Rabu, 16 November 2016

8 Things I Wouldn’t Do Again if Planting Another Church

8 Things I Wouldn’t Do Again if Planting Another Church

If you are planting now—or in the future—I hope these are helpful.
8 Things I Wouldn’t Do Again if Planting Another Church
have been involved in church planting for most of my ministry career—whether as a planter or as a supporter of planting. I love the process of planting. I love the energy and the enthusiasm a new church brings to a community.
Having planted two churches, I’ve learned a few things. Some of the things I’ve learned are things I wouldn’t do again if were were planting another church.
If you are planting now—or in the future—I hope these are helpful.

Here are eight things I wouldn’t do again if planting a church:

Limit God’s vision.
In our first plant, we started as a church to reach one section of town. As we grew, God seemed to lead us to a different target geographically. In our second plant, we started in one location, relocated, then ended up in two different locations—in each move reaching entirely different segments of our community. God continued to refine and shape our path as a church. Who we were a few years in was not necessarily who we thought we would be as a church.
Fail to challenge people to grow in their walk with Christ.
I don’t know that we shied away from this—it certainly was our heart and our vision to make disciples, but in the early days, we were very conscious of reaching the lost. I wouldn’t change that either—and I’m still trying. Reflecting back, however, we may not have been as bold as I wish we had been in challenging people to grow. In addition to growing in weekly attendance, people need to grow individually. It wasn’t enough to know Jesus—we needed to strive to be like Him—even when it involved change in them and their daily lives.
Shy away from talking about money.
So many people think all a church does is talk about money. We attempted to avoid this stigma from day one. We concentrated more on serving than we did giving. (And, both are needed.) In the process, we neglected to develop our core givers those first couple of years, we put ministries on hold we should be pursuing, and we robbed people of the opportunity to become generous givers and consequently to feel the reward of trusting God completely.
Resist leaders from other churches.
We wanted to plant a church for nonbelievers, but we needed leadership to be successful. When leaders from other churches came, however, we were hesitant to plug them in for fear we would be seen negatively by other churches. In the process, we missed out on quality leadership and we denied people the right to follow their own heart.
Expect everyone to be as committed a few years into the plant.
The fact is, life changes. Some people are starters and some are finishers. Some of the original people will grow bored with things as they are and/or they may even disagree with some of the directions the church plant goes. Some will become overwhelmed, tired or simply feel led elsewhere. They had a great impact in our beginning, but they sought opportunities elsewhere in later years—and it’s OK. Be thankful for the investment they made in the beginning.
Worry about the external critics.
In both plants, it seemed our biggest critics were from other churches in the area. They didn’t agree with our style of worship, our teaching (which we tried to make very biblical), or even the need for us to exist. I let it bother me too much the first couple years. Then I had a wise planter give me some advice. I still hold on to it today for other applications. He said, “Ron, seek your affirmation among the people God sent you to minister to.” The people we were reaching with the church plant—the hurting, lost, wanderers—were so thankful we had obeyed God to plant. The more I focused on them, the greater sense of accomplishment I felt in my obedience to God.
Wait long to reproduce.
We were five years old when we launched our second campus. I see churches do this in their second full year. There are so many in our city who need hope. Taking a risk on my own comes easy, but sometimes I’m too careful when representing God—as if He can’t handle something so large. When God leads, I want to move quickly. We saw several opportunities to launch other locations we passed on because we didn’t feel “ready.” I’m not sure we ever would have been.
Delay the need to add structure.
We were a church plant. We were often escaping the structure and traditions which keep so many churches from growing and reaching outsiders. But, with growth can quickly come chaos without some carefully planned policies and procedures. You want to add smart structure—and always want to be open to frequent and even constant change, but even church plants need a few systems to guide the organization. And, the best way to do this may be to find people to help you do it. With a background in business I was a natural to do this, but I hated the management part of it—so we didn’t do it as well as it could be done. We were running well over 1,000 before we hired someone as an administrator. We should have done this earlier. If a church is 400 or 500 hundred in attendance, this becomes a full-time job. If the plant is smaller—recruit part-time help or even volunteers.
Have you ever been part of a church plant? Anything you could share with us?
Ron Edmondson
Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping church grow vocationally for over 10 years.

