5 Positives for the Church after the Coronavirus Crisis

By | Christians, Church, Church Planting, Church Revitalization | No Comments

I think there are some positives for the church that will come through this Coronavirus crisis. 

Yes, there are tremendous negatives. The costs are mounting. Almost everything we currently count, other than online engagement, will likely be a loss for weeks and perhaps months to come. Budgets, attendance, and even volunteer hours will likely all be somewhat lower, simply because our routines have been disrupted.

That’s disheartening in many ways, just to be honest. Many pastors have worked for years to build to the place they are today; especially heading into the Easter season. 

Likely, in many ways, things will never be the same.

I’m not one who says nothing will ever be the same. I think we have a Biblical mandate to gather together as a church. Size isn’t dictated, but corporate worship is a command. Things might be altered, especially temporarily, but I think we will see people in our church buildings again someday. 

But some things will change for the foreseeable future. And the good news is that some of those changes will be positive. 

5 Positives for the Church after the Coronavirus Crisis: 

Crisis will allow change to happen faster. Churches have had to move fast in these days to make decisions. Even as an interim pastor in church revitalization, I’ve had to make some calls quickly before I could “get everyone on board”. No one has complained. In fact, people have been very appreciative recognizing that decisions needed to be made.

Of course, people will be people and power struggles will remain, but I suspect we will come out of this with far less concern with structure and more concerned with seeing the mission of the church succeed. This may be the day revitalization and church mergers happen even faster. Our buildings may be seen as more of an asset to reach our community than facilities for our own comfort and convenience. 

For churches willing to embrace this new reality we may be better able adapt and reposition quickly to meet the changing needs of our communities. 

Online and digital engagement will remain strong. Churches would be foolish to completely leave this opportunity after it’s no longer a necessity. I would even contend that it is necessary. We have had to do some things during this crisis that we should have been doing all along – reaching people where they already are. 

People are already online. They were before the crisis. They will be after it’s over. We have a mandate to “Go”. If we want to reach people we will have to “go” where they are. 

What we measure will change. Already, to measure our effectiveness as a church, we’ve started to place more emphasis on digital engagement, for example. This was not a church that necessarily measured that sort of thing. When you begin to value online metrics there are so many areas to consider. Facebook Live, website involvement, Zoom participation, and online reach are just a few of them. 

I realize a number of churches were doing this, but the church I am in now never paid attention, for example, that there were people engaging with the church from Romania. Or that a sizable number regularly watch services from places like Atlanta (300 miles away). New opportunities may present themselves when we look at different variables of engagement. 

No doubt we will still count the offering and the Sunday attendance, but I think we won’t see those as exclusive measures. Digital giving will be important even to the smallest churches. And, while it may still not be the preferred or most effective option, online participation will be seen as a legitimate means of making disciples. 

Human relationships will be valued more. You can’t replace a hug or a handshake virtually. I’m an introvert and it was into week two when I realized how much I missed interactions with people – beyond virtual. 

This is reminding us as a society that we are built for community. I love all the stories from places like Italy or New York where people are finding ways to engage outside their windows, even while social distancing. I wonder if we might go back to more front porches on our houses rather than decks hidden behind fences in our back yards. 

The church has an opportunity to build genuine community better than any organization. It’s part of our original design. May we never again confuse the simplicity of this basic human need for relationships with structured programs or traditions. 

Additionally, churches are coming together for their communities. Perhaps this will continue and some of the walls between churches in our communities will be lowered and we will do more together to truly be the Body of Christ in our communities.

Talking about faith will be more culturally acceptable. People have needed hope more in the last few weeks than in recent memory. The Church has the corner on providing a sense of faith and hope. 

I’ve seen less shaming online for people expressing their faith. I’m sure it’s still there, but it seems less prevalent in the feeds and posts I’ve encountered. I think we have been given a unique opportunity as a Church to truly live what we believe even more boldly than we may have in recent years. This could be our finest hour to let our lights shine. 

