Transforming Church Team Blog
resourcing leaders…reenvisioning the future

Nov
11
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Kevin Ford

A Tactical Scenario
Here is an example of a tactical challenge faced by a church. The Executive Pastor fields complaints from congregants and staff alike that the information systems the church uses are balky and unreliable. Often documents mailed to vendors and church members are found to be incompatible with the software of the recipients. The Executive Pastor investigates and discovers that the church’s computer hardware and software has not been updated for eight years; the church is literally in the technological Dark Ages.

The Executive Pastor has no affinity for computers himself. But he knows two information technology professionals and one computer consultant in the congregation. Over lunch, he presents these three with a description of his problem and a budget to address it. The three come into the church office, assess the situation, confer, and present the Executive Pastor with a list of recommended machines and hardware. The consultant offers to install the new equipment himself, does so and the staff and congregation enter a blissful new age of computer compatibility. Problem solved.

Would that all such problems were so simple. One of the biggest mistakes I see leaders make is to apply simple tactical solutions to problems that are not tactical in nature. This is why it is vitally important to investigate the other two sides of the Leadership Triangle.

Strategic Challenges
Strategic challenges can also be called “visionary”, “synthesizing”, and “inspirational” challenges. They are not necessarily problems to be solved, but challenges to be anticipated. Strategy has to do with surveying the environment outside the organization and deciding how best the team can adapt to external opportunities and obstacles.

Operational effectiveness, although necessary, is not enough, because anyone can operate effectively and still go out of business. Strategy is choosing a unique value proposition through a series of activities that become rooted in your system. We will explore the unique value proposition later on. Essentially, strategy is what differentiates one organization from any other.

A business finds the core needs of its customers changing and so must decide on new lines of products and services. A church sees its neighborhood’s demographics changing rapidly and must decide how to respond with programs and worship services. A non-profit sees its core mission taken over by a new local government program and must decide what new human need to meet.

Strategic challenges are observed in the present but are focused on the future. They are about transitioning from one generation to the next, or one era to the next. Such challenges require more than a tactical fix. Strategic challenges require strategic leadership – the art of leveraging strengths in order to minimize weaknesses and capitalize on opportunities.

Popular writers such as Jim Collins (Built to Last and Good to Great), Gary Hamel and C.K. Pralahad have written widely and well about strategic issues. For a stretch in the late 1990’s one could have been forgiving for thinking that to master the strategic challenge was to master leadership as a whole. As we will see, this is not the case.

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Oct
25
Scott Kronlund, Senior Consultant

Scott Kronlund

I was recently invited to sit down for a cup of coffee with a woman who had recently accepted the position of Board Chair of a private, Christian high school.  She was particularly concerned about keeping her board engaged in a meaningful way and wanted to pick my brain.  She was well aware of the Carver model of policy governance, but had spoken with other board chairs who reported that, somehow, the model, at times, had just fallen “flat.”  Although properly articulated board policies certainly serve as valuable tools in our leadership “tool box”, they do not, in and of themselves, necessarily guarantee high levels of board member engagement. However, there is one tool that has served me well over my years in board leadership in “raising the bar” for my fellow board members, and that is the meeting agenda itself.

I’m sure this may sound a bit wacky, but hear me out.  According to the Leadership Triangle (as Kevin has just begun to lay out with more to come), the governing board, as a whole, must be facile in three essential modes of thinking: Transformational (aka adaptive, generative, “sense-making”), Strategic (aka visionary, synthesizing), and Tactical (aka operational, fiduciary, technical).  The challenge is that not many of us are equally gifted in all three areas.  However, most of us will tend to lean more toward one area over the others as our preferred mode of thinking.  Consequently, when recruiting new board members, it is important to formally assess which mode of thinking comes most naturally to each current member while striving to maintain a proper balance among all three on the board as a whole through the recruitment process.  (In addition to Kevin’s upcoming book, I would also refer you to Chait, Ryan, and Taylor’s book, Governance as Leadership as a handy resource in support of better board engagement.)

So, how does this relate to agenda management? Simply stated, I have found that the board’s agenda must be compelling enough to keep members “coming back.”  One such an approach is to organize the agenda around these three modes of thinking, making sure that there’s something for everyone.  For instance, I am very much a transformational thinker.  I love entertaining the “what ifs”, but fall victim to boredom in overly detailed fiduciary discussions.  However, knowing that I will have my time to shine, I’m much more willing to listen carefully to my colleagues who excel in the other two modes.  In the end, the board, as a whole, is wiser for it.

