Leadership

You Are Always Communicating

Everything we do as leaders communicates something. Are you communicating what you want to communicate?

Does everyone on your team have a correct understanding of the culture of your team, ministry, or church? I recently had a marketing person look at all of my web presence. After his review he said “your a musician who wants to sell music.”

I had a lot of fun making a 6 song EP. I hope people will listen to it, buy it, and listen to it again. So making that impression is not a bad thing but it’s not what I want first time visitors to come away with.

Everything you do communicates something.

If the same person is leading worship every week with the same 4 or 5 people on the platform your communicating that there is no place for new people on the platform. Your saying “we have our slots filled. Sorry you got here too late. As soon as someone dies or moves away we’d be happy to audition you or we might just go with 3 backing vocalists not 4.”

Also it may be appropriate, for a season, to have video teaching until you can raise up a team of teachers. While the video teaches you are either telling the teachers in your congregation there’s no place for them or, if you do it right, you could be telling them we desperately need you. Don’t assume people will understand. You have to tell them.

Rule #4: if you don’t give your people a “why” they will come up with their own. And they will often be wrong.

Consider what you’re doing and what it communicates.

Are you saying what you want to say?

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Posted by Gary in Church Growth, Discipleship, Leadership, 2 comments

Worship Culture

This weekend I had the privilege of attending Peak Life Churches “Worship Culture Weekend”.

It was a weekend meant to define what the worship culture at Peak Life Church would be.

Culture is defined this way:

To till, to plow, to guard. Culture is the sum of attitudes, customs, and beliefs that distinguish one group of people from another; a set of traits that have been plowed into a groups way of life.

What culture are you plowing?

If you don’t define it and guard it. Your culture will become something you probably don’t want.

It is essential that you cast vision at every meeting and every practice. You must establish a foundation and then continually build and repair as you grow. Those who were there in the beginning will forget and new people will not pick it up by osmosis.

Culture must be plowed and guarded.

Let’s partner together to lay a solid foundation you can build on. Worship team retreats are a great way to get everyone on the same page.

Contact me here to talk about the possibilities for your team. You can preview some of the teaching here.

I look forward to helping you build what God has entrusted to you in your context.

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Posted by Gary in Church Growth, Discipleship, Leadership, Pastoral Care, Practical, Worship, 0 comments

Faithfulness or Giftedness

There is an old adage that says “That which you allow you promote”. It’s very true.

Church people will be 10 minutes late no matter what. If you start at 10:00 people will begin to walk in at 10:10. If you start at 10:30 people will begin to walk in at 10:40. If you wait until 10:10 to get started it won’t be long until people start to walk in at 10:20.

If we don’t talk to one person about inappropriate clothing very soon others will begin to think the inappropriate clothing is ok, its accepted.

The same is true when it comes to promoting people into positions of leadership. Whatever character qualities we promote will be the type of people we attract. We spend lots of time trying to make everyone a leader, which I think is a terrible waste of time and resources, instead of giving those entrusted to us opportunities to die and to serve. It is only in the context of serving together that we can discern the gifting in those entrusted to us and who is called to set vision, direction, and pace.

Justin Holcomb writes in The Resurgence Blog:

Scripture focuses more on character than it does on methods, more on faithfulness than it does on fruitfulness, and more on making disciples of Christ than it does on developing leaders. The Bible is not the least bit shy about pointing out the failures of even the best leaders.

When we promote giftedness over faithfulness we will get giftedness over faithfulness and all the problems that go along with that. We must always only promote faithfulness, character, and equipping over everything else. Everything we do communicates something make sure you are communicating the right things.

We so often think type A strong personality people are natural leaders. It’s not true. Jesus modeled what true servant leadership looks like. It looks like laying down your life.

What are your thoughts?

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Posted by Gary in Church Growth, Discipleship, Leadership, Pastoral Care, 0 comments

Raising Up The Next Generation?

I believe this statement comes from a completely sincere heart and is completely wrong.

We most definitely have the responsibility to pass our faith and our heritage onto the  next generation but nowhere, that I can find, in Scripture are we exhorted to “raise up” the next generation.

What Scripture does exhort us to do is raise up those entrusted to us regardless the generation. Certainly if an 18-year-old is called, gifted, and faithful they should be promoted but not just because they are 18. The same is true for a 48-year-old.

When we focus on one specific demographic whatever it may be we by definition create other very big problems. This is part of the problem of blended worship, or a multigenerational focus. These approaches create a market based, consumer driven culture and  that’s definitely not what we want.

If we will cultivate a culture of change while equipping and empowering Gods people to do what God has called and created them to do many of the problems we’re trying to fix by being “blended” or “multigenerational” will fix themselves.

I’m not naive and I’m not trying to be overly simplistic just hear my foundational premise.

