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.

book

  1. Practicing biblical hospitality.
  2. Geoff Surratt on 3 reasons guests don’t return to your church.
  3. An email from a proud deadbeat dad. Love Matt’s response. Definitely shows what is wrong with men in our culture.
  4. John Piper on Parents, require obedience from your children.
  5. 6 trends in kids ministry.
  6. Carlos Whitaker on 4 tips on how to handle social media with your kids. Great tips for parents.
  7. One father writes a letter to his daughters about body image. If you have a daughter, help her understand biblical body image.
  8. 30 hour work week.

Hire & Keep the Best People

Just finished reading Brian Tracy’s book Hire & Keep the Best People for my coaching network. While the book clearly lays out how to hire staff and keep them (which is a huge need, especially in churches), I think the principles he laid out apply to how a church raises up volunteers. Here are a few principles that I found helpful and how they can work with paid staff or volunteers (in no particular order):

  • Go slowly. Churches always have holes, they always have needs for people to step into. This is good and bad, it is especially true in a growing church. The problem churches run into is that in an effort to get a warm body in place, they rush. They don’t give the person a chance to prove themselves, you only have to attend a church for 2 weeks to become a leader, or maybe you don’t do a background check on someone. Obviously, there needs to be things in every church that someone can step right into (ie. greeting, set up and tear down, hospitality), but most roles in a church you need to take time (small group leader, teacher for kids or students). To become an elder at Revolution, you have to attend Revolution for 1 year, be a partner, in a small group, serve in the church, give back to God and then start the process (which takes 8 – 12 months). The reason is that through all of those steps, you will prove your capability to fill that role.
  • Be clear on what you are asking. What do you want someone to do? What are the goals? How will you know if they did a good job or not? Be clear on this. What is the win?
  • Go for the best. Many leaders, especially pastors have a hard time going for the best person or leader for a role. Whether it is a volunteer or staff position. The reality is, if you want the best, you have to ask the best. This means you will often have to make a big ask to someone who is busy, or on staff at a larger church knocking it out of the park. When we hired Paul, he was on staff at a church 25 times larger than Revolution, yet I believed he was the missing piece for us moving forward. So, I shot high, made a big ask (which included a significant paycut for him and Jennifer), but they said yes. Don’t be afraid of going for the best person.
  • Be weary of the available person. This goes with the previous one. Regardless of what a person tells you, if they are unemployed, not volunteering somewhere, or bounce from church to church (but they always have a great story why it wasn’t them), be weary. There is a reason. You should also be weary of the person who overpromises and sells themselves high. I had a guy tell me once that people told him when he preached he sounded like Perry Noble. I thought, “that’s incredible. If you did sound like Perry Noble, you would be speaking somewhere every weekend. Not looking for a place to speak.”
  • After making the big ask and they say “Yes,” ask them why. This was eye opening because Tracy points out they might have an idea of what the job or role will be like, and it might be incorrect. If you ask them why and they say, “I’m excited to play the guitar” and the role is teaching 2 year olds, they might miss the boat. They might also say something that is contradictory to your mission and if you can catch mission confusion at the start, it will save a ton of headaches.

Here are a few quotes from the book:

  • The critical constraint on the growth and success of your business, or any business, is the ability to attract and keep good people.
  • The 10/90 rule. The first 10% of time that you spend thinking and planning will save you 90% of the time and effort required to make the right decision and get the right result in the long run.
  • The best predictor of future success is what that person has done in the past, don’t be fooled.
  • Morale does not rise in an organization, it always comes from the top down.

I think the most helpful thing about this book was his process of interviewing. As our church is growing and we will have to bring on new staff members in the future, I will definitely be stealing his interview process. It is incredibly thorough.

Definitely a book worth reading as a church leader, and the best part is that it was less than 11o pages.

Don’t Say No For Someone

One thing I have noticed in the lives of pastors and those who are on church staff is a fear when it comes to volunteers and delegation. I understand where it comes from and appreciate it (because I used to feel the same way), but there is also a lot of danger in it and a robbing of our churches.

