Blog

Strategic Ministry Planning

We blinked and it was summer and now the crisp fall season is in full swing.  Before this season slips away, be sure your leadership makes time for the critical

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Shifts Happen

Yep, that’s right . . . shift happens.  And most of the time we didn’t even see it coming – or going for that matter.  It just happened slowly over

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Become Relevant or Die

“Shifts are happening in the religious landscape, and churches will either adapt or become irrelevant.” Rev. Owen RossDirector of Church DevelopmentNorth Texas Conference UMC (Excerpt from the Foreword offered by

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Is the Sunday-Centric Model Working?

Have you ever considered how much the Sunday morning experience is costing your church?  That likely sounds like a funny question to ask.  The church has focused on Sunday morning

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Discerning New Leaders

The Committee on Nominations and Leadership Development will soon begin their annual work determining who they will place before the charge conference for election into leadership for the upcoming year. 

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Celebrate Servants

How does your church encourage, celebrate, and lift up your laity who serve in the various ministry roles?  Too often we overlook our faithful servants and take them for granted. 

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Connecting: The Missing Link

Over the past couple of decades, many churches have intentionally worked on ramping up their hospitality. They have formed hospitality teams. They have attended workshops, read books, and continuously tried

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Serving Relationally

“When we leave relationships out of missions, we are leaving out the best potential for true IMPACT.  IMPACTFUL missions are grounded in authentic relationships.  They are no longer about the

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Game Changing Communication Tip

Have you ever met a church that hasn’t reported some sort of communication issue?  I know I have yet to conduct a church consultation that communication on some level has

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Becoming Less Pastor Centric

 “Men and women are not ordained to this ministerial priesthood in order to take priesthood away from the people  but in order to nourish and sustain the priesthood of the people.”  Lesslie Newbigin

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Christian Social Entrepreneurship

“A Christian social entrepreneurship is a socially conscious business that is focused on solving social problems, such as access to food, money, and education. The stated goal of these companies

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Innovating for Love

Innovating for Love: Christian Social Innovation by Kenda Creasy-Dean is part of The Greatest Expedition series that I was so fortunate to be able to collaborate with amongst nineteen thought

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What’s Your Holy Disturbance?

They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us asHe talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”Luke 24:32 NLT “After the crucifixion and,

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What’s Your Stress Level?

The pandemic has caused a mental health crisis. The number of people looking for help with anxiety and depression has skyrocketed. This is marked with a 93% increase in anxiety screenings

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Cost of Lacking Self-Awareness

How healthy are our American pastors?  According to a recent Barna study, the statistics are quite alarming.  Only one in three American pastors scored excellent or good in all six

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The Cost of Low Laity Deployment

How many laity in your congregation are equipped and deployed in ministry (not meetings)?  Continuing in the series of Barna’s, The State of Your Church, the third needed church shift identified

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Needed: Objective Evaluation of Impact

“A renewed church requires Christian leaders who are characterized by honest and objective evaluations of the impact they are making.”  states David Kinnamon, President of Barna, in The State of Your

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The Cost of No Leadership Development

Every year the Committee on Nominations and Leadership Development gathers.  They find the latest copy of the church’s pictorial (now at least 4-5 years old) and begin searching for their

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The Greatest Expedition ReLaunch

Next week we are thrilled to be celebrating the ReLaunch of The Greatest Expedition!  The Greatest Expedition is a congregational journey for churches led by a church Expedition Team of

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The Need for Marketplace Multipliers

There is a growing recognition of the compelling need to move disciples beyond the walls of the church.  Furthermore, there is an affirmation of the high potential of the marketplace

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A Call for Action

Do you ever feel like you are living out the movie Ground Hog’s Day?  The same thing keeps playing out over and over again.  Life does not seem to be

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Discipleship Crisis

Most church people would be comfortable believing and sharing that the church is about introducing people to a relationship with Christ and growing deeper in that relationship over time.  In

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Cry From the (Emptying) Pew

It was almost a year ago that God and I started wrestling.  I had just finished up a difficult year of transition topped with multiple writing projects.  I needed some

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New Year New Plan

Yep, it is that time again.  It is a new year, so many are setting their new year’s resolutions.  The gyms will be packed this week, but in two weeks,

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Consensus vs Missional Alignment

In this time of deep change and cultural shifts, there is much conversation about how one leads change.  For local church leaders, there is often the desire to lead by

