When was the last time you and your team stopped to ask, “why do we do what we do in our weekend services? Is what we are doing effective at reaching the community, or is it only appealing those who have been here for ages? Do we have traditions that we preform week after week just because we always have? Is our music relevant? Is it dated, is it too loud (loud does not automatically equal good)?”
Don’t get me wrong, traditions are not automatically a bad thing. Older music, loud music, no music, drama, dance, congregational readings, none of these things are good or bad. My point is this, if what you are doing in your services is truly effective at reaching your community as well as feeding those who already attend… great! If not, maybe it is time to change some things. And sometimes you just need to switch things up in order to let some fresh air in.
Following is a recent blog entry from Mark Batterson, (lead pastor at one of the healthiest, fastest growing churches on the planet) regarding this very thing.
Electric Guitars & The Apostle’s Creed
We continued the Sabotage series this weekend. Talking about heresy. I thought you’d enjoy a study I cited. Churches founded before 1945 are more likely to recite creeds as part of worship. That isn’t surprising. But here is the part of the study I loved. Researchers found an inverse proportion between churches that use creeds and those who have electric guitars in their worship bands. We broke the trend this week by reciting the Apostle’s Creed together.
We’re always trying to mix it up and disrupt the routine. We did that this weekend by going into communion with a contemplative reading that was on the screen and coming out of communion reciting the Apostle’s Creed. Pretty cool to hear people not just recite it from left-brain memory but proclaim it because they believe it.
Until next time,
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.
- Gail Sheely
Can you imagine deciding that you want to build a home on a piece of property that you have purchased? So you begin to search out a builder who you can hire to build you the dream home of your life. You find that individual and you hire him on the spot. A few days later, you are driving by your land and you see your builder beginning the process of building. He hasn’t shown you any blueprints or architectural design. You have not made any decisions on what the house will look like, how many rooms, how big the kitchen will be, what the entrance of the home will look like, not one decision has been made, he just starts building.
How crazy would that be? To start building a home without having any plans. No one in their right mind would ever do this. Why would you attempt such an important task without any direction, plan or process? We wouldn’t allow this in the building of our home, but we allow it in the building of our organization. Many leaders are guilty of leading their organizations without any true blueprint or any clear plan or process.
A while back, we discussed the two major questions every organization must ask themselves:
a) What is the purpose of this organization?
b) What is the process?
Two very simple questions, yet uniquely profound. What is the purpose of the organization you lead and what is the process. If your company is a contractor, insurance agency or something in the mortgage industry, what is the purpose and what is the process? Maybe your organization is a church, then the question is the same, what is the purpose and what is the process. Is it clear? Is it precise? Is it easily understood by those who hear it? Does your leadership know it?
I was recently consulting a church that was creating a purpose statement and they said “They existed to improve life.” They wanted the purpose of the church to be about improving. They wanted those who came to their church to experience improvement in every area of their life including: financial, spiritual, relational and emotional. It was a clear and precise purpose that could easily be shared with someone.
Then they added to that purpose by creating a process. They said we want three things to happen. For people to “Connect, Grow and Serve.” They wanted people to “Connect with God” during their worship services, to “Grow” by getting involved in what they called small groups and they wanted people to “Serve” in a volunteer role at their church. They felt that this was a simple process that would accomplish their purpose. If people would Connect, Grow and Serve then their life would improve. Simple purpose and a simple process.
Can you do that? Can you say in just a few words the purpose of your organization and the process by which you accomplish the purpose? Work on that this week with your key leaders. Discover your purpose and your process. The clarity that will come from this could potentially change your organization forever.
Until next time,
QUOTE FOR THE DAY:
“To be simple is to be great.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Mark Batterson, one of our Celera group coaches and author of Wild Goose Chase, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, and Primal recently had this post on his blog http://evotional.com regarding church marketing. I feel that the article needs no further introduction other than to say that I fully agree with Mark, and that we at South Hills also use many forms of marketing to reach our community.
The Greatest Marketing
I have a core conviction: the greatest message deserves the greatest marketing. It’s shameful that Madison Avenue and Hollywood are better at marketing their often meaningless messages than the church is at marketing the gospel.
I know “marketing” is a dirty word for some. So if you are offended by that word, insert compel as in “compel them to come in”–Luke 14:23. Let me put it in these terms: I don’t want anybody living near one of our locations to be able to deny our existence. Obviously, word of mouth is the best form of marketing. I think our last survey showed that 86% of NCCers came because a friend invited them. So it’s all about friends inviting friends. But I also think we’ve got to find creative ways to consistently let people know we exist.
Those different devices range from technology (radio) to social media (facebook) to good old fashion methods (mailers). I think we ought to be using any and every means available to us to invite people to church and invite people to Christ.
