a “good thing”. It creates a commonplace for people to talk to their friends about their church. People want to be part of a church that’s making a difference. When our churches are motivating people to get out of their seats and onto the street to make a difference, it’s the kind of thing that people want to talk to their friends about. When was the last time your church made a notable, positive impact in your community? How are you partnering with other leaders in the community for the good of your community? How are you celebrating the good things your church is doing in a way that makes it easy for your people to share about it with friends? Are you looking for more help with church growth? Your church marketing efforts need to be focused primarily on encouraging your people to invite their family and friends to connect with your church. Your team should be 100% focused on increasing the invite culture in your church before you attempt to do any external “church marketing.” You should not be looking at marketing externally to other people beyond the walls of your church. You need to take advantage of the community that is already connected with your church. This is the way your church will grow and reach new people. A few years ago, I wrote a book called Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church”, which is a compression of all these lessons from 200 plus interviews with church leaders from the fastest growing churches across the country. It covers five practical systems to drive church growth at your church. It helps your leadership wrestle through some of the ways to increase the invite culture in your church. I’m not trying to convince you to buy the book, but I would love to give you the first chapter to read. If it seems like the kind of thing that could be helpful, I encourage you to pick up copies for your leadership team. Click here to download the first chapter of the book and see if it’s something that might help your church take its next steps. Download PDF Article
21 minutes | 14 days ago
Something is Broken: A Conversation About What Christian Leaders Should Stop Saying about Sexual Abusers with Tanya Marlow
This is a special edition of the unSeminary podcast. Many church leaders don’t know what to say when it comes to the revelations around disgraced Christian leader, Ravi Zacharias. Earlier this week I bumped into Tayna Marlow’s article on this topic entitled “But his books are still good, right? – 5 things Christians must stop saying about sexual abusers” and your team would be well served to read the article to discuss what needs to change in your ministry. The opening of Tanya’s article sets that pace for the conversation: Pop quiz: If you have just found out that a famous Christian leader has been systematically sexually and spiritually abusing women throughout his entire ministry, should you be defending: a) The sexual predator, orb) His books? The answer, of course, is only this: the women. Nothing else. She was gracious enough to jump on the mic and discuss a little bit of the article. My hope is that you will go on to read the rest of it. ALSO: Pick up a copy of Tanya’s book to support her: “Those Who Wait: Finding God in Disappointment, Doubt and Delay“ Thank you, Tanya, for your willingness to help us lead.
33 minutes | 15 days ago
Everyday Ways to Help Your People Change the World with Dave & Jon Ferguson
Welcome to this week’s episode of the unSeminary podcast. I’m happy to have Dave and Jon Ferguson with us from Community Christian Church. Community has nine locations in Illinois as well as online services and works in three correctional facilities. Almost all Christians want to share the love of Jesus with their friends and neighbors. But it often feels awkward when we try, or it feels like we failed at a bad sales pitch and results in frustration. Listen in as Jon and Dave share how they’ve equipped the people at Community Christian so they know what it looks like, in very practical ways, to help others find their way back to God. Blessing vs Converting. // Many believers have been compelled by what they’ve experienced with God, but just haven’t figured out what it looks like to share their faith in a natural way. Often they end up feeling like they are trying to coerce or convince somebody. Community Christian Church believed there had to be a better way when it came to sharing the gospel. They came across a doctoral dissertation called “Blessers vs Converters” where two groups went to Thailand. One group went for the purpose of trying to convert people to Christianity and the other group went to focus on blessing the people there. Over a two year period, the blessers created a lot of social good and saw 100 people come to faith. Meanwhile the converters saw only 2 people come to faith. This led Community Christian to come up with the Bless Practices.Proclamation and demonstration. // The Bless Practices are not something to add to your life, but rather a way to live your life similar to how Jesus lived his. He blessed people and introduced grace to them. Community Christian realized that just because people in the church know your mission statement, it doesn’t mean they are living it out. They may want to, but they need practical tools to do so. This is where the Bless Practices come in.B.L.E.S.S. // Dave and Jon use the word B.L.E.S.S. as an acronym that offers guidance in how to reach out to others. B – Begin with prayer. Pray for the people in your neighborhood and your coworkers and let God direct you who to reach out to. L – Listen. 62% of non-christians and lapsed christians said they would talk about faith with people who didn’t pass judgement. E – Eat. Find ways to integrate other people into meals, coffee breaks and so on and use these things to build friendships. S – Serve. Jesus came not to be served, but to serve to others. Listen and learn how you can best serve that person to bless them. S – Story. When people were ready to listen to Jesus, He would tell a story. We also can tell stories about how God has worked in our lives.Let us bless, let God convert. // It’s important to remember that our job is to bless while it’s God’s job to convert. We often don’t listen long enough because we think it’s our job to convert, but listening is a great way to love someone. Embrace a posture of humility. Although we know the truth and the truth sets us free, we don’t know everything. We don’t know other’s stories and need to listen well as they share.Be a blessing. // Dave and Jon Ferguson have written a book titled B.L.E.S.S.: Five Everyday Ways to Love Your Neighbor and Change the World. The book is meant to offer a more organic and authentic way to share faith and goes into more depth on these five simple and straightforward practices and how you can live them out. You can learn more about Dave and Jon and their book at www.bless-book.org . If your church would like to do a teaching series using B.L.E.S.S., send an email to Dave to get access to free resources that will help you in equipping your church to share their faith more naturally. Thank You for Tuning In! There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, but you chose unSeminary, and I’m grateful for that. If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons you see at the left hand side of this page. Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes, they’re extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show and you can bet that I read every single one of them personally! Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live! Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Carey Nieuwhof Leadership has felt pretty uncertain and divisive this past year. How do you make decisions when the future isn’t predictable and your team has different opinions?Download the FREE Pivot Ready Cheat Sheet to get help making progress and gaining clarity through rapid change and disruption. It will give you a framework that effective and resilient leaders use to make decisions and take action.
40 minutes | 22 days ago
Former Divorce Lawyer Offers Perspectives on Marriage with Toni Nieuwhof
Thanks for joining this week’s unSeminary podcast. This week I’m excited to talk with Toni Nieuwhof. Toni’s extensive experience as a family lawyer, pharmacist, and church leader has given her unique and practical insights on how people grow emotionally, personally and spiritually. Although we don’t know the impacts of the pandemic on marriages and the divorce rate yet, it’s clear that families are seriously struggling on many levels under the strain. Some couples are at risk of splitting without clearly understanding why they’re leaving and what lies ahead. Listen in as Toni talks with us about how church leaders can come alongside couples that are really struggling and help them leave their unhappiness, rather than their marriages, behind. Steer toward humility. // As a church leader, if you a have couple that is really struggling with each other, both individuals may want to get the pastor on their side. This kind of blame dynamic is something leaders don’t want to contribute to in any way. Steer the conversation toward each person being more self-reflective. Help each of them to become aware that if they’re laying blame on each other, they’re probably telling themselves a victim story that blurs their vision. Help each person see their own role and recognize the impact of pride while steering them toward humility.Recognize your limits. // You may feel the call to meet with people who are struggling, but know that you have no experience as a counselor. Keep a list of vetted Christian counselors who you have confidence in and who have the experience to help couples who are struggling. Focus on guiding the couple into conversations about forgiveness.Be neutral. // Be intentional about not aligning yourself with one person or the other. You see just a small portion of what is going on in the marriage, and one partner may be able to be more communicative about their side of the conflict while the other is quiet. Don’t let this draw you to one person’s side. Help each person to recognize they have a role in this situation and to take the plank out of their own eye rather than looking for the speck in their spouse’s eye.Be an advocate for the kids. // Parents who are in a bad place with each other may have a hard time seeing what is happening from their kids’ perspectives. Be an advocate on behalf of the kids to help the parents see what they’re not seeing. Help them recognize that the kids are on this rough journey also. Encourage the parents to focus on what they can do to bring more kindness and respect to their family space. Having a level of cooperation for the sake of the kids is essential no matter what.Recognize the value. // Sometimes when parents are really struggling with each other, they lose sight of the value that the other parent is bringing to their child’s life. Help parents to create emotional safety for their children by supporting each other. Encourage a couple to help each other win as parents even if they’re struggling as spouses. A couple needs to recognize that the other parent has value in their children’s life regardless of what happens to their marriage.Personal growth and self-awareness. // Personal growth and self-awareness are key in developing good habits in marriage. Help a couple to take advantage of the resources out there to become more self-aware. Tools such as learning about love languages or the enneagram help individuals to become a student of their spouse. Also, issues like childhood trauma may not manifest itself until people are married adults. If there’s a hot button issue, there is probably something underneath it. Equip struggling couples with tools and resources that will set the groundwork for open and honest communication.Solutions to the pitfalls. // Toni’s book Before You Split: Find What You Really Want for the Future of Your Marriage is aimed at the couple who is in that serious place of struggle and wondering what they should do. It walks people through issues that can really trip them up in marriage (such as baggage from the past, expectations, emotional intelligence, peacemaking, protecting the kids, and forgiveness) and helps them head in the direction of healing. You can learn more about Toni and her book at www.toninieuwhof.com. You can also hear Toni speak on the Smart Family Podcast with Dr. Rob Meeder. Thank You for Tuning In! There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, but you chose unSeminary, and I’m grateful for that. If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons you see at the left hand side of this page. Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes, they’re extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show and you can bet that I read every single one of them personally! Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live! Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Chemistry Staffing Great things happen when the right leadership is in place in a local church… lives are changed and churches thrive. With all the craziness that has gone on in 2020, we know that many churches are beginning to ask hard questions about what their current team looks like and how ready they are to lead into our new reality. Download Chemistry Staffing’s Restructuring Playbook to develop clarity around where you need to be focusing your time, resources, and team.