The bottom line:

God has called leaders to first be equippers. Leaders are those who can recognize, call out, equip, and release gifting back into the body. Being a high-capacity doer of anything does not alone qualify a leader, and the reality is high-capacity doers are seldom the best leaders.

If we will focus our ministry on equipping the saints, as defined above, and promote calling and faithfulness over gifting and drive. We will have a very vibrant, change oriented, and multigenerational ministry by default. Because those entrusted to us are the culture and when we empower them they will represent and reflect that culture.

What are your thoughts?

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Posted by Gary, 2 comments

How Do You Promote Leaders

Last September my wife and I began a new season of life and ministry.

When everything was still in a state of flux we were introduced to Dave Jewitt from Your One Degree. He helped us define the most important thing we should be doing for the rest of our lives and has been helping us walk in that thing at least 80% or our time. It has been a very profitable and rewarding experience.

Dave sends a daily encouragement that I highly recommend you get. Near the bottom of this main page there is a subscription form.

Recently he made an excellent point about promoting leaders. I have always said promote faithfulness and calling above gifting. He says it this way:

Daniel 2:47,48 The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.” Then the king placed Daniel in a high position.

Daniel had just interpreted a dream the king had recently had. The stakes were high. The king was going to kill Daniel and all the other wise men in the kingdom if no one stepped forward to interpret the dream. But there was a catch: the king could not describe the dream to anyone. God showed Daniel both the dream and the interpretation after much prayer by Daniel and his friends.

This passage provides the following guidance for a leader in promoting others:

  1. Promote those who are honest, not just articulate.
  2. Promote those who do not take the credit deserved by others.
  3. Promote those truly committed to the cause/organization, not their own.
  4. Promote those who have high-caliber friends and associates.
  5. Promote those of demonstrated character and competence, not just those who make you feel important and comfortable.

Lord, please keep me from the trap of promoting the wrong people.

In the book “Sticky Teams“, which I also highly recommend, Larry Osborne says “The best time to remove someone from the team is before they get on.

Make sure your adding and promoting for the right reasons.

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Posted by Gary in Church Growth, Leadership, 0 comments

8760

I love the church. I love everything about church.

From Monday to Sunday there should be a vibrant expression of the church. The Sunday gatherings are great and I think God likes Sunday morning the best as well. The Bible says He loves the gates more than the tents. The gates are where the people gather. I have this picture in my mind of an excited expectant King anticipating the gathering of His people.

I also am a fan of small groups as they relate to your context. There should be a place for us to fellowship during the week in a way that is not possible on Sunday morning. A place where we unpack the scripture and work out real life in the context of relationship.

But there must be more than this.

There are 8760 hours in a year. Listening to one 20 minute sermon each week only accounts for .002% of those hours. When you add a small group you get to .011% of the total. Both of these expressions are critical but not sufficient.

When you compare those totals to the amount of media bombardment we receive each day it’s no wonder we are a defeated church.

We are a people called and created to live life in the context of community. Walking together, encouraging one another, learning from one another. We try to systematize discipleship which can be helpful but often the relationship aspect of discipleship suffers.

It’s time to rethink every paradigm we have as it relates to church life. I’m interested in what you think.

What does authentic community look like?
If you could design the church just for you what would it look like?

Insanity is doing what you’ve always done expecting a different result. It’s time for new wine, a fresh revelation. I don’t think we need a reformation rather a return to principles placed in a modern context.

What are those from your perspective?

I will be on top of the comment moderation and hopefully we can have a lively conversation. Please weigh in. I look forward to your thoughts.

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Posted by Gary in Church Growth, Discipleship, Leadership, 0 comments

A Different Perspective on Excellence.

I ran across this quote from Rev. Thomas Fuller from the 17th century and thought I would add this for context when talking about excellence. I’ve spoken here before of my definition of excellence which is: To offer the best I have, something above and beyond or different from the norm. Something costly.

Please consider this as an example:

Lord, my voice is by nature harsh and untunable, and it is vain to lavish any art to better it. Can my singing of psalms be pleasing to thy ears, which is unpleasant to my own? Yet though I cannot chant with the nightingale, or chirp with the blackbird, I had rather chatter with the swallow, yea, rather croak with the raven, than be altogether silent. Hadst though given me a better voice, I would have praised thee with a better voice. Now what my music wants in sweetness, let it have in sense, singing praises with understanding. Yea, Lord, create in me a new heart (therein to make melody), and I will be contented with my old voice, until in thy due time, being admitted into the choir of heaven, I have another more harmonious bestowed upon me.

Granted if his voice is harsh and untunable we probably don’t want him “leading” worship but I hope this provides a little balance to the Excellence conversation.

What are your thoughts?

