Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

Friday Finds - The Summer Slump, United Airlines, and Burnout

Photo by Sunset Girl via Unsplash

Photo by Sunset Girl via Unsplash

It's been a full week week on both the family and work fronts. Megan and Hunter have been home from college, so we spent some good family time together. Also, I spent the weekend with the leadership team at Bayside Church in Roseville, California. I'm very excited to be working with them on behalf of Vanderbloemen to help fill one of their most crucial leadership positions. I trust the week has been productive for you as well...here are some articles I've found to help you lead better this week. 

Why United Is Coming Back, And Why Uber Is Not by William Vanderbloemen via Forbes

As a personal fan of United Airlines myself, it was nice to read my friend William Vanderbloemen's take on the latest issues regarding United and Uber. This article has gone viral since it was published a few days ago. I know you'll appreciate reading his valuable insights on how a company can save itself from a modern day PR nightmare. 

3 Important Steps You Can Take to STOP the Summer Slump by Joe Sangl via TonyMorganLive.com

Summer is quickly approaching, and church leaders need to be preemptively fighting against the inevitable drop in attendance and participation. Rather than becoming discouraged, use these three steps to help motivate your church staff team in a season of congregational drought. 

How I Recovered From Burnout: 12 Keys To Finding Your New Normal via Carey Nieuwhof

Burnout in ministry is real, but can sometimes be prevented when it can be identified early on. However, if you are a leader already in the midst of a season of burnout, take hope in these 12 recovery steps from Carey Nieuwhof. 

Podcast: A Journey In Discovering Spiritual Gifts with Sam Storms via Vanderbloemen Search Group

In my opinion, the healthiest churches are the ones that understand the spiritual gifts of its staff. This is the key to unlocking the full potential of your church staff leadership team. Check out this week's Vanderbloemen Search Group Podcast with Sam Storms for insights on building and leading your team. 

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

Friday Finds - Ruined Interviews, Pure Luck, & Uber's Mistakes

As I publish this week's Friday Finds, I am driving from Texas to Ohio. Tomorrow, we will be celebrating the graduation of our daughter, Megan, from college--and bringing her and Hunter (and all their stuff) back home. It was just yesterday that we dropped her off at college, and the day before that she was going to kindergarten for the first time. Time passes so quickly. Looking back over the past 24 years of parenting, I'm glad we have few regrets. Someday I'll write more about that, but for now, here are some of my favorite leadership finds this week:

The Surprising Ways You Ruined Your Interview Before You Even Opened Your Mouth by Anisa Purbasari Horton via Fast Company

I spend the majority of my days meeting with others, often interviewing candidates for the churches I am representing in their staff member searches. And I am consistently amazed by the amount of smart, qualified candidates who still could use a little common-sense interview coaching. If you're looking for a job, or will be at any point in the future (i.e. everyone), please read this and take it to heart.

Why It’s Easy (And Wrong) To Think Growing Churches Simply Won The Lottery by Carey Nieuwhof via careynieuwhof.com

Too often, church leaders look at churches growing faster than their own and think, "Well, they just got lucky because of location, demographic, divine favor, ________" [you fill in your own blank]. But that's lazy, that's qualifying or downplaying others' successes, and it's making excuses. Yes, church growth is always a result of God growing his church, but if we want our church to grow, we need to step up and do everything we can to learn more and let Him use us more effectively.

Jason Miller on the Newsworthy with Norsworthy Podcast via lukenorsworthy.com

My friend, Jason Miller (who I worked with for years at Granger Church and am so grateful to be partnering with starting South Bend City Church in Indiana) was recently featured on Luke Norsworthy's podcast. He's a church leader with a lot of wisdom to share - listen to him and he talks about church planting, singleness, silence, and praying in community.

How Uber's CEO Missed The Moment That Could Save His Company by William Vanderbloemen via Forbes

No matter what you think of Uber, this article by my friend William wisely points out the grave dangers of 1) not investing time and money into staff culture, and 2) not being a humble, teachable leader. If you're a church leader who hasn't gotten the "team culture is of utmost importance" memo yet, let this extreme example be a lesson for you.

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

Friday Finds - Teachability, Work-Life Balance, & Organizational Chaos

And just like that, another session of my Executive Pastor Coaching Network is completed. I really enjoyed this cohort and learned a lot from them. I look forward to us continuing to sharpen one another as we share questions and insights in our ongoing facebook group, and I'm already looking forward to this fall's group (interested in joining the fall network? Read more information here).

Here are some of my favorite leadership finds this week:

How To Make Yourself Unoffendable And Teachable (And Still Maintain Your Confidence) by John Brandon via Inc.

John Brandon wisely points out the fine, fine line between staying humble and teachable while still being an expert at your job. As a leader, I'd rather err on the side of teachability. Genuine self-confidence can recognize your own skills and abilities without getting offended at the prospect that you still have things to learn. What will it be, church leaders? Will you put up a wall? Or will you remain open to being a life-long, confident learner? (I believe the health of your church staff will depend on it!)

10 Common Sentiments Pastors Wish They Could Express by Thom Rainer via ThomRainer.com

This short post couldn't be more dead-on. It pains me that often church leaders don't have people in their lives that they can be this honest with. Pastors, does this post resonate with you? Paul David Tripp said in a recent #Vandercast episode that "Pastors need to be pastored, too." Leaders, I urge you to find someone in your life who can pastor you; who you can say these things to. It will add to the longevity of your ministry.

