By Carey

Carey Nieuwhof is lead pastor of Connexus Church. His latest book, Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Can Help Your Church Grow, releases in the summer of 2015. Carey speaks to audiences around the world about change, leadership, and parenting and hosts the top rated Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast.

brand_shearer

CNLP 042: The Enterpreneurial Church Leader–An Interview with Brady Shearer

Church media is changing, and 24 year old Brady Shearer saw an opportunity to help.

Brady explains how his passion for church media and announcements led him to start a side business, Pro Church Tools, that has grown quickly and exponentially into a sizeable company, and how he’s learning to adopt to the massive growth he’s experienced.

Whether you’re an entrepreneurial church leader, a young leader or someone who loves media, you’ll love getting to know Brady.

Welcome to Episode 42 of the Podcast.

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Guest Links: Brady Shearer

ProChurchTools.com

How to Design 7 Beautiful Church Graphics in 11 Minutes

The ProChurch Tools Podcast

ProVideoAnnouncements.com

Pro Church Academy

Producing Video Announcements from Scratch

The 11-Step Blueprint to Building a Better Site

The Church Video Series

CentralCC.Ca

Links Mentioned in this Episode

The Orange Tour 

Reggie Joiner

Jon Acuff; Episode 9

Smart Passive Income

Pat Flynn

ChurchLeaders.com

Mark Batterson; Episode 32

Squarespace.com

Dawn Nicole Baldwin at Willow Creek

The Bad Christian Podcast by Emery

The Fizzle Show

The School of Greatness  with Lewis Howes

Tim Ferriss Show

Dale Partridge

Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Can Help Your Church Grow

 

3 Things You Can Do Right Away

Brady found a gift in helping churches establish or improve their digital platforms. When taking on a project of this capacity, it can be an intimidating process. Whether you’re wanting to revamp your message, or you’re starting from scratch, Brady outlines a few things that will help you along in your mission:

  1. Document whatever process you want to replicate and expand. Script it, write it and hand it out. Brady was overwhelmed with the amount of work he initially took on, but he delegated each project to others and created a process to ensure the quality of the content he was producing. One of your greatest challenges can be handing over the work, but realize you can’t do everything yourself, so you have to have the willingness to spread the work out. Understand that others will make mistakes in the process, but if you want to experience growth, you have to let go of all of the control. Take a complex process and boil it down into a system that can be repeated , and don’t be afraid to adapt as you grow. Your processes may change to accommodate volume.
  2. Narrow your focus. As the Church keeps up with culture, the need for digital media has become more relevant. Brady utilized his strengths and narrowed down the tasks for producing quality content. He knew that he couldn’t do everything at once because the quality would be compromised, so he mastered one craft before handing it off and moving on to the next skill set. Additionally, take that same principal and apply it to your church’s digital platform. Simplify, clarify and designate a call-to-action. Identify what it is you want to accomplish when someone is introduced to your online presence.
  3. Get up early. If you want to make anything happen, you’ve got to hustle because you can’t expect it to come to you. You only have so many hours to the day to produce results, and your productivity is limited. If you want to accomplish your overall mission, you can’t sit back and let it happen. Go the extra mile and take the extra steps. Whether that’s simply becoming more effective in ministry, life, or launching a new venture. The early bird usually catches the worms.

Quotes from Brady

 

A New Episode Every Week…Just Subscribe

The podcast releases every Tuesday morning.

Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from great leaders such as  Jon Acuff, Mark Batterson, Pete Wilson, David Kinnaman, Caleb Kalentbach, Kara Powell, Casey Graham, Perry Noble, and Andy Stanley.

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Appreciate This? Rate the Podcast.

Hopefully this episode has helped you lead like never before. That’s my goal. If you appreciated it, could you share the love?

The best way to do that is to rate the podcast in iTunes and leave us a brief review! You can do the same on Stitcher and on TuneIn Radio as well.

Your rating and review helps gets the podcast in front of new leaders and listeners. Your feedback also lets me know how I can better serve you.

Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Jim Tomberlin

Should your church go multisite?

Leading multisite expert Jim Tomberlin talks about how the multisite movement is changing and how more and more churches are pursuing mergers and acquistions.

Subscribe for free now, and you won’t miss Episode 43.

In the meantime, got a question?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

gay marriage church christianity

Some Advice on Same-Sex Marriage for US Church Leaders From a Canadian

In June 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples can marry in all 50 states, setting off a flurry of reaction by Christians and virtually everyone else on social media and beyond.

Ed Stetzer wrote a helpful background post to the shift in opinion that led to the decision and included links to a number of other leading articles in his post.

The social media reaction ranged from surprising to predictable to disappointing to occasionally refreshing.

I write from the perspective of a pastor of an evangelical church in a country where same sex-marriage has been the law of the land for a decade.

That does not mean I hold any uniquely deep wisdom, but it does mean we’ve had a decade to process and pray over the issue.

I hope what I offer can help. It’s my perspective. My fingers tremble at the keyboard because my goal is to help in the midst of a dialogue that seems far more divisive than it is uniting or constructive.

There will be many who disagree with me, I’m sure, but I hope it pulls debate away from the “sky is falling/this is the best thing ever” dichotomy that seems to characterize much of the dialogue so far.

The purpose of this post is not to take a position or define matters theologically (for there is so much debate around that). Rather, the purpose of this post is to think through how to respond as a church when the law of the land changes as fundamentally as it’s changing on same-sex marriage and many other issues.

Here are 5 perspectives I hope are helpful as church leaders of various positions on the subject think and pray through a way forward.

gay marriage church christianity

1. The church has always been counter-cultural

Most of us reading this post have been born into a unique season in history in which our culture is moving from a Christian culture to a post-Christian culture before our eyes.

Whatever you think about history, theology or exactly when this shift happened, it’s clear for all of us that the world into which we were born no longer exists.

Viewpoints that were widely embraced by culture just decades ago are no longer embraced. For some this seems like progress. For others, it seems like we’re losing something. Regardless, things have changed fundamentally.

But is that really such a big deal? For most of the last 2000 years, the authentic church has been counter-cultural. The church was certainly counter-cultural in the first century.

Even at the height of ‘Christendom’ (whenever that was), the most conservative historians would agree that Christianity as embraced by the state was different than the authentic Christianity we read about in scripture or that was practiced by many devout followers of Jesus.

Being counter-cultural usually helps the church more than hurts it.

If you think about it, regardless of your theological position, all your views as a Christian are counter-cultural and always will be. If your views are cultural, you’re probably not reading the scriptures closely enough.

We’re at our best when we offer an alternative, not just a reflection of a diluted or hijacked spirituality.

