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Easter, Word of Mouth and the Invite Card

Invite at Easter

At Easter - Word of Mouth is Still the Best Invite Tool

I came across this article by Executive Pastors Online, and it truly could have been written by someone here at South Hills

The #1 Cause Of Church Growth

Over our almost 12 year history, we’ve had the following measure in place: How Did You Find Out About CCV?

You would think our website, visibility from the major highway running through our target area, or direct mail advertising would be The #1 Cause Of Church Growth. Nope. Not even close.

Are you familiar with the use of Pareto Analysis as part of any continuous improvement process? I know, it sounds technical! It’s pretty basic, though. It’s a bar graph, arranged from highest bar to lowest bar. The purpose of the analysis is to determine and illustrate the “highest contributing cause” of something. In this case the graph shows the highest contributing cause of church growth.

By far and away it’s “Invited By A Friend Or Family Member.” Surprised? Sometimes I think we underestimate the significance of “a person with skin on them” personally inviting their friend or family member to church.

OK. So now what? What do we do with this knowledge? The first step is understanding that the people who are attending our churches are our best tool for growing our church. Now, we must do a number of things to equip them and help them succeed.

First, we must put a service together that our people wouldn’t be embarrassed about asking someone to attend. In addition, we must create a warm and welcoming environment. The list is long and requires us to re-think everything about our churches. And, in most cases the stuff we must do is difficult and takes a significant amount of time to get in place.

But there’s one thing we can do that’s pretty easy. The Invite Card. Yes, it’s a simple business card sized tool that we can print for our people that equips them to simply hand someone a card that provides the needed information. Here’s an example:

CCV Easter Invite Card Front The #1 Cause Of Church Growth
CCV Easter Invite Card Back The #1 Cause Of Church Growth
We print a whole bunch of these cards and hand them out at church services for several weeks leading up to Easter. It’s that simple.

The Invite Card we have at South Hills for Easter looks like this…

Easter invite cardEaster invite
We also have coordinating invites for Good Friday and  our community Easter Egg Hunt. We create invite cards or flyers for nearly every new sermon series and special event. It is just a simple way for people to invite friend, family, or the person they just met to come to church. It is also helpful that they have all of the details such as service times right there on the card.

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

80% of people surveyed said they would attend church if invited. – Barna Research

Ministering from a Place of Rest

be still

Take time to rest

At our most recent Celera Roundtable, one of the coaches, Dave Stone, was speaking to us about “ministering from a place of rest.”  Picture this, a room full of pastors from across the country, most of them lead pastors, hearing the passionate plea to take time to rest. If you are a pastor of a growing church, or any church for that matter, you know the irony in that.  Dave broke down several areas that he takes time for rest in his own life. First, he makes sure to take a day off every week. Not a half day or a few hours here and there, a whole day. That was the first area of conviction for me. Then he made the jaw dropping statement that he, Dave Stone, pastor of one of the largest churches in the country, takes the entire month of July off! You could hear the collective gasp in the room.  Not only does he take the month off, his board of Elders forbids him to even step foot on campus during that month.

Some time after that conference I was speaking to my executive Pastor, Jared Dunn, and it was mutually decided (actually Jared insisted) that I take the month of July off. After some initial reluctance, I agreed. So for the first time in my life I took an entire month off from work, and it was fantastic. I had some great time with my family, and a lot of great time to rest and gather my strength (physical, mental and spiritual) for the push ahead.

I am back now and ready to take off running. I came across this article on Focus on the Family, and I wanted to share a portion of it with you. You can read the entire article at Focus on the Family. These are principles that can be applied not just to pastor or people in church leadership, but in every area of life.

The pastor’s need to rest and retreat

Written by Jerry Ritskes

When you get asked how you are, do you find yourself proudly (but with some frustration) answering that you are “busy”? There is a world to win, programs to organize, people to train and a church to maintain. No wonder ministry is so busy. We are short on finances, people and time. It seems the only way to make it is to work a little bit harder.

Eugene Peterson, in his book The Contemplative Pastor, makes this almost absurd statement “that the adjective busy set as a modifier to pastor should sound to our ears like adulterous to characterize a wife or embezzling to describe a  banker.” Can he really mean this? Isn’t busyness a sign that I’m making a difference for the kingdom? Isn’t it proof that I’m being a good and faithful steward? I don’t think so. I believe that busyness takes pastors away from what they are truly called to do.

