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Strategic Church Leadership: ECO Workshop

A Gathering of The Fellowship & ECO

Strategic Church Leadership Workshop

I recently had the privilege to teach alongside my senior pastor, Jim Miller, at The Gathering of the Fellowship and ECO: a denominational conference in Orlando, Florida.

Here’s the description of the workshop:

Strategic Church Planning
Tired of ministry ideas that never quite hatch into effective mission? Wondering why so much of what you try
doesn’t get off the ground? Maybe a strategic approach to preaching, family ministries, staffing, meetings,
and everything else would help you move God’s people from being an institution to being a movement of the
Kingdom. Study effective steps to building systems that produce the results you want.

(Click HERE to view the Prezi/slideshow for this workshop)

It was exciting to be at a national gathering of church leaders who made a public pledge to baptize more people than they bury over the next few years – something that few denominations can actually say in 2013.  As mainline denominations continue to die, it’s encouraging to see churches rally around the call to make disciples (who make disciples) and who are trying to do so through innovation and strategic planning.  It was a blessing to be a part of this gathering.

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Posted by on January 31, 2013 in Resources

 

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Finding a Job in Ministry

Finding a Job in Ministry

Three questions you should have answers for

There’s a good chance that, if you’re seeking out a career in ministry (or a career in most any field, for that matter), that one day you’ll find yourself without a job – and, when that happens, I want you to find this post and read it again.  In fact, there’s a chance that you’re reading this post because you’re out of a job and a friend shared the link with you – if that’s the case, take notes… your friend is trying to help you out.

I’ve never known so many friends in ministry without a job.  Off the top of my head, I can think of 6 people who I would consider friends – 3 of whom are close enough family friends that they’ve shared a meal at my home – who are actively looking to be hired on a church staff.  Now, out of that list, I think that some of them are doing everything they can to stay active in the pursuit of finding their next call in ministry.  There are others, and I’m afraid that they’re in the majority when it comes to the masses, who aren’t helping themselves out with the choices they’re making while looking for their next ministry position.

So, today, I want to ask three questions to those who are looking for a new job and what answers I’d be looking for if I were trying to hire you.

  • Why did you leave your last ministry position?
  • Where are you currently going to church and where in the Church are you serving?
  • When was the last time you did what you want me to pay you to do?

This is only meant to help – I promise.

Why did you leave your last ministry position?

For those of us who’ve worked at multiple churches, we know the heartache that can happen during transitions.  Rarely, if ever, do people leave ministry roles in a way that would allow them to return again as a staff member or as a member of the congregation.  In fact, one of the few people I can think of off the top of my head who has navigated that transition well is the former student minister at my current church.  She is now on staff at a local seminary and worships on Sundays at our church – where she was once on staff for somewhere around 5 years.  She’s a rare exception because of how great of a person she is.  Most of us didn’t transition as well – and that’s an okay thing to admit.

With that said, the way you answer this question will speak volumes about your character.  If, in the first 2 sentences of your answer, you throw your former senior pastor under the bus – I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t hire you. At times, you’ll disagree with your future senior leadership team and they need to know that you’ll have their back at the end of the day.  Honesty is important when answering this question, but you want to make sure that you speak well of your former church.  There are often a lot of hurt feelings when it comes to ministry transition.  It’s okay to talk about them – just don’t go there in the first two sentences of your answer.

Where are you currently going to church and where are you serving?

I might be the only surprised one in the room on this one (and that’s okay), but I’m shocked at how many people looking for a paid position in ministry aren’t currently a part of a church body.  And, when I say a part of, I mean in attendance and service within the church.

It. Blows. My. Mind.

I’m not sure why I’d hire someone to work on a church staff who thinks it’s okay to not belong to a local church body.  The best excuse I had heard, up until about a year ago, was that someone looking to go on staff at a future church didn’t want to create strong bonds at a church that wouldn’t be their final stop along the way.  However, during the last year, I had someone contact me during a ministry transition they were going through and they asked if they could serve at and attend our church in the meantime.  This person, and their spouse, have been worshipping with us for months and are becoming actively involved in the life of the church.  Will it make their transition away from us harder?  Sure.  Does it speak volumes to their conviction that belonging to a local church body is a big deal?  Absolutely.  Also, they can always point back to the fact that they told us they wouldn’t be around forever – they’ve been honest from the beginning and I love that about them.

If you can come up with a good reason to not be involved in a local church while searching for a new ministry position, that’s what the comment section is for. Go for it.  Maybe you’ll say something I haven’t heard before – it’s totally possible.

When was the last time you did what you want me to pay you to do?

