Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

Friday Finds - Motivation, Hard Skills, & Retaining Christmas Visitors

Last week, my family took a trip to Indiana & Michigan to visit family & friends for "Thanksmas." This week, Faith has been busy putting up our tree and decorating our home for Christmas. It seems like time always speeds up this time of year, doesn't it? I strive (but struggle) to slow down and be present throughout this busy season, and I know church leaders can understand that as they prepare for Christmas services.

I'm hoping these articles can help you out over the next week:

This Value Is The Secret To Sustained Motivation by William Vanderbloemen via Forbes

Every church leader knows what it's like to lose motivation, to feel listless in their role, or, especially this time of year, just feel plain tired. But before jumping to "I must be burned out," "Maybe this isn't the role for me," or "I need a vacation," read this article instead. The key to staying encouraged and incentivized may be simpler than you think - though certainly a discipline to cultivate. If you haven't followed my friend William on Forbes yet, you should.

10 Things Successful People Never Do Again by Henry Cloud via Success.com

We've all heard the saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. The opposite stands true - sanity means not repeating the same failure or mistake again. Pulled from Dr. Henry Cloud's Never Go Back: 10 Things You'll Never Do Again, this quick read outlines 10 ways that smart people grow from their mistakes, rather than making them again.

7 Skills That Are Hard To Learn But Pay Off Forever by Travis Bradberry via Forbes

I strongly urge leaders to bookmark this article and re-read it when making your 2017 New Year's Resolutions (or, if you prefer, when choosing your "theme" for 2017). Many of these skills I've had to learn the hard way, but each one will make you a more effective leader. Travis Bradberry gives a compelling case for a holistic pursuit of better leadership.

8 Ways To Keep Your Christmas Service Visitors Coming Back by Jennifer Winge via Vanderbloemen Search Group

I had to include this article by my colleague Jennifer, because we've all seen so many (albeit helpful) articles on planning great Christmas services. But what's missing is the focus on how to get those visitors to keep coming back to church. This involves even more strategy than planning the service, but your staff needs to plan for this. Leaders, don't overlook this.

What are you reading this week? Let me know in the comments below. 

Friday Finds - 2017 Trends, Discussing Failure, & Going Overboard At Christmas

Can you believe Thanksgiving is almost upon us? This year has flown by for me, as I'm sure it has for many of you. Though this time of year often ushers in a season of busy-ness for church staffs, it's also one of my favorite times of year to stop, reflect, and plan for the new year. I urge you to stay present during this season - present with your staff, with your congregation, and with your family. Be intentional about about paying attention to your leadership and the year ahead.

In light of that, here's what I'm reading this week:

10 Workplace Trends You'll See In 2017 by Dan Schawbel via Forbes

Anyone who has been in the workforce more than 10 years knows the dramatic shifts that are happening in the workplace - and how fast those shifts now occur. I think it's very important for leaders to be tuned into how the workplace is changing. Dan Schawbel predicts 10 trends we're going to see in 2017, and smart leaders should pay attention and pivot as necessary to build the best team possible.

The Right Way To Discuss Your Failures In A Job Interview by Allen Gannett via Fast Company

As Allen Gannett very accurately describes, you can learn a lot about a potential hire by asking them to talk about a past failure or disappointment. Allen describes the different "types" of answers candidates usually give, like the humble brag or the blame game. But the best way to answer the question? Complete ownership. Read on to see how to take ownership in a way that makes potential employers take note.

What Kind Of Leader Are You? A Fixer, Fighter, or Friend by Jonathan Raymond via Success.com

This is a longer read, but it is excellent. Much like a detailed personality assessment, this article insightfully diagnoses each leadership type, their strengths, their weaknesses, their blind spots, and their challenges. I think every leader should read this and take an honest look at what kind of leader they are and how they can both use their strengths and improve as a leader.

Why Church Leaders Shouldn't Go Overboard At Christmas by David Whiting via Vanderbloemen Search Group

My colleague David offers a slightly differing opinion than what we're used to hearing regarding Christmas service planning. His premise is this: "How you reach people is how you keep them." Read this thoughtful article, then let me know in the comments what you think. Do you agree with David? Or do you think churches need to pull out all the stops in order to reach the most visitors possible? There's no right or wrong answer, but I'd love to hear your reaction.

What are you reading this week? Share your thoughts with me in the comments.