26 minutes | 24 days ago
Increase Your Church’s Volunteer Teams with This Proven Multisite Expansion Tactic
Does your church have fewer volunteers today than it did a year ago? Are you wondering how you’re going to rebuild your church’s teams after everything that’s happened with COVID-19 and the way our culture has changed as a result of the pandemic? Have you wondered where you go next when it comes to gaining more people for your teams in the future? If you’re worried about your church’s volunteer teams, you’re not alone. At the end of 2020, Dan Reiland and I executed the National Survey of Executive Pastors, asking a number of questions. One of the glaring findings of this survey was that volunteer engagement in churches has fallen dramatically across the country. This survey asked whether people agree or disagree with a number of statements. This statement was the most disagreed with: “Our church grew its active volunteer base in 2020.” 72.18% of the executive pastors surveyed disagreed or strongly disagreed with this statement. Based on this response, it seems like churches across the country are facing a grim situation when it comes to volunteer engagement. We need to find new ways to build these volunteer teams and see them flourish in the coming weeks, months, and years. This lack of volunteer engagement is a problem on multiple fronts. Primarily, this is a significant issue because it represents a decrease in our church’s ability to disciple people. We all know that people volunteering to serve on our teams is a critical way that we help those people discover what it means to follow Jesus. At its core, a Jesus-centered life is one of orienting our lives around serving the needs of other people. Volunteering is one way that we help people live a Jesus-centered life. With less people volunteering on our teams, we have less opportunity to help them grow in this area. Additionally, a lack of volunteerism is a problem for our churches because it represents a significant challenge for future church growth. Over the years, we’ve seen that growing churches systematically encourage members to invite their friends to come to church. Over time, as we’ve studied this, we’ve seen that churches with a healthy number of volunteers have a strong correlation to churches that have a culture of high invitability. There is a strong connection between people volunteering at church and the likelihood that they will invite their friends to attend. The more people volunteer at church, the more likely they are to invite their friends and family to be a part of that church. The difficulty here is that if fewer people volunteer, fewer people are talking about church with their friends, which ultimately results in a negative trickle-down impact on the growth of your church. Frankly, a significant reality of not having volunteers in our churches is that we get less done as a church. All of our churches utilize volunteer teams to help push our ministries forward. In fact, local churches are among the greatest volunteer engagement organizations in the world. Due to the pandemic, most of our churches have shifted to a digital platform, resulting in an erosion of family ministry and a focus on a smaller number of people required to “make church happen”. We are all experiencing fewer people engaged in our mission, and we all need a strategy to get people reengaged so that we can continue to propel the mission of our churches forward. I believe that there is a key volunteer recruiting and engagement strategy from within the multisite church expansion movement, that can apply to all of our churches, this coming year. I’ve been involved in multisite expansion since the early 2000s. It’s been a privilege of mine to be at the forefront of this movement, not only as a practitioner, but also as a coach for many churches across the country. I’ve been directly involved, in the driver’s seat, for 13 campuses. Over that time we’ve developed a system that saw 1,500 volunteers join teams at these churches, and pre-COVID, those campuses grew to the point where we saw an attendance of 9,000 people on a regular basis. To date, I haven’t seen anything as effective as multisite expansion for attracting new volunteers, releasing those volunteers into service, and ultimately seeing them engage at deeper levels. The tactic that we’re going to discuss here is a core concept in how we’ve been able to successfully launch so many campuses over the years. The greatest success factor, for any location that we’ve launched, is both the size and health of the volunteer team. Finding a way to recruit new volunteers en masse has been a journey over these last two decades, but we’ve refined it into a system that I believe could apply to any church whether you’re thinking about multisite expansion or not. Here is the key insight. Most church leaders build a recruiting system that will recruit people like themselves. This is just sociologically true. We attract people that are like us. We build things that are good for us. We subconsciously think that the rest of the world is similar to us, but that is just simply not the case. You’re a leader. You’re an innovator. You are in charge of your church and what makes your church what it is, and that is the people. We have to start with this question: who are our people? Who are the people that attend our church, and how do we build a system that will help recruit the most people to fuel the mission of our church? One way to look at this is with the five categories of the adoption curve. This is the standard deviation curve that you’ve seen used in a lot of different areas, but this looks at how likely people are to adopt new things in their lives. Obviously, if we’re going to encourage people to go from not volunteering to volunteering, we need to think clearly about what motivates them. Understanding who people are and what they want is a huge benefit because we’re trying to move them to act and do what we believe is the best for them. The five categories of the adoption curve help us because they give a clear picture of how to think about people and the ways we should build our systems to acquire the people that we need and want to volunteer in our churches. Here are the five categories of adoption and a little bit of information about them: Innovators (2.5%) // These people are eager to try new ideas, products, and services. It’s almost an obsession for them. Innovators are willing to try things just because they’re new, even if they’re painful. They are often first in on anything that might be nascent. If you like trying a product in its “beta” form you are probably an innovator. If you’re aware that there is a phase before “beta” in product development…than you are definitely an innovator!Early Adopters (13.5%) // As opposed to innovators, who rely on their own internal values, early adopters rely more on group norms and values. Early adopters like to try new things, but they do need to see other people doing that new thing first. In fact, this is probably the group that we see using Clubhouse right now. (It’s the “new” audio only social network du jour.) It’s actually built right into that system, as it is based on the idea of groups of people working on content together online. Early adopters are often among the first group doing or using something new and are important for us if we’re pushing for any change initiative in our churches.Early Majority (34%) // These individuals collect more information about products and services to weigh in on the pros and cons before they make a decision to use it. In the church world, these are the largest majority of people in attendance. They are slow to adopt new innovations, or to do something new, until they have collected enough information that convinces them that it’s something that they would like to be a part of.Late Majority (34%) // This group of individuals adopts new things mainly because their friends have, and they feel the need to conform. The late majority have an inherent resistance to new things but are ultimately convinced to take part when they see their friends and family utilizing them. It is critical to think about this group when it comes to adoption of ideas because they ultimately look to others to make these kinds of decisions. Trust me, you’ll find a lot of these types of people in your congregation. They are followers, not leaders.Laggards (16%) // This last group does not rely on group norms or values, just like the innovators, but in a different way. They have such a strong internal drive towards non-conformity that they’ll go out of their way to drag their feet on using any new technology, system, or idea that comes along. It will be very difficult to motivate this group to use any new innovation because for them non-adoption is actually a core value. Take notice if there are more laggards than innovators in your church. Why is it important for us to understand these five categories? Most church leaders are either innovators or early adopters. They enjoy new things. By definition, they see themselves as leaders. They see themselves as being first in when something new is going on. A difficulty arises because the majority of the volunteers you’re going to meet at your church are either in the early majority or late majority groups. They are folks that have to collect information and see that their friends and family have adopted any innovation before they will be willing to join. This is an important mindset to understand. We need to start building our systems to take into account the mindset of early majority and late majority people and what they need to join something that we’re attempting to get them to be a part of. This very idea has led us to build a part of our system for launching campuses that we call Connection Events. These events are designed to help both early majority and late majority people plug in to the new launch. I think these events could be important for you as you think about volunteer expansion in this coming year. We’ve pulled together four traits of Connection Events to give you a better sense of what these are. These are not information meetings or interest events. Early majority and late majority people are not looking for information about new ideas as they have likely not expressed interest in those ideas. Their orientation is not towards jumping in. I would say they actually have an inherent hesitancy and have seen this play out time and again. The thing that will move people from not volunteering to volunteering is a relational connection. These people don’t need more information, and they don’t need more vision. They need connection. Most people need to meet other people who are thinking about volunteering, or already volunteering, before they will take the leap to join a team. They need to answer this question: “Do people like us do things like this?” They need to see themselves as the kind of people who volunteer, and so we have to surround them with groups of people like them who are already volunteering. Connection events are primarily designed to be relational events, in a church context, that are focused on establishing ties between church members. The focus of these events should be on what’s in it for our people, more than what’s in it for the church. Here are the four things to think about when designing these connection events. Connection Events Have a High Invitability Factor. I know…“invitability”…it’s not a word. However, it does capture the core concept of what these types of events should be. High invitability means that these events are the kind of thing that someone could easily say yes to. They’re something fun, social, and engaging to be a part of. It’s the kind of thing that you’d be glad to put on your calendar and say, “I look forward to being a part of this.” Especially now, this is important as we’ve had an extended time of social distancing that has led to reduced social engagement. Our people have missed this and are looking for more ways to socially engage with each other. These could be fun events focused on typical activities in your region. Here in the northeast, many times during campus expansion in the winter, we have put on skating parties. This involves simply renting a rink and providing some hot chocolate, and then people get to skate, enjoy each other, and get to know new friends. We want these events to be the kinds of things that people would normally do for an evening out with some of their friends. At the end of the night, we might do a small talk on the new campus or future campus events. But the primary driver for the event is its high invitability factor. We’ve included a link below for additional information on Connection Event examples that you could run as a church. Connection Events Get People Talking to Each Other The main outcome of the Connection Event is that people walk away knowing at least a little bit more about two or three other people. The outcome should not be that people have more information about serving at the church. These events need to be designed to allow people to talk freely and engage with one another. They should not involve people sitting in rows and listening to us talk at them. Subtle details are important, like ensuring that we have name tags for everyone when they arrive because they are a social lubricant for getting people to talk to each other. There can be some structure to these events. For instance, once we did a prayer event where people from the town we were launching in came together. However, instead of having people sit in rows or at tables talking with people that they knew, we divided them up into teams and they travelled to 15 different stations. While we were praying at each one of those stations, people were connecting and talking and getting to know one another. Connection Events are more about getting people to talk with each other than listening to what we have to say. Connection Events Have a Next Step Reveal One of the biggest mistakes we make as church leaders is that we overwhelm people with way too much information. We know that volunteering at our churches in the coming year is going to require a whole bunch of new information. We know that volunteering in churches now looks different than it did pre-pandemic. There will be changes and new issues. Many people only have an online connection to our churches now, and the idea of in-person activities has all kinds of new information associated with it. The mistake we make as church leaders is that we firehose people. We think that if we give them all the information they need, they’ll jump on board. We think that if we just get up and preach a good 40-minute message, then people will say yes. That’s just not the case. The hypothesis that we’ve seen work out time and again during campus expansions is that the thing that moves people from not