2. It’s actually strange to ask non-Christians to hold Christian values

As the Barna Group has pointed out, a growing number of people in America are best described as post-Christian. The majority of Canadians would certainly qualify as having a post-Christian worldview.

The question Christians in a post-Christian culture have to ask themselves is this:

Why would we expect non-Christians to behave like Christians?

If you believe sex is a gift given by God to be experienced between a man and a woman within marriage, why would you expect people who don’t follow Christ to embrace that?

 Why would we expect people who don’t profess to be Christians to:

Wait until marriage to have sex?

Clean up their language?

Stop smoking weed?

Be faithful to one person for life?

Pass laws like the entire nation was Christian?

Seriously? Why?

Most people today are not pretending to be Christians. So why would they adopt Christian values or morals?

Please don’t get me wrong.

I’m a pastor. I completely believe that the Jesus is not only the Way, but that God’s way is the best way.

When you follow biblical teachings about how to live life, your life simply goes better. It just does. I 100 percent agree.

I do everything I personally can to align my life with the teachings of scripture, and I’m passionate about helping every follower of Christ do the same.

But what’s the logic behind judging people who don’t follow Jesus for behaving like people who don’t follow Jesus?

Why would you hold the world to the same standard you hold the church?

First, non-Christians usually act more consistently with their value system than you do.

It’s difficult for a non-Christian to be a hypocrite because they tend to live out what they believe.

Chances are they are better at living out their values than you or I are. Jesus never blamed pagans for acting like pagans.

But he did speak out against religious people for acting hypocritically. Think about that.

3. You’ve been dealing with sex outside of traditional marriage for a LONG time

If you believe gay sex is sinful, it’s really no morally different than straight sex outside of marriage.

Be honest, pretty much every unmarried person in your church is having sex (yes, even the Christians).

I know you want to believe that’s not true (trust me, I want to believe that’s not true), but why don’t you ask around? You’ll discover that only a few really surrender their sexuality.

Not to mention the married folks that struggle with porn, lust and a long list of other dysfunctions.

If you believe gay marriage is not God’s design, you’re really dealing with the same issue you’ve been dealing with all along—sex outside of its God-given context.

You don’t need to treat it any differently.

By the way, if you don’t deal with straight sex outside of marriage, don’t start being inconsistent and speak out against gay sex.

And you may want to start dealing with gluttony and gossip and greed while you’re at it. (I wrote more here about how to get the hypocrisy out of our sex talk in church.)

At least be consistent…humbly address all forms of sex outside of marriage.

The dialogue is possible. (Andy Stanley offers a great rationale for sex staying inside marriage here.)

We have that dialogue all the time at our church.

And people are grateful for it.

We also talk about our greed, our gluttony, our jealousy and our hypocrisy as Christians. It’s amazing. Jesus brings healing to all these areas of life, including our sex lives.

4. The early church never looked to the government for guidance

Having a government that doesn’t embrace the church’s values line for line actually puts Christians in some great company—the company of the earliest followers of Jesus.

Jesus spent about zero time asking the government to change during his ministry. In fact, people asked him to become the government, and he replied that his Kingdom is not of this world.

The Apostle Paul appeared before government officials regularly. Not once did he ask them to change the laws of the land.

He did, however, invite government officials to have Jesus personally change them. 

Paul constantly suffered at the hands of the authorities, ultimately dying under their power, but like Jesus, didn’t look to them for change.

Rather than asking the government to release him from prison, he wrote letters from prison talking about the love of Jesus Christ.

Instead of looking to the government for help, Paul and Jesus looked to God.

None of us in the West are suffering nearly as radically as Jesus and Paul suffered at the hands of a government. In fact, in Canada and the US, our government protects our freedom to assemble and even disagree with others. Plus, it gives us tax breaks for donations.

We honestly don’t have it that hard.

Maybe the future North American church will be more like the early church, rising early, before dawn, to pray, to encourage, to break bread.

Maybe we will pool our possessions and see the image of God in women. And love our wives radically and deeply with a protective love that will shock the culture. Maybe we will treat others with self-giving love, and even offer our lives in place of theirs.

Maybe we’ll be willing to lose our jobs, our homes, our families and even our lives because we follow Jesus.

That might just touch off a revolution like it did two millennia ago.

Perhaps the government might even take notice, amazed by the love that radical Jesus followers display.

5. Our judgment of LGBT people is destroying any potential relationship

Even the first 72 hour of social media reaction has driven a deeper wedge between Christian leaders and the LGBT community Jesus loves (yes, Jesus died for the world because he loves it).

Judgment is a terrible evangelism strategy.

People don’t line up to be judged.

If you want to keep being ineffective at reaching unchurched people, keep judging them.

Judging outsiders is un-Christian. Paul told us to stop judging people outside the church.

Jesus said God will judge us by the same standard with which we judge others.

Paul also reminds us to drop the uppity-attitude; that none of us were saved by the good we did but by grace.

Take a deep breath. You were saved by grace. Your sins are simply different than many others. And honestly, in many respects, they are the same.

People don’t line up to be judged. But they might line up to be loved.

So love people. Especially the people with whom you disagree.

Those are a few of the things I’ve learned and I’m struggling with.

The dialogue is not easy when culture is changing and people who sincerely love Jesus sincerely disagree.

I think there’s more hope than there is despair for the future. The radical ethic of grace and truth found in Jesus is more desperately needed in our world today than ever before.

Is the path crystal clear? No.

But rather than being a set back, perhaps this can move the church yet another step closer to realizing its true mission.

I was tempted to close comments off on this post, but I will leave them open just to see if we can continue the discussion constructively and humbly.

Rants and abusive viewpoints (on either side) will be deleted.

Show grace.

Respect those with whom you disagree.

If you want to leave a comment that helps, please do so.

But please spend at least as much time praying for the situation and for people you know who have been hurt by this dialogue as you do commenting on this post, on others like it or on your social media channels.

Maybe spend more time praying, actually.

That’s what we all really need. And that’s what will move the mission of the church forward.

————

Caleb’s Story

To help you navigate the issue a little further, I’m adding the interview I did on my Leadership Podcast with Caleb Kaltenbach into this post.

Caleb was born to parents who divorced to both pursue gay relationships. Caleb grew up to become a Christian and a pastor, and has spent his adult life fighting for the relationship with his parents. It’s a fascinating, moving story of grace in the midst of disagreement.

Your can listen here in the browser window below, or click here to Episode 33 to listen on your phone or other device.

You can subscribe to my podcast for free here on iTunes, Stitcher or Tune In Radio.

young leader mistakes

5 Early Leadership Mistakes I Made (That You You Don’t Need To)

I love it when leaders share their success stories. It’s great to pick up transferable principles and try to work them into your life.

But there’s a part of me that likes it even more when leaders share their mistakes.