There Is No Such Thing As Work-Life Balance by William Vanderbloemen via Forbes

William's insight on Forbes this week brought a much-needed fresh take on the thought that church leaders should take vacation directly after Easter. But maybe now is the most strategic time for you to keep your energy up; maybe the marathon isn't quite over for you yet. Read the article and comment below what you think about it. How do you recognize and establish your healthy rhythms?

Organized For Chaos by Jenni Catron via Get4Sight.com

I'm a big fan of Jenni Catron - she's even been one of the past featured facilitators of the Executive Pastor Coaching Network. How clear is your organizational chart? In her consulting, Jenni has seen so many dotted lines, exceptions, unclear job descriptions, bureaucracy within a church's organizational structure. She wisely exhorts us, "Leaders, one of our primary responsibilities is to fight for clarity." Clarity is vital for maximum effectiveness.

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

Friday Finds - Vulnerability, Difficult People, and Firing

A couple days ago, I had the opportunity to sit with the leaders of an amazing church in central Ohio. I've been working with them for a few months to identify a high level leader for their church. This is a very strategic hire for them, with the potential to make a huge difference for the growth and trajectory of their congregation and potential impact on the surrounding community. There's not much more fulfilling for me than to partner with churches to find great staff members for their team.

Wherever you are in your hiring or searching or managing of people, you have likely had to address some of the topics in this edition of Friday Finds -- such as dealing with difficult people, or occasionally having to fire an employee. Check out these links and tell me about your experience in the comments.

The One Essential Trait Leaders Fail To Master by Glenn Llopis via Forbes

Spoiler alert: the trait Glenn Llopis writes about is vulnerability. How often have you thought about that as an essential leadership attribute or sought to develop it in yourself? It doesn't make you look weak, it makes your team respect you and your vision more. "Vulnerability is like sunscreen: Fail to apply it and you will get burned." Stop whatever you're doing and read this now.

How Smart People Handle Difficult People by Travis Bradberry via Entrepreneur.com

Leaders: ever try to reason with an unreasonable person? Decrease drama with a dramatic person? Pacify a squeaky wheel on a committee? We've all experienced difficult people on our staff or volunteer teams - often inherited. Though we can limit these people in our spheres through wise vetting and hiring, developing skills to help deal with difficult people is a smart thing to do. Read Travis Bradberry's wisdom here.

Your Church Staff Doesn't Actually Have A Communication Problem by Tony Morgan via TonyMorganlive.com

It's easy to blame certain staff hiccups on communication problems. But is that a lazy oversimplification? Are we deflecting blame of ourselves as leaders when we say that? What if our "communication problems" are actually vision, systems, or management problems? It's time to dig deeper. Don't miss Tony's insights on this.

How To Fire A Church Staff Member Gracefully [Webinar replay feat. Thom Rainer] via Vanderbloemen Search Group

This would be a great insight to listen to after reading the article about dealing with difficult people. All leaders will need to fire employees on occasion. It's the worst part of the job, but sometimes the healthiest thing you can possibly do to you team. So how can you do it as gracefully, wisely, and effectively as possible? Listen to my friends William Vanderbloemen and Thom Rainer offer up some great wisdom on this topic.

What are you reading or listening to this week? Let me know in the comments.

Friday Finds - Squeaky Wheels, End of Culture Fit, & Leading Creatives

This week has found me with meetings in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Houston, Los Angeles, Palm Springs and Seattle. A busy week! I especially enjoyed talking about staffing at a workshop at the Thrive Conference in southern California, where over 2,000 church leaders gathered to be inspired and learn. I'm always jazzed to be around leaders who want to learn. 

And if you are one of those, here are some articles to help you be a better leader this week:

7 Things Every Leader Should Know About Working With Millennials by Carey Nieuwhof via CareyNieuwhof.com

It can be tempting to gloss over a blog post like this and think "another post about millennials," but I urge church leaders not to do so. Not only do I think it is extremely important for church leaders to understand and mentor this generation, but Carey Nieuwhof also offers up some fresh insights about them: "Here’s the bottom line with young leaders: If you help Millennials win, you’ll both win. If you merely want them to help you win, you’ll lose."

The Client Is Never The Problem by Kevin Hart via Entrepreneur.com

Though this article is written about clients, I encourage you to read this as "The Church Member Is Never The Problem." We all know what it's like to deal with complaints from people in the congregation, and sometimes it's easy to write them off as "squeaky wheels" who are never content with anything. Kevin Hart offers a perspective the combines empathy and firmness that we would do well to apply to similar situations.

The End Of Culture Fit by Lars Schmidt via Forbes

I'm a big proponent of hiring for culture fit, so this article is me playing a bit of "devil's advocate." Lars Schmidt asserts that the idea of culture fit is abstract and biased - meaning it can be used as an excuse for hiring people who are all similar, resulting in a "homogenous culture." What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with Schmidt? How do you define culture fit when staffing your church?

How To Lead & Develop Creatives On Your Church Staff with Stephen Brewster [Podcast] via Vanderbloemen Search Group

Whether you are a creative or you lead creatives, this is a must-listen. Stephen Brewster gives us wise insights into the creative process, as well as how to effectively lead creatives and mentor young creatives. We are in an era of the Church where creativity is more and more celebrated - let's continue that trend!

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