Those are just a few initial thoughts I’m processing. I naturally try to look for the positives. I know God has guaranteed His Church a place in our society. May we come through this crisis with that place more defined, at least in our minds, than before the crisis began. 

7 Tips to Navigate Emotions as a Pastor During COVID-19

By | Call to Ministry, Church, Church Planting, Church Revitalization, Leadership | One Comment

I’ve spoken with a number of pastors this week – and scheduled to talk to more this afternoon. While all my pastor friends are mostly remaining positive online and helping people remember to demonstrate faith over fear, some pastors are struggling too. When I left Leadership Network late last year I didn’t see entering into another pastorate this quickly or if ever. But here I am again. 

The personal problem

There’s a definite sense of loss for pastors. All the plans you worked so hard for Easter have suddenly been diminished. Buildings are mostly empty. We are preaching to near empty rooms. (Thankful for the worship and tech teams sticking around for us so far.) Our teams and volunteers are scattered. 

The church problem

All the while there is an incredible need to minister to people. Pastors know we have to continue to “be the church”. From my current perspective, the needs and burden to help people seem somewhat larger (and certainly harder) today than even a month ago. While people are stuck at home or stuck in care facilities, they still need care and concern expressed to them. Most of us had that figured out when we could gather people on Sundays and throughout the week. 

The future hope

I’m an optimist. In these days, I’ve been more of a cautious optimist, simply because none of us know what is going to happen. But there are tremendous opportunities being created and desperation is leading to innovation. I fully expect we will develop ministries and Gospel offerings to people that will advance the Gospel for years to come. That excites me. 

The cautious reality

Even those opportunities bring a certain amount of pressure on pastors. I only share this from my perspective, but frankly many of the voices saying how things will “never be the same” and how the church must completely change don’t seem to be currently pastoring at a local church. Of course, we should listen to and learn from them, but pastors have budgets and buildings we need to fill. Those are realities that aren’t ending immediately after this crisis. And context is king. We shouldn’t try to be another church.

So, bottom line, it’s tough. And because of that, some pastors are struggling. I said to our church recently, “it’s okay not to be okay sometimes.” That’s true for you too. My intent of this post is not to vent (although I need that too sometimes). I only hope to help a group of people I’ve grown to love and respect – pastors. 

If I were advising you as I would a member of our church going through crisis, my advice might be about the same. 

Here are 7 suggestions for navigating your emotions during this crisis: 

Recognize the sense of loss. Don’t ignore it. This hurts. Something is missing from your life right now, just as it is for the people God called you to shepherd. Don’t overlook your own feelings and emotions even as you minister to others. 

(On a completely personal note, I’m pastoring at my home church. They were in need of revitalization. I came into this so motivated and excited about helping the church. All those plans changed suddenly after only a few weeks on the job. That’s a loss.) 

Grieve.  We don’t grieve like the rest of the world, but we should grieve. Every loss deserves a grief period. Grieving has stages. And they are different for everyone. Some mornings you may wake up confused. Other days you may be angry. Still others you may have an incredible burst of energy and enthusiasm – and you’re not even sure why. All those can be natural. 

Exercise. I encourage maintaining health all the time for leaders. The busier and more stressed you are the more important it becomes. If you’re past few weeks are like mine then you’re in one of those seasons – and you need to be exercising. Regularly. Take time to get outside and walk. Find ways to do a workout indoors too. There are plenty of apps and resources online to keep you fit during this time.

Stay close to other pastors. I have found this especially helpful for me. This is not because misery deserves company, but another thing I say in leadership is “you can’t see what I see until you sit where I sit”. That’s so true in this scenario. That first day everyone was looking to me as to whether to take services online was one of the most stressful I’ve had in a while. Huge decision. Talking to other pastors through it helped. 

Protect your Sabbath. The Sabbath isn’t just a command for the church where you serve. It’s vital for you as well. Plus, if you have children at home you need to spend time with your children. And if you’re married with your spouse. They are likely struggling with isolation too. Pastor, you don’t have to work all the time. Your family needs you too. Protect what will definitely be there after this crisis. 