How to Get the Missional Ball Rolling

How to Get the Missional Ball Rolling

Without looking like you’re just pursuing a new ministry fad, how do you get started?
How to Get the Missional Ball Rolling
So, you want to become more intentionally missional.
You’ve heard the stories of amazing missional endeavors, and the incredible fruit they’ve seen. You want to be more intentionally incarnational. You’ve read books, watched videos online, scrolled through websites and tweets, and you get it. You’re ready. You’re pumped/jazzed/motivated.
But like any leader, you want your whole group to jump onboard with you. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing with the whole church, right?
Amen and amen. But without looking like you’re just pursuing a new ministry fad, how do you get the ball rolling?
1. Define your terms carefully and with pith.
In other words, make them clearly understood, and easy to remember.
Terms like “incarnational,” for example. There are some theologically-awkward nuances when using this word to describe the ministry of Joe Average or Jane Anybody. To be completely accurate, we are incapable of being incarnational in the same sense that Jesus was. We are not Deity taking on human form. We are ambassadors of Jesus (as Paul says in Romans), but we are not literally an incarnation of Him.
Some people honestly do find the use of incarnational questionable and off-putting. Don’t argue with them. Concede the point, agree that the word is theologically imprecise at best, and instead point out how the intent of the word’s usage is very biblical. In a “what would Jesus do” sense, the concept of being incarnational fits. Just as Jesus “moved into the neighborhood” (as Eugene Peterson brilliantly translates John 1:14 in The Message), we are also called to be in the marketplace. We need to fully be a part of the culture around us.
Another word that gets a lot of press, but is not always clearly defined, is the term missional. For many people, missional has become unequally yoked to the phrase: “preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words.” Like the use of incarnational, the intent behind this sentiment is a good one: we need to get outside the four walls of the church and serve our communities, particularly the “least of these my brethren.”
Unfortunately, this has often resulted in a lot of Christians doing much-needed acts of service for the poor and disadvantaged in their cities, but not a lot of actual sharing of the Gospel message of redemption. As Joe Aldrich wrote in Lifestyle Evangelism, they “have an audience but not a message.”
Missional is NOT:
  • Acts of service done for their own sake alone
  • Acts of service in order to ram the gospel down someone’s throat
  • Acts of service done as the Gospel
Missional IS:
  • Joining Jesus “on mission”—when He performed miracles or cast out demons, Jesus preached and taught the people as well (both/and)
  • Acts of service based in compassion for others (and true Christian compassion will include issues of eternity)
  • Acts of service based in compassion, assuming that at some point, our Jesus-story can’t help but leak out
2. Take your church’s current “missional pulse” before assuming anything else.
For example, do you already have people in your church whose careers are “missional” in the sense of serving the “least of these”? Social workers, crisis foster parents, or any of the “care-giving” professions, as well as people who are already volunteering somewhere outside of church (soup kitchen, homeless shelter, crisis pregnancy center, etc.).
Many churches don’t take these people into account when they assess their missionality (is that even a word?). Many of your “care-giving” professionals and volunteers have very different needs and challenges than those who aren’t in more “missional” vocations. They actually do need “to be fed and refreshed”—it’s not just an excuse to avoid get involved in any church-based missional initiatives! If we fail to provide for these legitimate spiritual needs, we may drive away some of our most missional people.
3. Does your current leadership workload (including volunteers serving as elders, deacons, youth leaders, children’s ministry, etc.) allow for an added level of missional participation?
By this, I am simply asking whether or not adding yet another level of expectations is realistic. We all agree that healthy life balance is of vital importance for Christians. The concept of a Sabbath rest is not just an Old Testament rule; it’s an important rhythm of life that God has built into us. For example:
The average person works at least 40 hours per week; if they serve at church as an elder, youth leader, worship team member etc., then you can tack on an additional three hours.