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Plan After Christmas Now

As we enter into Advent, I doubt you want to hear about the need to plan for January now!  Afterall, there is so much to do over these next weeks

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Easy on the Church Talk

While working with a wonderful church team recently, I asked the team what they might offer as a handoff (next small step after an initial introduction to the church through

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The Response-Ability in Accountability

“Accountability breeds response-ability.” Stephen Covey Covey expands on this concept by explaining, “Look at the word responsibility—“response-ability”—the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do

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Simple Not Easy

Just because something is simple does not automatically mean it is also easy.  Take marriage for example.  Going down to the courthouse to get a marriage license and having the

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Spiritual Leaders First

With all the other shifts we’ve made this past 18 months, it is time for yet another.  We need to consider a shift in how we elect leadership for our

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The Gift of a Retreat

Fall is the typical time for retreats.  Sometimes those retreats are spiritual retreats and others are strategic ministry planning retreats.  In the past few weeks, I’ve been in four states

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Accountability: Friend or Foe?

The majority of churches I have consulted and coached with over the past decade do not have an accountable leadership style.  Instead, their leadership style is likely either bureaucratic (committee

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Church is Too Complicated

Sometimes I think we make things too complicated.  That includes the church.  That includes both “doing” church and “being” the church.  Sometimes we are so overwhelmed in doing church that

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Are You an Adaptive or Innovative Leader?

“One of the key differences between innovation and adaptation is that innovation is voluntary. Adaptation is not.”  Carey Nieuwhof  https://tinyurl.com/ypjwrduk During these past 18 months, we have all been forced

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Is an Invitation Required?

Every church would like more first-time guests!  How easy is your church making it for first-time guests to find your church online, details about your online worship experience, and join

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Congregational Apathy

Over the past few years, I have noticed a growing sense of what I refer to as congregational apathy.  The symptoms are be identified as a desire and openness for

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Post-Pandemic Flexibility

If we have learned nothing else in the past year and a half, we have learned the need to be flexible!  We have learned to change directions at a moment’s

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Post-Pandemic Commitment

As I have repeatedly written about in this past year, the opportunities available to the church at this pivotal time in history are endless.  All of these opportunities are grounded

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Post-Pandemic Courage

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out

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Post Pandemic Vision

Most church leaders are familiar with the life cycle of a church.  When a church is on the growing side of the life cycle, vision followed by external relationships are

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Pastors and Staff as Equippers

“The moment you hand power over to other people, you get an explosion of curiosity, innovation, and effort.” Joshua Cooper Ramo Too often I hear Pastors and paid staff express

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What if …

Do you ever find yourself in the wondering mindset of “what if?”  What if usually provides opportunities for what is possible.  Granted for some people “what if” takes them to

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Transition Time

While some are ending their school year or even graduating, in the church world many are entering into a time of transition.  This is a time when there is soon

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It’s Crazy Out There; Be Kind!

Just when I think it couldn’t get any crazier out there, it somehow does.  Nearly each day something happens that utterly surprises me.  In fact, I have even done some

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At the Heart of the Matter

In earlier posts I have suggested that people are searching for community and purpose.  People are lonely and many are depressed.  People are looking for a sense of purpose and

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Give Them What They Want

You have probably heard the old saying of give people what they want, but sell them what they need.  In my experience, I have found so much truth in this.

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Ready for a New Expedition?

As we have all discovered, a new future is before us.  Our post-pandemic world has created a new reality for us.  Much of that reality is yet to be revealed. 

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The Power of the Question

As leaders we sometimes think we need to have all the answers.  Maybe we feel as though others expect us as leaders to bring all the solutions.  Isn’t that what

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Leading Out of the Pandemic

We are beginning to see the light at the end of this long, dark pandemic tunnel.  Vaccinations are rolling out.  Positive test result statistics are on a downward trend.  Some

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RElaunch or REopen

As the COVID vaccination is made available to more and more of the population, a greater number of churches are offering expanded in-person worship opportunities.  This means some churches are

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Relational Shifts, Part Three

In this post we will explore the final five relational shifts a vital post-pandemic church will need to make as outlined in my upcoming book, Being the Church in the

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Relational Shifts, Part Two

Last week the first five relational shifts the post-pandemic church will need to make were introduced.  This week we continue those relational shifts with the next five from the forthcoming

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Relational Shifts, Part One

In my upcoming book (due out in late March), Being the Church in the Post-Pandemic World, I identified eight different game-changers for churches who want to be vital in the

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How Flexible Are You?

