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7 Tips for When Your Team Is Struggling to Succeed

I talk with team leaders every week where the team is struggling and trying to figure out how to succeed again. I understand. I’ve been the leader of teams in situations like that many times. Every team experiences times of decline. What you do next almost always determines how long it lasts and how well you recover.

First, I should say that every situation is unique and requires individual attention. Don’t use a script for your team. Also, don’t be afraid to bring in outside help. It could be anyone, from a paid consultant to a friend who leads another team with whom you trade a favor. Everyone can use a fresh perspective at times. It takes humble and wise leaders to welcome input from outsiders. Read more...

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Pastors, Don’t Allow the Process to Defeat the Purpose

I recently spent a couple thousand dollars cutting down and stump-grinding nine trees that I spent hundreds of dollars planting 10 years ago. Seems dumb, I know. But sometimes, that’s what it takes.

Perhaps you’ve seen these trees—they are called Cryptomeria.  They grow extremely fast and easily reach 35 to 40 feet and more with a 20-foot spread at the bottom. They are similar to the Leyland Cypress but typically seem to grow larger, more lush, and are deeper green in color. Read more...

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3 Essential Core Values for Every Church

Core Values: The ideals and values we hold that are non-negotiable, that serve as filters for all of our efforts to accomplish our mission. (My working definition.) 

The story of Jehu in 2 Kings 10 came in front of me recently, and reading it again, several things really struck me.

Jehu found Jehonadab coming to meet him. He greeted him and then asked, “Is your heart one with mine?

Unity. We can’t accomplish the mission God has given us (helping people find, follow and be- like Jesus) if there is division in the ranks. Without unity, you will be thrown back two steps for every one you think you’ve made. Read more...

How to Communicate a Vision

Dan T. Cathy, president and COO of Chick-fil-A, spoke briefly at the EQUIP 2020 Global Conference in February 2012, held at Christ Fellowship Church in West Palm Beach. Chick-fil-A is more than just the fast food restaurant that made cows famous for saying, “Eat more chicken.” It is one of the largest family owned and successful businesses in the U.S. today with more than 1560+ units in the chain. Personally, I love their waffle fries!

Though the conference focused on biblical leadership, and specifically training international Christian leaders, Dan Cathy spoke on customer service—something all good leaders must be reminded of. I was struck by how well he had personally embodied the vision and how brilliantly he communicated it. From employees walking around the dining area asking if they may “refresh your beverage” and offering pepper from a large pepper mill for your salad, to coming outside with a large umbrella to bring you in from the rain. Read more...

10 Good Questions to Evaluate the Health of Your Church

Every year I get a complete physical from my doctor. It’s a thorough check-up from head to toe. I usually have the same initial thoughts about this invasive, needle-sticking, blood-sucking, finger-poking experience. First, I’m too busy for this. I just don’t have time. Second, This is not going to be fun! Third, I don’t want to know what I might learn! But the end result is always the same: I’m glad I did it, and it always leads to continued or better health.

Your church is similar to this experience. No one really wants to do a thorough and honest evaluation, but you are wise to do so. It leads to better church health and robust performance! Read more...

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15 Keys of a ‘Make It Happen’ Team Culture

All of us want to be part of a team that is successful, accomplishes goals and gets things done. But a “make it happen” team culture is only possible if we, as individuals and leaders, are truly committed to do our part in helping create that team culture.

So here are 15 keys I’ve found for how each of us can contribute to that end:

1. Your yes is yes, and your no is no. Do what you say you will do.

2. You take responsibility before being told. Read more...

10 Positive Paradigms in the Church

I recently posted 10 dangerous paradigms in the church. Obviously, there are positive mind-sets in the church also. I've decided to share some from the perception of a pastor.

Here are 10 positive paradigms in the church.

1. "We can do it, Pastor." The “can do” attitude. Who can’t work with that?

2. "Jesus will make a way." So, if that’s your paradigm, then all we have to do is follow Him ... right? Read more...

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Why You Should Keep Your Church's Front Door Wide Open

Closing the back door is more about keeping the front door wide open. The spirit and atmosphere that makes a church inviting is the same spirit and atmosphere that makes people want to stay.

Church leaders have been talking about “closing the back door” for years. It’s a good conversation. After all, it is frustrating to see visitors come, people say yes to Jesus, get baptized and maybe even attend a new Christian’s class. And yet, the church still struggles to grow. People seem to be coming in the front and going out the back. Read more...

10 Dangerous Church Paradigms

I’ve been in church all my life. Along the way, I’ve seen and learned a lot. Almost all the insight I have into church has come by experience.

I have observed, for example, that paradigms can often shape a church’s culture. A paradigm, in simple terms, is a mind-set—a way of thinking. In this case, it's a collective mind-set of the church, often programmed into the church’s culture.

If the church is unhealthy, part of the reason could be because it has some wrong paradigms. In that case, it will almost always need a paradigm shift in order to be a healthier church again.

Recently, I’ve been thinking of some of the paradigms that impact a church. I’ll look at some of the negative ones in this post, and in another post I'll share some of the positive paradigms that can impact a church.

Here are 10 dangerous church paradigms: Read more...

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Quit Trying to Be Big … and Just Be Faithful

Our culture says bigger is better. But in the kingdom of God, less is often more.

There’s nothing more disheartening to a preacher than to see empty seats in a church service. I’ll be honest—I like meetings where you have to pull out extra chairs and put people in the aisles. Why? Because I assume if God’s blessing is on a meeting it will be packed. I like numbers because, in my carnal thinking, crowds are more significant.

Our culture puts value on things depending on how popular they are, and we are guilty of applying this rule in the church. We like big. We even rate churches based on size. We know that the three largest churches in America in 2013 are (1) Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, (2) Andy Stanley’s North Point Ministries and (3) Bill Hybels’ Willow Creek Community Church. The assumption is that these churches are leading the way in making spiritual impact. Read more...

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