If they’re involved in a home group—and most churches recognize and rightfully recommend the importance of smaller group fellowship for spiritual growth and accountability—then add another two or three hours. We are now at a minimum of 46-48 hours of commitment. Not counting the actual church worship service(s). Let’s round that number up to 50 hours per week.
Advocating a missional component might end up feeling like yet another level of expectations being placed on people. (And takes yet another night of the week away from their kids, who haven’t been tucked in at night by both parents for as long as they can remember.)
Unless, of course, instead of adding another level of involvement by trying to be more missional, you help people transition in their thinking, to creatively envision ways for each of these already-existing ministries to develop a missional outlook.
4. Not everyone will be at the same place—in a spiritual maturity sense—at the same time (another blazing insight into the obvious, eh?).
The beauty of church-based missional initiatives is that there is an in-house opportunity that any interested people can join whenever they catch the vision for it. These initiatives can also result in deeper friendships as people discover the joys, trials and triumphs of serving together.
The (potential) down-side of church-based missional initiatives is two-fold:
(A) The missional project could easily become just anther layer of attractional ministry, except that instead of being invited to a church service, newcomers are invited to a service that the church provides (a great example would be a coffee-shop run by the church—perhaps even in the church building). An additional concern would be the potential of such a coffee-shop so dominating the church’s vision (budgets, staffing, financial feasibility, etc.) that other “traditional” church functions (teaching, discipleship, fellowship, worship) are neglected.
(B) Being incarnational (in the functional sense, not the theological), means getting outside the four walls of the church and engaging the local community/culture. A church-run coffee-shop, especially if housed in the church building, could potentially function as another Christian enclave. (There are numerous instances where such coffee-shops were typically filled with a majority of Christian patrons, as well as the staff.)
The benefit of church-sponsored initiatives is that they can provide a perpetual entry point for missional ministry. And as long as the leaders keep revisiting what being incarnational and missional actually mean, these church-based initiatives can function as a great introduction to—but not the ultimate expression of—community engagement.
5. The ultimate goal is incarnational missional engagement; incarnational being defined as “coming alongside,” and missional being defined as “on mission with/of Jesus.”
Sometimes, that will be best served by teams of people from church joining together with a common ministry interest. Sometimes, that can mean church-based initiatives that impact the local parish community. And at other times, that could also mean coming alongside an existing opportunity (i.e., a homeless shelter), and serving both the clients of the shelter and the staff who work there 24/7.
The most organic and natural way to increase missional engagement in a church is through small groups. Small groups require less organizational structure in becoming missional—especially if they are coming alongside to support existing opportunities. And even within these small groups, it should be “normal” for individuals and smaller groups (two or three) to have a similar interest/burden, and for these micro-groups to pursue their own missional outlets.
Conclusion
Can you imagine? A church coffee-shop as a missional entry point for your parishioners. Multiple existing “secular” outreach opportunities in need of volunteers that your incarnational-missional-minded people can come alongside. Small groups seeking God for (and finding) their own unique missional expression. People from your church, whose vocations are missional, mentoring volunteers from your church.
One thing is for certain: In order to have maximum and sustainable participation in a missional church, leaders will have to embrace a multi-faceted and constantly-shifting vision of what that could look like.
Robby McAlpine
Robby McAlpine is a veteran pastor, worship leader, missionary, and writer. He is a regular contributor at ThinkTheology.org, and has written numerous books, including Detoxing from Church, Post-Charismatic 2.0: Rekindle the Smoldering Wick, and The Genesis Cafe: Conversations on the Kingdom. Robby and Wendy have been married for 29 years, and have three incredible kids: a social worker, a missionary, and a student. Visit Robby McAlpine at ThinkTheology.org