Find ways to laugh. I’ve had a few good belly laughs lately and thy have been so life-giving. Most of them were at my own expense making “bloopers” while trying to do a video. (I’m sure there’s a blooper video in the works by our creative team.) If needed, Google some clean comedy and take a mental break. A good Seinfeld episode often works for me too. 

Dream about the new future. Yes, it will look different. Again, it will have to be contextualized for your church. But God has made promises for His church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. This includes the coronavirus. We will get back to doing church again. 

What might that look like? This is where there are tremendous Kingdom-building ministries who serve the church and are thinking “for us” right now. I’m grateful for them. (I may do a separate post with some of these resources I’m following.) I’m thankful that we can concentrate on ministering to our churches while they help us think “what’s next”, but we should spend some time doing this too. We know our context like no one else does. 

Pastor, I say this humbly to you, but none of the future talk matters if you don’t protect your soul. We will need you to be strong after this crisis as much as we need you through it. I’m praying for you. Please let me know if I can help. Lastly, get professional help if needed. There’s no shame in that.

5 Ways a Leader Responds as a Crisis Begins

By | Church, Church Revitalization, Leadership | 2 Comments

Leader, how should we respond when crisis comes?

I love the leadership displayed during a scene in “It’s a Wonderful Life” where George Bailey is about to leave for his honeymoon and panic struck the Building and Loan. As the president, he was forced to avert his plan, go back and save the company. He kept the Building and Loan open with a couple of dollars to spare. It was a tense moment. Everything they had worked for was at risk, but the crisis was solved — at least until the next crisis came.

This is the kind of time I’m referring to as a leader.

How do you respond?

There have been several times where it appeared everything was a loss on the team I was leading. I’ve experienced it in planning a single project, as well as with the entire company felt in jeopardy when I was a small business owner. We experienced it when I was a Mayor Pro-Tem and our city was devastated by a tornado, or when I was pastoring a large church and our community experienced catastrophic flooding.

At the outset of a crisis, how should the leader respond?

The way the leader responds in crisis always dictates the way the team responds.

I must admit, I haven’t always handled these times as well as George Bailey, but experience has taught me a few things.

Here are 5 ways to respond at the beginning of a crisis:

Slow down

The general tendency is to speed up, but “haste makes waste”. You need to move quickly, and sometimes you have to put out some initial flames, but as much as you can, slow down long enough to think before you react.

Don’t panic

You may indeed be in a panic on the inside, but your outer composure as a leader will set the thermostat of your team. The team’s emotions will almost always be an exaggerated version of the leader’s emotions. If you appear hopeless, the teams emotions will appear even more hopeless.

Get a plan

After you’ve addressed the most pressing needs — brought more of a sense of calm to the team — back away long enough to create a plan of recovery. This includes gathering information from as many sources as possible and seeking input from wise advisors. It could be the best exit plan you can develop, but either way you need a plan.

In crisis mode, this sometimes seems like a waste of time. The thought is often if the ship is sinking you just need everyone to help bail water. In my experience, however, getting a plan in place makes the difference in the quality of your leadership through the crisis. This probably requires pulling a team together to quickly brainstorm and strategize.

Navigate carefully

Once a plan is in place, you need to become an implementer of the plan or at least the lead delegator of implementation. You’re the coach, cheerleader, and captain of the ship at this point. You keep the team on task towards the end goal.

Help the team recover

After the dust settles from the crisis, the leader’s job isn’t complete until you help the team recover. This involves learning from what happened, making readjustments as needed, and helping the team begin again. In the best scenarios, this thought process begins to happen even during the crisis mode, giving the team some hope of better days to come.

We all hope to avoid those days of crisis on the team, but it helps to have a paradigm of how we should respond if or when they ever come.

Any thoughts you would add from your experience?

7 Often Overlooked Needs in Church Revitalization

By | Change, Church, Church Revitalization, Leadership | No Comments

I have written and spoken at conferences extensively about church revitalization. I have served as pastor in two church plants and two church revitalizations. I’m currently helping in a church revitalization at my home church. I love church planting and still hope to be a part of it in the future, but I also believe God would want us to restore health to churches whenever possible. And I know that established churches can grow.