volunteering to volunteering is establishing a connection with other people. A relational connection with each other is what is required most. Understanding this, we need to give people just enough information to know their next step. In the multisite world, this means we reveal one or two pieces of information about the launch, not the entire launch plan. We talk about what’s coming up next, not all the details between here and the launch. As you’re looking to build teams in the coming year, the same process should go for volunteer connections. Each one of these events, as we do a multitude of them, will aim to rebuild our teams over the next year by revealing small bits of information. Each Connection Event brings us a step closer to what the launch will look like. Avoid the general “annual meeting feel” by not dumping a ton of information on your members. Find just one or two pieces of information to reveal at each Connection Event. That will give your events a certain amount of gravitas because you’ll be able to announce new and important bits of information. You’ll be able to focus on your people and actually do the announcement in a way that is exciting. This also helps your members, particularly those in the late majority crowd. If we give them all the information up front, they will see tons of ways to shoot holes in your plan and tear it down. However, if one to two pieces of information are revealed at each Connection Event, you can deal with any questions or concerns in a constructive manner. This will demonstrate to your church members that you do have a plan that brings clarity to volunteer engagement and reduces the possibility of discouraging people from engaging in volunteering at your church. Connection Events Have a Simple Call to Action Each Connection Event should lead people to the next logical step. We’re only asking people to take a small step forward. We’re not asking them to go from not serving to serving. This is a mistake we often make as preachers. We think if we just preach one solid message on a Sunday morning, we can convert tons of people to volunteering. While this will generate interest in volunteering, it doesn’t actually spur people to act. In fact, we conducted a study of churches and found that less than 10% of people who completed the volunteer interest information card on Sunday mornings were actually serving in a volunteer position three months later. What we want to do is ask people to take small steps at each one of these events. That step could simply be to come to the next event, to invite some friends, to fill out an information card, to share information on social media, or to watch a video about volunteering. We’re asking people to make micro-commitments to get them closer to volunteer experiences. There’s so much more information we could give you about Connection Events. Looking for more help? I believe Connection Events are going to be an important piece of your church’s volunteer team engagement plan in the coming year. Your church and my church are looking for more community volunteers. Connection Events are a proven path to increase our impact in the coming days. We’ve created a tool to help you develop ideas for Connection Events at your church. Click here to download a PDF of event ideas, as well as a PDF of this article to share and discuss with your team. Download PDF Article
32 minutes | a month ago
Increasing Prayer, Transparency and Accountability on Your Church Team with Darrell Roland
Welcome back to this week’s unSeminary podcast. This week we’re talking with Darrell Roland, from Rock Bridge Community Church. They have six locations in Georgia and Tennessee as well as a Spanish service. One of the roles of the executive pastor is the management and leadership of the staff, and so today we’re talking about how to help our staff continue to grow as people in their own spiritual life and as a team. Spiritual health first. // “If you take care of the people, they will take care of the mission.” When Darrell first joined the Rock Bridge staff in 2018, he had the opportunity to read “The Emotionally Healthy Leader: How Transforming Your Inner Life Will Deeply Transform Your Church, Team, and the World” by Peter Scazzero and knew he needed to put the focus on the staff and getting them spiritually healthy first. So Darrell spent his time watching, evaluating, and talking with his staff to see what their greatest needs were.Pray about next steps. // At this same time, the church leadership started to hear rumblings from the staff about how the church missed the target in caring for people in the congregation – they didn’t feel like they were nurtured or heard when they reached out for prayer or help. After praying about these comments, the leadership team felt they needed to lead the staff into a time of repentance and prayer. They weekly spent time in chapel repenting, praying and seeking God for next steps. Pursuing emotionally healthy principles grew out of that. The whole staff read “The Emotionally Healthy Leader” and broke into groups to discuss it, plus Rock Bridge Church organized a staff retreat to talk about staff development and dig deeper into the book together.Coaching environments. // As you journey toward spiritual and emotional health with your staff, some members of your team may need professional counseling to help them walk through hurts in their lives. Help them receive the counseling or coaching that they need. Hold them accountable to the emotionally healthy principles the staff agrees to, such as maintaining a sabbath. Have conversations of care and prayer in monthly one-on-one meetings.Redesign your dashboard. // Rock Bridge no longer focuses on Sunday, but rather on the Monday through Thursday that lead into the Sunday. Instead of the executive team dashboard focusing on numbers like attendance, they focus on hours spent in prayer, number of people in prayer groups, and new people recruited and engaged in ministry and outreach. Look at engagement and participation in those areas. Attendance will be a by-product of those things.Put the person first. // The greatest responsibility that God has given us to steward is other people, and when we steward and prepare them well then our ministry will multiply. At Rock Bridge the leadership has regular 15five conversations with each of the staff. These meetings open up focusing on how everyone and their families are doing, and how a manager can pray for them. Really listen to your staff and be present when they share their hearts – don’t simply look at it as a box to check. Ask your team how they are doing with their sabbath. Darrell also recommends using an E4 conversation: enlist, equip, empower, and encourage. Talk with each staff about who they used E4 with that week and what they did. Make your meeting more conversational and relational rather than just a monthly document you put in your files.Changes in leading a team virtually. // These team building exercises and monthly check-ins can still happen with your staff in spite of COVID. Convert things over to a virtual environment to teach the team how to handle the changes. Be more intentional and careful in your planning for the church and development of the team. Make personal calls to the people who attend your church to help reconnect with them and find out the needs that they may not be sharing in the regular church environment. Do some listening tours at your campuses and talk about emotional health, prayer and care. Connectivity in a digital world. // Darrell has offered a free document on relaunching as a remote staff that can help you lead more intentionally and connect in a digital world. It also helps you develop trust in your people and not micromanage what you don’t see. You can learn more about Rock Bridge Community Church at rockbridge.cc. You can also download some of the resources Rock Bridge uses for their staff onboarding process, 15five coaching and encouragement, annual review prep and annual review template. Thank You for Tuning In! There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, but you chose unSeminary, and I’m grateful for that. If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons you see at the left hand side of this page. Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes, they’re extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show and you can bet that I read every single one of them personally! Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live! Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Leadership Pathway We all want millennials and GenZ on our team to reach the next generation. We need them like never before. But the first years of anything is tough. Reduce turnover, stresses, avoid the pitfalls of quitting or termination with those who are just beginning their journey by engaging a coach for them. Avoid early departures on your team. Young leaders quitting too soon or getting fired is more than just a sunk cost. Don’t wait to get them a coach to help them face the unique challenges of starting in ministry. Visit Leadership Pathway to see how they can help.
27 minutes | a month ago
MrBeast Burger: What Is It? What It Can Teach Your Church!
If you’re not familiar with YouTube culture, you might not have heard of MrBeast. Jimmy Donaldson (aka MrBeast) is the top content creator on the platform for 2020, and he’s super engaging. Over the years, he’s produced some amazingly creative content that has earned him over 51 million subscribers and all kinds of awards. He struck viral gold in January 2017 when he posted a video of himself counting to 100,000 that was viewed tens of thousands of times in just a few days. That might seem like a strange start, but it gained him a lot of notoriety and launched him into the stratosphere of YouTubers. In December 2020, MrBeast launched MrBeast Burger, a restaurant chain with 300 locations, and he did it all in one day. To put that in context, his restaurant chain is similar in size to Shake Shack, Smashburger, or In-N-Out Burger. However, those burger chains took years to achieve the size and clout that MrBeast Burger accomplished in a single day. The unique spin that MrBeast brings to the burger business is that his 300 locations are completely virtual. The food is prepared by existing restaurants, ordered online, and delivered by third party delivery services. MrBeast launched a MrBeast Burger app that provides relatively seamless ordering, payment, and delivery options. This is an astonishing achievement for any organization, and it provides all kinds of lessons for your church and my church as we think about what comes next in the life of our communities. Obviously, MrBeast, being a YouTuber, launched his new burger restaurant with an amazing video. Jimmy and his team rented an actual restaurant for just a single day and gave away burgers, fries, and drinks. They gave away more than just their new, delectable food, however. On opening day, they gave away cash, computers, and even a car! This launch video has become a viral hit, and it is well worth your time to watch it and get a sense of the enormous scale of what MrBeast is doing. On launch day, the line of cars trying to get to the restaurant was 20 miles long. In fact, the line was so long that police eventually had to close down the restaurant because of all of the traffic problems it was creating in this North Carolina town. MrBeast Burger is more than just an interesting fad or a YouTube story that came and went. It provides some lessons for our churches as we look to the future and think about the development of our ministries. Here are six lessons from the launch of MrBeast Burger that you can apply to your church. Online and In Person // Leveraging the Best of The One to Make the Other Better! It’s fascinating to watch these online celebrities and digital businesses push into the in-person world. MrBeast Burger represents an interesting hybrid because it is clearly an online digital platform but it delivers an actual in-person experience. Although I’m excited about all the digital innovation that’s happened over the last year or so, as we look to the future, we also need to consider how our in-person experience is going to be impacted by all that we’ve been learning online. Rather than trapping ourselves in a false dichotomy of online versus in-person, how can we recognize the hybrid nature of our experiences? We obviously don’t live in a purely online world, and our offline world is increasingly injected with digitally connected technology. How can we find a unique combination of the two that acknowledges the world we live in? I’m struck by Peloton when I think about this question. Earlier this year, Peloton commented in an investor call that, even though they’ve seen such strong sales online due to the pandemic, they have continued to be committed to their in-person locations. [ref] They recognize that the need to connect in person is not going away any time soon. Audience Building // Who is Following Along With Your Church’s Story? MrBeast didn’t spend any money on Facebook ads, direct mail, or any other paid media. Think about that for a minute. It’s astonishing, really. He turned his sizeable audiences on to his concept, and it launched rapidly. This is an important lesson for our churches. Audience building is core to MrBeast Burger’s business. In their case, that means building YouTube subscribers, Instagram followers, and an email list that they can reconnect with over time to keep drawing fans into their business. Even the decision to launch their own app rather than rely on third-party delivery apps indicates their interest in connecting and communicating with their audience. Our churches need to be thinking about the ever-increasing audience around our ministries. Years ago, Rick Warren explained that churches have five “circles of commitment”—community, crowd, congregation, committed, and core. As church leaders, we are aiming to move people from the community to the core. However, there is a larger halo of people outside of the “community” that we need to build strategies to stay connected with. These are people who are aware of us but maybe attended only a service or two in the last year. Or maybe they downloaded content that they found helpful from the church’s website. How can we capture this group of people’s contact information so that we can keep them connected over time and eventually move them closer and closer to our ministries? Audience building needs to be part of our strategy as we look into the future. Effective ministries have always made space for people to belong to the community first without requiring them to behave in a certain way. Audience building allows us to do that at scale—to have a wide variety of people in the general orbit of our ministry who we hope will eventually connect in a more substantial