Introverted Pastors CAN Be Relational: 14 Totally Doable Steps

Introverted Pastors CAN Be Relational: 14 Totally Doable Steps

One of the most common complaints I hear from churches is how they wish their introverted Senior Pastors were friendlier and more approachable.
Introverted Pastors CAN Be Relational: 14 Totally Doable Steps
One of the most common complaints I hear from churches is how they wish their introverted Senior Pastors were friendlier and more approachable.
The good news is this can be very easily addressed, without Senior Pastors running themselves into the ground.
Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years to help introverted Senior Pastors practice being more relational:

1. Don’t focus on friendliness. Focus on displaying the fruit of the spirit.

Nowhere are we commanded to “be super friendly and outgoing” in scripture. But we are commanded to be joyful, peaceful, patient and kind. The former is an unrealistic expectation for anyone, introverted or extroverted. It is perception-based. Trying to play to people’s perceptions is a fool’s game. Focus instead on exuding the fruit of the spirit in every encounter you have.

2. “Many light touches, few deep touches.”

Years ago Steve Sjogren, former pastor of the Cincinnati Vineyard and author of Conspiracy of Kindness, told me the way he survived being a Senior Pastor in a thriving, chaotic church was to be strategic about how often he’d do a “deep dive” with a person. His goal was to physically shake hands and hug as many individuals as possible on Sunday morning. Then he limited the number of 30- to 90-minute intensely volatile emotional encounters he had with people during the week where they shared their problems.
By adopting a strategy like this, it clarifies what you’re trying to do with people. This also creates healthy boundaries for yourself. Probably the best advice I’ve ever learned from Andy Stanley is “Do for one what you wish you could do for all.” When we do that, eventually everyone feels the ripples of our love.

3. Smile when you preach.

The good news is that people can know their Pastor, even if they never actually meet their Pastor. Ninety percent of the kinds of complaints about “unfriendliness” we receive stem from how we come across when we preach. Believe me, most people don’t actually want to shake your hand and talk about last week’s game with you. Quite frankly they’re busy, or intimated, or see no real need.
What is important is the perception that you are approachable if they need to approach you in the future. So help them out and smile. Watch yourself on video with the sound off and count the number of frowns vs. the number of smiles. Be brutally honest with yourself. Then change your behavior.
I used to do this with a former worship pastor who never smiled. It just didn’t come naturally. I made him force himself to smile once during each song he led. After a while it became natural, and the friendly guy I knew off stage soon became the friendly guy everyone else knew on stage.

4. Have someone quiz you on people’s names.

Up until we reached 2,000 people in our church I had a staff member bring pictures of people in our church to our staff meetings and quiz us each week. This is incredibly helpful  in the 200, 400, 600 and 800 range.
Now I focus on memorizing certain segments of people in the congregation. Knowing someone’s name is the clearest sign that you care. It’s certainly better than calling people, “Hey youuuuu…”

5. Make sure you have one pastor to every 100-150 congregants (even if they are volunteers).

The day I changed my staff members’ titles from “Director of” to “Pastor of,” any complaints about my unfriendliness virtually went away.
Years ago I was sharing with a retired pastor friend of mine the unrealistic pastoral care and relational pressures being placed on me. He wisely responded, “It could be because you’re the only person with the title ‘Pastor’ in the church.” We were young. Staff were being created within the church and had little theological education (theological education is a huge deal for me). But they were pastors, and the moment I called them such (and accelerated their theological training) things changed overnight.
People need someone “official” they can turn to, and if you don’t have a 1 pastor to 100-150 congregants ratio, you’ll feel the effects. There are certain universal truths about the way congregations work, and this is one of them.

6. Publicize where you’ll be after services, and be there to greet people, every week.

The people in the church I serve know that after each service I stand at the back of the room until the last person leaves. My goal is to be available to have a word with anyone that would like to do so.
When individuals come up and start crying because of a heavy burden, I immediately invite them to speak with our prayer team a mere 20 yards away. For those that “must” talk to a pastor, I have a male and female pastor (or trained volunteers) on stand-by for all such situations, again, a mere 20 yards away.
I would suggest you have a similar set up for your people. Having a male and female pastor as well as a prayer team available frees me up to meet new people and connect with regular attendees. Without this I would inevitably be drawn into a single conversation that makes the other 15 people waiting to say hello eventually leave.

7. Open emails with “Hi _____” and end them with “Your friend, ______.”

You’d be surprised how blunt you can be in an email. It’s hard to gauge emotion through short, written communication. That’s just a fact. So as Senior Pastors we need to be strategic about the way we communicate. I always open the emails I send by writing “Hi” before I type the person’s name. That may seem insignificant, but trust me it helps. I know how I feel when I receive an email that is addressed “Hi Brian” vs. “Brian,” and so I’ve always wanted to respond in kind.
My friend Rick Stedman always ends his emails by typing “Your friend, Rick.” I occasionally do that, but that seems forced to me unless the situation is right. I have been doing it more and more, though. Rick would say he wants to be everyone’s friend, and he genuinely means it, so why not go ahead and say it? Good point.