When someone shares their mistakes, I feel like I can relate to them. It reminds me I’m not alone. And it shows me we’re really all in this together.

People admire your strengths, but they resonate with your weaknesses.

So let me share with you some more of my weaknesses as a leader. Some of these mistakes, I made starting out, while some I still struggle with.

I’ll bet you can relate.

young leader mistakes

For all five mistakes listed below, I’ve had to adjust the sails and learn new behaviours that make me more effective at what I’m called to do.

The best part, of course, is once you’ve noticed the mistakes you naturally make, you can learn new skills to manoeuvre around them. It’s the self-aware who grow the most.

Here are five leadership mistakes I’ve made that (now) you no longer need to:

1. Thinking a leader needs to have all the answers 

As a young leader, I was afraid people would notice that I was young and didn’t know as much as I should. I took me a few years to become comfortable with saying “I don’t know.”

Wish I’d learned that right off the bat.

Ironically, people already know that you don’t know.

And when you say you don’t know, it actually creates empathy and a better sense of team.

Now more than ever, I fully realize how much I have left to learn. If you want to drill down more on finding your confidence as a young leader, listen in on my conversation with Clay Scroggins, who at age 34 recently became the leader pastor of North Point Church in Atlanta working under Andy Stanley.

Clay is tremendously transparent about his struggles as a young leader. That’s one of the reasons I admire Clay so much. And likely one of the reasons why he’s leading so much so young.

2. Trying to be too original 

This characterized my first 7 or 8 years of leadership.

I didn’t know you could take what others have done and simply implement it (I’m not talking about plagiarizing sermons or stealing proprietary ideas here – but about ministry models and strategies that you’re free to use).

I’d go to a conference and feel I’d need to change something enough to put ‘my spin’ or ‘our spin’ on it.

Well, sometimes your spin on a great idea makes it worse. If you really have an original idea that’s going to change things – use it.

But there are smarter people who are further along than you from whom you can borrow.

Sometimes you just need to give yourself permission to borrow. Give credit, and don’t stifle your ALL your creativity in the process, but it’s okay to take the best ideas and put them to work in your context.

You don’t need to be unique. You just need to be effective.

3.  Using people to accomplish tasks

I feel so bad about this one.

I’m a task guy. Early on, sometimes I saw people as a means to an end, not an end in themselves.

It’s a goal of mine to do what great managers do – not use people to get tasks done, but to get ‘people done’ through tasks.

When you use people you lose people. When you value people, they stay. So stop using people.

4. Depending too much on my own strength

Being an A-type personality has strengths and weaknesses. Looking back, I wish I had developed a better sense of team earlier and I wished I had sought out mentors earlier.

I’m still also trying to figure out the balance between Jesus’ teaching that human effort accomplishes nothing and that we need to serve and lead with all diligence.

I love how St. Augustine phrased it over a millennium ago: Work like everything depends on you. Pray like everything depends on God.

5. Pointing out what’s wrong – not what’s right 

This is something I still struggle with daily.

I immediately notice what’s right and wrong, and gravitate toward fixing what’s wrong.

I’m king of this. And ironically, it motivates me to get better.

But it can end up being de-motivating to the people around you. I’ve had to learn to celebrate the wins (there are a ton of them when you look), point out what’s right and high five the team.

It doesn’t take much strength to point out what’s wrong. It always takes strength to point out what’s right when you see what’s wrong.

Only once you’ve celebrated what’s right should you move to what’s wrong. Otherwise you knock the wind out of people.

Honestly, this is still a daily discipline with me. And I don’t always win at it.

What About You?

Those are five leadership mistakes I’ve made. How about you?

What are you struggling with? How are you overcoming?

What are you stuck on? Scroll down and leave a comment.

pastors moral failure

5 Reasons Pastors Fail Morally (And What To Watch For in Your Own Life)

Twice this week so far, I’ve heard of church leaders who are moving out of leadership because they had affairs.

Last weekend, another well known pastor had to step down after admitting to having had an affair. Yesterday I got a call from someone about another leader who had an affair and is stepping back.

It’s heartbreaking.

My heart is broken for the pastors and their families. For the church, for their ministries and for everyone who followed them and was impacted by their leadership. My heart is broken for the Kingdom of God.

I don’t know either person in question well, so I’m in no position to comment on the specific situations let alone judge (we should be so so careful of that anyway).

But I do personally know a few pastors who have had to leave ministry because of some kind of moral failure, and I’ve sat down and had some heartbreaking conversations with people who have experienced a moral failure or been on the other side of a moral breakdown.

I also know my own heart and the strange mix of grace and sin that makes us human.

So, once again, I ask myself

Why does this happen?

Why does it happen so frequently—not just to preachers, but to many business leaders, politicians and other people in the spotlight?

What do I have to watch for in my own life?

I don’t think for the most part pastors and leaders who fail morally set out to fail.

They didn’t begin in leadership by hoping “one day I hope I have an affair/steal money/destroy my family/ruin my church/disillusion many/lose my soul.

In the beginning, most pastors and leaders have excellent motives…and then something happens.

While I’m sure the pattern varies between people and situations, I’ve seen some patterns I’ve learned to check in myself.

I share them in the hopes they can help every leader before they get into an even slightly compromising situation, let alone an affair or other morally tainted situation.

pastors moral failure

5 Signs I Might Be Headed for a Moral Failure

So, as I reflect once again, here are 5 reasons I think pastors fail morally and reasons that might push me or you past the edge.

I write them in the first person (as awkward as it sounds) because this post is intended to help those of us still in leadership, not to judge those who have fallen out of it.

So because the person whose spirit I most need to watch is mine, I phrase things personally. I also realize that even talking about the fact that this could happen to any of us is one more guard rail against it happening in my life. And I pray it never happens.

So with that in mind, here are the conditions that perhaps set up a leader for moral failure.

1. I’ve chosen isolation over community

Sin usually happens in secret. And the only way to keep secrets well is to cut yourself off from true community.

Isolation can be a very natural drift in leadership. But as I’ve argued before, loneliness and isolation are not inevitable; they are choices.

I have to make sure someone in my life knows what’s really going on. And just because not everybody needs to know what’s going on in your life and in your thought life doesn’t mean no one needs to know.

Solitude is a gift from God. Isolation is a tool of the enemy.

To live transparently with handful of people who know who you are, where you are and what you’re inner life is really like is difficult, but it’s far easier than picking up the pieces after your life has fallen apart.

Who really knows what’s going on?

And if you don’t have anyone you’re talking to, you can hire someone. Telling a counsellor is far better than telling no one. And counsellors have helped me so much over the years.

Here is how I’ve developed my inner circle, including a group that knows the ups and downs of what I’m carrying in my life.

