Here’s how to tell if you’re growing as a leader…

Scott Cochrane gives you three ways that he thinks you can actually measure your effectiveness as a leader (and in your development of other leaders).  Here they are:

1.  You are attracting higher capacity leaders into your orbit.

In short:  high capacity leaders will be drawn to you because of your own leadership.

2.  Your opinion is not only being heard, it is being sought out.

In short:  Heads will turn in your direction to see what YOU think.

3.  There are increasing numbers of leaders in your circle.

In short: not because you’re attracting new leaders, but because you’re producing more leaders.

Read more of Scott’s thoughts here.  It’s worth your time!

So… how are you doing on the three points above?  Anything you would add to Scott’s list?

Todd

The NINES is coming! Register today for FREE!

I’m happy to let you know that the NINES is returning on November 12-13.

If you’re not familiar with the NINES, it is an online conference that I produce for Leadership Network.  This year’s two day FREE online event features over 100+ speakers (each with 5 minutes!) talking about “What’s Working” in their church.

I’ve watched the videos… and you’re definitely going to want to watch with your staff this year!

You can register for free by clicking the graphic below!

Todd

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Josh McDowell: The greatest threat to the Body of Christ in 2,000 years is…

A very provocative Josh McDowell says that pornography is the greatest threat to the body of Christ in 2,000 years, according to quotes reported in the Christian Post.

Here is part of the article.  WARNING:  It is graphic.

McDowell emphasized that young people are increasingly becoming addicted to pornography, adding that it is the greatest threat to the body of Christ in 2,000 years.

“This is destroying pastors, youth pastors and more Christians than anything by far in history,” said McDowell. “The number one demographic is 12- to 25-year-olds, there’s no difference in and out of the church.”

He added that 50 percent of fundamental, evangelical pastors watch porn while 80 percent of youth pastors have a problem with porn as well. McDowell pointed out that porn provides only a momentary satisfaction and porn addicts often seek other opportunities to satisfy their sexual desires.

“The average person starts with heterosexual sex then after a while, that no longer satisfies, then there’s anal, from anal there’s oral, from oral to homo, from homo to bestiality then to children,” said McDowell.

He continued, “The sad thing is, after child pornography doesn’t satisfy, where do you go? Pornography is why sex-trafficking, sex abuse and rape are major issues, they (addicts) end up living it out, it becomes a reality.”

He also advised parents to not shelter their children from “what’s out there” but rather prepare them for the first time they will inevitably encounter information overload on the Internet and porn.

“You cannot protect your child from watching pornography, if you think you can, then you’re the problem, mom. If you’re sitting there thinking, ‘I can protect my child,’ then you’ll end up losing them and the stats are on my side.”

He added, “It’s as dumb as saying, ‘you can’t ever listen to music,’ in our culture. You can’t go through life without listening to music, and now, you’re not going to go through life without watching porn. Those mothers who say they’re going to prepare their child will win, those who say they will protect them will lose.”

Wow.  There’s a lot to unpack there.

A lot.

But I’d like to first hear what stands out to you from this little excerpt.

What stands out, and do you agree?

Please leave your comments below.

Thanks!

Todd

Pastors who Twerk (and innovate)

Agree or disagree?

The next time I hear a pastor argue that what the church really needs is more innovative pastors I might lose my hair. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against innovation or against innovative pastors in principle. The church certainly needs transformation and we desperately need folks with new ideas. My problem is with our temptation to locate innovation with the clergy and the way it perpetuates a savior mythology, one that oppresses them as much as it does us we lay folk.

That’s a quote from Patrick Scriven, Director of COmmunications and Young People’s Ministries for the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Methodist Church.

He continues:

When a skilled pastor brings a new idea to an existing community I imagine they would have little problem getting that group of early adopters to agree to how amazing their innovation is. Together, they might plot out a course for those new small groups, or for that trendy evening service, but how many of you can relate to the difficulty of getting the pragmatists on board? Might we consider that this is Moore’s chasm at work?

When the pastor is the chief innovator of the church they are less able to apply their authority and influence toward helping the community to bridge this chasm between the early adopters and and early majority because they’ve already expended it by advocating for the idea originally. It stretches a pastor’s credibility to keep saying how amazing their idea is in the face of some resistance. Gifted pastors, or new pastors, may be able to push such change through but eventually their social capital comes to an end unless they’ve found a way to bank some more.

If we are to move forward, what the church really needs are innovative lay people; willing to adopt, suggest, and try new things. When a lay person puts forth a new idea and builds their group of advocates (early adopters), their innovation, particularly if it challenges the church culture, will still hit Moore’s chasm. The difference however is that now the pastor is free to insert their authority and influence to help good ideas to bridge this gap. And when they do so, they also create goodwill and affirm the gifts of their laity to boot.

Our churches need, desperately, to become places of change. While the occasional new idea from the pastor can be good modeling, the pastor that innovates continuously sucks the air out of the church and leaves no room for innovation elsewhere. Our churches would be better served by clergy who excelled at creating and nurturing cultures of innovation.

I would expect that some might say that this sentiment is nice but they know, or serve, churches where creating a culture of innovation is impossible. Where we find this to be true we should be quick to lock the doors and shutter the windows. Before we do this however, we should consider that there is a difference between a church that continuously rejects its pastor’s new ideas and one that refuses to create their own when given a chance.

