Top Posts of February

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February was the biggest month ever on my blog. Thanks to all the new subscribers and readers and thank you for all the shares of content on Facebook, Twitter and other places. Please keep it up.

If you missed anything, not to worry, here are the top 10 posts for the month:

  1. The One Thing Destroying Your Marriage That You Don’t Realize
  2. Women, It Matters Who You Marry
  3. Loving Does Not Equal Participating
  4. 11 Ways to Know You’ve Settled for a Mediocre Marriage
  5. 7 Ways to Fight Well in Your Marriage
  6. 7 Reasons You Aren’t Communicating with your Spouse
  7. Men, Your Son-in-Law Determines Your Legacy
  8. Before You Criticize Your Pastor
  9. How I Structure my Week
  10. When a Staff Member or Volunteer says, “I’m Done”
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Top Posts of January

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It was a great first month of 2014 on my blog. Tons of traffic and interactions. If you missed anything, not to worry, here are the top 10 posts for the month:

  1. When a Staff Member or Volunteer says, “I’m Done”
  2. The 3 Most Destructive Words a Man Hears Growing up Are: “Be a Man”
  3. Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace
  4. What I Eat
  5. 10 Gospel Truths about Homosexuality
  6. Photoshop, Beauty & Women
  7. 6 Ways to Stay Motivated to be Healthy
  8. Leading Up
  9. The Weight of Pastoring
  10. Why do a Series on Men & Women?
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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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  1. Feeling shame is not repentance.
  2. Thom Rainer on The stages of a pastor’s ministry. This is true in church planting as well. Makes me excited that I’m moving into Year 6 at Revolution.
  3. How to fire someone in ministry.
  4. Matt Walsh on You’re a stay at home mom? What do you do all day? Katie and I hear this a lot and it always blows my mind. Great way of putting it in this blog.
  5. What Sam Storms wished he had known when he started ministry 40 years ago. Tons of wisdom here for pastors.
  6. Tim Challies on The porn free family.
  7. Fat men can’t lead men.

The New Hobbit Trailer

Saturday Afternoon Book Review: Effective Staffing for Vital Churches

On most Saturday afternoons, I share a review of the most recent book I’ve read.To see previous books I’ve reviewed, go here. This week’s book is Effective Staffing for Vital Churches (kindle version) by Bill Easum and Bill Tenny-Brittian. In it, the authors seek to make the point that separates churches in terms of health and effectiveness can be found in their staffing cultures. Who they hire, how they hire staff, how that staff spends their time, how that staff does in terms of developing other leaders vs. doing all the ministry.

According to the authors, here’s what a staff does:

So what’s the purpose of staff? Simply put, the role of staff is to “equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Eph. 4:12 ESV). Staff creates an environment in which leaders at every level are equipped and encouraged to replicate the DNA of the church by living out their spiritual gifts. God built the church on the premise that every Christian has a gift and a calling to share with the world. It’s called the “priesthood of believers.” The role of staff is to ensure this happens.

Even before reading this book, I’ve made specific changes to how and who I spend my time with. The authors of this book largely backed this up with their research. A lead pastor should spend the majority of their time with:

  1. Younger, emerging leaders.
  2. No more then 4 staff members that report to them.
  3. Guests to the church.
  4. Those who don’t know Jesus.

Here’s why:

Effective coaches invest heavily in those who not only show promise, but who are committed to the leadership journey. That doesn’t mean the coach neglects those with less promise or commitment, but with limited time and resources wise leaders invest most heavily where the greatest return can be expected.

I realize how this sounds like it is uncaring or unloving in some way. At the end of the day, this mindset is what is best for the church and fulfills what God has called pastors to.

In a church under 500, the authors say a lead pastor should spend 70-80% of their people time in these areas to see the most effectiveness. Notice, this isn’t all their time, just the majority of their time. Many pastors fight against this and the authors point out, this is one of the reasons church aren’t as effective: leaders don’t hand ministry off to other leaders.

What I appreciated most about the book were the sections where the authors laid out the transitions a leader and a church must make as the church grows. This has been something I’ve been trying to learn more and more about as Revolution grows. What I did when we were a church of 50 people, then 150, now 250 and then what it looks like at 500 and beyond. One of the things the authors pointed out is many leaders and churches are not willing to change what they do or learn new things as the church grows and changes.

Overall, if you are looking for a resource on how a pastor should spend his time, hiring and firing staff, how to deploy staff in an effective way, this is a book worth picking up.

Hiring, Firing, & Board Meltdowns – Panel Discussion

Here are my notes from session 2A of the Leadership Summit. Bill Hybels, Patrick Lencioni, Henry Cloud, David Ireland and Carly Fiorina were on a panel to discuss the issues surrounding hiring, firing and board meltdowns.

  • There needs to be a connection from the person being hired to the culture of the church
  • A cultural fit is a must when it comes to a church
  • Whenever you make a decision about a person in a great state of need, you will idealize the person
  • What are the 2 or 3 behaviorial things, that if a person doesn’t have, they don’t get hired?
  • A healthy hiring sequence
  • An interview is an easily managed situation
  • Spend time with a person, drive in a car with them, take them to a store, play golf, ask them what other people would say about them
  • Ask the same question 3 times
  • Ask questions that are not yes/no answers:  what are 2 weaknesses/strengths, what are the challenges to managing you, how do those weaknesses affect our organization
  • Talk less
  • Ask questions about their answers
  • Ask open ended questions:  tell me about yourself
  • A can’t miss when it comes to hiring:  organizations with a strong culture that the people who fit their are drawn to them and the people who aren’t are repulsed by them, list in advance what are the needs of the organization, the job description is not just about skills but personalities and strengths, take the time to talk about why you are hiring and what you are expecting, find out a lot about the person, the process will do its work if you have a correct process
  • Board meltdowns
  • The reason meltdowns happen is because you didn’t do something before the meltdown, they don’t just happen
  • You must decide your tone, how will you operate
  • Will you have non-board members at a board meeting
  • You can’t build trust on a team if you aren’t vulnerable
  • Take 10 minutes at the end of a meeting and ask, “How did we do?”
  • Board members serve 3 purposes:  influence, affluence, a unique skill set that helps to lead the organization
  • Can a person help move the ship forward and if they can’t, why is that person on the board?
  • Firing
  • People consider it compassionate to not be honest with people, that is not compassionate
  • A firing should never be a surprise
  • If you hold someone accountable, they are either going to improve or decide this isn’t right
  • 3 steps to firing someone:  re-train them, could they serve the organization in a different position, if those don’t work, retire them
  • “The kindest form of management is the truth.” – Jack Welch
  • Are you prepared to demotivate your best people if you don’t have the hard conversations
  • Clarity and care have to be best friends in the situation of letting someone go
  • Be upfront about the process, especially if the firing is a financial decision, not a personnel decision