Bringing darkness into the light breaks its power.

2. I’ve stopped confessing my sins

I am convinced that confession is a lost art.

As a leader, I have to make sure that I continue to confess my sins before God daily.

When I confess my sins, I need to not only look for the obvious, but for the cracks. For small sins that could become much bigger. For motives that aren’t pure. For thoughts that run off in dangerous directions.

I need to bring it all before God.

If you want more on why we don’t confess our sins, I preached recently about it in Part 3 of the Pursued Series, which you can watch here.

In the meantime, ask yourself: when was the last time you confessed your sin before God?

Admitting your tendencies to God and even weeping over them is much easier than explaining to your wife and kids what happened one day.

Confession is designed to stop what sin starts.

3. I’m not thinking of the consequences

When you sin, you desire the action but not the consequences.

But sin always has consequences. Often horrible consequences.

Keeping the consequences in mind can be so so healthy.

I can’t imagine having to explain to my wife, my kids, our elders, our staff, our team and to the hundreds (maybe thousands) of others who trusted me how I betrayed their trust.

The fear of having to have those conversations can be very healthy and quite motivating. It should be motivating.

I just would never want to betray the trust of the people I love the most and many others who would perhaps lose their faith because of a moral failure on my part.

Thinking about the consequences of a sin is a great way to ultimately avoid committing of a sin.

4. I think the rules don’t apply to me

Perhaps this is why leaders fall more frequently than others.

You begin to think the rules don’t apply to you, or that they shouldn’t apply to you.

So you ignore them, skirt them, rewrite them or spit in their face.

This is so, so dangerous.

Leaders who avoid accountability still eventually have to give account for their actions—when they get caught.

Isn’t it better to give account for your actions daily than to simply give an account for your actions when you get caught one day?

Accountability and transparency are vital in leadership. And if you cultivate a great inner circle (point 1) you will be a far better leader day to day.

5. I see failure as my best escape

When I first started out in ministry, I met with a pastor who had just had to resign because of an affair. He was 20 years my senior, and we met for lunch.

I asked him why he had an affair, and he told me in part it was because he couldn’t handle the pressure of ministry anymore but couldn’t find an easy way to get out. The affair forced him out.

Years later I would discover the pain of burnout personally. Nine years ago I burnt out (a burn out triggered by physical and emotional exhaustion).

I was so burnt out an escape from my life looked appealing. By the grace of God, I knew enough to keep my head in the game even though my heart had stopped working. As a result, during my darkest months, I kept saying to myself “whatever you do, don’t do anything rash—don’t cheat on your wife, don’t quit your job and don’t buy a sports car.”

And again, by the grace of God, I didn’t cheat, quit or buy a sports car. (Although as Perry Noble and I discuss in this interview about how we both burned out, the sports car option still looks attractive….maybe one day.)

The bottom line is this. If you’re burning out, an affair or a rash, irresponsible decision is NOT the only way out.

Nor is it even a good way out. There are many other, healthier options.

If you’re looking for more resources on burnout, Perry Noble and I put this page of free resources together to help church leaders. You can survive, and even thrive, again one day.

What Are You Learning?

What are you learning about temptation, leadership and moral failure?

As to the comments section, just so you know, self-righteous, judgmental comments will be deleted. As I wrote when Mark Driscoll’s controversy broke last year, no one write or prays with clean hands.

No one. Not me. Not you.

But with the aim of helping people and seeking grace before a fall happens, not just after, what are you learning? Scroll down and leave a comment!

Daniel Decker

041: How to Build Your Personal or Church Platform without Being Selfish—An Interview With Daniel Decker

So you or your church wants to establish a bigger platform to increase your audience or reach.

But how do you do it effectively without coming across as…selfish?

Daniel Decker has helped authors reach the New York Times best seller list and helped many leaders, churches and businesses build their platforms without compromising their character.

Welcome to Episode 41 of the Podcast.

Daniel Decker

 

Guest Links: Daniel Decker

The Higher Level Group

DanielDecker.net

DanielDecker on Twitter

Daniel@higherlevelgroup.com

Tools For Authors and Platform Builders

Quick Tips for Authors

Links Mentioned in this Episode

Michael Hyatt

Mark Sanborn

Crystal Paine (Money Saving Mom)

The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon

Seth Godin

Ken Blanchard

The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

People over Profit: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do by Dale Partridge

Mark Batterson; Episode 32

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk

Judah Smith

Steven Furtick

Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck by Jon Acuff; Episode 24

Andy Stanley; Episode 1

Casey Graham; Episode 3

Rich Birch; Episode 8

John Maxwell

Tony Morgan

Ramit Sethi (Warning: Some may find the language in his content offensive.)

Kevin Jennings

 

3 Things You Can Do Right Away

When you build your audience, you want to ensure that your platform matches your purpose. Is your focus on serving your audience or serving yourself? Daniel Decker is the master strategist behind some of the most nationally-recognized leaders and tells us how to keep your ego from sabotaging your brand.

1. Develop your platform, but you don’t have to use all available mediums. Most people don’t start with a large audience they can influence, and that’s ok. What many people don’t do is look at it from a holistic vantage point. They don’t leverage what they have to reach their maximum efficiency. Where do you want to go? Who do you want to speak into? If you can’t identify those things, you’re shooting at a moving target, and you’re never going to hit it. Start your strategy with your current platform and develop it with the mediums you’re most comfortable with. If you like using Facebook over Twitter, you don’t have to start tweeting. Don’t understand Instagram? You don’t have to create an account. It isn’t always relevant to sign up for every available social media channel.

2. Help people. How do you know if you’re being self-promoting? When the attention starts to shift from “look at who I’m helping” to “look at who’s following me.” That subtle shift makes all the difference. Ask yourself, “Am I actually helping people? Am I honoring God?” Every leader has that degree or ego that helps them, but it has the danger to consume them when their platform starts to grow. It takes continual self-awareness, self-reflection and good people around you who are going to call you out when you start focusing on the wrong metrics. Stop focusing on making a million dollars. Focus on serving a million people.

3. Provide value. Everyone should have a platform if they’re trying to influence others, especially if they’re trying to make a positive impact. Create something that others will want to promote. After you’ve identified your goals, give something back that will benefit others, add value and make a difference in their lives. It could be an ebook, a webinar or a video. As you get comfortable with communicating with your audience, branch out to new platforms to increase growth.

Quotes from Daniel

A New Episode Every Week…Just Subscribe

The podcast releases every Tuesday morning.

Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from great leaders such as  Jon Acuff, Mark Batterson, Pete Wilson, David Kinnaman, Caleb Kalentbach, Kara Powell, Casey Graham, Perry Noble, and Andy Stanley.