way. Partnership Potentials // Working Together For a Better Future. It’s fascinating to me that a YouTuber struck up relationships with hundreds of restaurants all across the country to make his food and that third-party companies he’s never met will deliver for him. Talk about effective partnership building! A partnering restaurant might be a local Italian place or a hometown burger joint. MrBeast Burger is focusing their efforts on marketing while relying on third-party organizations to ultimately deliver the food, meaning online delivery services cover the last mile to connect the restaurant and its customers. It’s a fairly seamless experience that creates all kinds of value along the chain. Restaurants all across the country have seen a boost in business because of their connection with MrBeast Burger. In the future, there may be new opportunities for us to work together as churches across the country in a similar way. We’ve often drawn strong lines between our churches. However, one thing that we’ve seen pretty clearly during COVID is that churchgoers don’t necessarily hold to those lines. A person may attend Sunday morning services at one church, engage in weekly Bible study at another, listen to worship music from a third, and maybe even reach out to a fourth for some other kind of assistance. As we look to the future, can we dream up creative new approaches to partnership that will ultimately propel our ministries forward, reach more people, and connect them with the teachings of Jesus? Authenticity Keeps Winning // Is There a Higher Cultural Value Than Excellence? If you don’t normally spend time on YouTube or engage with vloggers, you might be slightly put off by how much authenticity these personalities exhibit. So much of this content is behind the scenes and isn’t pretty or polished. This authenticity draws the community in even more. People want to engage when they see folks who are doing something online that is real and maybe just a little bit gritty. This was exhibited in the early days of MrBeast Burger, when there were, understandably, a few complaints about some of the burgers. Rather than hiding behind corporate statements, MrBeast himself took to the airwaves and spoke publicly about the challenges of opening a restaurant chain overnight, committing to improving the warmth of the burgers and the crispiness of the crinkle cut fries. This has spawned an incredible amount of community content. In response to the complaints, people are now posting videos and photos to show off their freshly delivered burgers and celebrate an amazing meal. All of this authenticity, ultimately, is more endearing to MrBeast’s fans. We’ve said it before, and we will definitely say it again. Behind-the-scenes content that draws your community into the production is key when it comes to creating great social media content for your church today. If you’re launching new projects in the weeks and months ahead, how can you show people the process behind the scenes? How can you let them in on what you’re doing? Don’t hide behind a fake “quality” veneer. Show some authenticity. Let people know what it actually takes to do what you do as a church. Community Service as a Growth Strategy // They Think It’s a “Good Thing” … We Know It’s a God Thing! A core part of MrBeast Burger’s offering is a “buy one, give one” strategy. We’ve seen this with TOMS Shoes and many other brands over the years. The idea is that a portion of sales will actually go to feeding people in the communities where orders are placed. Based on comments online and the way people talk about MrBeast Burger, this is clearly an important part of the appeal of this new restaurant. It doesn’t just make great burgers—it actually helps other people. Our churches are called to make a difference in the lives of our community. Rather than hiding this away in some committee or as a sub-point on a strategic plan, community service needs to be seen as a part of your growth strategy. Time and again we’ve seen the draw of churches that focus on getting their people out of their seats and into the streets. And obviously, this kind of community service is not just good for your image in the community—it’s a God thing. Narrow the Focus for a Bigger Impact // Simple Church is Still The Best Path Forward. Take a look at the MrBeast Burger menu. It has just a few items. In comparison to the McDonald’s around the corner from you, MrBeast Burger has a much narrower focus, and it’s hard at work improving the quality of what it delivers. This small menu gives them the ability to focus on a few items and do them well. Remember Simple Church? The idea is that churches should do only a few things and do them well in order to have more impact. Clarity. Movement. Alignment. Focus. Work on those things that move people closer to the mission and strip everything else away. There was a time when churches would actually brag about how many services or ministries they had. “We have 102 services at our church!” However, we’ve seen all kinds of evidence that simple church is the way for our churches to grow and reach the people in our communities. One of my fears as we come out of COVID and its impact on our churches with the addition of a robust online ministry is that our churches will become increasingly complex and we will lose this power of being a simple church. What can we remove from our church today to make us more effective tomorrow? We need to cut back on things that don’t push the mission forward. What areas of our ministry are not effective? What projects are holding us back and siphoning resources? Now would be a perfect time for us to trim those things away so that we can focus our effort and energy on the aspects of our ministry that push us closer to our mission. Looking for more information about MrBeast Burger? Here are a few links: The Untold Truth of MrBeast BurgerThe North Carolina Kid Who Cracked YouTube’s Secret CodeMrBeast Burger Crashes the Virtual Dining Scene Discussion Questions Gather your team together. Get them to read this article. Discuss! What struck you about MrBeast or MrBeast Burger? Can you apply this to your church?What have you learned from your online experience that should be applied to in-person services?How can you make your in-person experience more digital?How can you track people who might be in the “fringe” beyond the “community ring” around your church?What could you change to help connect with people who are aware of your ministry but aren’t a part of what you do … yet?The restaurants in this article had “excess capacity” that they leveraged by partnering with MrBeast Burger. What “excess capacity” do you have as a church that you could leverage by partnering with other ministries in your city, state, or country?Talk about how authenticity factors into your church’s public communication. What could you do to increase authenticity as a church?What’s going on behind the scenes that you could post online this week on your social media channels?Which other churches that are engaged in community service inspire you?What acts of service could you plan in the next three months to help people “get out of their seats and into the streets” to make a difference?As you come through COVID and restructure, consider: what have you added to your ministry that should be cut going forward?How can you offer a simpler “menu” in the future? Thank You to This Article’s Sponsor: Leadership Pathway We all want millennials and GenZ on our team to reach the next generation. We need them like never before. But the first years of anything is tough. Reduce turnover, stresses, avoid the pitfalls of quitting or termination with those who are just beginning their journey by engaging a coach for them. Avoid early departures on your team. Young leaders quitting too soon or getting fired is more than just a sunk cost. Don’t wait to get them a coach to help them face the unique challenges of starting in ministry. Visit Leadership Pathway to see how they can help. Download PDF Article
35 minutes | a month ago
Becoming A Multicultural Church with Dave Swaim
Welcome to this week’s unSeminary podcast. Today we’re talking with Dave Swaim, pastor at Highrock Covenant Church and president of the Highrock Network in the Boston area. The Highrock Network is a family of churches with a shared vision for locally focused congregations. Highrock Covenant Church began when a group of “spiritually homeless” individuals started to meet for dinner and a bible study at someone’s house. Over time this diverse group of people began to wonder if God was calling them to plant a church together and Highrock was eventually born. Many of the people in this initial group were from mono-ethnic churches and they saw the barriers that one culture might present to reaching more people, so being a multicultural church was something they were passionate about. Although being a multicultural church has been a part of Highrock’s story from the beginning, it took a sharp turn after the murder of George Floyd. Highrock is 40% White, 40% Pan-Asian with the other 20% being a mix of other cultures such as Indian or African. But they realized there was a big gap when it came to the African American population at their church. They always sought to be really welcoming, but realized there were some issues they needed to be more intentional about addressing. Listen in as Dave shares about the purposeful steps Highrock is taking to becoming increasingly multicultural so they can reach more people in their city. Identify your culture. // In reading The Elusive Dream: The Power of Race in Interracial Churches by Korie L. Edwards, Dave learned that if you close your eyes to hue, multiethnic churches in America are actually White in culture. Even if the leaders at these churches are predominantly people of color, this still holds true. In fact if a multiethnic church has 20% White people, culturally it is going to be a White church because people of color in our country have had to learn how to acclimate and thrive in White culture. White people haven’t had to do that. Without realizing it, we expect everything to be our way. At Highrock they saw themselves as being very welcoming to other ethnicities. But what they were really doing was pretending not to see a person’s skin color. That type of “welcoming” is more ignoring that people aren’t White than actually celebrating their culture and who they are.Ask questions about your own culture. // To begin to make an intentional shift to be more multicultural, ask where are you unintentionally White? Analyze your services, your preaching, and the topics you preach about to become more mindful of how they differ from other cultures. For example, White church culture tends to focus on individual issues whereas Black church culture tends to focus on systemic issues. Examine your worship and how you can invite more interaction. Most importantly, don’t just give people of color a place at the table, but also power at the table.Staff for influence. // Additionally, examine your leadership. Don’t just go out and look to hire a Black pastor. Recognize the sacrifice it would be for a Black pastor to come work for a church with a White culture. Do look for people of color outside of your usual networks to expose yourself to other cultures. Give people of color power and a voice by staffing them in positions such as tech roles and communications where they can influence the way a service comes together, or the type of social media your church creates, and start shifting culture in these areas. Be deliberate about how you invite different cultures into leadership, whether it’s on an elder board or something else. Invite different voices. // Highrock also has created a “Revelation 7” faculty by inviting six outside preachers of color to preach in their service rotation every couple of weeks. They bring different experiences to the table and ask different questions. Their preaching helps shift the focus from centering on White experience and normalizes other perspectives which people in the congregation can identify with. Creating space for other voices helps the church to engage with a wider swath of people. Share the writing of sermons. // Dave writes his Sunday sermons several days out and then shares it with certain staff members for review. They tear it up, make suggestions, and examine the message from different perspectives. When the final sermon comes together, it is a much more well-rounded message that isn’t just centered on the White experience. This process has been especially beneficial for young preachers at the church as they refine their craft and are supported by the more senior staff. You can learn more about Highrock Covenant Church at www.highrockonline.org. Thank You for Tuning In! There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, but you chose unSeminary, and I’m grateful for that. If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons you see at the left hand side of this page. Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes, they’re extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show and you can bet that I read every single one of them personally! Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live! Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Leadership Pathway We all want millennials and GenZ on our team to reach the next generation. We need them like never before. But the first years of anything is tough. Reduce turnover, stresses, avoid the pitfalls of quitting or termination with those who are just beginning their journey by engaging a coach for them. Avoid early departures on your team. Young leaders quitting too soon or getting fired is more than just a sunk cost. Don’t wait to get them a coach to help them face the unique challenges of starting in ministry. Visit Leadership Pathway to see how they can help.
49 minutes | a month ago
Carey Nieuwhof Interviews Rich Birch as unSeminary Celebrates 1.5 Million Downloads!
This week we’re celebrating YOU, dear listeners! We always want to do everything we can to set you up for success – we’re always cheering for you! We’ve reached out to some friends who love serving church leaders like you and have put together some fun giveaways in honor of hitting 1.5 million downloads on the unSeminary podcast. Stay tuned to the end of the podcast to hear about these special giveaways! Thank You for Tuning In! There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, but you chose unSeminary, and I’m grateful for that. If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons you see at the left hand side of this page. Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes, they’re extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show and you can bet that I read every single one of them personally! Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live!
