Archives For Leadership

GrowthThe discipleship process at Saddleback Church is based on the belief that if we focus on building people, God will build the church. Through a study of how Jesus helped people grow spiritually, Rick Warren developed these eight laws for spiritual growth.

Spiritual growth is intentional.

Spiritual growth is not accidental. You must intend to grow; you must make a choice to grow.

This means that we grow by making commitments. People in churches are at one of six levels of commitment: community, crowd, congregation, committed, core, or commissioned.

The community is anyone within driving distance of Saddleback Church. There is no commitment at the community level.

We want to get the community to come to a weekend service; we want to move them from the community the crowd. What’s required to be in the crowd? One commitment: show up at church. Next, we want to move people from being an attender of the church to being a member of the church — from the crowd to the congregation. At Saddleback, you do this by coming to know Jesus as your Savior, being baptized, attending our membership seminar (CLASS 101), and signing the membership covenant.

Then people…

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Dirt Matters, Jim PowellA few years ago a local church sought my advice in reversing their decline in attendance. As our conversation unfolded, I noticed all of their questions were programmatic ones—What kind of music does your church play? What do you wear on Sundays? How do you present announcements? Do you serve coffee and donuts?

All this church seemed to be looking for was the right superficial tweak or change in methodology that would attract people. They wanted a silver bullet…and there is no silver bullet

While methods can make a difference in contextualizing the Gospel for this generation, programmatic changes alone are not going to turn a church around and move it forward. When a church is in decline, the problem has a much deeper root. So, I told that church what I’m about to tell you…what really needs to be addressed is not a program, a method, or a ministry, but the church’s culture.

Culture is the somewhat nebulous and complex blend of norms, beliefs, attitudes, traditions, and practices that define a congregation. Every church has a culture, and though it can be tough to grasp, it has a tremendous…

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Saddleback Church Staff

The success of your ministry depends largely on developing a strong team with a deep sense of team spirit. I’ve witnessed the incredible power of a unified team to create growth and have counseled many churches who weren’t growing because their team members worked as individuals and not as a team.

A team spirit is never accidental; it is always intentional. Teamwork is built on three factors:

  • a compelling purpose,
  • crystal clear communication,
  • and a code of commonly held values.

At Saddleback Church, we express the eight values of teamwork in a simple acrostic, T.E.A.M.W.O.R.K.:

T – Trust

Trust among your team is the emotional glue that binds them together; it’s essential to producing true confidence in each other. There are three factors that create trust within a team:

  1. Consistency – People will trust you if, time after time, they see you responding in a consistent and reasonable manner. You also need to be readable, in the sense that they need to know where you are coming from in your decisions and responses.
  2. Loyalty – Defend members of your team when they’re criticized and then check the facts later in private, always assuming the best until there is…

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Work ToolsChurch members and the American public have various perceptions about ministers. Some believe that ministers are not hard workers. Those of us who serve in local churches hear people say: “You guys only work one day a week!”

Ministers have challenging jobs. In many ways, ministers are never truly away from the office. Technology has only raised the intensity of their never-ending job. Weddings, funerals, emergencies, and responsibilities on Sundays prevent ministers from having weekends. Yet, with these realities and many more that I did not list, ministers should never be excused from working hard.

Three reasons why I believe ministers should be hard workers:

1. The Bible Charges Ministers to Work Hard

When Paul was instructing Timothy on the life of being a minister, he talks about the minister being like a soldier, an athlete, and a hardworking farmer. (2 Timothy 2) Unquestionably, we must be equipped like soldiers for the battles of ministry and persevere like athletes as we lead people, but we must also be like a hardworking farmer who works until he sees the harvest.

Humbly, ministers should be known to be hard workers. We cannot claim to be spiritual men if we…

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Skinny jeans and a tattoo does not make you a leader!” – Christine Caine from Catalyst ’14

As a member of INJOY Stewardship Solutions, I have the privilege of attending some of the greatest Christian conferences possible. During the second half of 2014, several events among others stood out.

Therefore, I am proud to announce my latest Ebook  Skinny Jeans And A Tattoo Does Not Make You A Leader And 999 More Leadership Quotes: Wise Words & Timeless Truths From The 2014 Double, Global Leadership Summit and Catalyst Conferences (and more) is FREE with a subscription to this website.

Here are just some of the events you will learn from:

  • Double ’14 took place at NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC. Put on by the NewSpring staff, this amazing event was designed to help churches double in attendance.
  • Global Leadership Summit is the Willow Creek Association’s annual convergence of Christian and business leaders.
  • Catalyst ‘14 had a different feel this year. The content was much more geared to Next Generation Christian leaders. An extra day of Lab sessions are included in the content.

These and other events featured many incredible…

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CriticismOne of the grim realities of being a pastor is that you will experience criticism. I have known many pastors through the years, and each one has undergone criticism. Criticism is inescapable in the life of a pastor.

Few things challenge a pastor more than criticism. Personally, there have been times when criticism has absolutely devastated me. It is especially difficult to receive when given by someone you respect deeply or by someone who has completely misunderstood a situation. Criticism can sideline or paralyze a leader, or it can help a leader be better in the future. I have personally experienced each of these situations.

Without question, many times criticism is unfair; at other times, it is right on, with 100% accuracy! So, how should a Pastor respond to criticism?

1. Receive it.

When someone criticizes you as a pastor, receive it. In fact, receive it with grace, not letting your body language demonstrate defensiveness or disapproval. Assure the person criticizing you that you will receive what they say, consider it, pray about it, and determine the direction God wants you to go in the future.