So, you want to be a youth pastor?  When was the last time you taught at a youth group?  Or… you want to work in children’s ministry?  Are you currently working with Elementary-aged kids or Preschoolers?  These are important questions to have answers for because a good church will ask you and you should be ready to talk about it.

We’re currently in a job market where there are far more qualified people looking for ministry positions than churches looking to hire.  There are better resumes out there than yours.  The way you answer this question may be what makes you stand out in an interview process.  Also – are you willing to not do what you feel called to do for months, maybe even a year, just because nobody is willing to pay you for it?  I want you to consider what that looks like to a future employer.  There are days when ministry is exhausting – if the only thing keeping you going is the promise of a paycheck, something is broken.  Learning to serve in the areas you are gifted in, without pay, will make you better at what you do.

Why should you share this post?

I know, this isn’t one of the three interview questions.  I totally get that.  However, there’s a good chance that you know someone who is trying to get hired at a church and they’ve never thought of how they’d answer these questions.  I don’t want you to have to be the bad guy who asks the hard questions – let me do that.  You can be there to ask them what they thought of the questions and ask how they might answer them.  But, the only way you get to be the good guy is if you share this post and then talk in your circles about what your gut reactions are.

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in Kidmin, Thoughts

 

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There is No “I” in Orange

Orange Week: There is No “I” in Orange

Why Orange shouldn’t be a solo experience

I sat down for coffee yesterday with a great local Family Pastor (and friend) in the area and spent nearly 3 hours talking shop and drinking coffee.  My friend has recently expanded his staff and has hired a part-time kids’ ministry director to help lead their church in a more “Orange” direction.  Whether he’s meaning to or not, my friend is doing something brilliant this week – he’s dragging his Senior Pastor to the Orange Tour we’re hosting at our church.  He understands an extremely simple concept – There is no I in Orange.

2 years ago, our church did something that was a game-changer for the way way we minister to families.  I was able to cash in all of my chips with our Senior Pastor and talked him into coming out to Atlanta with me to attend the Orange Conference.  In fact, we were able to send a team of 5 of us – Our Senior Pastor, our High School, Middle School, and Elementary directors, and I – across the country for some team bonding and strategy conversations.  Because Orange is more than simply a curriculum, we needed as many of the players as we could in on the conversation so that we could tackle the future of kids/student/family ministry at our church with a unified vision.

Now, to be incredibly honest, that trip was the beginning of a process for us – we’re still not as Orange as I’d love for us to be.  I’ll also add that it wasn’t even that hard to get my Senior Pastor to Orange – the speaker line up that they have (and reputation they’re building) pretty much sold the conference on its own.  With that said, sitting in a room with thousands of other children’s ministry leaders AND youth pastors AND senior pastors began to help us own the fact that a) we weren’t alone in trying to revamp the strategy we use to reach families with the gospel and b) there was a network of other leaders across the country that we could lean on during our transition.

I’ve met guys and gals at Orange who walk around by themselves with their eyes the size of tangerines as they try to take in all that the conference has to offer.  Over and over, I hear them asking about how they will EVER get their Senior Pastor to catch the vision for an Orange strategy.

Friends, this might be hard to swallow, but you can’t make your church Orange on your own.  Orange is a strategy that works best when there is alignment between departments – when churches stop operating in silos and begin working as a team that believes passionately about passing the faith on to the next generation.

Here’s where there’s a bit of hope – you don’t HAVE to fly multiple people to Atlanta to get the conversation started at your church!  I know that part of why this is “Orange Week” is because this is the first week that you can register for the 2012 Orange Conference… but, today’s post isn’t even going to have a link to the registration page.  Instead, let me offer a couple steps you can try before asking your church to invest in sending a team to Orange (because, seriously, if your church is going to help you attend Orange… you shouldn’t go alone.  It’ll probably just drive you crazy as you wish your team was there with you to process what you’re learning and experiencing).

Step One: Meet Orange thinking People:
Cost: Free
How: In the world we live in, you can connect with people online in ways I could have never dreamed of a decade ago when I started out in ministry. If you don’t know where to start or who to connect with, send me a message and I’ll point you in the direction of an awesome Orange-thinking person in your area.  It’s that easy.
(you can also check out some other Orange Week bloggers HERE)

Step Two: Read Think Orange
Cost: $15 (HERE on Amazon)
Why: This book will give you the framework that an Orange strategy is going to ask you to consider.  Taking steps past this point without having this resource under your belt is going to leave you scratching your head a bunch.  And, in all honesty, if you just make it through the first couple chapters before moving on, you’ll at least be starting on the right page.

