Dealing With The Average

average

Here are just a few things your average church goer DOES NOT DO:

-Serve every weekend

-Come to Sunday morning and Wednesday night services AND engage in a small group

-Discuss the weekend’s message around the dinner table

-Give 10%

-Spend daily time with God

-Understand what worship REALLY is

-Share their faith with those they can influence

So what do we do about it? Do we launch program after program trying to draw people in to the deeper part of the journey? Do we beg and plead from the stage about how badly God wants their all? Do we wrap everything in the slickest packaging we can muster and fire it off at the bullseye we’ve placed on peoples foreheads? Or…DO WE SET THE STANDARD?

Let’s be honest. Even though you may be in ministry full-time doesn’t mean you do all of the things listed above. How often does your quiet time get replaced by the busy work of ministry? How often do you check out during the message simply from brain fatigue? Do you REALLY talk about the message around the dinner table? Do you manage your finances well enough that 10% is even doable for you? I know I’ve struggled in a number of these areas and I suspect that the struggle will always be there.

Ministry is hard and often overwhelming, but if we can manage to prioritize what God is asking of us as Christ Followers over what our jobs requires of us we just might be able to be standard bearers to the people we have been called to serve…just a thought.

 

 

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The Art of the Handoff

handoff

Handing off ministry duties and leadership is a tricky thing to navigate. Just like in football, everything needs to come together just right for the hand off to be successful. If you let go of the ball to soon, the “runner” will never secure the ball. If you let go too late, you’ll run into each other and the ball could be dropped. If you don’t call the play clearly, the “runner” may go one way, while you turn to the other, making the hand off impossible. There is always a risk anytime you place someone in authority. To minimize that risk and set your leaders up for success, you MUST learn to run a smooth hand off. Here are a few thoughts:

Leadership gifts aren’t enough – Just because someone is gifted to lead, doesn’t mean they’re ready to lead within your team. Until they know the play book and have established trust with the “offensive line”, handing them the ball would be risky at best.

Being talented isn’t enough – Someone may have all the talent in the world, but if they aren’t relational and can’t lead their way out of a paper bag, they aren’t qualified to lead on your team. Just because someone is athletic, doesn’t mean they’re ready to be a “running back”.

No one is a perfect leader – Sometimes even the best “running backs” fumble the ball. If you can’t be patient in developing your leaders, you probably won’t develop many. If you let go of the ball to soon, you’re not giving the “runner” a chance to be successful.

Not everyone pans out –  Every once in a while things just don’t work out. Be ready to make a switch if needed. Don’t pull the trigger too soon, but don’t keep the struggling “runner” in the game so long that the team suffers.

In the end, developing and empowering leaders is a huge ministry challenge. WE won’t always get it right and THEY won’t always live up to expectations, but remember…the season is long. Be patient with your leaders, invest in them heavily and, when the time is right, make sure they have the tools needed for a successful hand off.

Raise, Build and Get Out of the Way

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This Sunday I had the chance to experience our worship environment from a different perspective. I wasn’t on stage, I wasn’t at the soundboard, I wasn’t running lights or video…I was simply there. When it comes to running a creative ministry, it really gets no better than watching your team do what they do…and do it well. From a leadership standpoint, there is no greater moment than when someone steps in to lead people, hits it out of the park and does so without you standing next to them.

A vibrant creative ministry, at its core, is all about raising up leaders, building teams and getting out of the way. If your creative teams and processes center around you and only you…it won’t be long before your ministry is drained of any kind of momentum. Forward motion will become a thing of the past and you will simply find yourself stuck in one place. 

Great creativity cannot thrive in one place…it needs to move, breath and expand. Great creative ministries are really no different. If you want momentum…Raise up people, build your teams…and get out of the way!

Questions

question

If I’ve learned anything over my years in ministry, it’s to not be afraid to ask questions. There are a lot of benefits to understanding the “why” behind the “what”. I’ve also learned that there are no stupid questions. Sometimes, we’re simply not on the same wavelength as everyone else and we need to ask our way towards understanding.

We had a great example of this here at Sunnybrook last week. We’re launching a series later this fall centered around 3 facets of God (Father, Forgiver and Friend). My creative team jumped all over this one and we had some great ideas right off the bat…but we just couldn’t make it all fit together. As we read through the series outline from our Sr. Pastor, we realized we were missing some of the pieces…we didn’t quite get where he was wanting to take the series. So…we asked. We had him sit in with us at the next creative team meeting and within 30 minutes had a total understanding of the vision behind this series. If we hadn’t of asked, we would have fell short. The creative pieces wouldn’t have matched the vision and the effectiveness of the message would have been muted.

As leaders, not only do we need to willingly ask questions, we also need to be receptive to questions being asked of us. The same principle applies. If your team doesn’t have a clear understanding of the vision behind the mission, then your success as a ministry will be muted.

There’s one simple rule to follow: When in doubt…ask.

The Hard Things

Let’s face it…leadership is filled with hardships. There’s nothing inherently easy about leading effectively, even if it ‘s something that comes naturally to you. No matter what you do, you’ll always have to deal with the “people factor”. People (including all of us) are imperfect beyond comprehension. And even though God’s grace covers our imperfection, it doesn’t necessarily make us any easier to deal with.

Leadership is about the hard things. It’s about having the difficult conversation. It’s about making unpopular decisions. It’s about doing what God says even if it goes against “the system”. Yes, it’s about vision, passion and relationships, but those things all fall by the wayside if we’re unwilling to do the hard things along the way.

New Series Bumper

Can’t wait to launch our new series on leadership in a couple weeks. Here’s the promo for “Nehemiah – One Man’s Journey to Success”.