Until next time,
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“The world calls it marketing. The Bible calls it evangelism.”
- Mac Richard of Lake Hills Church, Texas
The Fox Network has a T.V. game show titled “Are you smarter than a 5th grader?” The game is hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy and the game works like this. Adult contestants have to answer a series of questions that are found in the text books of elementary age students ranging from 1st- 5th grade. The more questions they can answer the more money they can win. There is also a small panel of actual 5th graders that the adult contestant can call upon (only 3 times during the game) for help. The humor of the show is that the 5th graders have the correct answer more often than the adults. A matter of fact, the 5th graders rarely miss a question. When the contestant doesn’t reach the million dollar prize, he or she must look into the camera and say “I am not smarter than a 5th grader.”
While watching the show recently I began to think about the title in the context of leadership. How often do we make mistakes that are not much smarter than 5th graders? As I talk to leaders everywhere, I am amazed by some of their stories of foolish decisions and actions made in the corporate world. These foolish mistakes have been made by all of us, including me. I have listed some things you can do to help you avoid the most common leadership blunders.
1) Focus on more than yourself
Often leaders make the mistake (consciously or sub-consciously) of focusing on their personal gain and what is best for them. A true leader is not only concerned about their well being but also shows great concern about the individuals and organization they lead. William Rando, who runs the Office of Teaching Fellow Preparation and Development,” at Yale University said that you must always ask, “What are my students going to do today?” He was simply expressing his intelligent opinion that if you are going to lead you must be concerned about the life of those you are responsible to lead.
2) Praise publicly and reprimand privately
Sometimes a weak leader will attempt to flex his or her authority muscle by reprimanding publicly rather then privately. Don’t make this mistake. You don’t want to degrade the people on your team. Make it a practice to praise them publicly. Be generous about your praise. It doesn’t cost you anything and the pay back is great. Also, when reprimanding, do it privately. There is no need to make a spectacle of the person in whom you are dealing with.
3) Be clear about the process and purpose of your organization
On a recent trip to Disneyland with my family, I was once again, impressed with this incredible company. The cleanliness is outstanding, the atmosphere is wonderful but above all I am impressed with the clarity of purpose and of process. The purpose of Disney is for families to come and enjoy a clean, safe environment, but the processes are obviously clear as well. The entire organization from parking, to trams, to the entering and exiting of the lines is all a process designed to support the purpose. What a lesson for all of us who hold the position of a leader. Make your purpose and process clear so that the entire organization can follow. You want everyone to repeat that purpose and process in a matter of seconds and to keep the leaders and the organization focused on them. Failing to do this is a mistake that many leaders make. They make the assumption that because it may be clear in their head that it is clear and simple to everyone else. Try this out right now. Take a small napkin and pretend that you are explaining your purpose and process of the organization to someone who has never seen it. Can it fit on a napkin? Can you articulate it in a matter of seconds? If your answer is, “No” to any of these questions then you probably need to re-think your purpose and process through. It must be clear and simple.
Until next time,
QUOTE FOR THE DAY:
“You don’t know anything clearly unless you can state it in writing.”
A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to scuba dive for the first time. I must say that it was quit an adventure. Something I will never forget. I attended a 90 minute orientation in which they taught us to breathing techniques and other safety precautions to help us during our diving experience. After our orientation we headed into the ocean and it was incredible. After our experience was over I walked by another small group of people who were receiving their orientation for the first time and listened for a moment as they listened intently to their guide.
I noticed that the techniques that they were being taught were exactly the same as what I had received. What was successful for one group was obviously successful for the next. I thought to myself, “that is the way it is with leadership.” The techniques for great leaders are often the same. What great leaders do at one location will be often the same at another. Success techniques simply don’t change too much for different leaders.
I have listed below some of the techniques that I have seen leaders use. These techniques will work if you give them a chance. Here are a few that will help you:
Make others feel important
If your goals and decisions are self-centered, followers will lose their enthusiasm quickly. Emphasize their strengths and contributions not your own.
Followers need a clear idea of where you’re leading them and they need to understand why that goal is valuable to them. Your job as a leader is to provide that vision.
Follow the Golden Rule
Treat your followers the way you enjoy being treated. An abusive leader attracts few loyal followers.
Admit your mistakes
If people suspect that you’re covering up your own errors, they’ll hide their mistakes too and you’ll lack valuable information for making decisions.
Stay close to the action
You need to be visible to the members of your organization. Talk to people, visit other offices and work sites, ask questions and observe how business is being handled. Often you will gain new insights into your work and find new opportunities for motivating your followers.
Practice these techniques in your work environment and like the instructions I received for my scuba diving experience…they will lead you to success!
Until next time,
QUOTE FOR THE DAY:
The men who succeed are the efficient few. They are the
few who have the ambition and willpower to develop themselves.