Subscribe via

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Hopefully this episode has helped you lead like never before. That’s my goal. If you appreciated it, could you share the love?

The best way to do that is to rate the podcast in iTunes and leave us a brief review! You can do the same on Stitcher and on TuneIn Radio as well.

Your rating and review helps gets the podcast in front of new leaders and listeners. Your feedback also lets me know how I can better serve you.

Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Brady Shearer

Church media is changing, and 24 year old Brady Shearer saw an opportunity.

Brady explains how his passion for church media and announcements led him to start a side business, Pro Church Tools, that has grown quickly and exponentially into a sizeable company, and how he’s learning to adopt to the massive growth he’s experienced.

Subscribe for free now, and you won’t miss Episode 42.

In the meantime, got a question?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

5 Signs Your Passion Level in Ministry is White Hot

If there’s one characteristic I see in successful leaders, it’s passion.

The more church leaders I connect with, the more I see this trend: leaders of growing churches (and growing organizations) have a white hot passion for their mission.

You can hear it in their voice.

You can see it in their eyes.

It spills out of them.

If you want to see it in action, listen to this message by Perry Noble. His personal passion for the mission of his church oozes out of him as he speaks.

It echoes one of my favourite quotes from John Wesley: Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come for miles to watch you burn.

By contrast, leaders of stuck or declining churches or organizations generally do NOT burn with drive, desire or passion.

In fact, I can’t think of a single leader of a growing church who isn’t passionate about their mission.

The problem for most of us is we can’t tell what kind of leader we are. We live in our own skin. It’s hard to get an objective read on our passion level.

I think there are 5 ways you can tell if you’re truly passionate about what you do.

Will your passion level always be white hot? No.

My passion level has gone up and down in seasons, but overall, for me to be effective as a leader, it has to be high.

I know that in the seasons in which my passion has been white hot, I’ve led the best.

Here are 5 signs your passion level is white hot.

1. You have a hard time shutting down

Passionate leaders have a hard time shutting down. They are obsessed with the mission.

This isn’t workaholism…that’s different.

I’m talking about people who care so much that it becomes part of who they are.

And yes…I realize there’s a ton of potential pitfalls in being obsessed with your work or even having your identity wrapped up in it.

But I don’t think Jesus spent most of his days pining for 4:00 so he could go home and watch Jeopardy after dinner or work on perfecting his golf score.

Yes…he took breaks and rested. But his burden was always for people and for his Father.

To be transparent, I’ve grown a little weary of people who call for ‘balance’ in life and in mission. As I outlined in this post, most leaders who make a significant difference don’t live balanced lives; they live passionate lives.

Of course, there is a ton of meaning outside work, but too many people forget there is a ton of meaning inside work and ministry.

Obviously, to make life work, you need clear boundaries. The best leaders leaders find clear boundaries, but as a rule, they have to restrain themselves from putting too much time into the mission.

If you want to see what happens when you put TOO much time into the mission, you can listen to Perry Noble and I talk about our periods of burnout in this interview. Plus there’s a ton of helpful resources on this page to help anyone who’s burning out.

The goal isn’t burnout—it’s passion. And passion can be hard to turn off.

That’s actually a good thing!

2. You invest on your own dime and your own time

I think what you do on your own dime and your own time speaks volumes about your heart.

If work is something you do only when someone else is paying or when you’re officially on the clock, it speaks volumes about what you really value.

I’ve worked in churches that have had no budget and I’ve probably over-invested in the ministry at the expense of my family. That’s not what I’m talking about.

But truly passionate leaders don’t mind picking up the check personally, or taking part of a ‘day off’ to work on a project or help someone out once in while.

If you’re only working when you’re working or paying when someone else is picking up the tab, chances are your passion isn’t white hot.

3. Possibilities excite you more than problems weigh you down

Passionate leaders are always more excited about the possibilities than they are weighed down by problems.

In every organization there are problems, and sometimes there are BIG problems.

But passionate leaders are determined to remove problems—even big ones—and get moving because the possibilities are so exciting.

Where other leaders see only obstacles, passionate leaders see opportunities.

If you see more problems than possibilities, it will be hard to motivate a team to follow you.

So how do you get your eyes off the problems?

Leaders who focus on the possibilities find the problems tend to take care of themselves.

Leaders who focus on the problems find the possibilities eventually evaporate.

Choose your focus carefully.

 

4. You can’t stop investing in people

Don’t get me wrong, passionate leaders have hobbies and pursuits that have nothing to do with work.

They cycle or fly fish or BBQ or run marathons or camp or do yoga.

But passionate leaders can’t help but see people through the lens of their life mission. They pray for their neighbours. They throw parties for unchurched friends.

They hang out with people who are far from God because it’s part of who they are, not just a part of what they do.

They become beacons in their community and people who want nothing to do with Jesus come to them for advice.

They can’t help but bring the love and hope of Jesus in some way into every aspect of their lives.

5. The mission is something you GET to do

We have a very negative view of work in our culture (especially Canadian culture). That can seep into our world view as church leaders.

Not every day is going to be a picnic in ministry. You will have headaches and frustrations.

Some days you will drag yourself in. You will make yourself do what you’re called to do simply because you’re called to do it.

And even though I’ve said “Love what you do and you’ll never work another day in your life” before, I agree with Jon Acuff that the saying isn’t 100% true. (Read Jon’s awesome perspective here).

Some days are work. And that’s okay.

But overall, leaders who have a white hot passion for their mission realize work is something they get to do, not something they have to do.

The difference in your attitude will leak to your team and to your congregation.

And Christians, we GET to do this! God could have brought hope and forgiveness to people any way he wanted to, but he chose you.

Ministry is a privilege, not a burden.

Do what you love…and you’ll love what you do.

What do you think?

What are some signs you’ve seen that a leader’s passion is white hot?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

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CNLP 040: Churches That Reach Millennials–An Interview with Geoff Surratt

Of all the questions facing the church, how to reach Millennials is one of the most pressing.

Author and church planting expert Geoff Surratt, shares how some churches are becoming effective at reaching millennials using widely different methods.

Welcome to Episode 40 of the Podcast.