33 minutes | a month ago
Church Based Justice Ministry That Doesn’t Drift from a Firm Faith-Based Foundation with Aaron Graham
Thanks for tuning in to this week’s unSeminary podcast. Today we’re talking with Aaron Graham, the lead pastor of The District Church in Washington, DC. The District Church was started in 2010 with the desire to be a church for the city, impacting it for Christ one neighborhood at a time. In an area where young people come to pursue their dreams of changing the world, fighting against injustice, or entering the political arena, The District Church continually connects those desires of making a difference to Christ, emphasizing how change can only happen through Him and with the partnership of the local church. Listen in to hear as Aaron shares how the church is putting its faith into action in practical ways to bring God’s kingdom to earth. Being missional. // There are 3 M’s that are distinct to The District Church’s calling and DNA, and those are being missional, being multicultural and being a multiplying church. These aspects are core to who The District Church is in their city and everything they do flows out of these values. They want their people to recognize that everyone is a missionary, whether in their workplace, social sphere or in their own family. A lot of the church’s discipleship is focused in this area, and so are their two major justice ministries: DC127 (which focuses on foster care and adoption) and Just Homes (which focuses on meeting the housing needs of the District).Biblical justice. // Social justice is a popular catchphrase right now, but at The District Church they believe justice ministries have to be rooted in biblical justice. Biblical justice is defined as seeing God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. While biblical justice includes social justice (like lifting up the poor) it also pushes beyond the political and partisan. Ultimately the goal is to go beyond short term interventions to see real life change in the city. As difficult as it can be, as pastors we need to speak to the issues of the day without reflecting the culture. How can we speak in a way where we are transforming it and transcending it?Aim at the right mission. // When addressing issues, it’s important to understand the biblical role of the government – what the government is to do and not to do, as well as the role of the local church. There is a biblical role for the government to restrain evil and promote justice. More often than not, good honest Christians come at these issues from a political perspective more than a biblical perspective because we are discipled more by the media than the word of God. As church leaders, think about how to create language that is not so polarizing and still aims right at the mission. The church is the hope of the world, but too often we outsource outreach to the government or don’t do it at all. The church has to get out there when no one else will; that’s what separates the church from the government or businesses.Partner with other churches. // It’s important for churches to be present in the communities we are in whether we’re engaging in outreach or something else. Too often people don’t know the church even exists. Church-based justice ministries should be done to open the door to life change for the recipient. This type of ministry can’t be done on the side – it needs to be central to the church’s mission. One way to do this is by partnering with other churches in the area to tackle some of the big issues in your community. We can do so much more together than we can individually. District Church invests very heavily in affordable housing and the foster care/adoption crisis in the city, but they don’t do this alone. They partner with other churches because these are such monumental problems. Maintaining these as church-based justice ministries keeps the mission from getting watered down, and allows God to get all the glory.Being multicultural. // More and more churches today are becoming multiethnic, but The District Church has also felt called to be multicultural. Being multiethnic is often described as when twenty percent of your church is of a different racial demographic than the dominant group. But being multicultural is about the cultural diversity in the church (ex: what languages are spoken or sung in worship, how different tasks are approached, or what food is eaten at gatherings). For The District Church, being multicultural reflects God’s desire for us to make disciples of all nations and ultimately connecting people to Christ is the goal. Don’t let Jesus become a means to an end; is your goal justice and diversity, or making more disciples who have had their lives changed by Christ? These are questions we must constantly be asking ourselves as we are aware of the broader cultural trends in our society. You can get in touch with Aaron and learn more about The District Church at www.districtchurch.org. Thank You for Tuning In! There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, but you chose unSeminary, and I’m grateful for that. If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons you see at the left hand side of this page. Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes, they’re extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show and you can bet that I read every single one of them personally! Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live! Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Carey Nieuwhof Leadership has felt pretty uncertain and divisive this past year. How do you make decisions when the future isn’t predictable and your team has different opinions?Download the FREE Pivot Ready Cheat Sheet to get help making progress and gaining clarity through rapid change and disruption. It will give you a framework that effective and resilient leaders use to make decisions and take action.
17 minutes | a month ago
5 Forgotten Ingredients in Your Church’s Giving Moments
The two minutes before you ask people to give to your church during your services are vitally important financially, both for the future of your church and for your people. Giving moments are an important part of your church’s system for increasing generosity and pushing the mission of your church forward. If your church is wrestling with how to meet its budget, looking carefully at what you’re doing in your giving moments would be a logical place to begin making positive changes. Too often, church leaders look for a “silver bullet” to increase the culture of generosity at their church when what is actually required is multiple sustained efforts over an extended period of time. Each of these areas contribute to increasing generosity and ultimately create a positive flywheel effect. If you invest effort during every service to improve your giving moments, over time that will increase the effectiveness of this aspect of your church services. If you focus your time and effort on making the most of your giving moments, it will be possible for your people to experience greater levels of generosity, and your church will see increased revenue at the same time. Further, you can craft giving moments that increase the generosity of your people without resorting to “sleazy-car-salesman” tactics. Communicating clearly during these few moments is incredibly important if we want to increase levels of generosity in our churches. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to visit many churches, oftentimes working on church growth or helping work on a plan to launch a campus. However, often when I’m in a church’s services or watching it online, it’s obvious that the church is leaving revenue on the table based on their giving moments. These moments can be a disregarded part of the service, something that we don’t put time, effort, energy, or planning into. It’s important that we maximize the potential of these few moments during our services. It is a sad thing that these moments are not being used to their full potential, because churches are not only suffering from decreased revenue—they’re also failing to lead their people into a lifestyle of ever-increasing generosity. Over the years of my own life, I have benefited deeply from leading an increasingly generous life, and I want to see churches encourage this more with their people. Therefore, what we’ve done is pulled together five key ingredients that go into giving moments in churches that are often forgotten or disregarded. Don’t forget to say thank you! Remember what your mom said: “Every time someone gives to you … say thank you!” Why don’t churches follow Mom’s advice? Too often when we talk about money at our churches there’s anxiety inside us, and we move too quickly through our giving moments. One of the first things that gets missed is the opportunity to thank people—to slow down and to show appreciation for their generosity to our church. Your people have hundreds of other nonprofits and ministries that they could give to, and the fact that they’ve chosen to give to your church is amazing! People also tend to repeat things that make them feel good. Taking time to thank your people during your services will generate positive emotions, ultimately encouraging them to repeat their giving. Slow down and thank people every time you talk about money at your church. There’s a bigger discussion we could have here around how to develop a culture of appreciation, but we’ll save that for another day. Make Sure You Get Personal When was the last time whoever was speaking about the offering at your church referenced their own giving? These moments are a logical time to talk about how some of your own giving habits have positively impacted your life. Further, it’s a chance to express gratitude for the fact that you get an opportunity to give to your church! You may want to articulate clearly that you have received so much more from giving to the church than you’ve ever lost from that transaction. This raises a bigger issue. The people who are facilitating these giving moments need to be generous people. Folks can sniff it out if the people who are asking them to give are not being generous themselves. Consider carefully the people who handle these giving moments to ensure that they’re not given this role just because of some other function they have in the church. Are they generous people? Are they living out a generous lifestyle at your church? You want the people facilitating the giving moments in your church to be generous themselves. This needs to be a “red line” in the selection process regarding who is leading this portion of your service. Add Some Variety If you can recite your giving moment in your church by heart, then you’re doing it wrong. These moments need to be recrafted every single weekend. Each one needs to be new and fresh, and we need to find ways to be creative. Also, don’t fall back on verbal crutches. Ensure that you’re not just repeating the same lines over and over. The human mind is literally a pattern recognition machine. This means that your people’s brains are looking for patterns that they can predict and will actually shut off to conserve energy for other things if they can. If you are constantly performing the exact same giving moment, your congregation’s brains will simply turn off. Add some variety and go out of your way to ensure that people are hearing something different every time you talk during a giving moment. Slow Down. Don’t Rush It. Can I speak to the musical worship people for a moment? Oftentimes, music people see the offering portion of our services as a distraction from what they’re doing, and this is a giant mistake. Thus, they may want to push past this portion of the service or wonder why we do it all together (see my notes above about being generous in point 2). One of the biggest mistakes that churches make is to speed through this element of their service. Slow down. Ensure that it is a speed bump. It should feel like a pattern interrupt in the service. In other words, these moments shouldn’t blend in so well that people don’t notice them at all. They need to be a distinct part of the service. If you’ve ever had a chance to visit a Hillsong Church Service, you’ll notice that every single weekend they take 10 minutes in each service to present a teaching on giving, where they open up the scripture and talk through generosity and why it’s important for people. I don’t think you necessarily need to go that far, but it is important that you catch the spirit of this practice, that the giving moment is a critical piece of your service that should be distinct and set apart. So slow down—don’t rush it. It Needs To Be Visual 65% of your congregation are visual learners. [ref] This means that two-thirds of your people would rather look at a picture, a logo, or an image than listen to you talk! Leverage this fact during your giving moments. Every giving moment every weekend needs a unique image to go along with it. Show a picture of some of the amazing things going on in your kid’s ministry. In the coming months, you could celebrate the good things that are happening to your church online, such as presenting some behind-the-scenes pictures or charts showing the growth in people engaging. At some point in the future, your students will get a chance to go on a trip again, maybe a missions trip or a retreat weekend. Show a picture of the trip and connect the dots for your people, demonstrating that good things happen at your church when they give. It needs to be visual. Ensure that every single weekend, each giving moment has a different image to drive home the core message of your giving talk. Bonus Round: Make Sure You Watch Your Language It’s amazing when you listen carefully to the words that people use during their giving talks and moments. Sometimes, some of the language we use can undermine everything else we’re saying. For instance, we might let people off the hook by saying, “Hey, please feel no pressure to give.” The reality of the situation is that we, as Christ-followers, believe that people who follow Jesus actually should give. That is a part of what it means to be a Christian. So don’t let people off the hook. You could modify that to something like, “Hey, if you’re new here, don’t feel under any obligation to give. This part of the service is for people who attend our church regularly, or who are a part of our ministry.” What you’re then doing is freeing people who are new to the church from pressure while emphasizing that those who attend your church regularly should actually give. In addition, look for small verbal tics that undermine the message that you’re trying to give. One that bugs me is when I hear something like, “In a moment, we’re going to collect our offering for this service.” Obviously, we said this sort of thing all the time when our services were just in person but those gatherings were never a collection service! People are not paying a tax. It’s our joy to receive people’s offerings, and to provide an opportunity for them to give back for the good things that God is doing. It’s amazing how confusing our instructions about giving can be. This has only increased over the last year, as we’re wrestling with being both in-person and online. We can now give not only in our services but also through Text to Give or the church website. Make sure that you have precise language around exactly how people can give. Do not hide this from people. Make it clear. Are You Looking for More Help for Your Giving Moments? We’ve pulled together five example giving talk scripts with accompanying slides to help you inject some creativity into your giving moments. These giving moments are just examples. Don’t copy and paste these and put them into your service, but use them as a guide as you craft these moments every weekend at your church. Click here to download more. Download PDF Article
37 minutes | 2 months ago
Lead with What Your Church CAN DO with Chris Bell
Welcome back to the unSeminary podcast. Today we’re talking with Chris Bell, from 3Circle Church in the Mobile, Alabama area. When the pandemic started, all we heard about was new restrictions and what we couldn’t do. Chris was immediately challenged to focus on what the church CAN do each day. Listen in as Chris shares ways that churches can apply this as we minister locally, regionally and globally to complete our God-given mission. What can you do right now? // This question was one that 3Circle Church daily asked and it became their north star, particularly in the early days of the pandemic. Locally this looked like reaching out to churches in the area who didn’t have the equipment or knowledge to stream sermons online and helping them record or get set-up on Facebook. Globally it meant providing resources to ministry partners when they couldn’t travel or do mission trips, and offering training materials online instead of in-person. Ask your staff: what can you do right now? Asking themselves that question gave 3Circle Church the guidance they needed in reaching out to the community around them and focusing on providing the help that they could.Take a local approach. // 3Circle believes all ministry is local and there isn’t a cookie cutter solution to what a community needs. The team at 3Circle is big and through the pandemic they were thankfully able to keep everyone on staff, but it required some positions to be moved around. Where people can’t serve in their normal job function, put them where there is the greatest need. 3Circle had each person on staff contribute towards calling each of the 5000-6000 people in their database to ask how they were doing and pray for them. By interacting with the people in your church family on such a personal level, you will quickly get a pulse on what the needs are locally in different areas and for different families. Options for connecting. // Even though in-person services are relaunching, 3Circle has learned a lot about online services and is going to continue to pursue excellence in this area. When people attend church online, we don’t have control over the variables such as reliable internet or distractions in the home. These factors mean that the online service needs to be more than just a broadcast of the in-person service. To address this, 3Circle started shooting these messages on location with different video cuts to create a more engaging experience that would hold a family’s attention. Though it was more video work, the result helped them to expand their reach and impact more people consistently. Recognize the online ministry opportunities even when you are returning to meeting in-person. Hire staff to support growth and development in the area of an online campus. Empower your campuses. // 3Circle Church takes a local approach with ministry when it comes to multisite too. Because each of their campuses is in a very different area, they each have a different feel and different needs, especially during the pandemic. To have local contextualization at your campuses, it’s important to have a great campus pastor and then support and empower them with the right team. The campus pastor role is one that’s a leader, a shepherd and a communicator. When a campus pastor has strengths in one of these areas, surround them with campus staff that will balance their gifts. For example, if the campus pastor is a grower, then make sure there is a strong shepherd at the campus as well to help them care for people in their community. You can learn more about 3Circle Church at www.3circlechurch.com. You can reach Chris at his website www.chrisbelllive.com. Thank You for Tuning In! There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, but you chose unSeminary, and I’m grateful for that. If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons you see at the left hand side of this page. Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes, they’re extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show and you can bet that I read every single one of them personally! Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live! Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Chemistry Staffing Great things happen when the right leadership is in place in a local church… lives are changed and churches thrive. With all the craziness that has gone on in 2020, we know that many churches are beginning to ask hard questions about what their current team looks like and how ready they are to lead into our new reality. Download Chemistry Staffing’s Restructuring Playbook to develop clarity around where you need to be focusing your time, resources, and team.