The Spirit of God is the church’s true innovator. Relocating the process of innovation where we know the Spirit resides – the community – is our most faithful path forward.

What do you think?

What is the lead pastor’s role in innovation in the church?

Read more here.

Todd

There’s an App for Church Hunters

FaithStreet is an app that will help people find a good church fit.  At least that’s the hope of it’s founder Sean Coughlin.

Churches fill out an online profile with key info on their church.  App users can then find churches that interest them.

The app is funded by online giving (with FaithStreet taking a cut of any giving that comes as a result of people using the app).

It’s kind of like a Yelp app, only for church hunters.

But there’s one difference:  There are no customer reviews. Coughlin says: ”We reject the idea of reviewing churches…A church is much more like a family than it is a restaurant or a mechanic. That means you’ll never be crowned mayor of your church based on how many times you check in. But you’ll also never read a scathing review of the community you love.”

Thoughts?  Great idea?

Todd

Don’t make change harder than it is

Karl Vaters has some practical advice for all church leaders (but especially for smaller church leaders that want to move their churches forward): Don’t make change harder than it actually is.  Start in the shallow end.

Karl writes:  It’s a basic principle of life that we sometimes forget in the church. You don’t start basic swim classes in the deep end of the pool. There’s too much unnecessary risk. Pools have shallow ends for a reason. Your church has a shallow end, too. No, I don’t know what it is, because I don’t know your church. But you know. Or you should. If you don’t know, find out. The future of your church and your tenure as its pastor may depend on it.

So… how exactly do you find your shallow end?  How do you know where to start?

Vaters suggests that the shallow end is the place in your church where things are the easiest… where everyone, including the pastor, feels like they have solid footing.

Ask this question:  What do all these people, despite their differences, find in common that makes them, want to call this church their church home.

What is that for YOUR church?

Karl then gives some advice on how to introduce change from the shallow end.

Thoughts?

Todd

Making your visitors swoon, smile and sing your praises

Author Chip Bell recently released a new book entitled The 9 1/2 Principles of Innovative Service. The purpose of the book:  how to create an experience that causes your customers to ‘swoon, smile, and sing your praises.’

One reader, Becky Robinson, related her experience about visiting NewSpring Church, after reading the book.

You have to read this unsolicited article that could have been written (in today’s internet age) by any person about any church.

According to Becky… NewSpring hit it out of the park when she was a first time visitor.

What can you learn reading Becky’s comments?

And what would Becky have written if she would have visited YOUR church that Sunday?

Todd

Five Reasons People aren’t Volunteering at Your Church

Tony Morgan writes:

Do you need more preschool workers to serve children? Do you need more greeters to greet? Do you need more ushers to…ush?

If so, you’re in familiar territory.

I’ve never met a church that said, “You know…when it comes to volunteers, we’re good. We’ve got plenty. In fact, there’s a waiting list for the nursery.”

Churches everywhere need to mobilize more volunteers to get ministry done. But before you start signing people up and filling slots, it might be helpful to take a look at why people are NOT volunteering.

Here are FIVE REASONS people might not be volunteering at your church.

1. You’re not asking correctly. It takes more than blurbs in the bulletin and pleas from the pulpit to move people into volunteer positions in your church. If you want people to serve, you’ve got to learn how to ask correctly.

2. It’s hard to sign up. Signing up has to be simple and immediate. Hidden tables in the lobby don’t work. Remembering to email so-and-so isn’t a good strategy.

3. It’s not clear. If you want people to do a job, they need to clearly understand the expectations and requirements. Pull back the veil and show people what’s it like before you ask them to get involved.

4. You’re not saying thanks. People don’t want to toil away in a thankless role. Just because someone’s reward is in heaven doesn’t mean they don’t need to hear “thank you” on earth.

5. It’s too hard. The super-committed will do whatever it takes, but if you want to mobilize a bunch of people, you need to make it easier. Take care of their kids, provide food, and make sure they have everything they need to succeed. A little planning on the front end goes a long way.

To learn how to build a larger volunteer base, sign up for the FREE ‘Get More Volunteers’ Event.

What if you put Jesus in charge of small groups?

Justin Knowles asks:

If Jesus was in charge of small groups at a church, what would they look like? What would he focus on? Why? What would be his priorities? It actually is really fun to think about and I think it’s relatively easy to figure it out because we just need to look how Jesus lead. I think if we are doing these things, we ought to be doing pretty good.

He gives some examples of how he thinks Jesus would lead here.

But really… what should our small groups look like?

What should our DISCIPLESHIP or SPIRITUAL FORMATION process look like?

How would Jesus do it differently that we/you are doing it now?

Is it possible to disciple like Jesus did?  How would you go about doing it?

If you hired Jesus as your small groups consultant… what would he tell you to do differently?

Let’s start there.

Todd

Stop standing still. It’s time to move on.

There are often times in our lives where God will call us to stay firmly planted and faithfully rooted right where we are. But there are other times where God has called us out and told us to move on.

What do you think?

Have there been times when you should have moved on, but you were somehow waiting for a ‘sign’ from God?

And have you ever taken matters into your own hands, and moved on when you should have stood still?

It’s always a struggle for me.

How about you?

Todd

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