Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

Friday Finds - Vision, Body Language, & Slash Careers

Photo by Capital Standard via Unsplash

Photo by Capital Standard via Unsplash

My daughter Megan was in town this week, so we explored some of Houston. We all got to try the famous Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack. It’s been fun to show our kids our new city when they come visit.

Here are a few articles I've gathered to help you lead smarter this week. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. 

7 Ways Body Language Speaks Louder Than Words by Jacqueline Whitmore via Entrepreneur

Although it is said 'don't judge a book by its cover', first impressions are a very real consideration in the workplace. Jacqueline Whitmore gives 7 keys to putting your best foot forward and making a good impression from the start.

Why You Should Hire People With 'Slash Careers' by William Vanderbloemen via Forbes

What's the big secret in building an effective team? Hire people with 'slash careers;' that is, hire the people who spend time on their interests outside of the workplace. William Vanderbloemen shares why this could be the differentiating factor in building a great team. 

The Dangerous Power of Vision: 6 Steps for Responsibly Stewarding the Power of Vision via Jenni Catron

Great leaders would do well to understand how important vision is to successfully build and lead a team. Thought leader Jenni Catron gives 6 steps to consider when planting a vision for the future of your organization. 

Celebrating 1 Year Of The Vanderbloemen Leadership Podcast with William & Holly via Vanderbloemen Search Group

Whether we're helping build church staff teams or advising church leaders during a transition, we've witnessed incredible stories of God working in the Kingdom. This week we celebrated one year of speaking with those leaders and learning from their stories. Check out the special podcast episode hosted by William and Holly. 

What articles have you read this week that have inspired you to be a better leader? Share them with me in the comments below.

Hey Church: We’re Just Not That Into You

Photo from Rodion Kutsaev via Unsplash

Photo from Rodion Kutsaev via Unsplash

I was a pastor for 20 years, and we often had a behind-closed-doors debate about how much we were asking of our congregation. Now that I travel across the country and visit churches every week, I see that we have a chronic problem of burdening our people with excessive expectations. The average Joe church member can't possibly do everything you say they should do. Don't believe me? See if this list defines some of your expectations of the Christians who attend your church...

  1. Attend church service weekly.
  2. Volunteer during another service
  3. Attend Bible study or Sunday school or midweek service (whatever brand your church offers).
  4. Serve in a ministry that helps the poor and needy.
  5. If you are a leader (and we know who you are), then we'll have a few more meetings to attend, contacts to make, events to organize and teams to rally.
  6. Attend periodic special events hosted by the church.
  7. Be a great husband or wife and invest time in your marriage.
  8. Oh, and make sure you are involved in mens' or womens' ministry.
  9. Get in a small group and meet regularly.
  10. If you are a man, you must be in a mens' small group for accountability. Otherwise we know you look at porn.
  11. If you are married, you probably should also be in a couples group if you care about your spouse.
  12. Read your Bible every day. Anything less than 30 minutes is probably not enough.
  13. Be a good citizen. Vote and get involved in your community.
  14. Give ten percent of every penny that you make. And give to the special offerings. And give to the kids going on the missions trip. And give to the building fund.
  15. Go on a missions trip. Been on a local trip? Overseas is your next step.
  16. Invest in relationships in your neighborhood and at your workplace.
  17. Invite people to church. Every week. The purpose of that, of course, is so you can get them to church so they can do #1 through #16 above.

 This list wears me out just reading it...and I spent 20 years as a pastor! Just think what it does to normal people in your church. They keep trying and trying, doing and attending, but then life catches up and they feel like they can't ever keep up with our expectations. They feel deflated.

Because on top of everything we expect, everyone else in their life also has expectations of them. They have sports events to attend and in-laws to keep happy and PTA events to organize. They have complicated family relationships to navigate, second jobs to find so they can put braces on the kids and keep food on the table. And many of them are involved in really good endeavors building into their communities or helping the under-resourced. Now that I’m attending a church, and no longer on staff at a church, this is even more clear to me. It doesn’t matter how much I love Jesus, my family and work responsibilities only allow me a couple hours a week for church-related involvement.

Sometimes I think we need to get a clue. We need a wake-up call. Some people are saying (or thinking), "Hey Church...we're just not that into you. You are teaching us some great things and we are growing in our love of Jesus. But we can't possibly do everything you are asking...give us a break!"

In a culture that is ever more complex and insanely busy, if we really want to help we will find ways to help them integrate a walk with Jesus in the context of their lives. We will ease up on our expectation of attendance and activity--and instead focus on spiritual outcomes. WARNING: This is VERY difficult to do because it is so hard to measure--and church leaders LOVE to measure stuff (me included!).

Have you seen a church that has figured out how to reduce the unrealistic expectations and still make disciples? 

Friday Finds - Job Perks, Burnout, & Life-Long Callings

This week, I was able to sit down with five different candidates to hear their stories and talk about what might be next for them. These meetings took me to Atlanta, Indianapolis, and Mishawaka, Indiana. So of course, I stopped by my old stomping grounds, Granger Community Church. I was responsible for leading all six building phases, and had a hand in hiring most of the staff--so there are stories and memories behind every square foot (literally) of this place. So grateful to stop by and say hi to friends for a few minutes while in the area.

Here are a few articles we've gathered to help you lead smarter this week. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. 

5 Things I’ve Learned About Leadership Working With A New Assistant via Carey Nieuwhof

In this refreshingly honest commentary, Carey Nieuwhof shares his personal experience of "starting over" from his assistant of seven years. He reflects on how it has impacted him as a church leader and a Christ follower. He encourages leaders to be introspective through seasons of job transition. 

Why You Shouldn't Hire Someone With A "Life-Long Calling" by David Whiting via Vanderbloemen Search Group

When I first read the title, I was skeptical. Am I going to disagree with my new colleague? But as I read the article, I found myself agreeing more with every paragraph. David Whiting explains why leaders should be skeptical of a candidate who claims to have a "life-long calling" to a certain role. 

Proof That Fancy Job Perks Can't Keep Millennials Happy by William Vanderbloemen via Fortune Magazine

It may come as a shock to many leaders, but fancy job perks just aren't cutting it anymore for the next generation. In his most recent Fortune Magazine piece, William Vanderbloemen details the complexities of managing millennials in the workplace. 

5 Ways to Wake Up Without a Ministry by Eric Geiger via Church Leaders

We often hear unfortunate stories of church leaders who, for one reason or another, find themselves burnt out and ill-equipped to lead their congregation. To help combat this season before it occurs, Eric Geiger gives five mistakes to avoid that could potentially lead to pain down the road. 

What articles have you read this week that have inspired you to be a better leader? Share them with me in the comments below.