21 minutes | 2 months ago
5 Mistakes Churches Make Onboarding New Staff
Hiring is the single most expensive decision that most church leaders will make over the course of their ministry. In many churches, staffing accounts for anywhere between 30 percent and 50 percent of the annual budget. You want to make sure that, as you hire new team members, you invest what you can at the front end of the process to ensure that the team is set up for success. Every time we hire someone, it shifts the culture and future of your church. Don’t believe me? Why are you hiring someone if you’re not hoping that it will change the future of your church? If you’re thinking things will just stay the same when you hire this person, you probably shouldn’t hire them! It’s been said that everything rises and falls on leadership but it’s more specific than that: everything rises on well-onboarded leadership placed within a thriving leadership structure. It’s important that we take time to ensure that the team we have is ready to serve well. The first 90 days of any new team member’s employment is critically important. Rather than just having the team members show up and assume that they know what to do, it’s our responsibility to define a process by which they go from being external to our culture to being crucial to the mission of our church. That can only happen through a well thought out and structured onboarding process. When I was younger, I was a part of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. (Yeah, it sounds pretty fancy, but it was really an opportunity to volunteer and take some free gliding lessons.) A glider is an aircraft that is pulled up a few thousand feet in the air and then released. It then glides its way back down to the ground. One of the things I learned over the years of my glider training was that takeoff and landing are critically important. As new air cadets, we were given the opportunity to control the gliders while in air, but takeoff and landing were always handled by someone with much more experience than we newbies. The same is true with our team members! Takeoff and landings are critically important. Just like takeoff, planning the first steps of a new team member needs to be done with thought and care. You’ve made a huge investment and you’re hoping this team member will make a difference in your church. Setting them up for success with a well thought out onboarding process can be a part of how you ensure that will happen. Below are five mistakes that I’ve seen churches make time and again when they’re hiring new team members that you should avoid when onboarding new staff at your church. The Definition of Winning is Foggy Everyone that works at your church needs a clear understanding of whether they’re winning or losing. A clear picture of what the win looks like is critically important for the well-being of your team members. Studies show that people feel that they are losing because they don’t know where they stand with their goals. Having a clear set of goals for new team members in their first 90 days is an important part of the onboarding process. This can be as simple as a list of people that they need to meet with or a series of activities that need to take place. Being crystal clear on exactly what you need people to do as they begin can launch them in the right direction as they start a new role with your church. Don’t allow the definition of winning to be foggy and unclear to them, but go out of your way to define it with as much granularity as possible. NEXT STEPS: Write out a one or two-page description of what first wins the new team members should focus on.Meet with the new team member and talk over what they should focus on as they begin.Follow up every four weeks during the first three months on the goals that you’ve outlined. Celebrate the wins! Provide extra support for those areas that need support. Relational Dynamics are Ignored If you’re not a naturally relational leader, it may be difficult for you to understand that one of the greatest success factors for team happiness and performance is actually having a close friend or two on the team at your church. People need friends at their places of employment. They need someone who they can blow off steam and not be concerned that it will make its way back to someone in the command and control structure who would be offended. Giving people clear relational cues in their early days that it’s important for them to develop relationships is a good thing. A good practice can be to allocate your new team member a mentor for the first 90 days, someone that can meet with them regularly to help them onboard. These people should be picked in a way that you think may end up actually building friendships in the long-term. NEXT STEPS: Book a lunch meeting for the new team member and someone on your team.Hand out name tags at the first team meeting that the new team member attends.Check-in at the end of the new team member’s first week and ask them how they are doing. Technology Training is Skipped Technology is increasingly the air that we breathe in our churches. All of our churches have their constellation of church management systems, email management systems, content systems, and service planning systems, all designed to help us be more effective in our ministry. There can be a bewildering amount of detail to think through when you’re starting a new role. Care should be given to training new team members on the technology that is considered core to their role. Don’t just assume that people know Google Docs or Office 365. Providing them time to watch some training videos or to take a class or two in their first 90 days can help accelerate their effectiveness with your team long-term. The longer your church has had a certain technology, the harder it can be for you to remember what it was like when you didn’t know how to use it. Go out of your way to ensure that the onboarding process includes technology training early in new team members’ experience with you. NEXT STEPS: Pull together a few team members and brainstorm a list of all the pieces of technology that new hires will need to use. (Chances are you’ll be surprised how much there is!)Before the new team member starts, explore with them which areas of additional tech training they would like to undertake to bring them up to speed.There are many online training systems like Udemy or Linda that have thousands of helpful online courses ready to go! Your Team Culture is Assumed Have you stepped back and gone through the critical task of making your implicit team culture explicit, rather than just assuming that everyone knows what it’s like to work at your organization? Taking time to actually work through important aspects of your culture can help onboard your team member and ensure that they don’t stub their toe as they engage with other team members. We’ve done this in the past with weekly onboarding conversations that simply go through ten different culture-defining aspects of who we are to help new team members understand what it’s like to work with us. An easy way to bring them up to speed quickly could be something as simple as giving your team core messages from Sunday morning to listen to and respond to and discuss why they’re such critically important messages for the church. Helping your team understand what it means to work at your church rather than be a part of, or be a member of, your church is a critical piece of the puzzle. Taking time to work through, particularly for folks who are coming in from either their first job or from another employer can be critical to their long-term success at your church. NEXT STEPS: What are three Sunday messages that are core content for your church? Send them to new team members before they even start and ask them to come to a meeting to talk about them.Who are your existing team members who “get it”? Pull them together and brainstorm what lets team members thrive in your culture.Build questions about your team culture into the hiring process so you can start to signal early on with prospective team members how important these things are. Your Church’s Definition of Work-Life Balance is Unclear This is particularly important as we talk about brand new team members where this may be their first real job. Every church has a slightly different nuance on how they work through how people are to balance their work and life. Much of our ministry becomes a lifestyle rather than a 9 to 5 job and being really clear on how that works itself out in your team in the first 90 days will help ensure that there aren’t missed expectations with new team members. Also, being clear upfront on this helps people not build negative work-life balance patterns early in their time with you. Taking time to be explicit in your expectations around when people need to be at the office or how they engage with team members during non-work hours will help your entire team understand what it’s like to be a part of the team. This is also very important for new employees who have never worked anywhere before besides maybe a part-time job during college. There are many nuanced aspects to joining the adult working world and going out of your way to define some of those, rather than just have them float as assumptions, can help your team and new team members get along well. NEXT STEPS: What are your team’s expectations around punctuality in responding to emails? What about phone calls? How about text messages?How would you define what a workweek is for your team?Imagine the conflicts you’ve had in this area. How can you pre-empt them as new team members arrive? Do You Need Help Onboarding a New Twenty-something Staff Member? Onboarding new staff members is an essential piece of the puzzle for ensuring that your new team members succeed in their roles. This is even more important with team members who are just starting their vocational ministry career in their 20s. Our friends over at Leadership Pathway have launched a new 12-month coaching process that could be added on to your existing onboarding process. First Steps Coaching is designed to help particularly those team members that are new to the working world wrestle through some of the soft skills that ultimately end up defining the success of your church team members. Click here to learn more. Download PDF Article
36 minutes | 2 months ago
Helping Your People Add Keystone Habits that Grow Their Spiritual Lives in 2021 with Zach Zehnder
Thanks for listening in to this week’s unSeminary podcast. We have Zach Zehnder with us today, the author and founder of the Red Letter Challenge. RLC began with the simple concept of trying to help people be greater followers of Jesus. It started as a book, leading the reader on a 40-day life-changing discipleship experience with Jesus and evolved into a turnkey teaching series for churches. With the pandemic and everything else happening across the country over the last year, life has been disrupted in many ways and feels increasingly complex. So Zach had a burden to return to simplicity and find unity around Jesus by zeroing in on the keystone habits Christ practiced during his ministry on earth. Listen in as Zach shares how you can help your church discover or return to these life-giving habits in the new year. Spiritual health influences everything. // 2020 was an exceptionally difficult year and there have been high levels of emotional and mental unhealth among Christians. Many followers of Christ have allowed the disruptions caused by the pandemic to let bad habits develop. Unfortunately this has been true for pastors as well. Our mental and emotional health is driven by our spiritual health, and our ministry ultimately comes from the overflow of our relationships with Jesus.Keystone habits. // Goals and resolutions for the new year come out of a desire to establish the right habits. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg introduces us to keystone habits, which are habits that unintentionally spill over into other areas of our lives – they aren’t any harder to form, but they have greater benefits in all areas of life. They can help lead you to becoming more productive in life, more connected to your family, and more connected spiritually. Spiritual habits are some of the most keystone of all habits because they impact every other area of our lives. So how can we help our people to develop spiritual keystone habits that will help them moving forward?Look at Christ’s example. // What are the spiritual keystone habits that can carry over into other aspects of your life? Look to Jesus and discover what spiritual keystone habits he practiced, like committing to community, studying scripture, prioritizing prayer, seeking solitude, and choosing church. All of these contributed to his spiritual health and we can implement them in our lives to grow our relationship with God and others, and become healthier emotionally and mentally too.Connect with each other and Him. // One of the first things Jesus did was enter into community with others. Community is important not only because it was one of the first things that Jesus did, but also as you try to instill keystone habits, it’s important to have a supportive community. People who are in our lives and who we habitually associate with have a profound impact on us. 95% of our success or failure can be attributed to the people we are closest with. We can be stronger with other believers who are also pursuing God. How we commit to community today may be different with the pandemic, but it’s important that we find a way to connect with others and point each other to Jesus.Spend time with God. // For Jesus, seeking solitude wasn’t just about being alone, it was about being alone with the Father. It’s intentional time with God where we step away from the noise and distractions of our culture and daily life and listen to His voice. In solitude we get our focus and our energy as we listen to what God is saying, and let Him simply love us.Dive into the spiritual keystone habits. // So how do you grow your relationship with God this year? Join the Being Challenge. The Being Challenge is another turnkey 40-day series for churches or individuals which teaches people the keystone habits of Jesus. It will unify your church beyond Sunday, and there is even a kids’ version for grades K-5 so children can begin learning these habits at a young age. About 120,000 people have gone through the Red Letter and Being Challenges and it’s led to small group growth, increased unity, and people taking practical next steps in their relationships with God, including jumpstarting their prayer life, beginning to observe sabbath, or completing their first bible reading plan. You can learn more about the Red Letter Challenge at www.redletterchallenge.com. Or learn about the Being Challenge and receive a free book about it at www.redletterchallenge.com/being. Thank You for Tuning In! There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, but you chose unSeminary, and I’m grateful for that. If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons you see at the left hand side of this page. Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes, they’re extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show and you can bet that I read every single one of them personally! Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live! Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Plain Joe Studios Create a space people love coming back to. With a combination of architecture, concept & graphic design, technology integration and a deep love for the church, Plain Joe Studios will elevate your building into an immersive asset that propels your mission and connects more people to your story. Schedule a FREE 30 minute consultation and discover the power of spatial storytelling.
