Maintenance vs. Mission

Jennifer Thomas, an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Vice President of Missouri Faith Voices, recently blogged about the challenges pastors face when seeking to help congregations transition from a maintenance mentality to one focused on mission.  Regrettably, seminary didn’t prepare me for the backlash I would receive as a missional leader in a congregation. Some folks prefer a maintenance model of ministry, where the pastor is called primarily to care for Read More …

Successful People

Eric Barker, the founder of the Barking Up The Wrong Tree blog, recently shared what he believes the world's most successful people have in common.  He suggests that we can become like them if we: Stay Busy Just Say No Know What You Are Build Networks Create Good Luck Have Grit Make Awesome Mistakes Find Mentors. So What? I love this list!  I would not argue that a single item should be removed. I do, however, think that some organizations (including churches and other Read More …

Starting Well

On his first day as the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella sent an e-mail to all employees that asked and answered several key questions: Who am I? Why am I here? Why are we here? What do we do next? So What? Starting well is essential whether leading a multi-billion dollar business, a congregation, or a team/group/committee.   Nadella's questions are ones that church leaders need to address.  While doing so on the first day of a new position may not always be possible, doing so Read More …

Effective Church Leaders

Justin Lathrop - founder of Helpstaff.me (now Vanderbloemen Search), Oaks School of Leadership, and MinistryCoach.tv - recently shared a top ten list of characteristics of effective church leaders that was created by Hillsong Church for its staff members.  That list includes: being a can-do person, delegating but never dumping, having an attractive spirituality, serving with gladness, and empowering others. So What? Expectations matter.  When your nominating team/committee Read More …

Benefits of Church Task Forces

In addition to standing Boards and Committees, many congregations form task forces or other temporary working groups to manage specific projects.  Jenni Catron, Executive Director of Cross Point Church (Nashville, TN), recently shared a list of some of the positive outcomes of these temporary teams.  Her list includes: the hierarchy is flattened, new relationships are formed, and great leaders emerge. So What? While Boards and Committees have important roles to play in the life of Read More …

One Man’s Greener Grass

Jason Savage's recent explanation of his decision to leave parish based ministry is an excellent example of the-grass-is-always-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-fence thinking. Savage is concerned by a decades long trend in the church toward what he calls "professionalism," a broad term that seems to include everything from leveraging the best marketing and management practices from the wider non-profit and for-profit world to accepting the evolving demands of leadership and roles of Read More …

Leadership Archetypes

Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, Distinguished Professor of Leadership Development and Organizational Change at INSEAD, recently shared his eight leadership archetypes on the Harvard Business Review blog. The strategist: leadership as a game of chess. The change-catalyst: leadership as a turnaround activity. The transactor: leadership as deal making. The builder: leadership as an entrepreneurial activity. The innovator: leadership as creative idea generation. The processor: leadership Read More …

Doing Things a New Way

Brian Dodd works for the Rocket Company, an organization committed to helping churches increase weekly giving and pastors preach better sermons.  Recently, he listed 15 reasons why people don't need to do things the way they have always been done (based on a video featuring Kevin Kelley of the Pulaski Academy).  Included on the list are I've done my research, I am continually learning, the current situation calls for something different, I think differently than others, and I asked Read More …

Becoming an Intergenerational Church

Scott Cochrane recently shared how Bill Hybels responded to a question about how congregations can become more intergenerational. Hybels',  Founder and Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, answer focused on intention.  Congregations that seek to value the intergenerational dynamic must create structures that affirm persons from all age cohorts, including selecting them for leadership positions. So What? Becoming more intergenerational doesn't happen overnight, and won't work Read More …

Leaders Let Go

Scott Williams, author of Church Diversity: Sunday the Most Segregated Day of the Week (2011 – read my review here) and leadership guru, recently shared an important leadership truth: "If you want to be a leader, you must learn to let go." So What? Williams rightly recognizes how frustrating it can be when someone in a leadership position is unable and/or unwilling to let go of things (e.g., details, leading to micromanaging behavior) or of people.  Real leaders know when it is time to Read More …