In addition, the agenda must be planned well in advance of any given meeting.  Too often, I’ve received hastily crafted email requests asking for potential board agenda items as if the board’s agenda is nothing more than a shopping list magnetically secured to the refrigerator door.  The board’s agenda must be more purposeful.  Remember, it’s the board’s responsibility to see that the core values are protected and that the organization’s mission and vision (as manifested by its strategic objectives) is fulfilled.  But, what if all of your board’s members aren’t “there” yet, then how will you accomplish this?  One way, is to begin preparing the upcoming meeting’s agenda in light of the quality of the discussion of the last meeting (e.g. Was the discussion properly focused on issues of governance vs. operational management?  Were all three modes of thinking included?) and where you want board deliberations to go in the future.  In other words, no one meeting agenda should stand alone; instead, board leaders must always be planning a series of agenda aimed at taking the board from Point A to Point B over the long haul in pursuit of the organization’s envisioned future.

One final practical rule-of-thumb:  Agenda preparation takes time and careful thought.  From my experience, if board leaders don’t have a pretty clear understanding of the expected outcomes from the discussion of each agenda item, then they are inadequately prepared.  In fact, I have been involved with very successful boards where leaders spend nearly twice as much time in agenda preparation than the scheduled duration of the meeting, especially when organizing meeting materials for distribution and planning for an ongoing series of board meetings.

I hope you have found this useful.  Please feel free to share any of your personal experiences so we can all benefit from the collective wisdom of the Transforming Church group.  May your next meeting be highly engaging!  Blessings, Scott

Oct
23
Kevin Ford

Kevin Ford

My intent is not to introduce yet one more theory. Rather, it is to organize the theories of leadership because I believe that most of them fit into the Leadership Triangle. My hope is to introduce you to a new way of thinking about leadership by starting with the problem, not the solution.

The most significant leadership challenges are bewildering because they seem to hit us on so many fronts, demand such an array of knowledge, and possess so many moving parts. This is where the Leadership Triangle can both change our thinking and raise the watermark on our leadership capabilities. This chapter will offer an overview of the Triangle. The rest of this book will describe how you can use the Triangle to tackle even the thorniest leadership challenges:

Slide in TriangleGIF

In my years as a consultant, I have identified three primary types of leadership challenges, represented by the three sides of the Triangle. Each challenge requires a different mode of leadership behavior in response, a different “tool” if you will (remember, not every problem is a nail). The art of leadership is in knowing what sort of problem you are facing and what mode of leadership is required to tackle it. Each mode requires a different set of skills, language, questions, and styles of interaction.

First, let’s insure that we understand each kind of leadership challenge by exploring descriptorssynonyms for each side of the Triangle.

Tactical Challenges
Tactical issues can also be called “operational”, “technical”, or “fiduciary”. Tactical challenges form the daily bread of the operations-oriented manager; as a matter of fact, “management” is the art and science of mobilizing resources and personnel to deal with tactical challenges.

Tactical issues are solved by expertise. If the roof leaks, I call a roofer. If my driveway is covered with snow, I hire the neighbor’s teenage kid who has a shovel. If my hard drive crashes, I call the I.T. department or a computer geek friend. If an administrative assistant or choir director leaves, I hire a replacement admin. or musician. An astute leader faces tactical problems by identifying the right expert who offers the right solution and empowering them to solve the problem.

A whole body of leadership literature focuses on tactical problems and solutions – think Marcus Buckingham (Strengths), Peter Drucker (Management), Ken Blanchard (Situation), and John Maxwell (Principles).

Sep
28
John Holm

John Holm

The story is well known in many churches across America.  Churches that were once large and effective are in decline.  Attendance is down.  Money is down.  People have circled the wagons for survival to stave off the congregation’s demise.  The goal is survival:  more people in the pews, more money in the bank account and maybe young people who will step up and take over.  Saving the congregation is the goal.  The problem with this is that God calls us into missional communities not into institutions.  People outside the institution and most inside the institution really won’t give of themselves to save the church.  Congregational survival is not a compelling reason for people to go beyond themselves.  If survival was compelling then the declining churches would soon thrive again.  If survival was compelling then the remaining few leaders would not be tired and worn out trying to save the congregation.

People will connect with and give of themselves to something that is compelling, something that is bigger than they are.  Even in our consumer driven culture of entitlement people can go beyond self for a greater mission that is compelling.  Every church has a unique Code – a unique DNA that God has brought together for a compelling purpose.  Rediscovering that compelling missional reason for existence is the first step in turning a church from an ingrown fellowship to an outwardly focused mission.  Rediscovering the compelling purpose for a congregation will be the key to connecting people to God in big and bold ways.