22 minutes | 2 months ago
Recall: Your Church’s 2021 Strategic Communication Focus
You have no doubt heard all the doomsayers saying that what we’ve experienced in the last year is beckoning a new age of disengagement in your church. You’ve probably heard people say that somewhere around a third of our people have left the church and won’t be returning. It seems like for decades, we’ve been talking about the fact that we’re losing a generation, and this past year has accelerated that loss. I do think that we are facing some tough days ahead. However, I’m not content to just sit by and let people slip out the back door because of everything that’s happened in the last 12 months. Your responsibility and mine is to lean in and to do what we can to raise the value of attending our churches, whether that be online or in person. It’s always been our responsibility to ensure that the people who are connected with our ministries find what we’re doing to be valuable. It’s our responsibility to communicate with them in such a way as to draw them from the crowd and ultimately get them connected to the core. Of course, we’ve had significant disruption in the last year, and we need to be laser-focused as we look on how we communicate in this coming year. Your church has an opportunity to recall people and bring them back again, whether that be to in-person services or to engaging online. I really do believe that the church shines brightest in the darkness. There’s no doubt that we are in a dark time in many communities across the country. We need your church to shine brightly in order to see the message of Christ connected with people who have been disconnected for a while. Have you noticed how good your dentist is at recalling you? Is it just me, or have you noticed that dentists have really stepped up their game on recalling people over the last few years? I’m not a huge dentist fan. In fact, is anyone really? Is the thought of having someone else’s fingers digging around inside your mouth and scraping whatever has been building up there for the last six months a pleasant idea? The dentist can teach us a lesson in a recall communications strategy. They do a good job reaching out through texts, email, and other methods to get you to come back on an annual or semi-annual basis. The difficulty they’re faced with is that people resist going to the dentist, and their livelihoods are largely based on getting people to add that as a regular rhythm two or three times a year. Your church and mine need to learn from people & organizations like your dentist, who go out of their way to recall people. The problem with the “snap back” or “pent-up demand” myth. Have you noticed that leaders in lots of industries are looking for a “snap back” to normalcy? Or maybe you’ve seen how leaders are referring to the fact that there is a “pent-up demand” for their products and services that will cause people to flood back to them in the future. Both of those myths are magical thinking. Humans are creatures of habits. The best predictive behavior of tomorrow is what people did yesterday. People will not simply “snap back” to your church once vaccines are widespread or the government lifts all restrictions. If you are waiting for “pent up demand” to drive people to engage with your church you will lose people. We have always needed to raise the value of engaging with our church in the minds of our people. It’s our responsibility to own that and not wait for some mythical external forces to align to encourage people to connect. Why is “recall’ such an important value for your church in 2021? Recall is simply raising the value of reconnecting people who have had some connection in the past with our churches in person or online. It’s reaching out strategically to people who have been connected to your church in the past, and inviting them to reconnect again. Recall is putting a particular emphasis on connecting with those people who have been on the fringe of our ministry and trying to get them to take one step closer. It’s always been our responsibility to help people take those steps. It’s never been as clear or as much of a strategic priority for us as it is today. 5 Recall Tactics for Your Church to Leverage in 2021: What we have below is a series of tactics that you could try to help your church recall people who are on the fringe of your community. The big idea is to not look for a silver bullet, but to find a multiplicity of approaches that you can use to consistently reach out to your people in order to recall them to your church in the coming months, whether it be online or in person. Don’t try looking for a single tactic that will help bring them back, but rather a bunch of smaller tactics working together. Monthly Postcards // If you’ve been following me on unSeminary for a while, you’ll know that I love postcards. What is the open rate on a postcard that gets mailed to someone’s home? I can tell you that the open rate is a lot higher than email, and exponentially higher than any given social media post. Postcards are inexpensive to produce, and even if people just look at them as they’re on the way to the garbage or recycling, the message is still received in their brain. What if you committed this year to sending one postcard a month for the entire year? Each month, you could highlight something different at the church that would re-invite people to engage, whether that’s a big day, something special going on, or an upcoming series.“What to Expect” Documents // Across the country, we are seeing a combination of in-person and online services. It’s a minority of churches that have returned anywhere close to their normal in-person attendance from before March 2020. One of the sticking points, I believe, is that we’re not articulating clearly to our community what they should expect when they come. Church has always been a bit mysterious, hard to understand, and hard to access. On top of that normal opaqueness, you add the new guidelines that most of our churches are facing across the country, and it can make the experience difficult and unapproachable. “What to Expect” documents simply go out of their way to articulate what people can expect when they volunteer, drop their kids off in the kid’s ministry area, come to an event and so on. This year, let’s go out of our way to ensure that we’re clearly articulating exactly what people can expect when they engage with our community. Don’t leave any detail unexplored, explain it all publicly so that people can feel more comfortable coming.Social Proof … for everything! // More than ever, your church and my church need to share public social proof about people attending. Social proof is when third-party people who attend our church – not staff or volunteers, but normal people – share why it’s so important to them that they attend. It’s when your people go out of the way to publicly share that they are a part of our community. This year, we need to make a concerted effort to encourage our people to share on social media the fact that they are attending our churches: showing images of their weekend, of your in-person weekend services, of people showing up, checking their kids in, and enjoying the services. Whether they’re wearing a mask or not is an important piece of the puzzle that can allow people to see themselves in those images. Have you ever stopped and wondered why Walt Disney World is running at only 35% capacity these days, but continues to stay open? One of the reasons they’re doing that because they need people to show up wearing masks, to share on their social media feeds. The hardcore people will do that now, but the normal folks won’t. They need that social proof out there, and for it to spread so that normal people will, over time, return to the theme parks. How can you encourage social proof this year with your people?Big Days are (Still) a Big Deal // There are four or five Sundays every year when two things happen in your church: one, your people are more likely to invite their friends, and two, their friends are more likely to attend. Whether it’s Easter or Mother’s Day, a fall relaunch or Christmas Eve, these days need to have a strategic recall focus this year for your church. Maybe it’s calling everyone in your database who has not attended a service and inviting them to come to an Easter service three or four weeks before. Or maybe it’s dropping a handwritten note to every mom in your church, and inviting her to come to a Mother’s Day service. Or maybe it’s sending a special invite-box to every school-aged child to come to the in-person launch of your kid’s ministry this fall. For each one of those big days, we need to build a specific recall communication process to leverage the opportunity to invite people to re-engage with our church, because people are looking to return to life as normal and those big days are days when people will be reminiscing about what it was like to attend in the past.Leverage that Database! // Most churches have many times more contacts in their database than people who attend their church on a regular basis. In fact, you may have as many as four or five times more people in your database than attend on a regular basis online or in person. How are you leveraging that information? What are you doing to get back out in front of them? The reality is, people have given you their email addresses, mailing addresses, and phone numbers because they wanted to hear from you at some point. This is not the year to just warehouse all that contact information and not use it to invite people to connect with your church! This is the year to leverage every one of those contacts. If you normally only email people who have been connected with your church in the last year, then this year, email everyone who you’ve had contact with in the last five years. Maybe you only ever send physical mailings out to people who have connected in the last two years. What if you change that to everyone who’s been involved in the last five years? The reality of it is, contact information sitting in the database unused is of no value to your ministry. Why are you paying to just warehouse that information?! Use it! Now is the time for you to think creatively about how you can open up the treasure trove of past contacts that you have, and invite those people to come and be a part of your church. As we look to 2021, there’s no doubt going to be a bumpy road ahead. We will see vaccines roll through our communities, and see many of our churches come out of the fog of 2020. As we wrestle with what it’s like to have both a robust in-person ministry and our new online expressions, we will be facing new challenges. This is the year to focus your communication strategy on recall. To focus our efforts in communication around connecting with people that we’ve had some initial contact with, freshening up those connections and getting them re-engaging, and inviting them to reconnect with our churches. What can we do to draw those people who are connected to the fringe of our ministry, into the core? Are you looking to track with other leaders during the season? Why not join our Winter Executive Pastor Cohort? It starts on January 13th, and it’s an opportunity for you to build relationships with other executive pastors across the country who are looking to make a difference. Space is extremely limited. We only have a few spots left. Click here to register now. Download PDF Article
34 minutes | 2 months ago
Inspiring Reflections on 2020 from Chicago with Mark Jobe
Thanks for tuning in to this week’s unSeminary podcast. Today we’re talking to Mark Jobe, senior pastor at New Life Community Church (NLCC) in Chicago area and president of Moody Bible institute. New Life Community Church meets primarily in the city and has 28 locations with 40+ worship services. It’s a very multi-ethnic church with 60-70% of the attendees non-white, and most being first generation Christians. Within cities the stress of this year has been more intense than anywhere else. The pandemic, racial tensions, social unrest, and the polarizing election created a very violent summer in terms of homicides and crime in Chicago. In the midst of everything, however, there have been amazing opportunities to minister to hurting people in the city. Mark is with us to share about how God is moving and how you can take advantage of these windows of opportunity in your area when a crisis hits. Dreams are fulfilled in unlikely ways. // When God gives a church a dream or a vision for something, we can’t know what He will use to bring about its fulfillment. God gives Joseph a dream, but he doesn’t know how to handle the dream. And when Joseph is sold as a slave to Egypt and eventually throne in prison, it seems like his God-given dream is put on hold, or has disappeared entirely. But in reality, God leads Joseph into crisis to prepare him for the fulfillment of that dream. The same can be true for us. Ask God what the crises of this year could be preparing your church for.Identify the biggest need. // When the pandemic hit, New Life Community Church wanted to do more than have online services because of the need they saw in their community. In Chicago the biggest need was that people were food-deprived and without jobs, particularly in Mexican immigrant communities. This led to seven of the NLCC locations connecting with a secular organization to distribute food. At the height of the pandemic in the spring, they were distributing food to 25,000-30,000 people a week – about 1% of the city of Chicago! In the middle of COVID through their facility parking lots, NLCC was actually serving double the number of people that they would