Driven to busyness

I have often been so busy with “doing ministry” that I have no time to be with God. How silly is this? Peter Scazzero, in his book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, identifies this as one of the top 10 symptoms of emotionally unhealthy spirituality – “doing for God instead of being with God.” Driving ourselves into busyness could be a sign that we’re trying to earn God’s approval, counter poor self-worth, quieten the negative self-talk we’ve been listening to, or we feel that saving the world is our responsibility. For whatever reason, we keep driving ourselves into doing more – and it makes truly hearing God’s voice very difficult.

Sabbath

The principle of the Sabbath is extremely important. Sabbath is a time to stop our work, not when it is completed, but when we need to stop. It is pacing our lives and recognizing our human limitations.  Sabbath frees us from the need to obtain God’s acceptance by being productive. It is resting from our efforts, and trusting God’s.

Our congregations not only look to us to teach them with our sermons, they are looking to us to as an example of what it means to walk with Christ. When they see us going “mach 10 with our hair on fire,” they interpret that as what a believer should do. We inadvertently teach that it is somehow not enough to enjoy being a child of God.  As a pastor, when I take time to slow down or even stop, this reaffirms to others that “there is a Saviour, but it is not me.”
Listening

I love the word-picture Ruth Haley Barton gives us in Invitation to Silence and Solitude. Our lives are like a jar of river water – agitated and murky. As soon as you stop moving the jar and let it sit, the sediment begins to settle and it becomes clearer. When we take time for quiet, the sediment in our lives begins to settle, and the things God is trying to tell us becomes clearer. When we take time to listen to God’s voice, He helps us to find perspective on what He is calling us to do, rather than on what we feel compelled to do.

Making the time

I’ve often said “I’d like to take a breather, but I can’t seem to make it happen. It’s just too busy.” While there are seasons in our schedule that require more time and attention than others, there is still the need to keep ourselves in tune with our Creator. Here is a “low-tech” but effective way of making time for rest and listening: Plan it. All you have to do is put it into your schedule, like you would schedule any other demand on your time, and then keep it. When something comes up that conflicts with the time you’ve planned, you can say “I’m sorry, but I’m booked then. Can we find some other time?” Unless we are intentional about taking time to be quiet before the Lord, and unless we can do it without feeling guilty, we will never really find the time to do it.

When I take time to rest and listen to God’s voice, what happens? I begin to hear His calming voice that tells me I’m His beloved child. I begin to find a “Holy balance” to my life. I become more of who He made me to be, and not nearly so concerned with performing to gain people’s approval. As The Message paraphrases Matthew 11:28-29, I begin to live “freely and lightly.”

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. – Mark 6:30-32

Bill Gates and the power of Vision

Bill Gates Vision

Bill Gates is a man of Vision

Vision is Powerful! This excerpt from my new book, Handshake, highlights the life of Bill Gate and his incredible Vision. He is a man with a highly focused,with a constant vision and an adaptable strategy… What are your thoughts about vision?

Bill Gates and the Choice of Vision

Over the past several years computers have taken the world by storm.  Business people, parents, students and children are using them.  We use them to store information, write letters, keep track of finances, design graphics and send information.  They started out filling entire rooms, but now some can literally fit in the palm of your hand.  And when you think of computers you most likely think of one individual, Bill Gates…

…With a reported fortune of $54 billion, Gates retained the top spot in 2001 Forbes magazine survey of the 400 wealthiest Americans. In 1994, he married Melinda French, a Microsoft employee, and they now reside in a 40,000 square foot home on Lake Washington.  Taking after his mother, Gates claims that he will give away the majority of his fortune through charitable contributions.  His largest contribution came in August of 1999 when he donated $6 billion to his charitable foundation, the largest donation ever made by a living individual.  Recently, it was reported that if Bill Gates wanted to spend his fortune in the next 40 years, he would have to spend $2.74 million every day.  (I sure wish I could help him!)