2. Learn from it.

Criticism can be a great teacher. Pastors…

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StuckIf you have a broken relationship, I hope today’s post encourages you.

I was certain that God was leading me to start a different kind of church across town. My pastor was certain that God would never lead me to do such a thing. I was devastated that he wouldn’t support me. He was devastated that I would risk hurting the church he pastored. After serving together for 12 years and despite being best friends, our relationship completely severed and we wouldn’t talk to one another for years to come.

Years later we reconciled and I interviewed my “friend again”. (I ask the questions and he provides the answers.) I shared some more of this story in my new book STUCK When You Want to Forgive but Don’t Know How.

Warning: Reconciliation may not be appropriate for you if your offender is abusive and reconciling would cause further injury, if your offender does not want to reconcile, or if your offender is unrepentant. It only takes one person to forgive, but it takes two people to reconcile.

I was not only your Associate Pastor for twelve years, but we were pretty close friends weren’t we?

“We…

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Fruitfulness

Most people are interested in productivity. But the Bible doesn’t use the word “productivity;” instead, you’ll find there the word “fruitfulness.”

God wants us to have fruitful ministries, so I want to show you some principles that will produce a godly fruitfulness in your life. I believe there are four conditions that are essential for a fruitful ministry.

First, you must cultivate roots.

God says there’s no fruit without roots. You need roots particularly when your resources are limited, for when times of drought come along.

Drought, as you know, is a long period without rain. We had one here in California that lasted seven years!

A drought in your life is whenever you have to do without something you need, perhaps time, energy, money or support. There will be times of drought in your ministry; perhaps you’re even in one now.

Second, you must eliminate the weeds in your life and ministry.

The weeds in your ministry, and in your life, are any things that hinder or limit your spiritual growth. Weeds are the things that choke your relationship to Christ or that prevent you from further growth.

How much effort does it take to grow weeds? None at all!

You…

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Pillars

Trust is a fragile.  Trust is the foundation of all healthy relationships.  Trust takes a lifetime to build but can be lost at a moment in time.  You cannot grow a church without trust.

When you talk about trust or distrust with pastors and church leaders, it almost always falls into two categories – sex and money.  And while there has been some very public failures in these areas, I would submit to you these are not the areas most church members distrust their church leadership.

After countless conversations and almost three decades of personal leadership experience, I would submit the two areas where pastors and church leaders are least trusted by their congregations are…..Competence and Execution.

  • Competence is defined as “the ability to do something successfully or efficiently.”
  • Execution is defined as “the carrying out or putting into effect a plan or course of action.”

Trust is most often lost not in whether the pastor or church leader is a good person, has the fruit of the Spirit, is Godly, has high moral character or whether you personally like them or not.

Trust is lost because of broken promises, continual missed expectations, empty high-church rhetoric, lack of movement,…

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GuiltI think all pastors live with low-grade guilt. I know I do. I’ve searched in vain for a fellow pastor who has written on this sort of thing. So, I figured I’d take a swing at it.

I have low-grade guilt because I want to always be there for all people—especially all the people in the church I pastor. But I can’t. I want to attend every event, reply to every e-mail, return every call, visit every hospital, do every funeral, officiate every wedding, counsel all who struggle, meet with all who want to meet… but I can’t. Funny thing is, no one is pressuring me to do so (okay, maybe a few). It’s almost purely self-inflicted guilt.

Of course, I’ve encountered some who don’t understand. I received a letter a while back from a couple who let me know in no uncertain terms that I was an “unapproachable pastor” that was hurting the church. So they were bidding Grace adieu and moving on to find another church home where they could have a relationship with the senior pastor. Then there was the guy who cornered me after a service, basically…

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Editor’s Note: The following is a testimony about Centerpoint Church, where Dane Aakers is Lead Pastor. They’ve managed to add new services and then add more new services, and it’s working!

Centerpoint ChurchCenterpoint was founded in 1887 and had averaged about 125-150 attenders for over 30 years. The church had been through many pastors, much conflict, and several splits. I came to pastor the church in 1985 after a major church split which left the church with an average attendance of 89.

Slowly the church grew to about 150 in attendance but we just couldn’t seem to get through the 200 barrier. In 1989 15 leaders went to a conference on prayer sponsored by the Fuller Institute of Church Growth. When we came home we met in the living room of my house to pray for our church to reach people for Christ. My wife, Karen, prayed, “God, take us through the 200 barrier like a space shuttle through a rubber band.”

Sunday morning, two weeks later, I went down to the church at 6 a.m. to pray for our worship service. When I walked into the sanctuary the presence of God was…

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Breaking PointWhat does it mean when you find yourself saying or thinking—”I cannot take this anymore?”

All of us have been there, yet these words do not mean the same thing to everyone. People reach their breaking point in different ways and if you dig deep enough, you will discover how stress plays an important role in getting us to our breaking point.  Stress is a part of life. If you do not have any stress in your life, I would like to suggest that you are probably dead.

We all need a certain amount of stress in our lives to accomplish any thing. Stress is what gives you the energy, effort, and ability to actually accomplish things. We all know that too much stress is bad for you. Sometimes you are stressed to the breaking point. You are stressed to the point you feel like, “I am ready to pop. I am going to explode. I am going to fall apart.”

Fortunately for us, The Apostle Paul was familiar with stress and he writes about it in 2 Corinthians 1:8:

I think you ought to know about the troubles we went through. We…

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