Archives For Leadership

Von MillerWhat makes you a successful leader today will not keep you a successful leader tomorrow.  The world is evolving too quickly.  Because of technology and the availability of information, things are changing too fast.  The old saying is more true than ever – you will either make dust or eat dust.

Though they have been eliminated from the NFL play-offs, 2nd-year Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller was arguably the finest defensive player in the NFL this past season.  In a recent profile in the January 14th edition of Sports Illustrated, writer Jim Trotter gives us a glimpse into how Miller improved dramatically from his rookie season until now.

The following are 10 habits that highly of continually improving leaders:

  • Continually Improving Leaders Have A Strong Work Ethic – Leaders who continually improve work very hard.  They never rest on their laurels.  During the offseason, Miller trained at Velocity Sports Performance in Irvine, CA.
  • Continually Improving Leaders Continually Get Smarter – Miller knows that the day will come when he can no longer rely on just his physical talent alone.  He is working hard to learn the mental aspects of the game so when the time comes, he can get by on his guile.
  • Continually Improving Leaders Continually Upgrade Their Skills – Miller…

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PlantsWill settled pastors of the future need to have the personal qualities of a church planter, the unique abilities of a turnaround expert and the specialized skills of an intentional interim pastor?

If the trends currently changing the face of American culture continue – and they seem to be accelerating – the settled pastor of the future won’t be “settled” and neither will the church. We’ve already entered into a period of churning cultural turbulence that is redefining the American church; mainline denominations face imminent extinction and evangelicalism is being transformed into something wholly new.

Churches, denominations, Bible colleges and seminaries will need to furnish our future pastors with precisely tailored skills that go far beyond exegesis and homiletics. Our future pastors will need to be trained to think like a church planter and mentored to operate like a turnaround specialist.

Fortunately, there is solid research to point us in the right direction.

The church planter

In the near future settled pastors will have to learn how to think like a church planter but without the headaches of raising support and funding a startup operation.

Charles Ridley, Professor at Indiana University and pioneer in church planting assessment, has…

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By Russ Rankin


“Pastors know they can’t take it with them when they die, but estate planning is really about good stewardship for your family,” said Warren Peek, president of the Southern Baptist Foundation. “Basic planning saves a lot of headaches and ensures that assets are not lost.”

According to the survey, pastors age 18-44 are the least likely to have durable power of attorney with health care directives (12 percent), a will (32 percent), or a living will (13 percent).

Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research, said the survey reveals an apparent lack of education and awareness about estate planning and accompanying laws, which may contribute to pastors not having a plan in place.

Nearly two-thirds of pastors surveyed agree with a statement that the court decides who will care for a child if the last parent dies without a will. Twenty percent disagree and 15 percent “don’t know.”

Regarding assets, the survey reveals a slight majority of pastors (52 percent) agree that if someone dies without a will, their family decides what is done with the assets of the deceased. Thirty-seven percent disagree and 11 percent “don’t know.”

“The fact is, in…

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mentorMinistry isn’t meant to be a solo endeavor. Unfortunately, for many pastors, it is. A 2011 LifeWay Research survey said half of pastors in the United States experience loneliness in ministry.

Lonely ministry contradicts how God wired the universe. We need each other. You’ll find the phrase “one another” 58 times in the New Testament. We’re to love one another, care for one another, pray for one another, etc. Those references aren’t just for lay people. All of us — especially those in ministry — need other people to help us do what God called us to do.

Remember, even the Lone Ranger had Tonto! You weren’t meant to do ministry on your own. I wouldn’t be where I am in ministry without the help of others. For example, mentors have played an incredibly important role in my life. When I first moved to Orange County 33 years ago, Ray Ortland — from nearby Mariners Church — played a crucial role in my life. There were other mentors in my life before that.

And I’ve been able to mentor many young pastors during my ministry. In fact, mentoring is a driving…

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At MAG Bookkeeping, we see churches up close & personal. Sometimes what we see isn’t pretty. We also see the organized and tidy churches too.

Below are seven church-finance chores that we see … are commonly overlooked by church leaders … tied to managing/controlling your finances.

  1. Re-read your lease or rental agreement. Are you paying more than you should? Do you know the terms of your lease/rent?
  2. Know your employer-related requirements tied to benefits? Do you have an HR professional to help you guide this effort? Negotiating health insurance and other insurances are just one of many benefits of working with a knowledgeable HR professional.
  3. Review your insurance(s). Check your deductibles. Can you raise them to save some cost? How many policies are you carrying? For what?
  4. Check your service payments. Are you using that membership like you did before? Go through your monthly bills and cancel services you don’t need or use any more.
  5. Read credit card Agreements. Call customer service and get a better rate. If they don’t … cancel. Great rates are out there with minimal effort. You can save tons of money doing this – especially if you carry a balance.
  6. Consolidate…

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Each year, after the craziness of Christmas has passed, I like to take time to think through and pray about the things that God wants for me in 2013. Whether you call them resolutions or goals, there’s value in taking time to proactively commit yourself to becoming the pastor and leader that God has created you to be.