 

Guest Links: Geoff Surratt 

Seacoast Church

GeoffSurratt.com

Geoff Surratt on Twitter

Links Mentioned in this Episode

John Stickl; Episode 29

David Kinnaman; Episode 24

Churchless: Understanding Today’s Unchurched and How to Connect with Them

Periscope

The Orange Tour

Saddleback Church

Rick Warren

MOPS International

Andy Stanley

Perry Noble

Steven Furtick

Ethos Church

Dave Clayton

Flatirons Community Church

Tony Morgan

 

3 Things You Can Do Right Away

Millennials are engaging and walking away from the church in intense levels. What are the trends among millennials? What are the patterns? Geoff Surratt has been spending time with the dynamic demographic and the churches that are successfully reaching out to them. Here’s his insight:

  1. Understand how radically different the world of a Millennial is. Technology has accelerated the way we’ve consumed media over the past decade. Take Blockbuster, for example. It used to be the place you go every Friday night to get a movie, but Nextflix and RedBox put video stores out of business. Similar trends are being seen in churches. Millennials can download a podcast from church leaders all over the world and receive spiritual fulfillment without stepping foot in a church. Additionally, social media allows millennials to socialize within groups and pages, so they don’t need the face-to-face interaction they would get at church.
  2. Engage Millennials rather than simply trying to attract them. Millennials don’t commit to a single church, company or career. They don’t think about working for one company for 20-30 years. They’ll work until it stops being fulfilling. Similarly, they’ll go to Church A for one thing, Church B for another and Church C for something else. And that makes sense to them. The place you start is by asking how can you regularly connect with millennials, understand what are they thinking, what do they aspire to, what terrifies them, what bores them? Then, find ways to invite them into the change at your church. You can’t change to attract millennials; you have to engage millennials to change the church. Boomers may call it selfish, but it’s a passion to want to make a difference.
  3. Let millennials lead. Some pastors are letting millennials lead at higher capacities than they’re actually capable of. Not only are they wanting to listen to millennails, they want millennials to lead, and they’re eager to do so. It’s difficult to hand it off, but to hand it off to people that young is a huge piece of what has to happen next. There’s a church of about 3,000 in Nashville that says the average age of people they’re reaching is 28. They meet at a variety of country music venues and have no formal setup. Geoff says the church has a 24-year-old kid leading a “small” group of 600, and although it gets messy, he’s leading, and millennials are listening.

Quotes from Geoff

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Appreciate This? Rate the Podcast.

Hopefully this episode has helped you lead like never before. That’s my goal. If you appreciated it, could you share the love?

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Your rating and review helps gets the podcast in front of new leaders and listeners. Your feedback also lets me know how I can better serve you.

Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Daniel Decker

So you or your church wants to establish a bigger platform to increase your audience or reach…but how do you do it effectively without coming across as selfish?

Daniel Decker has helped authors reach the NYT best seller list and helped many leaders, churches and businesses build their platforms without compromising their character.

Subscribe for free now, and you won’t miss Episode 41.

In the meantime, got a question?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

8 Ways Church Leaders Can Use Periscope to Aid Your Mission

Today’s guest post on Periscope is by Rich Birch of Unseminary.com and the Unseminary Podcast.  Rich was also a guest on Episode 8 of my podcast. Scroll down the bottom to learn more about Rich and get a free ministry magazine with some of Rich’s best content. 

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Periscope is a live video-streaming app for iOS and Android smartphones.

Twitter purchased the startup behind the app for a reported $100 million in March 2015.

The app empowers users on Twitter to instantly and easily start broadcasting live video from their phone to their followers and the world!

So, how could you use Periscope at your church? Here are 8 ways.

Weekend Warm-Up

Typically you arrive at church before some of your people have even decided if they are going to attend. Use Periscope in the morning to invite them to join you. Reveal some of the behind-the-scenes effort that goes into make the morning great for them. Do quick interviews with team members who are getting ready for the day. Walk through the facility and show teams praying for them. Ask your people to invite others to join you!

Message Prep

Content creation should be a team sport. Ask for help when preparing your message. Give people a sneak peek at what you are talking about and then ask them to help with some key points. Maybe you’re choosing from two different bottom lines for your message … ask for help with choosing which is This will draw in your community, build anticipation for the weekend and give you some great ideas.

For Fun

You do have fun every once and a while … right? Let other people in on it! Is your team doing some goofy? Open up Periscope and laugh along with them. Did you just do something dumb and you’re laughing at yourself? Invite your community to laugh along with you! Humor has a way of drawing in people like nothing else — plus it humanizes you.

Ask for Prayer

Pastoral care starts with showing your needs and weaknesses. As you open up and become transparent with people, they will reciprocate and open up to What if you took some time to ask for prayer for whatever you’re facing as a leader. Let your church community into your world and see where you are trusting God to move. Ask for “hearts” if people are going to pray.

Morning Devotionals

How about leading your church in a devotional through Periscope every morning this week? As you read scripture and pray, just open up your phone and talk them through it. Model a healthy interior life that your people can Imagine dozens of people commuting to work … or at the gym … or at home listening to what God is saying.

Leadership Development

Are you working through some leadership concepts that you think could apply to your broader community? Get in front of a whiteboard and talk through them. Leading a volunteer-driven organization takes passion and clarity. Many of your people would love to tap into that and apply the lessons to their everyday lives.

Get Personal

Do you remember when you were a kid and you saw your teacher at the mall? That sensation of seeing him or her in the normal world was a paradigm shift, right? There was a time that church leaders lived in a similar bubble. We only saw them in “holy places” doing “holy things.” That kind of distance makes it almost impossible for your church community to relate to you. Flip on Periscope when you’re cutting the grass at home and see what people are up to. Or turn it on when you’re making dinner and ask others what they are eating that evening. Trust me, people love that stuff. I know it may seem trivial, but it’s the social part of social media.

Interviews with Leaders

You probably come into the orbit of some amazing leaders. Maybe they’re community leaders in your town or business leaders from your church. Ask them if you could take a few minutes and record a quick video of them. You could take questions from your audience and help them learn. This shows you as a thoughtful leader in your community and helps pass along the lessons you are learning from others!

8 Leaders You Should Follow on Periscope

Mac Lake (@maclake) // Visionary Architect for The , a church-planting network based out of West Ridge Church in the greater Atlanta area. Mac provides some serious leadership development value with great “whiteboard talks.”

Casey Graham (@caseygraham) // Founder of The Rocket Company, which provides great how-to help for church leaders. Casey offers great insights into how The Rocket Company reaches new people and builds the organization.

Miles McPherson (@milesmcpherson) // Pastor at Rock Church in San Diego. Miles shares some great behind-the-scenes footage that other church leaders could also provide through this medium.

Jonathan Pearson (@jonathanpearson) // Pastor at Cornerstone Church in South Carolina as well as blogger and thought leader. Jonathan provides some great insights for using technology within the faith community.

Jon Acuff (@jonacuff) // Blogger, author, interview giver, humorist … Jon does it all. Jon is a gifted communicator who uses Periscope to build his online community. Watch and follow his lead!

Chris Rivers (@chrisrivers) // Chris is founder of CultureBus and navigator with Auxano. He is always on the road helping churches and provides huge value (and fun!) for people who follow him.