The work is hard. I know first hand that it’s harder to rebuild something than it is to start something from scratch, but it is rewarding work.

One reason some in revitalization haven’t been as successful is that there were things they didn’t know or didn’t do. What can be surprising is that there are often areas you weren’t expecting to have to address. It took some hard lessons for me to learn some of these.

Here are 7 often overlooked needs in church revitalization: 

Laypeople willing to stand up to other laypeople. This is huge. Established churches can become very passive aggressive in addressing conflict. Many times the pastor is the last to know there is a controversy stirring. People may be upset about change, and they talk to everyone else, but the pastor doesn’t find out until the problem has brewed out of proportion.

There needs to be people willing to do as Barney Fife would say, “Nip it in the bud.” They are willing to ask, “Have you said this to the pastor? If not, I’m not sure we should be talking about it.” And people willing to steer conversations in a positive direction and publicly and privately support needed changes.

A pastor willing to stay through the process. I wrote about this previously, but this may be the most important decision a pastor leading revitalization has to make.

In my experience, the longer the church has been in decline the longer it takes to be healthy again. It always takes longer than we hope it will. But until a pastor decides they are in it until the turn comes (or God makes it clear they are released) they will fail to put their best energies into the work. 

Willingness to address the sacred cows. These may be programs, the placement of a table donated by a previous church member (who isn’t alive or doesn’t even attend the church anymore) or paint colors. Sacred cows often have stories behind them and they are seldom “Biblical” issues.

They aren’t easy to change, and not all of them need to be, but if you can’t redirect or remove some them it will be difficult to see the church healthy again. And that should be done carefully and strategically. 

Finding an energizing path forward. You must find something that will build momentum and get people excited again. People need to feel an enthusiasm for church again; enough that they will want to bring people with them.

This can often be in an area the church has excelled in before. If, in their best days for example, the church had a strong missions program, this could be a place where the church can be motivated again.

Discovering and celebrating the “good” past of the church. Let’s be honest. Not all the past of the church is good or there wouldn’t be a need for revitalization. If there’s nothing to find, it might be best to take your energy somewhere else. Life is short and the Kingdom need is too great to waste time on a toxic church that has no interest in recovery – or isn’t wiling to make the changes necessary.

But there will likely be things from the past that, while you don’t have to repeat them, you can celebrate them. (The principle I use here is to repeat principles not practices.) You want do things the same way, but the idea or motive behind them are often “historically significant” moments that the church will rally behind. 

Repentance. It could be there has been a series of bad leadership decisions, which injured innocent people. It could be conflicts or broken relationships that were left unresolved. God may not be able to honor the church with growth again until repentance has occurred.

This doesn’t have to be church-wide unless the offenses were. I like to speak a lot on forgiveness during these times, but reconciliation needs to occur. Unity in the body is paramount to a healthy church.

Disciplined and balanced use of time. You can only do so much. The people in the church can only do so much. The Scripture encourages us to make wise use of our time because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:16) This means you may not be able to do everything previous pastor did. You may need to delegate hospital visits, for example. It might mean that some programs have to go so you can do other programs better.

For another example, as pastor, the time you put into Sunday messages is incredibly important. This is your best time in front of the church. You may need more time in front of key leaders, staff or volunteers. Again, you can only do so much. You must do the things which will most effectively move things forward. 

I love helping churches think through the process of revitalization. I have limited time for consulting in this area. If I can help your church, please contact me and let’s discuss some options. 

7 Barriers to Growth Every Leader Needs to Eliminate Today

By | Church, Church Planting, Church Revitalization, Leadership | No Comments

As a consultant and senior leader, I have had multiple opportunities to come into a church or organization, assess where things are, identify barriers to growth, and offer suggestions to address them. 

(This type thinking actually fuels me as a leader, so let me know if I can help you.) 

It might appear that change is a difficult process in helping an organization grow again. And certainly it is a difficult part. Change is always hard. But in my experience, often identifying the things that need to be changed most and when to change them is the harder decision. 