It goes something like this. A leader in a church has a need, a role that needs to be filled. They have someone in mind who could fill it and do it very well, but they don’t ask them. It might be because they think the person is too busy, that they will say no or that they won’t want to do it (most leaders normally feel this way because we assume that if we don’t like to do something every person on the planet also dislikes doing those things).

What happens then is the leader says no for the person without giving them a chance to say yes or no. Would that person say no? I have no idea and neither do you.

I hear from many pastors though who feel guilty for asking people to give their time in building the kingdom. I understand this sentiment as people are incredibly busy. But I think this also says something about our theology. If all Christians are given spiritual gifts and will one day make an account to God for how they stewarded those gifts, it is our job as leaders to help them develop those gifts and use them (Ephesians 4). When we don’t challenge people, make the big ask of them to step up, we are robbing them of becoming all that God wants them to become and we are keeping them from using all the gifts and talents that God gave to them.

I remember talking to a mentor a few years ago about this fear I had of asking people to get involved or get more involved and he looked at me and said, “Don’t ever say no for someone.”

So, I started letting people tell me no instead of doing it for them. What is has done is required me to trust God more when it comes to leaders and the holes that our church has, it has forced me to make some big ask’s of people and cast vision to people, but God has also had people step up in ways that I didn’t expect them to do because “I didn’t say no for them.”

Links of the Week

  1. Scott Thomas on Spiritual dryness. This is a convicting blog post, wow.
  2. The one question ministry leaders need to stop asking.
  3. The biblical qualifications of a pastor. These qualifications should be the goal of all Christian men.

Everyone Raises up Leaders

In every church, there is always a shortage of leaders. Depending on the size of your church, the age, spiritual maturity, etc. can all factor into why this is.

One of the problems for many churches is that only a few people identify and raise up leaders. It is put in the hands of elders and staff. Each staff identifies and raises up leaders for their particular area. Usually churches end up fighting over people because the need is so high.

What if, everyone raise up leaders? What if, you lead worship and you raised up leaders for the student ministry or small groups and vice versa. What if, you are constantly on the lookout for new leaders for every ministry team, not just yours? What if, when you had a conversation with someone about serving on your team and they said, “I don’t know if that is a good fit for me.” Instead of the conversation ending there (which it usually does, they don’t want to be on your team) we respond with, “Well, what would you like to do?” And then help them find  a place in that ministry with that leader.

What if, everyone raised up leaders for everybody?

Links of the Week

  1. 18 Questions for a Church Planters Soul (from Acts 29). Great thoughts as the busyness of church can often eclipse our souls.
  2. Tony Morgan on Ministry is messy. This is the beauty and heartache of church. Real life.
  3. Barna’s latest study on generational perspectives of the Bible.
  4. C.J. Mahaney on What precisely is the gospel?
  5. How staff and leaders can set volunteers up for success.
  6. Scot McKnight on OMG and taking the Lord’s name in vain. Is it still a sin if you abbreviate it?

“Not my Job”

One of the beliefs that we have at Revolution is that God has wired each of us differently. He did this for a reason and He wants us to use the gifts, talents, personalities and experiences He has given us to further His kingdom. The best way to do that is to do what only you can do. In each leader, staff, or volunteer’s role, there are things they love to do and things they do not love to do. There are things they can’t live without and things they could live without. There are things they can give away to someone else and things they shouldn’t give away because of their role or gifting.

Most leaders and Christians agree with this. From here though, the pendulum is very easy to swing. A balance is crucial.

What happens if something comes up that you are not gifted to do, don’t like doing or want to give away. You might need to find someone else, you could go the route of saying, “That’s not my job” or you could do it.

In a church like Revolution, we believe in doing a few things well and we are moving in that direction as a church when it comes to staff and leaders. The problem? We aren’t there yet.

One of the things I am grateful for is that we don’t hear a lot of people say, “That’s not my job.” They know where we are going, they know where we are moving to and they are doing whatever it takes to get there. Sometimes that means picking up trash, moving chairs, setting up signs, teaching in Planet Rev. or hosting a small group.