Scott Williams (@scottwilliams) // Scott is an author, blogger and church consultant who was a key leader and campus pastor at LifeChurch.tv. Scott is a heavy content producer on Periscope and provides great insights into his learnings and leadership.

Tim Parsons (@_TimParsons_) // Tim is executive pastor at First Assembly in Indiana and founder of The Sunday Punch Team. Tim consistently provides great content and you should be following him!

We’d love to hear from you in the comments about who else is providing great value on Periscope!

About Rich //

Rich Birch is a pastor at Liquid Church which serves the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey.

He blogs & podcasts at unSeminary. [Friends of Carey’s can download a FREE 23 page Digital Magazine about reaching people who aren’t connected to your church yet by clicking here.]

A Response To Christians Who Are Done With Church

You hear it all the time.

I’m done with church.

I don’t really need to go to church…my relationship with God is personal.

I’ve had it with organized religion.

The church is a man-made invention, not God’s idea.

I completely understand why a growing number of people are bailing on church. Even people who used to lead in the church often stop attending (here are 9 reasons why church leaders do that).

We’ve spent a lot of time working through the issue of declining church attendance (and growing disillusionment with the church) on this blog and in my leadership podcast. (For a summary of the issues, here’s a piece on the 10 reasons even committed church attenders are attending church less often).

I get it.

The church is far from perfect. Life is complex. There are growing options. And the post-modern mind distrusts most things organized or institutional.

But as trendy as the idea of writing off the church may be, it’s a mistake.

While writing off the church passes as sophisticated thinking, it’s actually the opposite; what if it’s a simplistic and even reductionistic line of thinking that leads nowhere constructive?

The church isn’t even biblical, is it?

People argue the idea of church isn’t even biblical.

So let’s start with the basics.

First if you’re a Christian, church is not something you go to. It’s something you are.

You can’t disassociate from church as a Christian anymore than you can disassociate from humanity as a person.

You don’t go to church. You are the church.

Second, the church was not a human invention. Half-reading the New Testament with one eye closed will still lead you to the inescapable conclusion that the church was God’s idea.

In fact, most of the New Testament is not about the teachings of Jesus. It’s about the work of the church that Jesus initiated and ordained. I won’t fill this post with scripture verses that prove my point, because, quite frankly, you’d have to get rid of the majority of the New Testament to argue that the church was a parenthetical, made-up organization.

If you want to get rid of the church, you also need to get rid of Jesus.

You can’t have one without the other.

Maybe what bothers you should actually amaze you

I understand that the idea of the church being imperfect makes some people despair.

But rather than making us despair, the fact that Jesus started the church with imperfect people should make us marvel at God’s incredible grace.

That God would use ordinary, broken human beings as vessels of his grace, and delight in it is awe-inspiring. He’s proud of how his grace is beating through your imperfect-but-redeemed life and through the church (have you ever read Ephesians 3: 10-11?).

The idea that God would use you and me is pretty amazing. He had other options.

He could have spoken to the world directly, but instead chose to use broken people to showcase his grace to a world in need of redemption.

For sure, community is messy.

People sin. Leaders are sinful.

Most of the New Testament is not a story of an idealized church where everything worked perfectly all the time (just read 1 Corinthians any time you’re frustrated with your church).

Most of the New Testament is a story of Jesus using his followers to spread his love in spite of themselves and as they overcome obstacle after obstacle.

The fact that Christ uses flawed people to accomplish his work on earth is actually a sign of his grace, not a sign of his absence.

The church’s story, as twisted as it gets at times, is a beautiful story of God’s grace, God’s power and God’s redemption.

So, by the way, is your life, which reflects the story of the church more than you would want to admit.

The church gives the world a front row seat to the grace of God.

The ultimate consumerism isn’t going to church…it’s walking away from it

People criticize the church today as being consumeristic. And to some extent, churches cater to consumerism—often to our detriment. I agree that consumerism is a problem for Christianity.

But ironically, much of the dialogue about why people are done with church pushes people deeper into Christian consumerism than it pushes them into deeper discipleship: Here I am, all alone, worshipping God on my schedule when it’s convenient for me.

Listening to a podcast of your favourite preacher while you’re at the gym or on the back deck and pushing three of your favourite worship songs through your ear buds does not make you a more passionate Christ follower.

It usually makes you a less effective one.

Disconnecting yourself from community is actually less faithful than connecting yourself to a flawed community.

If you think the church today isn’t enough (and arguably, we need to reform it), then do what the early Christians did.

If you want a more biblical church…don’t gather weekly, gather daily. Before dawn.

Get up before the sun rises to pray together with other Christians before you go to work. Pool your possessions. Don’t claim anything as your own.

Be willing to lose your job, your home, your family and even your life because you follow Jesus.

Then you’ll be more authentic.

And notice that the early church did indeed gather. 

Gathering always leads to some form of organizing.

To pretend the church doesn’t need to be organized is as logical arguing that society doesn’t need to be organized.

Because community is inevitable, organization is inevitable.

Our ability to organize and to accomplish more together than we can alone is one of the crowning achievements of humanity, and our ability to work together makes Christian effort far more effective. 

It’s also part of God’s design for how we should interact while we’re on this planet. Come to think of it, heaven is a community too.

The only one who wants us to believe that we are better off alone is our enemy.

If you really think about it, it’s actually a very clever tactic.

The church has helped even those who resent the church

Finally, if you’re reading this article and you have any modicum of faith in Jesus, may I suggest your faith is actually the result of the mission of the church.

Very few people come to know Jesus because he appears to them supernaturally when they are alone and calls them by name.

Does that ever happen? Sure. But not to 99.9% of us.

Almost all of us who follow Jesus have had our lives changed by a flawed body called the church that Jesus so passionately loves and calls his own.

Think about that.

We need more church

Do we need more churches? Yes.

Do we need more humble churches? We do.

Do you we need authentic, transparent leadership? Absolutely.

Does the church need to change? Without a doubt.

The church needs continual reformation and transformation.

So what will the future look like?

Will we gather in quite the way we do today in the future? In some ways yes; in others, no.

Hopefully we gather more frequently and work through our differences at a deeper level and impact our communities more powerfully.

These two posts offer 10 predictions about future church attendance and 11 traits of churches that will impact the future.

But regardless of how the church gathers in the future, we will gather…we need to gather.

We Christians need each other, probably now more than ever.

And even if you don’t think you need other Christians, I promise you you do, and so does our world.

Now, more than ever, the world needs Christian working together humbly under Christ to lead people into a growing relationship with him, in whatever innovate and fresh forms that takes.

The church is not dead.

Far from it.

Maybe it’s just beginning to take shape for a brand new era that desperately needs it.