When a congregation knows their unique code, their compelling reason to exist, then three things happen:

  1. A Compelling Purpose stimulates excitement for the present and future. When was the last time the members of your congregation invited their friends and neighbors to church?  Many people are not excited about their church which means they don’t have a reason to invite others to worship or to a ministry event.  But when the purpose of the church is clear and compelling then the members are connected and excited and they naturally want to tell others.  A Compelling Purpose increases evangelistic outreach.
  2. A Compelling Purpose stimulates commitment. When a congregation has a compelling mission that is bigger than self people are more motivated to give of themselves in service to the mission.  People want to be a part of something that is making a difference for God in their community.  People want to know that they are giving of themselves in a significant way.  A Compelling Purpose increases the amount and depth of service in the community.
  3. A Compelling Purpose stimulates generosity. We know all too well that people hold very tightly to their money.  If the church’s budgetary needs were all that was needed to motivate generous giving then churches would simple share a need and the money would flow in abundance.  We know this does not happen.  What we do know is that people will become generous if the mission/ministry they are giving to is truly making a difference in the lives of others.  A Compelling Purpose increases giving.

It is counterintuitive but it is true that the church that focuses on survival will die and the church that puts a compelling mission in front of all else will grow more effective as they make a difference for God in their community.  Rediscovering the unique missional code of a church and then inviting people to connect to and align with that mission must be at the center of any transformation for a declining church.  It is then that the call to love God, to love neighbor and make disciples will thrive.  And the local church may just thrive too.

Sep
28
Dr. Jim Osterhaus

Dr. Jim Osterhaus

As we have seen, each one of us has a defining set of values that guides our decision-making. Most of our values remain at the unconscious level. We don’t spend conscious time deciding if the things we see and hear are valuable to us. And once we begin to cross wires and live inconsistently (cognitive dissonance), our minds simply rationalize the inconsistencies and move on.

Those of us who are well-defined as people are able much more readily to identify and navigate the competing values that internally arise. As a result, rather than resorting to rationalizations to remedy the attendant anxiety, these well-defined people bring the value discrepancies into the light of day, and make conscious choices as to which of the competing values best aligns with who they are as persons.

Let’s do some scenarios (we saw one in the last addition with the elder’s intern idea).

Scenario #1. Your parents live in the same community. They insist you come over for Christmas dinner. Your spouse is tired of spending all holidays with your parents. It’s time to begin your own traditions with your two small children. Now what do you do? Your mother has even threatened disinheritance if you don’t come. That throws in an economic value. You remember somewhere in your old sermons about primary loyalties belonging to your spouse. Loyalty to spouse (“leaving mother and father”) versus keeping peace within the family (and remaining in the running for an inheritance).

Scenario #2. You are choosing people for a special advisor group from among church  members. One woman, who has worked tirelessly in a number of initiatives as a volunteer in the church for years, seems like an excellent choice for the group. And yet she is overweight. You know that all people are equally of value, and yet if she weighed 50 lbs less, she would be more appealing to you for this group.

Scenario #3. You are the senior pastor. You are in the process of hiring a new worship director. You have gotten input from your board, several key leaders,   traditional choir, and from the contemporary worship team. The preponderance of  opinion is that you hire someone, given the make-up of the church and the direction it is headed, with a traditional bent who also has some experience with contemporary worship. You very much want to build a church that is more innovative and appealing to the students who attend the local university. You decide to hire a very creative and somewhat ‘edgy’ worship leader.

Look first at the various competing values that ministry presents. Remember, these values and competing values will be held by various members of the congregation. That’s what makes board meetings and church-wide business meetings interesting. One elder will argue from one value, another will take up the argument from the competing value side. This is all well and good if the disagreement stays blue zone (focused on the mission, and doesn’t become personal and red zone).

Now look at your own competing values, and how these influence your own decisions, and how these in fact interact with the competing values resident within the congregation. When do you get energized as these board meetings and congregational meetings become heated? This will be an indication as to when your own competing values are being activated.

So let’s see if we can make this more practical. Let’s see if we can understand how we ourselves sabotage ourselves as we try to move forward, and do kingdom work.

What I am committed to. The Five Key Indicators.
Let’s look at some of your personal values, and how these values become compromised by other competing values that you hold.  Let’s start with the five key indicators:
1.    Community. How church members relate to each other.  Unhealthy churches are a collection of individuals, while healthy churches relate as a community. Consumer vs. Community.

2.    Code. The church’s genetic “code”. Unhealthy churches lack a clear identity, while healthy churches have a clear sense of their DNA and take steps to align their ministries and culture with their code. Incongruence vs. Code.

3.    Leadership. The church’s leadership.  Unhealthy churches tend to be overly autocratic or bureaucratic, while healthy churches view leadership as a shared function and as a ministry. Autocracy vs. Shared Leadership.

4.    Outreach. How the church relates to the local community.  Unhealthy churches disengage from the world around them, while healthy churches are focused on their mission and have an outward orientation that starts with their own locale. Cloister vs. Missional.

5.    Change. How church members think about the future.  Unhealthy churches resist change and fear or deny the future, while healthy churches embrace change, even when it is painful. Inertia vs. Reinvention.