Friday Finds - Teachability, Emotional Intelligence, & Scary Interview Questions

What a week! I stayed up way too late on Tuesday night watching the election results. The "peaceful transition of power" is by far the most amazing thing to watch every four years--regardless of who wins. It was definitely an interesting election season, but I'm still convinced that what you and I do every day, and how we treat each other, contributes more to a better tomorrow than anything a politician can do. 

So for starters, make an effort to be a better leader. Here are some articles to help:

5 Ways It's Visible That Someone Is Teachable by Kevin Lloyd via LeadBravely.Org

Teachability is one of those vital, irreplaceable soft-skills, but you don't hear too much about it. In my friend Kevin Lloyd's post, he describes how we can spot teachability in others, which is especially important for leaders who do a lot of hiring for their team. Teachability takes a measure of humility, and it's absolutely necessary in a great team. As Kevin says, "The most teachable leaders prove to be the more impactful leaders." Keep reading!

5 Things to Consider Before You Fire a Staff Member by Paul Alexander

Firing someone will always be difficult. As Paul Alexander points out, it's especially difficult for church staff members, because they're not just losing their job; they're usually losing their place of worship & spiritual support as well. There are a lot of considerations and processes to go through before pulling the trigger, and rightly so - it's not a decision to be taken lightly. Read this article for some important thoughts you must realize before firing someone.

5 Emotional Intelligence Hacks That Can Immediately Improve Your Leadership by Carey Nieuwhof via CareyNieuwhof.com

I'm all for "hacks" and super practical, hands-on advice. Carey Nieuwhof strikes gold (and some nerves) in this spot-on article. As he so wisely points out, "Insecure leaders are usually too afraid to hear the answers that will make them healthy." If we're to be healthy leaders, we need to pay attention to insights like this and work to improve our emotional intelligence. The health of your team depends on it.

The 11 Scariest Interview Questions Ever by William Vanderbloemen via Forbes

Now time for a little humor. What are some of the oddest questions you've been asked in a job interview? Interviewing effectively is both a science and an art, and it's easy to scare off your candidates by the types of questions you ask. Read this fun article from my friend William to know 11 questions NOT to ask in interviews.

What are you reading this week? Share your thoughts with me in the comments.

Friday Finds - Uber Drivers, Job Satisfaction, & Church Decline

A couple weeks ago, our team here at Vanderbloemen held our annual Intensive retreat, where the entire team comes together for a day to focus on how we can continually improve every aspect of our organization. Two of our core values are "Constant Improvement" and "Wow-Making Excellence," and we take them very seriously. Have you thought about how you can implement your team's values into your retreats and meetings? It makes a huge difference.

These are some of my favorite articles from this week.

5 Lessons I Learned From The World's Greatest Uber Driver by Tim Denning via Entrepreneur

My colleague Jay shared this article with me this week, and it really struck a chord. If everyone on your staff can take the kind of ownership and attitude toward their work as this Uber driver does, you will have an unstoppable team. As Tim Denning writes, "We are all entrepreneurs." I was inspired to be the best in my role that I could possibly be after reading this.

Strategic Planning Is Dead. Here are Two New Ways To Face The Future. by William Vanderbloemen via Forbes

My friend William hit it out of the park again with this article. Leaders used to have to focus on creating 3, 5, or 10 year plans. But our world changes too fast for that now. Vision is still of utmost importance, but instead of making long-term plans, you now need to focus that vision on two key things: team and culture. This is especially important if you have a millennial-heavy staffs. Read on...

The 3 Components Of Job Satisfaction by Michael Hyatt via MichaelHyatt.com

This article begins by highlighting a woman who had the opposite attitude as the Uber driver in the previous article. She had lost all passion for her job. I talk to ministry candidates all the time, and almost all of them, at some point in time, have experienced low job satisfaction in one of their roles. It's a tough place to be, but Michael Hyatt outlines the three major components of job satisfaction and why it's so important to seek fulfillment of all three.

5 Ways To Stop The Decline In Your Church by Thom Rainer via ThomRainer.com

In this insightful article, Thom Rainer presents five tough questions that every church in decline needs to struggle with and answer. There are real reasons some churches are beginning to shrink, but thankfully, if leaders can think strategically and creatively, that doesn't have the be the end of those churches. As Rainer says, "The solutions are not easy." But God will build his church, and sometimes, we're blessed enough to be a part of it.

What are you reading this week? Share your thoughts with me in the comments.