Step Three: Bring your team to an Orange Tour stop
Cost: $59
Why: The step we took before our trip to Atlanta was getting our Senior Pastor to an Orange Tour stop.  After a few hours of hearing Reggie Joiner speak, I could see our team starting to get excited about where this new strategy might take us next.  Now… we’re half way through the Tour season, but there are still stops you can make it to!

** Seattle, WA | Tuesday, September 20, 2011 –  3-hour Gathering

Bethany Community Church
8023 Green Lake Drive
Seattle, WA 98103

Los Angeles, CA | Friday, September 23, 2011 –  Full Day Event

Glenkirk Church
1700 Palopinto Avenue
Glendora, CA 91741

** Morristown, NJ | Monday, October 10, 2011 –  3-hour Gathering

Liquid Church
Morristown Hyatt
3 Speedwell Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960

** New York City Area | Tuesday, October 11, 2011 –  3-hour Gathering

Christ Tabernacle
64-34 Myrtle Avenue
Glendale, NY 11385

Charlotte, NC | Thursday, October 20, 2011 –  Full Day Event

Bethlehem Church
3100 Bethlehem Church Street
Gastonia, NC 28056

Indianapolis, IN | Tuesday, October 25, 2011 –  Full Day Event

Connection Pointe Christian Church
1800 North Green Street
Brownsburg, IN 46112

Jacksonville, FL | Friday, November 4, 2011 –  Full Day Event

The Church at Argyle
6823 Argyle Forest Boulevard
Jacksonville, FL 32244

Houston, TX | Tuesday, January 17, 2012 –  Full Day Event

Woodsedge Community Church
25333 Gosling Road
The Woodlands, TX 77389

Dallas, TX | Friday, January 20, 2012 –  Full Day Event

TBD

** Note: This is a three-hour (10:30am – 1:30pm) event focused on the Orange Strategy through the lens of Wonder, Discovery and Passion with Reggie Joiner.  The cost is $15 and includes lunch.

Step 4: The Orange Conference
Cost: $239/person (if you register THIS Thursday)
Why: Ummm… did you read the post up to this point?  Getting everyone on the same page is a big deal.  If you’re ready to make this step, it’s worth the price of admission.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2011 in Kidmin, Orange

 

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Read Your Boss’ Blog

There’s not a ton more to say than what’s in the title.

But, because I have a hard time saying less when I can say more, I’ll fill that idea out a little bit.

You need to know what your boss cares about.  This applies to those who work in the church and those who work outside of the church.  At the end of the day, you need to be able to write down on a piece of paper at least one thing that your boss values and one thing that drives them crazy.

Social media and the rise of blogging and micro-blogging in the last decade have made this easier than ever before.  If your boss blogs, tweets, or simply updates their status on Facebook, you should be paying attention to what they’re saying and what they’re trying to communicate.

If your boss doesn’t have an online presence, look out for newsletters, office memos or emails and watch for developing themes.

Personally, I have email alerts set for status updates, blog posts and tweets that come from our Senior Pastor as well as our church’s Youth Pastor, Junior High director and Elementary director.  Knowing what’s going on in the hearts and lives of those I work with is simply a text alert away – if you care about the people you work alongside, you should listen to what they’re saying.

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2011 in Thoughts

 

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Ideas: The New One

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This is a series of posts exploring three major types of ideas that exist in a collaborative community… ideas that have to be shared in order for the community to actually be collaborative.  For the first post in this series check out: Ideas in a Collaborative Community.

After an “oh-my-goodness-raising-two-kids-is-more-than-twice-as-much-work-as-raising-one” hiatus, I’m back to finish off our series on Ideas.

As I mentioned in the last post in this series, Ideas that Worked are always the most fun to share… but they should only be a part of the discussion taking place in collaborative communities.  Though a little harder to share, it’s important that we bring New Ideas to the table whenever we’re having discussions with others in ministry.  I’m sure you’ll find it helpful if I start with an idea we’re kicking around the leadership table at my home church, Glenkirk Church – located just miles away from the epicenter of this week’s 4.4 magnitude earthquake.  One of the hard things about sharing a new idea, I’ll say up front, is that someone might steal it.  You have to be okay with that.  But… we’ll get there at the end of this post.

The Idea

There’s a couple general assumptions about family dynamics as they apply to church.

1) Moms like church

2) Dads think church is boring

It follows that, every year, Mother’s Day Sunday is highly attended at our church (what does mom want to do? Go to church!) while Father’s Day Sunday sees a bit of a dip (what does dad want to do? Sleep in! Do something fun! Anything but church!).  As we aim to be a church that engages and equips families, our team has started to wrestle with this dynamic.  Is it true?  Are we okay with this?  What could we do to fix a perceived dilemma?