And there are several reasons why, even leaders who want change have a hard time determining what needs changing: 

  • Leaders tend to get comfortable with the way things are being done. 
  • Just like the people they lead, they become protective of the way things operate. 
  • After something is done a certain way long enough it’s hard to see how they are barriers stalling growth. They are just “normal”. 

Here are 7 common barriers I’ve seen that every leader needs to eliminate today: 

The lid of capacity. As leaders, we often set an unwritten limit to where people can go within the organization. The lines of authority sometimes dictate where ideas can originate or who is involved in strategic-thinking. Some of the best ideas are not even welcomed simply because there is not a clear avenue for them to be shared. 

This may need to be the subject of another post, but one example of how I have tried to address this lid is with what I call “focus groups”. Whenever we are stalled in an area of ministry, I like to invite different voices to brainstorm and develop new ideas. New people always bring new capacity. 

A culture of fear. When people are afraid of making a mistake they are less likely to take a risk. Leaders must create cultures where even failure is embraced as a tool for discovering new insights. 

One way I have attempted this is by calling new initiatives an “experiment”. Make it known up front we are trying something and we aren’t sure if it will work. 

The absence of hope. You don’t even try where things appear to be hopeless. In the darkest of days, the leader should provide hope that the future will be bright. 

In most every sermon message and every staff or church-wide meeting, I try to paint a picture of hope for people. The world is full of naysayers and doomsayers. We need to be agents of hope. 

The limitations of resources. Granted this takes creativity, especially when finances are stretched, but always hearing “we can’t afford that” or “we aren’t big enough to do that” is never motivating to a team. 

I wrote a post on innovative ways to develop people, as an example. One way I address this lid is by continually asking this question such as: What would we do if the life of this ministry depends on doing something new, but there were no resources to do so? With good leadership desperation can often lead to innovation. 

Burdensome bureaucracies. Structure is good. We need good managers and good guidelines to keep us legal and accountable. When structure begins to get in the way of progress it needs to change. 

This is probably one I challenge the most as a leader. Partly this is because I’m not a good rule-follower. Mostly it is because I have seen this one cause the most limitations to growth in established churches. 

The vision-less organization. Where are you going and why are you going there? People will work to achieve things they can understand the why and they believe in it.

The leader must continually be sharing the why behind the decisions being made. I try to do this every time I assign a task or make a request of someone on our team. 

(By the way, sharing the vision often forces the leader to ask hard questions too. Sometimes you end up realizing there’s not a good why. When that is the case, perhaps you don’t even need to do it. Now you have time to do something else.) 

Meaningless meetings. Most people have more to do than sit in a meeting that only happened because it appears regularly on a calendar. And when they are forced to do so it keeps them from doing more productive things. 

Get rid of meetings just to meet. One thing I try not to keep the same standing meeting schedules for too long. Being willing to review when we meet and why, at least on an annual basis, keeps things fresher, helps ensure the right people are in the room and makes meetings more effective. (This includes keeping me out of meetings where I’m simply not needed.) 

These are a few barriers I’ve observed and continually try to address in organizations where I lead. Again, I’d love to come help your team analyze and address some of these. Let me know if I can help. 

5 Ways to Lead Well Responding to Criticism

By | Church, Church Revitalization, Leadership | No Comments

Let’s be honest! Criticism hurts. No one enjoys hearing something negative about themselves or finding out that something you did wasn’t perceived as well by others as you hoped it would be.

Criticism, however, is a part of leadership. It comes with the territory. And, if handled correctly, it doesn’t have to be a bad part of leadership — or at least not as bad as we make it.

The truth is there is usually something to be learned from all criticism. Allowing criticism to work for you rather than against you is a key to maturing as a leader.

Recently I posted Mistakes People Make responding to criticism. This is the companion post.

Here are 5 ways to lead well responding to criticism:

Listen to everyone.