Bill Gates is a man with vision and the entire world has benefited.  “It is the idea (vision) that unites people in the common effort, not the charisma of the leader,” writes Robert Greenleaf in The Leadership Crisis.  These words could not be truer for Bill Gates.  He is not a charismatic leader but his vision is big and people follow it.

In this chapter you will learn how to create a plan for your vision

Step 1 – Dream without reservation
Step 2 – Put your dreams/vision in writing
Step 3 – Make a plan for your dream/vision
Step 4 – Be committed to do whatever it takes

Your will also learn the step-by step instructions for creating your own personal vision.

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“There is something magical about vision.” – Anthony Robbins

Mixing it up…”Electric Guitars and The Apostle’s Creed”

apostle's creed church growth

Sometimes we need to switch things up in our weekend services

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,

Chris Sonksen

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

Inspiring Creativity from Your Team

Throwing Ideas

Get your team together and throw some creative ideas around!

Your team is a lot more creative than you give them credit for.  As a matter of fact, you are probably a lot more creative than you give “yourself” credit for.  Most of the time we do not realize our creative potential because we never take the time to truly be creative.  We rarely set aside a few hours with our staff, key leaders or team and simply “create.”  Stand in an empty room with a white board and say “what could we do that we are not doing now?”

One of the greatest joys I have is when I get to create with my staff.  When we begin to brainstorm and let ideas flow.  The process is thrilling as I watch my team begin to create, think differently and come up with ideas that have never been exercised in our organization.  A free flowing environment is a joy to be in and to lead. One of the greatest things you can do is to begin hosting monthly creative meetings, where you and your team are allowed to create in a non-threatening strategy session.  But if you are going to have these kinds of meetings you will need to have the following “rules of engagement” in order.  These rules are adapted by Craig Wilson from his talk on “Recapturing your creative spirit.”

1)  No blocking
When your team is having a creative strategy session there can be “no blocking.”  This simply means that you cannot continually put up roadblocks for the other person’s idea.  For instance if someone says “Lets do this or that.”  You don’t say “Where will we get the money or we don’t have the personnel.”  That is critical thinking and that is a step you take later.  Let people flow with ideas and don’t block them with reasons “why” it won’t work.

2)  Yes and…
When someone is flowing with ideas help the idea to grow by saying “yes and…”  In other words if you were working on putting together a banquet and someone had an idea, instead of blocking their idea say “yes and…we could also do this.”  When you use the principle of “yes and…”it helps to initiate creative momentum.

3)  More ideas
Take your ideas and have your team write them down on small post-its and put them all over the walls.  This will allow people to see the ideas that are flowing.  But once you have begun working on ideas, don’t stop; come up with even more ideas.  Often people get into a box and they begin to think only in beige.  The people on your team need to think in color.  As I said earlier, “your team is a lot more creative then you think.”

4)  Wild ideas
These are the kind of ideas that are almost embarrassing to speak out loud.  But they may be the ideas that your team needs to hear.  Encourage the people in the meeting that everyone has to be open about every wild idea.  You need the kind of ideas that others have thought before but were too afraid to voice.  Help your team to see the value of these crazy and wild ideas.

5)  Critical thinking
This is where you begin to take all the ideas that have been voiced by the team and begin to work them out into a plan of action.  The thing you will notice is that you don’t need to say “this idea won’t work,” or “that was a dumb idea.”  You won’t need to say this, because the team will just naturally begin to discuss the ideas that resonate in each of their hearts.  The process of elimination will happen without you having to push for it.

Why don’t you schedule a time with your team right now.  Set aside a couple of hours and work on a project together or some goals for the future.  Have a big white board to write on and a pad of post-its for everyone.  Let them begin to write ideas out, place them on the wall and let the creative session get big and wild.  You will have a blast and your team will begin to realize their creative potential.  The end result will be that the floor of beige will open up in your organization and loud, vibrant colors of creativity will come bursting through.