In a quick poll recently, I asked what people thought was the top trait leaders needed to exhibit and practice in 2021.  Overwhelmingly, the top answer was flexibility.  Why is

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Providing Community for Your Community

In a September 23, 2020 report, Barna released some startling information.  Spiritual, emotional, and relational well-being were noted to be of concern about congregations as reported by pastors. In the

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Being or Doing

We are all human beings.  Imperfect people doing our best day in and day out to follow a perfect Savior.  On an average day, we struggle a bit to do

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Endowments: Blessing or Enabling?

Endowments: Blessing or Enabling? It is no doubt that people love their church and faithfully leave behind gifts for the church with the best of intentions.  Churches, of course, receive

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Breathe with Gratitude

Breathe with Gratitude As we head into this week of Thanksgiving, I wonder if we can all just take a deep breath.  This past year has been unprecedented and highly

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Are You a Praying Church?

Would you consider your church to be a praying church?  Now, I don’t mean a church with a prayer team that prays for the joys and concerns of those in

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Are You Ready?

The Advent season will begin very soon.  This is the season where churches typically receive more guests than any other time of year.  Is your church ready to receive guests? 

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Falling Back

This past weekend we re-entered the season of daylight savings.  In 1966 the Uniform Time Act was passed and created what we now refer to as Daylight Savings Time.  While

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Is Your Church Geared Up?

Wikipedia defines a gear as:  A gear or cog is a rotating machine part having cut teeth or in the case of a cogwheel, inserted teeth (called cogs), which mesh

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Time to Re-Vision?

Our world has changed.  Our communities have changed.  Our context has changed.  It seems like everything has changed!  How is your church responding and adjusting to these changes?  While the

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Start, Stop, and Suspend

While there is much to mourn in this time of pandemic, it is also a season of opportunity.  But, this season will not last forever.  How will you take advantage

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The Opportunity

Recently I heard Mark Batterson, author of The Circle Maker, cite some interesting information.  He shared that the brain processes 100 bits of spoken information a second while the brain

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Promoter or Detractor?

What kind of experience does your first-time guest have at your church?  Does he or she leave being a promoter or a detractor?  Would he or she recommend your church

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Creating a Culture of Guest Readiness

Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Hebrews 13:2 NLT All churches are friendly! Just ask any church

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Online Worship or Online Ministry?

Is your church offering online worship or online ministry? There is a huge distinction in definition let alone the resulting fruitfulness for me in the two. Offering online worship is

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How Is Effective Leadership Different?

We often throw around the term “effective leadership.”  But what does it really mean?  Effective leaders lead their people and organization in a desired outcome.  They produce a successful outcome

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What are you Tolerating?

The most common response to asking how people are doing these days is being tired, worn out, weary, etc.  We have gone through some unprecedented times.  We have had to

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Strategy Does Indeed Matter

Before you know it, the fall season will be upon us.  And, you know what that means, right?  It is the season for strategic ministry planning for 2021.  Have you

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Onboarding

On Boarding is No Longer Optional  “Employee (pastor, district superintendent, key staff) orientation centers around and exists to help the individual employee (pastor, district superintendent, key staff), but it is

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So the Church Can Change!

So the Church Can Change! How many times have we heard it?  The church will not change.  The church is stuck in the past?  If change does happen at all

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What’s Your Relationship Lens?

What’s Your Relationship Lens? I say it often, because I think we have to be reminded of it often.  As the church, we are in the relationship “business.”  We build

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Calendar Creeping

Calendar Creeping Sometime in mid-March it happened.  Our jam-packed calendars were suddenly empty.  Trips were cancelled.  Events were cancelled.  Meetings were cancelled.  Parties were cancelled.  We all settled in to

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It’s That Time of Year Again

If you have been a United Methodist for any time at all, you are probably well aware of the season we are heading into – change of appointments.  On average

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What’s Your Sweet Spot?

Churches are beginning to make plans for moving back into their buildings – some sooner than others.  Some churches are more anxious than others to do so.  Many precautions are

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Don’t Miss out!

FOMO – it is a real thing!  We all have some level of the “fear of missing out.”  Yet few of us have thought about missing out on anything to

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