You may not respond to everyone the same way, but everyone deserves a voice and everyone should be treated with respect. This doesn’t necessarily include anonymous criticism. It’s hard to give respect to someone you don’t know. I listen to some of it, especially if it appears valid, because I’ve often learned from that too. Plus, I always wonder if something in my leadership prompted an anonymous response.

At the same time, I never “criticize” leaders who don’t listen to anonymous criticism. I don’t, however, weight unidentified criticism as heavily as I would criticism assigned to a person. (Feel free to leave a comment about anonymous criticism and how you respond.) But the point here is to at least listen to criticism when people are willingly to put their name behind it.

Consider the source.

In a stakeholder sense, how much influence and investment does this person have in the organization? This might not change your answer to the criticism but may change the amount of energy you invest in your answer.

Years ago our church met in two schools, for example, so if the Director of Schools had criticism for me I would invest more time responding than if it’s a random person complaining about our music who never intended to attend our church again.

Analyze for validity.

Is the criticism true? This is where maturity as a leader becomes more important. You have to check your ego, because there is often an element of truth even to criticism you don’t agree with completely.

Don’t dismiss the criticism until you’ve considered what’s true and what isn’t true. Mature leaders are willing to admit fault and recognize areas of needed improvement.

Look for common themes.

If you keep receiving the same criticism, perhaps there is a problem even if you still think there isn’t. It may not be a vision problem or a problem with your strategy or programming, but it may be a communication problem. You can usually learn something from criticism if you are willing to look for the trends.

Give an answer. 

I believe criticism is like asking a question. It deserves an answer even if the answer is you don’t have an answer. You may even have to agree to disagree with the person offering criticism. By the way, especially during seasons of change, I save answers to common criticism received because I know I’ll likely be answering the same criticism again.

I love how George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life” responds to criticism that the Bailey Building and Loan is going to collapse. He takes the criticism serious, considers the importance of the critics, responds as necessary, attempts to calm their fears, and refocuses on the vision. What a great leadership example during times of stress!

Obviously, this is an extreme and dramatic example, but it points to a reality that happens everyday in an organization. And some times it is extreme and dramatic. Many times people simply don’t understand so they complain — they criticize. The way a leader responds is critical in that moment.

What would you add to my list? Where do you disagree with me here? I’ll try to take the criticism the “right” way!

5 Mistakes Leaders Make Responding to Criticism

By | Church, Church Revitalization, Leadership | One Comment

Criticism accompanies leadership. We shouldn’t be surprised when it comes; especially when we are leading change. (Which is what leaders do.)

Make any decision and some will agree and some won’t.

The only way to avoid criticism as a leader is to do nothing. 

If a leader is taking an organization somewhere, and really even if he or she isn’t, someone will criticize his or her efforts.

That said, the way a leader responds to criticism says much about the maturity of the leader and the quality of his or her leadership.

Here are 5 mistakes leaders make responding to criticism:

Finding fault with the critic.

Instead of admitting there might be validity to the criticism, many leaders immediately attempt to discredit the person offering it. Granted, there may be fault — and some people are terrible complainers (some are just mean), but it’s never helpful to start there.

Blaming others.

Many leaders realize the criticism may be valid, but they aren’t willing to accept personal responsibility, so they pass it along to others. This is dangerous on so many levels and is truly poor leadership.

Returning criticism.

Often a leader will receive criticism and instead of analyzing whether there is validity or not, the leader begins to criticize other organizations or leaders. It’s a very immature response. In elementary school it went like this — “I know I am, but what are you?”

Ignoring an opportunity to learn.

This is a big one, because criticism can be a great teaching tool. It needs a filter. The person and circumstances need to be taken into consideration, but with every criticism rests an opportunity to learn something positive for the organization or about the leader.

Appeasing people.

Many leaders are so fearful of conflict they attempt to satisfy all critics, even if they never intend to follow through or make changes because of the criticism. They say what the critic wants to hear. If there is no merit to criticism then don’t act like there is merit. Be kind, but you don’t have to always be accommodating to the critics.

I’ve been guilty of all of these at one time or another. Awareness is half the battle. Identifying the wrong ways to respond to criticism and working to correct this in your leadership is part of growing as a leader.