While your church members are making hundreds of different resolutions, there were seven fundamental commitments that I hope every pastor would make for 2013:

  • Inspire courage — Your church members could do incredible things in 2013, more incredible than you could ever imagine. It’s our responsibility as leaders to inspire them to take action. Will you inspire your church members to be courageous and accomplish amazing things next year?
  • Diversify your network — This is a topic I care a lot about. My hope is that you would take time this upcoming year to learn from leaders who are different than you. Trust me, you won’t regret taking the steps to diversify your network and learn from other leaders in your church.
  • Help the next generation — As leaders, I believe we’re mandated to invest in the next generation. Whether you’re…

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LatheOne of the greatest blessings in churches today and throughout history is the number of men and women who gladly and often sacrificially give of their time and energy to do ministry in local congregations. Indeed, churches across the world would not function as they do without the giving spirit of these lay volunteers. Paid staff alone are not sufficient to do all the work of ministry in any church.

Simultaneously, one of the greatest challenges for leaders in churches today is the recruiting and retention of these lay volunteers. Indeed I have had several conversations with church leaders who have seen significant successes and blessings with the mobilization of laity in their churches. I am particularly grateful for the insights given to me by Jess Rainer of Grace Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee, and Eric Geiger, who recently served at Christ Fellowship in Miami.

These two men, as well as several other church leaders, shared similar stories about their challenges and victories in lay mobilization. In this post, I share with you six insights I gleaned from several leaders who have been successful in recruiting and retaining lay volunteers.

  1. Training is critical. In one of…

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DashboardThe advances of technology have been amazing over the last ten to fifteen years.  This progress can be seen every day when you drive your vehicle.  The options now available on the steering wheel and dashboard of a car are amazing.  They used to only include; speedometer, odometer, water temperature, oil pressure, and a gas gauge.  Today you can answer your phone, manage the stereo, and set your cruise control from the buttons on your steering wheel.  The dashboard has a computer that can tell you when you have a low tire and when you need an oil change.  It can even calculate your fuel range, average fuel economy, and much more.

Even though these accessories are nice and make things much easier for us, the standard speedometer, odometer, gas gauge, etc, is still there.  These gauges or warning lights tell us how well the vehicle is running.  While it is very easy to become fascinated with all of the new bells and whistles you must keep your eyes on the gauges that matter.  Music can make a long trip far more enjoyable, and cruise control is awesome, but those advancements do not ensure…

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Cutting BackIn consulting with nonprofit organizations around the world, our team at Cooke Pictures has discovered that the most successful are deep, not wide.  In other words, they know how to focus on one big thing, instead of trying to do many things badly.  In this video I talk about why it matters, and how being lean and mean can make a huge difference.  If you know a leader of a bloated or ineffective organization, make sure he or she sees this:

Purchase: One Big Thing

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The church is the hope of the world. As church leaders we have the responsibility of communicating the greatest message known to mankind; the only message capable of changing a person’s entire eternity.

The weight of that responsibility is both profound and incredible. It moves us to action and demands that we communicate it well.

Yet oftentimes, churches have a difficult time communicating this message because they don’t understand the basics of church marketing and communications.

Think about it … Is your church clear on who they are and where they are going? Does your church use social media to nurture and grow relationships? Has your church spent unhurried time developing a brand that resonates with people in your church and community? Does your website accurately communicate the uniqueness of your church? Have you evaluated and observed what guests experience on a Sunday morning? Does your community even know you exist?

These things may not seem significant, but they are critical. In fact, they are essential.

At Sayge, we have spent years researching and identifying the 12 Essentials to Church Communications and have developed a resource that equips Church…

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For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2 (NIV)

New Years ResolutionsHow are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? Have you already given up on them?

One of my friends made these resolutions to guarantee success —

  • I won’t lose ten pounds this year.
  • I commit to watching the Super Bowl this year.
  • I will listen to my iPod at least four days a week.

There is one guy who I suspect played for keeps when he made New Year’s resolutions. You know him, the zealot who could never do anything half-way, the let’s-get-real-about-our-faith Apostle Paul.

My thought is Paul only had one resolution on his list New Year’s list – ‘This year I resolve to know nothing but Christ and him crucified.’ (1 Corinthians 2:2)

Paul’s message is radically simple: Salvation is in Christ alone.

  • It’s not Christ plus your call to ministry.
  • It’s not Christ plus your theological education.
  • It’s not Christ plus the size of your congregation.
  • It’s not Christ plus your powerful preaching.
  • It’s not Christ plus how many you lead to Jesus.
  • It’s not Christ plus your years of sacrifice.
  • It’s not Christ…

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What is success? Most people define it in one of three ways:

  • How many possessions do you own?
  • How much power do you wield over others?
  • How much prestige do you have among peers?

American Christians tend to blend right in. We even apply these standards to churches and church leaders. Which church has the biggest budget, the nicest building, or the largest weekend attendance? There’s nothing wrong with any of those things – money is good, influence is invaluable, and popularity is something God can use in huge ways. And we certainly need churches to grow exponentially in a world as lost as ours. The problem is, none of those factor into God’s viewpoint on success.

Jesus gathered a handful of followers in His lifetime, didn’t have a place of His own, and was despised and rejected by the social elite of his community. But He was most definitely successful. In fact, He was so successful that He could come to the end of His life and confidently proclaim…

I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.

– John…

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