- Herbert N. Casson
Studies show that one of the top reasons for divorce among couples in America is poor communication. This problem with communication is that it not only creates problems in marriages, but it creates problems in the workforce as well. Learning to communicate with your team sounds easy in theory but is much more difficult for leaders to accomplish than most would think.
It is important for you, regardless of the kind of team you lead or the size of team you lead, that you lead that team from a point of strong, clear and healthy communication. Here are some ways you can become a “Master Communicator” to the team you lead:
1) Don’t try to sound “managerial”
You may have some preconceived notion of how a manager should talk, but confident leaders don’t adopt jargon to impress staff and team. Our message can often get lost in our attempts to sound managerial or knowledgeable. Be yourself, don’t be a carbon copy of someone else’s idea of what a strong leader sounds like.
2) Talk with – rather than at – people
People in positions of power often make the mistake of talking “at” others in a direct, abrasive manner. Telling your team members what you know and displaying your experiences, while forgetting to listen to the opinions of others could cost you leadership credibility. Stay clear of the “I know this and you don’t” tone. It is an out of date dictatorship style that will never persuade your team member to loyalty or longevity.
3) Speak without judging
There are times when the hammer needs to drop and you need to drop it, but the majority of the time you must learn to be more persuasive than abrasive. You can accomplish this by learning to speak to someone without judging them. This critical approach will move your team closer to you rather than, pushing them farther away from you.
4) Don’t disguise direct order as suggestions
Don’t say “This is only a suggestion,” when you mean, “Do it this way or else.” You will only confuse the team member. They’ll quickly conclude that they receive more credit when they use your ideas than when they rely on their own. I am not suggesting for you to be a dictator but when you feel that you need to be direct…be direct.
5) Limit e-mail
Although technology can make us more efficient, it can also make your team feel less connected to you. Corresponding primarily through email has a tendency to alienate the needed face to face moments that build the relationships among your team. I am not saying not to use e-mail, it is a great tool, just evaluate yourself and make sure that you are having enough face time with your team members.
Until next time,
QUOTE FOR THE DAY:
“If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths
rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.”
John D. Rockefeller
Statistics show that the majority (91% on average) of the first time visitors to your church will never return. There are many reasons for this…
- not feeling welcome
- uninteresting services
- child care issues
One main reason is simply lack of follow through on our part. I recently came accross this article at www.churchgrowthideas.com …
Does your church use welcome cards or visitor cards for people new to your church? They can be a key tool to help you connect with new people in your church.
I have attended many different churches over the years and have found that not all churches use welcome cards or visitor cards. By welcome and visitor cards I mean the cards that allow a visitor to fill in their details if they want to know more, or if they want to be contacted.
The most basic of these cards, which are also the least imposing, ask for the visitors name, phone number and more recently e-mail address. Some of the more detailed cards can also ask for prayer requests, what information the person is interested in, marital / family status, address and more. My personal preference is a card that sits sort of in the middle, with all the details on the basic card, plus a section for prayer requests and possibly asking what sort of information the person wants to know. The additional information can always be found out later.
I reckon that a lot of the time the person who fills out a card is not a new visitor. They are often a person who has attended the church a few time, and now is ready to learn more and want to engage more with the church. Well, at least that’s how I have always used them.
Follow Up is Key
One of the keys to making the best use of your welcome and visitor cards is to follow up with the people who fill them out. If you don’t follow up on them then the cards are really not even worth the paper they are printed on…
A few months ago I attended a church with some friends. I filled in the visitor sheet because I wanted to learn more and they had the option to join the pastor for a pizza lunch. I had been following the pastor’s blog for a while and thought I would be really interested in learning more about the church and the pastor.
Unfortunately there was never any follow up from that church. I had to wonder if the lack of follow up happened often and how many people were never able to connect at that church and went searching elsewhere.
The visitor card or welcome card can be a key tool that you use to connect with people new to your church. If used incorrectly though it can isolate and actually push people away.
So, ask yourself this, “how well are we following up with visitors?”
Until next time,
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“When you get right down to the root of the meaning of the word “succeed,” you find that it simply means to follow through.”
- F.W. Nichol
Every church is unique. It has its own distinct features and focus. If you want to change the vision of your church to create growth you must change the very nature of your church. When changing the vision of your church you must first get “buy in.” Getting “buy in” for the vision starts at the top…
Let your vision cascade down:
- It is important to remember that each level needs to have “buy in” before you move to the next one.
Here are some practical steps to create a sticky vision…
1) Make it part of your leadership culture.
• Learn a new vocabulary
• If it’s blurry to your leaders, it won’t be clear to anyone else
2) View things from the perspective of your vision.
• Starting of new programs
• Ending of current programs
• Asking questions like:
o “Does it fit?
o “Does it hinder or help?”
o “Is it good or is it best?”