In my next post I’ll share some right ways to respond to criticism.

What else would you add as a wrong way to respond to criticism?

What a Leader Does in Times of Crisis

By | Church Revitalization, Leadership | No Comments

The Apostle Paul was an effective leader. He was the arguably the most successful church planter of all times; managing to plant churches and write books we are still using today.

There is an interesting story in Acts 19 of a time of crisis. I call it a crisis because the sub-heading in my Bible calls it “The Riot in Ephesus.” Have you ever witnessed a riot? It sounds chaotic – like a crisis.

And apparently it wasn’t a small riot. Notice this verse: “About that time there was a major disturbance about the Way.”‭‭ Acts‬ ‭19:23‬ ‭

Major disturbance. Crisis.

What is specifically interesting to me is the response of Paul in the time of crisis.

Read it for yourself:

After the uproar was over, Paul sent for the disciples, encouraged them, and after saying good-bye, departed to go to Macedonia. And when he had passed through those areas and exhorted them at length, he came to Greece. Acts 20:1-2

So, Paul did three things: 

  • Called together the leaders of the people.
  • Encouraged them.
  • Continued working to accomplish the mission.

Paul demonstrates for us the role of a leader in times of crisis – or even in times of uncertainty or times of change. In these times, people need to hear from their leader.

People are looking for assurance everything is going to be okay. They want to know the mission will continue. People want to hear the leader has confidence and is going to help move the mission forward.

In other words, they want leadership.

Leader, if you are in a time of difficulty or exaggerated stress right now in leadership, the worst thing you can do is to run and hide. The best you can do is to reengage the people you are trying to lead.

Gather your people. Encourage them. Keep the mission moving forward.

Leadership helps people process the pain of their circumstances so they can keep going.

All Good Leaders Do 2 Things

By | Church, Church Planting, Church Revitalization, Leadership | No Comments

There are two things all good leaders do for their team. These are vital if you want to lead a healthy team.

They help their team say yes.

Good leaders give their team the freedom to dream. They empower the team to take their ministry in new directions. Risks are encouraged without fear of retribution if it doesn’t work.

Good leaders make sure they aren’t so distracted with mindless and burdensome tasks, so they can pursue the things which spark their interest. They help their team move swiftly when change is needed and encourage the team to be proactive rather than reactive. 

And when team members do things differently than the leader would, the leader looks to see if the vision is being attained. If it is, then the leader submits to the leadership of the team. 

They help their team say no.

The team can’t do everything. Neither can the leader. People are limited. Everyone is limited.

All of us can easily get distracted by seemingly good things and fail to do the best things. Good leaders give their team the authority to say no when the opportunity doesn’t align with the vision, they simply can’t complete it with all their other demands, or it is outside their ability to do it well.

And when there is backlash for the decision, good leaders defend their team. Every single time. 

(Granted, some team members will take advantage of this second one. They will always say no. In those cases, we handle the problem with that person individually. And we don’t use them as a reason to create unnecessary rules for everyone else.) 

Leader, does your team have freedom to say yes and no? What could you do to help them more?

When I Do Some of My Best Work

By | Church, Church Revitalization, Leadership | No Comments

Some of my best work is done when I can’t understand all that I’m doing.

  • When things are messy.
  • My head is cloudy.
  • I have more questions than answers.
  • My faith is being stretched.
  • I am unsure of my position.

If you wait until you have all the answers – where doubt is removed completely:

  • You’ll often find yourself stagnant on making decisions.
  • Seldom will you achieve “the best you can do”.
  • And the rewards you receive will be less than monumental.

A 64-year-old very successful businessperson told me recently that one of his regrets is not taking more risks in life. And he’s taken a ton in my experience.

Part of living the Christian faith – and especially being a Christian leader – is actually using your faith!

How are you currently having to walk by faith?

Let me leave you with a couple of reminders from Scripture:

One who watches the wind will not sow, and the one who looks at the clouds will not reap. Ecclesiastes 11:4

Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest. Proverbs 14:4