The answers are simple:
Probably. No. Something we’ve never done before.

This year, we’re being intentional about making Father’s Day a day that unchurched dads will feel welcome on our campus.  We’ll be barbecuing on the patio all morning, offering relevant gifts to dads in attendance, gearing the worship services to be engaging for your average guy, and making sure the sermon is on a topic that resonates with the dads in the room.  Oh, and we’ll have live running commentary a la Sports Center from two guys on stage.

(don’t worry, it’ll be better than this guy)

The fun thing about a New Idea is that it’s just an Idea.  We don’t have all of the details worked out.  We’re still trying to put pieces in place and make sure that we have buy in where we need it.  You know, there’s even a chance that this idea won’t actually even happen… but, there’s value in sharing it.  Here’s why…

How to Share New Ideas

As I mentioned above, new ideas are exciting to share, but can be harder than ideas that worked.  What if it’s an idea that won’t actually lead to an action?  What if people don’t like the idea?  What if you didn’t ask your Sr. Pastor if you could share the idea and potentially get it stolen? (Sorry, Jim.)  I can’t speak to the third question (I’ll let you know tomorrow how that one went), but the first questions are legit and alright to ask.  You just need to know that new ideas are never bad.

Your idea won’t be perfect.
Some people won’t like your idea.  The advantage to sharing it, though, is that you can make changes to your plan before it actually launches.  Try bouncing the idea off of the people at your church who are brutally honest… what are their thoughts?  Sharing your idea and having it shot down will help you learn how to pitch it correctly.  Oh, and don’t forget to share your ideas via twitter, facebook or even CmConnect.org.  You have amazing resources at your fingertips.  Literally.  Your idea might not even be new – someone out there has probably tried it and can speak into your decision making process.

(which reminds me, if you’ve pulled off an amazing Father’s Day Sunday at your church, please comment below!)

Your idea might not work… for you.
That’s right… I said it.  Now, get over yourself.  Part of being in a collaborative community is that you have to think bigger than yourself.  The Church is bigger than just your building.  You idea might not work for you, but the process that led you there might lead someone to launching a better version of what you had planned.  An idea 2.0, if you will.  By sharing your idea, in the beginning stages, you open yourself up to be a resource to those around you and potentially expand your idea’s impact.  There’s so much to say here… but, simply put, you need to be okay with failing.  People have tried much bigger ideas than yours and have failed epically.

It might get stolen.
There’s no tip that I can share with you that can help you be okay with this.  You just have to be.  No magic wand here.  If you ever have the chance to have a cup of coffee with me, you’ll hear me stand on my soapbox and talk about how your ministry needs to be bigger than your castle.  Jesus came to usher in a kingdom.  You get to be a part of that.  You’re a jerk if you have amazing new ideas and you’re not sharing them because someone else might do them better than you.  If you’re called to ministry, you need to remember that you serve a God who leaves the 99 to chase the 1 lost sheep.  Your idea might help someone find that lost sheep.  So, listen to your mom and learn to share.  It’s what you’ve been called to do.

Later this week, we’ll tackle that elusive last type of idea.  Here’s a hint.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2010 in Kidmin, Los Angeles

 

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5 People to Meet in Twenty10: Rick Warren

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Name: Rick Warren

Location: Lake Forest, CA

Website/Blog: www.rickwarren.com

Claim to Fame: (from rickwarren.com)

Dr. Rick Warren is passionate about attacking what he calls the five “Global Goliaths” – spiritual emptiness, egocentric leadership, extreme poverty, pandemic disease, and illiteracy/poor education. His goal is a second Reformation by restoring responsibility in people, credibility in churches, and civility in culture. He is a pastor, global strategist, theologian, and philanthropist. He’s been often named “America’s most influential spiritual leader” and “America’s Pastor.”

As a pastor, he founded Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., in 1980 with one family. Today, it is an evangelical congregation averaging 22,000 weekly attendees, a 120-acre campus, and has more than 300 community ministries to groups such as prisoners, CEOs, addicts, single parents, and those with HIV/AIDS. Recently, the church fed 42,000 homeless people – three meals a day – for 40 days.

He also leads the Purpose Driven Network of churches, a global coalition of congregations in 162 countries. More than 400,000 ministers and priests have been trained worldwide, and almost 157,000 church leaders subscribe to the Ministry ToolBox, his weekly newsletter. His previous book, The Purpose Driven Church is listed in “100 Christian Books That Changed the 20th Century.” Forbes magazine called it “the best book on entrepreneurship, management, and leadership in print.”