• Vision compared to demographic
3) Weave the vision into your meetings (leadership, volunteers, staff, board).
• Talk about how it is being lived out
• Celebrate progress
• Evaluate often
4) Strategically place the vision into your weekend services.
• At least twice a month, make mention of it
• Stronger emphasis once every 6 weeks
• Showing videos, bulletin updates, life change stories, emails…anything that points to your vision working.
• Allow a variety of voices/people
5) Identify how each person fits into the vision.
• Financial support
• Serving roles
• Outreach minded
6) Use various means to constantly communicate the vision.
• Small Groups
• Membership Classes
A key to remember is…
When you are just getting tired of it…they are just getting it
Until next time,
QUOTE FOR THE DAY,
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
Last week I shared with you the importance of effective recognition among your team and organization. We looked at how recognition ultimately brings out motivation. If you want to improve performance then the leader must improve their forms of inspiration.
This week we continue on the theme of recognition. I am learning more as a leader that the gap of perception between leaders and team members is astounding when it comes to the importance of recognition in the work place. While most leaders agree that recognition is important, few realize how passionately the team members feel about the subject.
Bob Nelson, author of 1001 Ways to Reward Employees, discovered that what managers perceived as most important to employees was sharply different from what the employees actually reported as being important. Management and employees were asked to rank 10 items from 1-10 (1 being “most” important and 10 being “least” important). The results below clearly show that to help employees or team members reach their full potential, managers need to increase their awareness of what motivates employees.
|Good working conditions||4||9|
|Personal loyalty to workers||6||8|
|Full appreciation for work done||8||1|
|Sympathetic to personal problems||9||2|
|Feeling “In” on things||10||3|
Note the numbers 1,2,3, in red. What the managers and employees considered important are completely opposite. The result is simple the managers do not really understand the needs of the people they lead.
Here’s my challenge to you…
a)Know what makes your people feel valued
b)Find creative ways to value them in a sincere manner
c)Let your forms of recognition include: informal, formal & personal
I am confident that if you will begin the exercise of recognition you will be on the path to higher performance and productivity. START TODAY! Decide right now what you can do and watch the difference it will make!
Until next time,
QUOTE FOR THE DAY
“We wildly underestimate the POWER of the tiniest personal touch.”
Mohandas K. Gandhi is best known as an activist for the Indian rights. He fought for 20 years against the discrimination of South Africa. His passion and popularity earned him an election in 1920 when he became the President of the All India Home Rule League. Throughout his mission he managed to rally millions of people behind him.
When the British army massacred one thousand people in 1919 the people still stood with Gandhi.
When he asked everyone to burn foreign made clothes and wear only home spun material…they did.
When he decided to march 200 miles to protest the Salt Act, even the nation’s leaders marched with him.
Gandhi, in a very quiet, peaceful way demonstrated the power of leading a group of people toward a mission. That is the job of a leader, to lead people toward a worthy mission.
Here are four things you must do if you want to lead your personal team to success…
1) Great leaders must know the game plan
There has to be clarity on the side of the leader about the direction the team is going. If the leader is not clear then it becomes impossible to lead the team. You may rally them and you may have the title as “leader” but you are not truly leading if you do not know where you’re going. You as a leader must be able to answer the following questions: Where are we going? How are we going to get there? When will we arrive?
2) Great leaders must possess great communication to the rest of the team
Dwight D. Eisenhower once said “Leadership is the ability to decide what is to be done and then to get others to want to do it.” This is the job of the leader! They must communicate in such a way that the rest of the team desires to be part of the plan. In your communication with your team you must always be…Clear, Passionate and Consistent!
3) Great leaders make winning a tradition
You have heard the statement “Success is a journey, not a destination.” If this is true then the job of the leader must be to make winning a regular tradition among the team. When the team is winning it creates a momentum that keeps you moving forward to the next victory. If you want to bring a winning spirit to the team then learn to: a) Celebrate every victory. b) Applaud every effort. c) Appreciate every player.
4) Great leaders have a passion that is contagious
Your team should sense from you a passion about the mission that is contagious. They have to see it burning deep inside of you! If you expect your team to join the race then you have to lead the way. If you want them to give their energy, time, heart and life to the mission then they have to see you do it first! Make your passion contagious and you will ultimately lead your team to success.
Until next time,
Chris Sonksen is a celebrated Motivational Speaker and Published Author; the Lead Pastor at one of America’s fastest growing churches (South Hills Church in Corona California); and the founding member of Celera Church Strategy Group. Celera offers pastor support, teaching, training and mentoring programs that equip pastors who want to learn how to grow church attendance through evangelism using proven church growth techniques.
QUOTE FOR THE DAY
“The great thing in the world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes