The One Church Leadership Mistake You Cannot Make

I bet you and your team have annual goals or focus points. It’s always healthy to have a few things in focus as the year begins. It’s like an organizational resolution, but much easier to keep.

I recently saw Chick-fil-A’s organizational focus for 2018. One item on their list stood out — food safety. When I first saw it, I wondered why something so basic was on their big four movements list. Have they had trouble with food safety recently? Are some stores serving raw chicken?

Then I realize why. Chick-fil-A understands that focusing on new areas of the business is important, but there are some core elements that they must always keep in focus. Food safety might be at the top of that list, hence it made their annual focus list. It doesn’t take too many cases of salmonellae poisoning to destroy a food brand.

So back to us in the church. You probably have some areas of focus for this year. At Woodstock City Church, we too have some important, future thinking opportunities in focus. But, at the top of our list is still one key element: Stewardship.

Stewardship is our food safety. Why? For the same reason as Chick-fil-A. If we lose the trust of those who support our church with their time and treasure, we will immediately begin to fail. We might be able to recover from other missteps, but I doubt we would be able to recover from any breach of financial trust.

Continue reading…

How Can We Lead From Here to a Preferred There?

Maybe it’s just me, but few things frustrate me more than knowing what could be against what is; yet not making progress.

But I’m guessing that’s not just me – it’s probably every leader reading this post. Most leaders I know have some version of a preferred future in mind with a desire to lead people there over time. In some ways that’s why we are leaders! Leadership is about influence, and in most cases, influence towards something specific. A vision. A destination… A preferred future.

And again, for me, the more untapped the potential, the more frustrated I get when the progress is slow or nonexistent.

Here’s my current example: As a pastor in a large church, one of our greatest untapped potentials is in generosity. In conservative estimations, if every family who attends our church systematically gave ONLY 5% of their household income to the church (that’s half of what we would consider a tithe), our annual revenue stream would increase 400%. And that’s VERY conservative. It could increase 6, 7 or maybe 10 times! In my case, that is millions of dollars – with a capital “M.” And we would not need to spend more money inside our church – we would be in a position to do unprecedented good outside our church!  Continue reading…

The Church DOESN’T Just Want My Money?

“The church just wants my money!”

How do you overcome that obstacle as a church leader?

Undo the past twenty years of Christianity? Too bad that’s not an option! One simple solution is to stop talking about money, which certainly would fix the problem. Of course, that might create many more (unless you aren’t concerned with missing pay cycles!). If you never taught or mentioned money, nobody would complain and nobody would give. Worse, nobody would begin to trust God with their financial life. Yet, when you talk about money, people both complain and leave.

It’s unfortunate the perception exists. But it is for legitimate reasons. We as church leaders have done a terrible job talking about money and stewarding what we’ve received. Continue reading…

Could Your Success Today Kill Your Innovation Tomorrow?

Do you have the resources necessary for your job?

What about your department or organization? At our church, we challenge the leadership to ask that question frequently. The thought is simple and logical – if you don’t have the resources you need to succeed, we want to help fill in the gaps – within reason, of course.

When I first arrived at Watermarke Church, we were FAR from resourced. We existed as a hand-to-mouth organization. Every dollar we received left as it arrived. Every offering was critical. Every check was necessary. For two years, we scratched and clawed our way. It was a difficult season, but it was also a season full of fun and challenge … and innovation.

Then, after two years, we converted our church partnership into a campus location of North Point Ministries. Many things changed. And by many, I mean nearly everything. But our resources changed the most. Overnight, we went from being under-resourced to winning the church resource lottery (not really, but it felt that way). There were no blank checks, but we immediately improved financially. Within weeks our church began to take on new staff and new equipment. Our services improved. Our technology improved. Our leadership bench improved.

But… our innovative spirit began to wane. Continue reading…