8. Send one handwritten note a day.

Go to Overnightprints.com and order a cheap set of personally designed cards so you can hand write one note to someone every day. Few people send hand-written notes anymore, so it touches people when you send one.
My rule of thumb is whenever I feel thankful for someone, or blessed by their ministry, I want to let them know it. Ever been to a funeral and heard all these beautiful things people thought about a person, but you wonder if they ever actually shared those feelings with the person while they were alive? I don’t want to go to the grave with unexpressed gratitude in my heart. I want people that have blessed my life to know it immediately.

9. Tell three personal stories in your sermons.

While describing his Senior Pastor’s preaching, a congregant recently said, “He spoke for 45 minutes, and 99 percent of it was the Bible.” Preaching is simply truth expressed through personality.
If all you do is quote and explain scripture, people might as well read a chapter of a Bible commentary. People want to know you, so let them get to know you! Be personable from the stage by being transparent. Make fun of yourself.
I tell the Senior Pastors that I coach to tell an opening story, closing story, and one or two good stories in between. Help people feel like they know you from the stage, and the pressure will be off to get to know you personally.

10. Always give people “a look, a touch and a word.”

Robert Schuller (before he got all weird and self-helpy), was a dynamite church planter. One of the best pieces of advice he ever shared with Senior Pastors was this: Whenever you encounter people do three things: Give them a look (look them in the eye), give them a touch (a handshake or appropriate hug) and give them a word (say something encouraging to them). That’s magnificent advice for any pastor, let alone introverts. Looking someone in the eye, appropriately touching them and then sharing something encouraging with them is a powerful gift we can give people. And that’s my encouragement to you. Focus on giving people something—a feeling, or a confirmation of love or hope—instead of trying to change their perception of you. “Give and it shall be given to you.”

11. When you meet someone new, find out their F-O-R-M.

A friend of mine, Russell Johnson, a Senior Pastor I interned with years ago, always impressed me by how he was able to make a personal connection with every new person he met. He was never at a loss for words. When I asked him how he did it, he shared a simple formula he follows during every new encounter. He asks them about their F-O-R-M: Family, Occupation, Religion and Mission (what makes them tick). That’s such simple, easy-to-follow advice. One of the keys to being effective in ministry is mastering two-minute connections with the new people we meet. Using F-O-R-M as a conversation guide will make this task much easier.

12. Regularly tell your people how much you love them.

We should find a way each week to tell our people how much we love them, appreciate them, pray for them, root for them and are thrilled to be their Senior Pastor (even when we don’t feel like it). Being in ministry is like being in a marriage. We speak healthy relationships into existence.
If we focus on continually telling our people how we genuinely feel about them (or want to feel about them), they will internalize that. I do this in my weekly “Behind the Scenes with Brian” email that I send to the congregation, in sermons and in social media. But honestly, I don’t do it enough. I love the people that I serve, and I want them to know it, every week, just like I want my wife to know it, every day.

13. Adopt Jesus’ mental framework of ochloi and mathetai.

It’s clear that Jesus saw people in two distinct groups: There were the crowds (ochloi in Greek) that followed him everywhere, and then there were the disciples (mathetai in Greek). He spent time with both, but unevenly. To me, this is how I envision spending time with people on a weekly basis. On Sundays I’m with the hoi ochloi—I preach, pray and minister to every single person that I can. But when the service is over, I spend the rest of the week with hoi mathetai—throwing myself into my staff and key leaders.
Knowing that Jesus spent hours with the crowds but weeks with his disciples gives me a theological basis for how I structure my time. Having a theological framework ungird my relational interactions removes any hint of guilt from not “spending enough time with” congregants. It helps me say “no” or “sorry I can’t meet” much easier. Reserve Sundays for hoi ochloi and throw yourself into teaching, loving, healing and serving them. Then spend the rest of your time pouring into hoi mathetai (the roughly 10 percent of the staff/lay leaders in your church).