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen

QUOTE FOR THE DAY:

“Creativity is a lot like looking at the world through a kaleidoscope. You look at a set of elements, the same ones everyone else sees, but then reassemble those floating bits and pieces into an enticing new possibility. Effective leaders are able to shake up their thinking as though their brains are kaleidoscopes, permitting an array of different patterns out of the same bits of reality.” –  Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing – Part 1

Creativity is needed for a successful weekend service

Creativity is needed for a successful weekend service

In order for any church to be a healthy, thriving body, especially if your focus is church growth, you must keep “the main thing the main thing.” What is the main thing? In any church, the main “thing” is Weekend Services! Your weekend services are where your vision comes to life, team efforts are seen, and they are catalysts to life change. And in terms of evangelism a weekend service is usually a visitor’s first impression of the church. It has been said, “In the NFL there is one Super Bowl per year…in the church life there are 52 per year.” The problem is that we often treat the major thing as the minor thing. We think of the weekend services as business as usual. Therefore, there is often very little sermon prep. The planning is frequently last minute.  The services often lack creativity, and are predictable.  Following are some of the excuses I have been given for not having more creative and interesting services.
 
• I’m not very creative
• No one in our church is creative 
• I don’t have a staff to work with
• Can’t afford to be creative
• Creative services inhibit the moving of the Holy Spirit
 
 
 Now consider this… God made you as a creative being. God invented creativity. Jesus modeled creativity, and the Spirit empowers creativity.  If this is true, what is the real reason why we don’t have creative services? Some of the reasons and/or excuses I have encountered are…
 
a)   The planning takes too long
b)  Brings us out of our comfort zone
c)   Failure to see the value
d)  Too much work
 
Now that you are beginning to embrace your creative side, here are a few general suggestions regarding how to increase your creativeness in various areas of your services.
 
 
1. Creative Worship
 
• Life Change video
• Baptism
• Reading of a life change story
• Video images
• Utilize special music with creativity
• Dance

FACT:  Worship can be more than 3-5 songs week after week
 

2. Creative Communication  – the sermon
 
• Always ask: “What does the listener need to know and what do they need to do?”
• Less is more (try to find one driving theme)
• Use creative illustrations
• Stay fresh
• Give a good balance (spiritual depth, Bible, relevancy)
 
“If better is possible then good is not enough”
 
 
 3. Creative Elements

• Videos
• Special Song
• Interaction moments
• Drama
Before you start to feel overwhelmed, keep in mind that this is not and should not be all up to you.  You will need a team to help you in this process.  In part 2 we will discuss how to create that team and how to work with the team effectively.

 

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“You can’t use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have.”
 Maya Angelou

“Out of the box thinking” Part 4

Get out of the Box for some Creative Thinking Time

Get out of the Box for some Creative Thinking Time

“Nurture great thoughts, for you will never go higher than your thoughts.”  These words shared by Benjamin Disraeli exemplify what I have been sharing with you in this series of blog entries.  You will never go higher than your thoughts, so it only makes sense to think outside of the box.  Creative, innovative and forward thinking is what separates the highly successful people from those who excel at being average.  If you want to raise the bar in your life, you must first raise the bar in your thinking.

Let’s take a moment to review the first six steps to becoming an “Out of the box” thinker:

1)  Embrace change…don’t reject it
Remember that if you reject change you are ultimately rejecting your own success.  Let change be the catalyst that achieves your dreams.

2)  Adapt and Grow
Accept that society is changing and there is nothing you can do about it.  Your best decision is to adapt to the changes and grow from it.  Change your method but nor your message.

3)  Find your time wasters
Find the programs and events that no longer bring you the desired results and either change them or stop them all together.  Don’t waste time on unproductive events!

4)  Focus on the reward
When you’re making change, there will be pain.  Focus on the reward and the pain will be easier to deal with.

5)  Think like an entrepreneur
Remember that small thinking produces small results.  If you want to see greater results in your life and organization you will need to start thinking bigger.

6)  Be resourceful
Take a hard look at your organization and the goals you want to accomplish and get resourceful.  If you put your mind to it, you can figure out how to achieve all that you have dreamed.

Now let’s take a look at the final two steps to becoming an “Out of the box” thinker:

7)  Creative time
One of the best things you can do is to set aside some time in your calendar for creative thinking.  I  began to do this some time ago and it is enhancing my personal goals and vision.  You simply cut out four-six hours in your calendar and go away to think.  You can go to a park, coffee house or a restaurant, but find a place where you can get alone with a pad of paper and a pen and begin to spend some time in creative thinking.  You will be amazed how many ideas will be birthed as you strategically plan out some thinking time.
The Creator made you to think, so slow down long enough to exercise your mind and watch what happens.