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Posted by Gary in Discipleship, Leadership, Worship, 0 comments

Post-Election Post

If you know me, you know I have many thoughts and many opinions about politics and about the election outcome specifically. I will however keep them to myself.

4 years ago I was very vocal and very engaged on social media and on this blog and I fear it accomplished nothing but animosity. These spaces are too small to contextualize and communicate in a way that reflects my heart. So I made a decision. The only things I posted relating to politics, save maybe one or two, have been related to how our republic works and the big picture ideas I hoped would inform those who stumble across what I have to say. Along with that I decided to put all of my energy into building that which is dear to the heart of God.

God is passionate about his prize creation. God created man in His image and desires and pursues relationship with us relentlessly. I also believe God’s chosen vehicle to reach the lost in these last days is the local church. So Kim and I have made a decision to focus our energy there.

Earlier this year we established a ministry under the covering of Life in Christ Church in Limon CO we are calling, for now, Trobee Ministry Partners. Our heart is to partner with those who build the local church. We feel like we have a calling like Nehemiah to stand beside and encourage pastors and leaders of smaller churches. Sometimes leading a church can be the loneliest place on earth and we want to come alongside leaders and walk with them.

We hope to do that in several ways. I will continue to do worship team retreats focusing on helping people understand their role in the church is to be a ministry of helps. We have a vision to come to smaller churches and facilitate a sabbatical for their pastor while teaching the congregation about rest and stewardship, among other things, while the pastor is being refreshed.

Our vision is still developing but we are very excited about what God is doing in the local church and excited for opportunities to build new relationships with leaders.

If you would like to know more or ask how we can partner with your church give us a shout.

As always would love to hear your thoughts.

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Posted by Gary in Church Growth, Discipleship, Personal, Politics, Practical, Worship, 0 comments

The Power of a Thank You

Proverbs 3:27 says:
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.

I served for 10 years in the Nebraska National Guard and was honorably discharged as a platoon sargent. It was a great experience where I learned invaluable lessons about many things.

I have never been deployed, never served outside the continental United States and have no idea what it feels like to fear for my life.

When Veterans Day comes around or when I happen to be in a place where Veterans are honored I never stand. Not for any real reason. I guess mostly because I don’t think of myself as a Veteran. My father in law who was in the Battle of The Bulge and is a real hero are the people I think of as veterans.

Stick with me here.

About 5 years ago on Veterans Day I got a text message from someone I worked with that said. Thank you for your service to our country. I was touched very deeply that someone thought of me and took the time to reach out and say Thank You in the simplest way.

I’m not asking you to text me next Vets Day. What I’m saying is if you know someone serving faithfully or someone who deserves a thank you would you give them one today.

It will make their day and yours.

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Posted by Gary in Leadership, Practical, 0 comments

How To “Cause” Growth Of The Body

Over several years I have spoken with dozens of church leaders about how to measure growth in the church and it is universally agreed among them numbers are a poor reflection of health and growth. Don’t misunderstand I think numbers are important but how do we really know if the body is growing?

Did you know the Bible tells us exactly what we need to be doing in order to “cause” growth of the body?

In economics we know exactly what happens when we institute certain policies. A baker knows exactly what will happen when he adds a certain ingredient to bread. The same is true in the church.

Evangelism is one of the purposes of the church but I’ve noticed something; when we make evangelism the end rather than the beginning and make everyone an evangelist we de-emphasize the other gifts. Ephesians 4:11 says He gave some to be evangelists. I’m not saying only those with the gift of evangelism should share the gospel. We must always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us. I have no problem sharing my faith or leading someone to faith in Christ but my primary gifting is not evangelism. What I’m saying is we must recognize all the gifting entrusted to the church.

One of my closest friends thinks he’s a policeman. His vocation is policeman but he’s really an evangelist. Every time I talk to him he tells me about someone he has talked with about faith in Jesus. When we go into a coffee shop he starts looking around for who he might share the gospel with. It’s natural for him like breathing.

I remember feeling guilty when missionaries would come to our church and say things like “you’re either called to go or you’re called to send”. Their passion is admirable but my reading of the New Testament lists 16-18 gifts, depending how you read them. Giving and evangelism are only two. It’s critical that we recognize and value the other 14-16 gifts.

Ephesians 4:15-16 says when we all grow up in:

 “Christ who is the head from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

Emphasis mine.

Paraphrase: When we are all walking in the fullness of our gifts and calling the church will grow.

It’s not magic. It’s recognizing, calling out, equipping, and releasing gifting back into the body that causes the church to grow. This is a leadership principle. We cannot blame the sheep for not walking in their gifting. We must create a culture where all the gifts can flourish.

As always leave your comments below. What do you think?

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Posted by Gary in Church Growth, Discipleship, Leadership, 0 comments