As a global strategist, Dr. Warren advises leaders in the public, private, and faith sectors on leadership development, poverty, health, education, and faith in culture. He has been invited to speak at the United Nations, the World Economic Forum in Davos, the African Union, the Council on Foreign Relations, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, TIME’s Global Health Summit, and numerous congresses around the world. TIME magazine named him one of “15 World Leaders Who Mattered Most in 2004” and in 2005 one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” Also, in 2005 U.S. News & World Report named him one of “America’s 25 Best Leaders.”

As a theologian, Dr. Warren has lectured at Oxford, Cambridge, the University of Judaism, the Evangelical Theological Society, and numerous seminaries and universities. His six books are known for explaining theology in understandable ways and have been translated into more than 50 languages. Dr. Warren says he teaches theology without using theological terms and telling people it is theology. His latest book, The Purpose Driven Life, has sold 25 million copies and is the best-selling hardback book in American history, according to Publisher’s Weekly.

As philanthropists, Rick and Kay Warren give away 90 percent of their income through three foundations: Acts of Mercy, which serves those infected and affected by AIDS; Equipping the Church, which trains church leaders in developing countries; and The Global PEACE Fund, which fights poverty, disease, and illiteracy.

Why We Care:

Rick Warren leads leaders.  Whether you agree with him theologically, love his preaching style, share his thoughts on “purpose driven” ministries, or think highly of the church campus his team has built, you have to admit – this guy knows a think or two about strategy and planning.
I have three lines of questions I’d want to ask:

1) In times when growth isn’t happening (I don’t think that all churches are called to “grow” numerically at all times… growth comes in seasons), what three things would he suggest that a church does to best align itself to take advantage of the next season of momentum?

2) When things are going well, how do you strategically nurture what is excellent while investing/innovating in areas where new growth might happen?

3) As someone who has seemingly endless possibilities as to how he might impact the world, how does he choose where to invest?  What factors contribute to how and when someone in leadership should invest in a new movement/endeavor/project/etc.?

Rick Warren’s church is 46 miles from mine.  On my list of 5 people I want to share a cup of coffee with in 2010, Rick lives the closest to me.
Let’s see if we can make this happen…

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Would Rick Warren be on your list?  If you could sit him down for 25 minutes and share a cup of coffee, are there questions you’d ask that I didn’t go near?  Share your thoughts by replying below.

Look for a recap of these posts in a couple days.  I already have a couple leads on some of the people on this list. 2010 is looking like it might be a great year to network!  I’ll also share my thoughts as to why you need to come up with a list of people you want to connect with in the near future.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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5 People to Meet in Twenty10: Jim Wideman

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Name: Jim Wideman

Location: Murfreesboro, TN

Website/Blog: www.jimwideman.com

Claim to fame: (from Jim’s website)

Jim Wideman is an internationally recognized voice in children’s and family ministry. He is a much
sought after speaker, teacher, author, personal leadership coach, and ministry consultant who has over 30 years experience in helping churches thrive.

Having served in 5 dynamic churches Jim understands what it takes to grow exciting, relevant ministries to people of all ages. For 17 years Jim led one of America’s largest local church children’s ministries in Tulsa, OK. Jim has also held various other positions in addition to children ministry throughout his career giving him a background in almost every area of the local church and Christian school. Jim currently serves as Associate Pastor at World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, TN where he oversees the next generation and family ministries.

In addition to working in a local church Jim has successfully trained hundreds of thousands of
Children’s ministry leaders from all denominations and sizes of congregations in conferences and seminars around the world. Jim is considered an innovator, pioneer and father in the modern children’s ministry movement. He also currently serves as president of “The American Children’s Ministry Association,” as well as president of Jim Wideman Ministries and is one of the executive editors of K! Magazine. The International Network of Children’s Pastors awarded Jim the “Excellence in Ministry Award” in 1989 for his outstanding work in Children’s Ministry, and Children’s Ministry Magazine in 2001 honored him as one of ten “Pioneers Of the Decade” in children’s ministry.

Why We Care:

Jim has been a voice in Children’s Ministry for more years than I’ve been alive.  Jim has seen multiple shifts in the way ministering to kids is done… I want to hear from a guy who has a 30,000 ft view and where he thinks the church and family ministry is heading over the next ten years.

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Would Jim be on your list?  Have you shared a cup of coffee w/ him?  Can you hook us up?
Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2009 in Kidmin, Resources

 

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