8)  Take action
Knowledge is not power, it is the application of knowledge that is power.  All your creative ideas mean nothing unless you put them into action.  As you begin to become an “Out of the box” thinker you will also need to become a “get it done and then some” person.  Otherwise you will have great ideas with no wheels to make them roll.  Surround yourself with staff and leaders who can help you carry out the creative ideas that are lying deep inside of you.  You can do it!  Create, dream, believe and achieve.

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen

QUOTE FOR THE DAY:

“One of the reasons people don’t achieve their dreams is that they
desire to change their results without changing their thinking.”

John C. Maxwell

“Out of the box” thinking Part – 3

Become an “Out of the box” thinker

Become an “Out of the box” thinker

Thomas Edison once said “If an individual desires success they must choose the path of new venture rather then the old path of the already approved.”  Mr. Edison modeled for us “Out of the box” thinking.  Rather then heading down the path that had already been walked he set out on a new course to discover and adventure where no one had gone before.  That is “Out of the box” thinking and that propels us to higher success.

I have been challenging you to become an “Out of the box” thinker.  To begin thinking about your organization, strategies and future plans in a brand new way.  Rather then settling for what has always been, strive for what could be.

Let’s take a moment to review the first four steps to becoming an “Out of the box” thinker:

1)  Embrace change…don’t reject it
When you reject change you are surrendering to the mentality that says ‘this is the best it will ever be.’

2)  Adapt and grow
Life has been engineered for growth.  People, plants, animals, everything God created grows and changes.  Adapt to the reality that our society changes as well.  Adapt and grow.

3)  Find your time wasters
Stop spending time on projects or programs that no longer work.  Package your message in a way that is relevant to those you are trying to reach.

4)  Focus on the reward
“Out of the box” thinking requires change and change often brings pain.  Keep in mind however, that change is the avenue to growth and although it hurts, there is most often a great reward.

Now let’s take a look at the next two steps in “Out of box” thinking…
5)  Think like an entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs are individuals who undertake risks.  They are not afraid to take a chance, to go where others dare not tread.  To think like an entrepreneur you have to accept ownership and take responsibility for your ideas and the results you hope to achieve.  You have to recognize that you are in the driver’s seat.  Think bigger, try new things, look for opportunities, stop finding comfort in the stability of your surroundings and set a course for creativity.

6)  Be Resourceful
What if your “job description” read something like this:  Know your purpose.  Dazzle your customers.  Be a team player.  Meet your deadlines.  Expand your skills.  Share your knowledge.  Be honest.  Seek continuous improvement and think change.  Could you do it?  I bet if you put your mind to it, you could figure out a way to make all this happen.  WHY?  Because you are more resourceful then you think.  When faced with a crisis or uncertainty, you have an amazing ability to be resourceful and figure out a way to make it all work.  Don’t think ‘I’m not creative, I can’t think out of the box” yes you can, you are creative and resourceful.  If you put your mind to it, you will figure out new approaches, programs, ideas and strategies.  Don’t limit yourself, your mind is a powerful tool…put it to work!

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen

QUOTE FOR THE DAY

“A person who does not have a clear goal is used by someone who does.”

Author Unknown

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.

“Out of the box” thinking Part 2

Thinking Out Of The Box

Thinking Out Of The Box

Last time we began an article entitled “Out of the box” thinking.  We learned that true leaders are those who desire to grow and move forward.  In addition, we learned that the only way to grow and move forward is to embrace the idea of “Out of the box” thinking.

Often leaders make the mistake of thinking that if they do things the same way that somehow they will get different results.  Or they start off with excellence in mind, but soon excellence isn’t worth the hassle if acceptable will do.  The result is that mediocrity is only a breath away.

The first two steps we looked at in becoming an “Out of the box” thinker were…

1)  Embrace change…don’t reject it
People have to be willing to change and accept that it is the pathway that leads to success.  Change is inevitable if you want to grow.  Rejecting change is a form of surrendering to the concept that ‘this is the best it will ever be.’