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7 Practical Leadership Insights From Our Move Into Our New Building

Whether you’re doing a building project or not, building projects can be an opportunity to learn some leadership insights.

You learn a lot about yourself, your church or organization and even the culture during something as tangible and intensive as a building project.

Last month at Connexus Church, a church plant where I serve as Lead Pastor, we moved into our first permanent facility and completely refreshed our portable location. (The pic below is from my opening message. You can see some other photos and highlights here).

I hope what we learned can help you grow your mission.

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1. Distinguish between high pace and high passion

As would be the case with any intense project, our team ran incredibly hard to get into the building. The last two months in particular were a frenzy, and people (both staff and volunteers) worked long days every day to make sure we opened on time and with excellence.

We had some incredibly fun moments in those long hours, but when it was over, everyone was exhilarated but exhausted.

Clearly the pace we were running at is unsustainable.

But what also surfaced in the months leading up to our opening was a passion level we haven’t seen in years. Some volunteers pulled all nighters to meet deadlines. People invited dozens of friends. People were so excited!

I knew I didn’t want the excitement of the project to be lost. But I also knew we were running at an unsustainable pace.

The temptation after a long sprint like that is for everything to go back to ‘normal’—something I didn’t want to see happen.

So in the weeks right after launch, I made a distinction between pace and passion.

The pace needs to return to a sustainable level. People need to take days off again and find a rhythm that allows them to thrive, at work and at home.

BUT…I didn’t want to lose the excitement around launch.

So we started to talk about the passion we’d seen for the project. I’m encouraging our team to keep the passion level high and throw it all into the mission.

Moving forward, we need to maintain a high passion AND we need to return to a sustainable pace.

I think by clearly delineating between the two, we’re able to capture the BEST of what the project offered us and still have some semblance of balance in our lives.

If you keep a high pace and a high passion, you burn people out.

If you keep a sustainable pace and lose the passion, you eventually lose effectiveness.

A high passion and sustainable pace offers the best of both worlds.

You can’t run at a high pace forever. But you should run with high passion forever.

2. Offer multiple jump in points for different kinds of people

When you’re leading a building project, you have to cast vision at different levels.

When we began our capital campaign three years ago (we used Injoy Stewardship Solutions to help us with this, by the way, who were super helpful), we didn’t have an address or even a blue print to show the congregation.

Usually your first donors on a project like that are visionary givers. They are bought into the mission and vision and their trust of the leadership of the church is high.

Different people opt in at different stages of a campaign.

Others jumped in when the location had been secured. Other still when construction began.

Some jumped on board (financially and in terms of their volunteer help) once they actually toured the construction site.

We also ran a countdown to the opening and that helped more people jump on board in terms of serving, giving and inviting their friends to the grand opening.

We also realized that some were still waiting to jump on board until the facility was open. So 30 days after move in we’re calling for more volunteers (realizing some people will want to serve now that they’ve seen it open and fully operational), and we’ll give people the opportunity to jump in financially in the first six months of occupancy.

I’m an early adopter, but Just because I’m an early adopter doesn’t mean everyone is.

The lesson? Offer multiple jump in points on every project.

3. Leverage ‘new’ as an opportunity to invite

Anytime you do something new, it’s an opportunity for momentum.

People will invite to ‘new’ in the same way they invite to Christmas, Easter and other big occasions.

We used the hashtag #EverybodyBringSomebody on our social media for months, and encouraged everybody to bring somebody.

We’ve seen the biggest visitor spike we’ve seen in a while, and opening Sunday at our Barrie location saw 2x the normal attendance.

Whenever you do something new (even a new series!), leverage it as an opportunity to invite.

If you want more, one of my favourite Andy Stanley leadership talks is on momentum. You can find it here for free if you scroll down under video and click ‘more’. It’s the talk called “The Three Components of Momentum.” You’re welcome. :)

4. Keep the why WAY bigger than the what and the how

In a building project (or any project focused on a tangible goal), the temptation will be to gravitate toward the what and the how.

People pepper you with question like

How many square feet are you building? (Answer. 24,000)

How much will this cost? (Answer, total project cost of $2,800,000—it’s the build out of permanent leased space.)

How many people can this building hold? (About 1,500 people per Sunday if we run 3 services…we built what we can afford right now. It’s a hub out of which we can launch future campuses and our online campus). 

What you will naturally forget to communicate…is the why behind the what and the how.

Why are we doing this? Because we’re creating a church unchurched people love to attend. And we’re leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus.

That’s why.

Even as a leader, you will forget to communicate this because the what and the how are so interesting.

But don’t forget.

 

5. Get ready for the ‘Now What?”

The reality is that once you open your facility or finish your project, there’s an inevitable let down that happens.

It’s a post-adrenaline let down…the crash. And then the question “Now what?” emerges.

And often, leaders don’t have a great answer.

If you don’t have a great answer for “Now What?” you won’t like what happens next.

As a result, life returns to normal far too quickly…if you let it.

The best way to prepare for the let down is to take point 6 seriously.

6. See the completion of your project as a start line, not a finish line

My answer for to the Now what? question was this: completing our new facility is the start line, not the finish line.

When you work really hard on a project, everyone’s looking for the finish line. And there needs to be a finish line. You can’t run hard forever.

But leaders need to keep some gas in the tank and be ready to go.

In the months leading up to the completion, I kept reminding myself and my team that completing the building is our start line, not our finish line.

To treat the opening of a building as a finish line would be like buying a sports car only to park in your driveway…forever. Isn’t driving it the point?

Our new facility and your new project provide the chance to take the mission to places and levels it’s never been before. It’s a means to an end, not the end in itself.

If you see whatever project you’re working on as a start line, not a finish line, you’ll be much more effective in accomplishing your mission.

7. Re-evaluate everything in light of your new season

Whenever you enter a new season, it’s important to look at everything through fresh eyes.

Think through your staffing, your strategy, your values, your team, your dreams. Is each of them optimally positioned for what’s ahead?

When our attendance doubled on opening day, it was a chance for us to test our systems. We had added 150 volunteers just a month prior to opening…and are we glad we did. We needed everyone of them.

But our check in system for families worked. Our guest services team could accommodate all the new guests. Our parking team was ready. Our staff was ready.

While we were thankful for that, we started to ask “what if every Sunday was like this?” And then we made more changes, to parking, to guest services, to our check in. And we’re tracking how people are connecting in this new era.

We’re also rethinking our budget and our staff positions and where we need to be in a year on all those fronts.

The point is you could cruise and hope it all works, but change allows you to reevaluate all your approaches and systems to see if they are helping you best steward the opportunities in front of you. If they’re not, change them.

What Do You See?

Those are 7 insights we’ve gleaned over the last month or two.

What are you learning about new seasons, projects and opportunities before you?

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