14. Finally, remember that “No one likes you as much as you think they do.”

The Senior Pastor of the church where I grew up used to tell people this all the time. Part of the reason we feel such a sting when we hear people complain about us is that we think, at our core, that people really like us. Like REALLY like us. The reality is they don’t like you as much as you think they do.
Knowing this lowers expectations. Once we realize this, it is freeing. It takes the wind out of the sail of our people pleasing tendencies. A sober self-perception frees us to focus on being vs. performing. It frees us even to be unfriendly at times toward people who, quite frankly, shouldn’t be coddled or placated.
Jesus certainly never focused on being liked “for being liked sake.” Neither should we. But we should always concentrate on being gracious. As my friend Avia, a missionary friend of mine in India, always tells me, “Brian, be bold, and kind.”
If you think another Pastor might be encouraged by this, please share this on the social media tabs below. Thanks!
Brian Jones
Brian Jones loves helping Christians live thoughtful, courageous lives. Brian is founding Senior Pastor of Christ’s Church of the Valley, a church of 2,000+ amazing people in the suburbs of Philadelphia. He is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Cincinnati Christian University (B.A.). He blogs at www.brianjones.com, but if you’re a Senior Pastor you might want to check out his website, Senior Pastor Central.

3 Kinds of People Who Fill Every Church

3 Kinds of People Who Fill Every Church

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There are three kinds of people in every church … and trying to please them all will leave you drained.
In Judson Edwards’ book The Leadership Labyrinth, he describes 21 paradoxes in ministry. He defines the “relationship paradox” in this way: The people who like you most will be the ones you try least to please. He writes that three kinds of people fill every church. Would you agree with assessment?
The three kinds of people in every church:
1. The energizers. Their presence makes us feel better, buoys our spirits and fills our tanks.
2. The regular folks. They may not buoy our spirits, but they don’t demoralize us, either. They make up the largest group.
3. The drainers. They sap our joy and can ruin our day.
The main difference between the energizers and the drainers are their expectations of us. The energizers don’t place great expectations on us. The drainers do.
We can never measure up to the drainers’ expectations. Either our preaching or counseling or leading or availability is not enough. These subtle unmet expectations may not be overt, but when we’re around these people, we feel their unspoken disapproval.
Edwards pens these profound words:
When our credo becomes “I am as you desire me,” we have lost the very thing that will enable us to minister effectively: our authenticity.
Edwards rounds out his thoughts with three insights into how Jesus responded to his drainers.
First, Jesus retreated from his drainers to refresh himself and seek God. He regularly sought renewal.
Second, Jesus balanced his drainers with his energizers.
Third, Jesus didn’t allow the drainers to deter him from his plan and purpose.
Although Jesus practiced a rhythm of renewal and time away from his drainers, he never got rid of them. He still had to contend with them, just as we pastors must do in our churches.
Not everyone liked Jesus. Not everyone will like us. But God’s grace gives us what we need to serve even the most draining drainers.
For an in-depth look at people pleasing in the church, consider my third book: People Pleasing Pastors: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Approval Motivated Leadership.
Charles Stone is the senior pastor of West Park Church in London, Ontario, Canada, the founder of StoneWell Ministries and the author of several books, including most recently Brain-Savvy Leaders: The Science of Significant Ministry. This post was originally published on CharlesStone.com.

7 Guarantees in Leadership

7 Guarantees in Leadership

7 Guarantees in Leadership
“Every decision you make will produce a multiple of responses.”
I once had a leader who was an emphatic talker. He made statements with no reservation in them about things—honestly—I simply didn’t believe. He would say stuff such as, “There is no way this would ever work.” Really? No way? Maybe the chance is limited, but no way?
He impressed upon me enough I’ve always been hesitant about emphatic statements—unless they are biblical truths, of course.
But, I have some emphatic statements to make. I’m calling them guarantees. And, since I talk a great deal about leadership on this blog—these are leadership guarantees.