This past week was a great example. I got a phone call at 2pm telling me there was a dead squirrel somewhere in or around the church that smelling up the auditorium and lobby. Several people jumped in to find it (one person even brought their dog to walk around sniffing!), once the squirrel was found several people spent time making the place smell better. Around 4, we had electrical problems (sparks were coming out of the one light when you hit the switch) in the women’s bathroom. Quickly, without being asked, someone jumped in to fix the problem.

Do you know what I didn’t hear? That’s not my job, I’m busy.

Way to go!

Love the servant attitude of our church and the passion that we will put the mission first and do whatever it takes to make it happen.

The Joys of Pastoring #5: People Getting the Mission

A few weeks ago I did a series of posts on the weight that pastors carry. I thought this week I would focus on the joy of pastoring, as there are many.

Joy #5: People Getting the Mission.

Closely tied to seeing life change is seeing people get the mission and sacrifice for it.

Every week, I am blown away by how hard and dedicated our volunteers are at Revolution. Many of them putting hours in every week to make Revolution happen. People who show up on Fridays to set up for church, who show up at 2 on Saturdays to prepare, to practice, all so that people can find their way back to God.

Everything that our volunteers do free up everyone else to do what they do. I am able to do what I do because our volunteers put in the time that they do to free me up.

When people sacrifice financially for the mission, I am humbled. When people sell stuff to give the proceeds back to God, I am humbled. When people cash in savings to give back to God, I am humbled.

When people give their time, money and efforts, that is buy in. That means people get the mission.

When people show up at 8 am to set up road signs so people can find their way to church, when people stay late to clean up, to pray with people, when people take time out of their week to lead a group and to shepherd and care for people, that is buy in.

You can’t force it, you can’t guilt people into buy in (at least buy in that lasts). When people get it and the church does what the church is supposed to do, as a pastor, it is the greatest joy. To see it, to be a part of it, to lead it, makes it all worth it.

Raise Them Up

One of the difficulties that many leaders run into is a lack of leaders. You rarely hear a church say, “We have too many leaders.” While it is true that there often is a shortage of volunters in a church, I wonder if the leaders help to make the problem happen.

In most churches, there is a capable team of leaders at the top, but they all have the same problem. They know how they got raised up into leadership, they just don’t know how to raise other people up.

This happens for a variety of reasons:

What if someone can’t do something as well as I can. There is a strong possibility that at first, it will not have the same quality. There is also a strong possibility that it might be better. I’ve had several mentors tell me, “If someone can do something 70 – 80% as well as you, let them do it.” When I no longer do something I am not gifted to do, not only do I allow someone else to use their gifts, but it allows me to do things that I can’t give away, things I don’t want to give away, things that fire me up to do.

It is easier if I just do it. This goes with the first one. At first it will be easier if you do it, but then you cut down the amount of people who can be involved, but you also keep yourself from getting better at other things and spending time on those things.

Do I trust this person enough to hand this off. This is a personal fear that you will have to get past. Start small, don’t hand a new leader an entire team unless you think they can handle it. Put them on the team, then give them more responsibility as they prove themselves.

I will have to keep this person accountable if I hand this off. This is a lazy leadership excuse.

There are some loose ends I have to tie up before I can train someone. When in life, ministry, work or leadership are all the loose ends tied up. This is just an excuse.

What if they don’t want to do it. Let them say no then. This also comes from a leader who has not cast a vision that is compelling. When someone knows that what they do is important, that it adds value, they will put up chairs, pick up trash, anything to be a part of the vision that is going somewhere and helping people.

They are too busy. If they are too busy, let them tell you, don’t just assume they are too busy or don’t want to do it. If they don’t want to do it, let them say no, but by not asking them, by not giving them the opportunity to say no, you are also not giving them the opportunity to say yes.

All of these are often true, but they are also deceptive lies.

Think about your life as a leader, at some point someone tapped you on the shoulder and raised you up as a leader. You are leading because someone gave you responsibility and let you use your gifts. As a leader, we get to do this, we don’t have to, we get to.