2)  Adapt and grow
You don’t have to remind your body to grow or for some of us, your head to lose hair.  These are natural circumstances that take place in the growing process of life.  We are engineered to grow.  In the same fashion society is engineered to grow and change.  Unless you adapt and begin growing you will be left behind.

Here are a couple of more tips to help you in the “Out of the box” thinking process…

3)  Find your time wasters
Most people never recognize that the real enemy in progress is the inability to sort through the clutter of what use to work, but isn’t effective anymore.  We waste time, energy and finances on programs and ideas that produced results years ago, but have long become obsolete.  Clear the clutter, if it isn’t working, find a new way of doing it, or stop doing it all together.  Quit spinning your wheels on projects that aren’t rolling.  By clearing the clutter you will be forced to become an “Out of the box” thinker.

4)  Focus on the reward
Often we avoid change because it requires pain.  The pain may include:  Evaluating your personal performance, being honest about your progress or looking deep into concepts you have pioneered.  The change may require the pain of letting go, eliminating projects, removing individuals or saying goodbye to a tradition you have held onto stronger then you should have.  The fact…change is difficult.  However, if you will learn to focus on the reward of change it may help you in the process.  Keep your eye on the results that lie ahead.  When you begin to see the results you have wished for, the pain will seem minimal in light of the reward.

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen

QUOTE FOR THE DAY

“Small problems are difficult to see, but easy to fix.  However, when you let
these problems develop, they are easy to see but difficult to fix.”
Niccolo Macchiavelli

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.

“Out of the box” thinking Part – 1

Start Thinking Out of the Box

Start Thinking Out of the Box

True leaders are thinkers, at least those who want to do something significant.  If you desire to grow and to move your team or organization to new levels, you must begin to think in new ways.  Often we fall into the trap of doing things the same way. This method may produce results but eventually it will bring you to mediocrity or even lower.

Author and speaker Charles Swindoll noted:

“Competitive excellence requires 100 percent all of the time.  If you doubt that, try maintaining excellence by setting your standards at 92 percent.  Or even 95 percent.  People figure they’re doing fine so long as they get somewhere near it.  Excellence gets reduced to acceptable and before long, acceptable doesn’t seem worth the sweat if you can get by with adequate.  After that, mediocrity is only a breath away.”

This powerful statement describes the pattern of many leaders.  They start off with the idea of “excellence” but end up with mediocrity.  Quit often this results from limited thinking or lazy thinking.  The fact is, if you want to move forward and upward your thinking must become outward.  You must think differently if you desire different results.
Here is the first set of steps you can take toward “Out of the box” thinking…

1)  Embrace change…don’t reject it
Often in organizations people fall into the trap of “same way” thinking.  They have always done it this way and so they will always do it this way.  It has worked in the past so it will work in the future.  Unfortunately this type of thinking will create a downward spiral in any company or organization.  People like Henry Ford learned this in the early years, when other car companies began to adapt to the needs of the customer, but Mr. Ford was resistant to change.  Computer companies like IBM and Apple struggled when people like Microsoft hit the market.  WHY?  Because they were unwilling to change.

Change is difficult.  It requires work.  Challenges thinking. Threatens egos.  Creates friction among the teams and their leaders.  Simply put…”out of the box” thinking is hard work.  However, it is a path that must be taken by any leader desiring to improve his or her organization.  The world is moving and it will move with or without you.  Embrace the change or reject it, but understand your choice will have serious consequences.
2)  Adapt and Grow
Do you have to tell your body to change?  Do you have to inform your cells on what to do?  Is getting old something you have to work on or does it happen automatically?  Do you have to force yourself to get wrinkles or lose hair?  Of course not!  These changes happen by natural circumstance.  We are engineered to grow, to expand beyond today; physically, mentally and emotionally.  The moment we lose sight of this,  the instant we convince ourselves that change is bad, we begin limiting ourselves.

Those who attempt to fight what is natural fall behind.  Do yourself a favor, do your organization and team a favor.  Learn to adapt to the changing culture around you and grow from it.  Don’t settle for the way things are set your sights on the way thing could be!

Until next time,
Chris Sonksen

QUOTE FOR THE DAY:
“When the mind is expanded, it never returns back to its original formation.”

– Oliver Wendell Holmes

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.