Here are seven guarantees of leadership:

Every decision you make will produce a multiple of responses.
Some will agree. Some will not. And, some will not care either way.
Change is inevitable.
You can deny it. You can attempt to avoid it. You can be afraid of how people will react to it. But, change is coming either way. It’s best to be on the side of change where you at least have some chance of helping the change be for the best overall good of the people you lead.
You will many times feel under appreciated.
This is especially true if you are looking for appreciation. Of course, we all want to be appreciated, but great leaders are not as concerned about what other people think as they are about doing the right thing. And, because of this, they aren’t necessarily seeking personal recognition or applause. These leaders are methodical in their pursuit of progress, but not usually aware of how much good they actually are doing.
You can never adequately predict how people will respond.
Even the people you felt were your best supporters will sometimes turn on you if the decision you make does not go in their favor. And, then there will be some people who will rise to your support you didn’t even know were in your corner.
You will seldom be 100 percent certain.
There is always a level of risk with every decision you make. If you wait for perfect conditions you will seldom do anything. You should ask good questions, get plenty of input and certainly pray for wisdom. Sometimes, however, you simply have to pull the trigger and get started.
Some days it won’t seem you’ve accomplished anything.
And, sometimes, looking back, these will be your best days. It might be because you spent all day investing in others—while other “work” goes undone. But, remember, if you are leading you are in a people business. People will always be your best efforts.
You will make mistakes.
And, you will make lots of them. But, you will learn from them even more than the things you do right. The best leaders I know do not hide the mistakes they make. They use them as life lessons and help others grow through them.
I guarantee these to be true. Emphatically.
Or, at least I’m 97.9 percent sure. 🙂
Ron Edmondson

Ron Edmondson

Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping churches grow vocationally for over 10 years.

Your Plant Needs This More Than Planning, Methods or Even Teaching

Your Plant Needs This More Than Planning, Methods or Even Teaching

Every other ministry of the church can (and should) grow from this soil.
Your Plant Needs This More Than Planning, Methods or Even Teaching
Discipleship is the great calling of the church, and the only soil that grows disciples is a local church culture of spiritual formation. Every other ministry of the church can (and should) grow from this soil.
But here’s the challenge: Each church already has an existing culture; any attempt to change the mixture of the “soil” will require the deep, patient work of tilling, fertizing and weeding. Culture change is neither a tactic nor a strategy: It is a transformation. Peter Drucker famously observed, “Culture eats strategy for lunch.” He should have said, “breakfast, lunch and dinner” because the prevailing culture in any organization is the great unspoken factor in ministry. (Note to church planters: Start here, because by the time your church is two years old, church culture is beginning to produce fruit, either good or bad.)
Issues of spiritual formation and discipleship are not questions of planning, method or even teaching—they are hardly even questions at all. Spiritual formation and discipleship are more like horticulture than education. The ground is prepared, seeds are selected and planted, weeds are tended as they arise, and the harvest can seem like a distant dream. But good soil brings great harvests. Success in making disciples is not (at first) measured quantitatively, but qualitatively.
Here are the kinds of questions we should be asking: Are the people of our church becoming more like Jesus? Do we even think it’s possible to be conformed to the image of Christ? Do our leaders think it’s possible? Who should do the work of making disciples? How does spiritual growth interact with the metrics of attendance and finances? Is my church’s current cultural model sustainable apart from outside instruction or motivation? If our facilities and resources vanished, could our church continue to exist?
Being a disciple—and making disciples—is where personal growth and church life intersect. So (together) we should all ask these questions. Why not bring them up at your church?
Ray Hollenbach
Ray Hollenbach, a Chicagoan, writes about faith and culture. His devotional book "50 Forgotten Days: A Journey Into the Age to Come" is available at Amazon.com He currently lives in central Kentucky, which is filled with faith and culture. He's also the author of of "The Impossible Mentor", a deep dive into the foundations of discipleship.

Sabtu, 12 November 2016

5 Quick Ways to Structure a Winning Presentation

5 Quick Ways to Structure a Winning Presentation

Whether you’re scheduled for a sermon, media appearance or job interview, these five components will benefit you greatly.
5 Quick Ways To Structure A Winning Presentation
In Timothy Koegel’s The Exceptional Presenter, he guarantees that if you use the following five components—you can master any presentation. This could be a 60-second elevator pitch or a 20-minute keynote or a two-hour workshop. Personally, I used this approach in my latest sermon at a church and it has elevated my delivery significantly. Whether you’re scheduled for a media appearance or job interview, these five components will benefit you greatly.