normally be ministering to on a Sunday morning. And the great majority of those people were unchurched. Think about the greatest needs in your community. How can your church touch people in a way that doesn’t involve your regular Sunday service?Don’t miss the window of opportunity. // National and local crises will come around again and again over the course of your lifetime. Whatever crisis your community might be facing now or in the future, there is a window of opportunity where people will be hurting. Once that experience of pain plateaus, people will get back to life as normal. Pay attention to the season where people are more open to spiritual things because their lives are shaken. When crisis comes our orientation as leaders should be: How can we help? What can we do?Build partnerships. // In order to be able to pivot and respond to crisis opportunities, churches need to partner with organizations where they could be mutual benefits. During the pandemic, the need for food has been so great that New Life Community Church approached the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD) to offer their help. GCFD had food but didn’t know how to get it to people. Meanwhile New Life had a wealth of volunteers to offer. The partnership allowed GCFD to change their whole approach to distributing food in Chicago. See how you can reach out to secular organizations and city officials in your area to create mutually beneficial partnerships. Be clear that you are an organization of faith, but recognize that what you have in common with secular organizations is desiring the good of your community.Use crisis and disruption. // Crisis and disruption can be an incredible gift to accelerate needed change if we embrace it that way. At Moody Bible Institute they had often talked of doing virtual classes, but they were slow to take action. When the pandemic hit, it became the impetus to make this change. Within three weeks all of their classes were moved online. In the midst of a shake-up in your own life, ask God what lessons He’s teaching you and what He’s accelerating that needs to change. Healthy transition. // Disruption can help us move into our next chapter, but we need to do it in a healthy way. Mark has written a book called “What Now? How to Move Into Your Next Season” which is for people in the middle of transition. It walks you through how to process your transition in a healthy, God-centered and spiritual way while discerning the voice of God. Learn more about New Life Community Church at newlifecommunity.church and about Mark Jobe and his ministry at pastormarkjobe.com. Thank You for Tuning In! There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, but you chose unSeminary, and I’m grateful for that. If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons you see at the left hand side of this page. Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes, they’re extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show and you can bet that I read every single one of them personally! Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live! Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Portable Church Industries Doing Church in a Rented Facility can be a Challenge. Questions about Multisiting or Portability?Click here to connect with our Multisite Specialist for a free evaluation.
32 minutes | 3 months ago
Lessons From Casting Vision & Pushing Forward During the Pandemic with Drew Sherman
Thanks for joining us for this week’s unSeminary podcast. Today we’re talking with Drew Sherman, lead pastor of Compass Christian Church in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Compass has four physical locations as well as an online campus and is one of the fastest growing churches in the country. The most fruitful seasons of our lives are usually not the easiest seasons. For many people 2020 may have been one of the hardest years they experienced, but it may also be the year they learned the most. Listen in as Drew Sherman shares how to take hold of teachable moments for your congregation, move forward to thrive, and cast vision for the future. Foster connection. // Churches today must be a “both/and” church, not “either/or.” Online services aren’t any less important than in-person services and the church needs to invest heavily in both. Connect with the online crowd too and bring attendees from both types of services together into one congregation through programs and events, such as outreach in your community. Cast vision for the future. // Compass Christian Church currently has a generosity initiative underway called “Unstoppable”. This initiative was planned before the pandemic and they knew they couldn’t let the coronavirus stop it from moving forward! Right now is the time to cast vision for the future. People are stuck in neutral, just trying to survive, so it’s important to give them a vision for what your church is going to be doing next. Even if some activities may be on hold right now, you don’t have to pause everything. Keep moving forward and your church can thrive.Grow in the hard times. // Generally the most fruitful seasons of a person’s life are not the easiest seasons. 2020 was the hardest year of many people’s lives, but in some ways it might be the year they learn the most. Don’t let the pain of this season be wasted. What is your church, staff, and congregation learning during this time? Rather than looking at 2020 as a throwaway year, think about the many teachable moments for your people and lean into them.Pay attention to your team. // Some of your staff may be better than ever during this season while others may be drained and need coaching and counseling. A lot of this depletion can point back to how over the years we’ve ignored the value of soul-care. Provide pastoral care for your staff, listen to them, and teach and encourage them to care for their souls. Remember that hurry and love are not compatible.Reevaluate and shift. // There’s never been a better time to reevaluate staff and programs and do some shifting. You may have the right people on the bus, but they need to be moved to different seats. If you had a ministry, strategy or event that wasn’t working well prior to COVID, don’t restart it. It’s time to kill those sacred cows. Transition to more of a simple church model that is focused on mission. Eliminate things that don’t support your mission and remember that complexity is the enemy of clarity.Enhance online services. // Don’t become overly focused on getting your pre-COVID in-person congregation back. A certain percentage of people may never return and if you have a solid online ministry, others may stay online. Rather than fighting this trend, explore creating house churches or micro-sites. Ask what a digital disciple looks like. Can you become a fully devoted follower if you’re just committed to online church? Don’t just broadcast your in-person service to serve people online, but create an online experience. Lastly, remember that all the oppression, trials, and obstacles in the book of Acts led to the early church growing and enlarging their circle. Churches today need to think similarly. You can learn more about Compass Christian Church at www.compass.church. Thank You for Tuning In! There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, but you chose unSeminary, and I’m grateful for that. If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons you see at the left hand side of this page. Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes, they’re extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show and you can bet that I read every single one of them personally! Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live! Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Carey Nieuwhof Leadership has felt pretty uncertain and divisive this past year. How do you make decisions when the future isn’t predictable and your team has different opinions?Download the FREE Pivot Ready Cheat Sheet to get help making progress and gaining clarity through rapid change and disruption. It will give you a framework that effective and resilient leaders use to make decisions and take action.
32 minutes | 3 months ago
Adding More Structure While Staying Relational in a Growing Church with Mark Geissbauer
Welcome to the unSeminary podcast. Today we have with us Executive Pastor Mark Geissbauer from The Chapel which has three locations near Lake Erie. As a church grows, adding more structure is necessary to keep everyone in the loop and enable systems to operate smoothly. But how do you maintain a personal touch while adding in a more ‘corporate’ framework? Listen in as Mark shares steps that The Chapel took to support its growth without sacrificing relationships. Address the communication issue. // When Mark came on staff at The Chapel it was not uncommon for people not to know their job description or who they reported to in the organization. Oftentimes staff found out about announcements as they were being shared on a Sunday. It was clear that more structure was needed within the church, so communication was the first area they tackled. The Chapel now uses Slack as their main communication tool to keep staff informed and quickly respond to questions. As a church grows, be aware that you will have to communicate things three or four times in different ways and means until people realize what you’re sharing with them.Communication in meetings. // The Chapel also put a process in place to make sure everyone was clear about the next steps coming out of meetings. To clarify responsibilities and expectations ask the following questions at the end of every meeting: What have we actually decided? When do we need to get this done? Who is responsible for driving this? Who else needs to know what we’ve decided? As a church grows it needs not only to communicate, but to do so clearly and effectively.Maintain a personal touch. // The Chapel knew they had to add structure but didn’t want to lose that personal touch while making necessary “corporate” changes. It’s a constant tension to live in managing the structure with the relational aspects of ministry. Make it a priority to touch base with your staff weekly, not only about work but about other parts of their lives outside of the church.Recognize each person’s giftedness. // Part of the way that The Chapel maintains relationships in their structure is by recognizing what each person brings to the table and valuing it. Within the senior leadership team, for example, they used their gifts to push each other to make better decisions while not losing the care aspect of ministry. They aren’t afraid to call each other out when someone is too strongly leaning on their giftings since a person’s biggest strengths are also their biggest weaknesses. This helps create a sort of balance between the organizational aspects of ministry and the relational aspects of ministry. Even if people have different approaches to something, they are unified because they want to see God’s kingdom being built.Create guidelines. // Another aspect The Chapel focused on was developing more written documentation and making sure the church was protected. They didn’t want to just be a policy-driven church though, but rather create guidelines and focus on the core things that they needed to control. Creating these guidelines offers clarity and a space within which people can work so they feel empowered.Learn from others. // Mark is also part of a network of executive pastors around Ohio. They share things like constitutions, policies and so on, which saved The Chapel from having to reinvent the wheel as they sought to add more structure and improve communication. Ministry can become focused only on what your church is doing, but opening up to other churches, learning from and helping them can bless both of your churches and help grow God’s Kingdom.Partner with other churches. // The Chapel is in a rural area and there is a lot of need. Adding structure enabled Mark to connect with other churches to see how they could serve people in the area better. This led to hiring a part-time person to focus solely on the area of benevolence and coordinate with other churches. Not only did they become the expert in this area, they helped the process to be more effective and also found additional government resources to aid those in need. Don’t be afraid of taking the step to partner with other organizations. Without it you can really miss opportunities to serve the people in your community better. You can learn more about The Chapel at www.thechapel.family or email Mark directly. Thank You for Tuning In! There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, but you chose unSeminary, and I’m grateful for that. If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons you see at the left hand side of this page. Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes, they’re extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show and you can bet that I read every single one of them personally! Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live! Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Chemistry Staffing Great things happen when the right leadership is in place in a local church… lives are changed and churches thrive. With all the craziness that has gone on in 2020, we know that many churches are beginning to ask hard questions about what their current team looks like and how ready they are to lead into our new reality. Download Chemistry Staffing’s Restructuring Playbook to develop clarity around where you need to be focusing your time, resources, and team.
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