1. Begin With a “Purpose”

Ralph Smedley said it best: “A speech without a purpose is like a journey without a destination.” Picture yourself speaking in front of your audience. You are about to begin your presentation and hope your audience will remember your key points.
Complete the following sentence.
“If you remember just one thing as you leave here today, remember this..” ______________________________________________________________________
As you complete this sentence, you have successfully identified the most relevant information in your presentation. Never lose sight of this key point. By delivering the purpose statement in the beginning of your presentation will keep the audience focused on your key points.
The more defined the purpose, the easier it is to frame your message and stick with it.

2. Objective/Purpose/Mission/Goal

When you identified one to three key points you want the audience to remember (purpose statement), then you can use objective/purpose/mission/goal to identify what you will cover. This is your agenda. Instead of going into the detail at this point, give the audience a 30,000 ft view of your agenda.
Here’s some examples:
  • “My objective this afternoon is to examine two new clinical studies that demonstrate…”
  • “My purpose today is to introduce our newest product design…”
  • “My mission is to help you identify potential issues related to…”
  • “My goal in the next 20 minutes is to clarify our position and answer any questions you have regarding…”
This statement defines why you are presenting. If you cannot clearly define your objective, then there is probably not a compelling reason to do the presentation. Going through this step signals that you are organized, prepared and focused.

3. Position/Situation/Issues

What’s the current situation? What are the pressing issues surrounding the audience? Outline the issues, concerns, fears, expectations, successes or obstacles as you understand them.
“As I understand the situation, you are experiencing rising inventories and declining sales. Your receivables are running at 14 weeks and you recently lost your biggest customer. You’ve determined that you don’t have the experience or the resources to turn the situation around.”
At this point in your presentation, stop and ask your audience if anything has changed. Are there other issues that are relevant to the discussion?
  • “Is there anything else I need to be aware of before proceeding?”
  • “Jill, since we last spoke, have any of your objectives changed?”
As you ask about the changes earlier int he process, the easier its adjust your presentation accordingly.

4. End Result/Benefits/Consequences

What are benefits, end result, consequences and implications of taking or not taking action?
  • “As a result of our falling sales, we’ve lost 7 percent market share in the last 12 months.”
  • “The implication of our increased inventory is that we will be forced to shut down the Jacksonville plant for 30 days.”
  • Our focus on efficiency in the last two quarters has resulted in an additional $22 million to our bottom line.”

5. Next Step/Action Plan/Time Line

What is the next step? What are the expectations? Where do we go from here?
The next step is your call to action. It will help prepare your audience for what you can expect of them and what they can expect of you. The next step can be as simple as, “Let’s meet again on Wednesday.” Or it can set the stage for significant and detailed follow up.
  • “Our next step is to ramp up marketing efforts in the East.”
  • “Our plan is to launch the new program by April 1st.”
  • “Going forward, I would like you to meet with your team and select a leader to manage the project.”
  • “The next step is to finalize the contract by Friday.”
Here’s an example of a 60-second opening using the five components:
“The key point I would like you to remember today is this: We will be unable to grow as a business unless we correct our inventory inefficiencies.” (purpose)
“My objective this afternoon is to persuade you to approve the purchase of the Acme inventory software in order to put an end to our inventory crisis.” (objective)
“Our current position is one of reacting to inventory changes instead of anticipating customer demand. We have recently lost two significant customers because of botched orders. We have an additional problem in that our regional offices are unable to communicate inventory fluctuations to a central location.” (position)
“The end result of our inventory problem is that we’re losing customers and we’re losing $3 million per quarter.” (end result)
“If we upgrade to the Acme software, we will benefit by holding onto the #3 million per quarter, and our more efficient response time will create greater customer loyalty.” (benefit)
“The next step is to approve the purchase of the software this afternoon and have it in place within 30 days.” (next steps)
Paul Sohn
Paul Sohn’s mission in life is to glorify God through equipping, enabling, and empowering Christian leaders rise to the top. Paul’s vision is to see more Christian leaders rise to the top of every spheres of influence. His core values are faith, excellence, continuous learning, giving and integrity. Paul is a Korean-Canadian-American who has lived an itinerant life. As a Millennial Paul has a heart for equipping, connecting and transforming the next generation of leaders to discover God-given purpose and talent in life.