Choose one of these that you are truly committed to in your ministry.

In My Ministry, I’m Committed to (choose one of the five key indicators that is currently most prominent in your ministry goals)…

Sharing Leadership with not only my staff, but with the whole congregation (priesthood of believers).

Organizational Models.
As we have said, churches represent the most complicated organization model, incorporating elements of a business, a family, and a faith community. Select what you have tended to emphasize as the primary ministry model within your congregation.

This Key Indicator, as I understand its development in my ministry, is most closely associated with the following church organizational model (choose business, family, or faith community…
A business.

Now, what are you doing or not doing that is thwarting your own goal of flattening the hierarchy, sharing leadership, empowering others, and allowing staff and congregants to step up and assume leadership?

What am doing/not doing that thwarts my aim of sharing leadership:

When others assume leadership, I jump in and micromanage and, in effect, take back the leadership I ceded to others.

This would be a good time to bring in your Red Zone issue: Acceptance, Competence, Control, Survival, and mix it into the equation. Because it is probably this issue that is fueling the value that is driving your thwarting behaviors.

My Red Zone Issue is competence. Because I must always be competent in what I do, as a cede leadership to others, I also cede quality control. This I cannot do. Those to whom I have ceded control might possibly make a muddle of things. Therefore with one hand I must give them control, and with the other take control back, lest they mess things up and make me look incompetent.

Now you can begin to see how competing values are operating in your own ministry. As you set goals, and move in particular directions, other parts of yourself, with a whole different set of values, may activate, and in fact thwart the plans that you have laid.

Sep
24
Kevin Ford

Kevin Ford

Chapter Two: The Three Sides of Leadership

Tod Bolsinger, Senior Pastor of San Clemente Presbyterian Church, looked at me intently. “I am excited about the possibility of you coming in here and helping us in a consultation”, he said. “But there’s something you need to know. We have had several other consultants here – reputable ones. But they have all ended up saying the same thing – that we need clarity around our vision. I get that. But we already have clarity around our vision. And we’re still stuck. We have challenges, but it is not because we need more clarity around our vision. The one thing I need to hear from you is that your sum total conclusion is not going to be “You have a vision problem!”.

There is an old truism that goes something like this: “When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. The truth behind the cliché’ applies not just to carpentry, but to leadership as well. A classic leadership pitfall is to find an approach to problem-solving that works and use it repeatedly. For years. And decades. And then wonder why it doesn’t work anymore.

Much of the leadership literature of the last twenty years has emphasized the importance of “vision”. Paint a clear and compelling picture of the future, we are told, and you cannot fail as a leader. The most lionized leaders are those who took the reins of dysfunctional and aimless organizations, crafted and articulated a clear vision of the future, and reached the heights of success. We have gotten good at crafting compelling narratives of a preferred future and almost no one questions the value of having a vision shared by those throughout the organization.

But we’re still stuck.

As a consultant, I am called to serve many organizations that have a great vision of the future. Their leaders have worked long and hard to imagine the future and to paint a word picture that draws others in and keeps them motivated. These leaders have wielded the hammer of vision with skill and passion. But something is still missing. What could it be?
Recently, I met with former mortgage banker Becky Walker, now the Executive Director for Treehouse Youth, a Minneapolis-based non-profit. Treehouse provides programs, counseling, and events to teens who are living in dysfunctional settings. Surprisingly, many of these teens are not the prototypical inner city kids. Many of them come from suburbia. Treehouse operates on a small budget of $3 million, has a star-studded board of directors (including Gregg Steinhafel, Chairman and CEO of Target Corporation), and recently hosted a gala that featured Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy and country music star Carrie Underwood.

Over 1,400 teens participated in their programs between April 2007 and May 2008. The teens come from all kinds of backgrounds, but have one thing in common: they have been unloved by parents and teachers. In fact, when Fred Peterson founded the organization in 1984, he started by asking teachers to give him a list of all the kids that they wish would not come to school. These kids are struggling with dangers presented by the Internet, abuse at home, drugs, unwanted pregnancies, and more.

Treehouse provides trained counselors and quality programming to provide them with resources to cope with the challenges of daily living. The results have been nothing short of astounding:
• Most of the participants now have an adult in their lives whom they trust
• Many indicate that they are now equipped to deal with the bad things in their lives
• A significant number of teens feel like their lives are now under control
• More than half have either decreased or eliminated all risky behaviors

Sep
22

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FREE Registration for the first 75 to register online and book their room with the Millennium Resort!

Speakers: Leighton Ford & Jim Osterhaus
The inner life of leaders is complicated and often neglected. The TAG Leaders Forum is an invitation event for pastors and church leaders who have a desire to be the most effective, healthy, well equipped leaders in their fields. With award winning speakers and highly trained facilitators the Forum is unlike any gathering of its kind. Join us for this insightful and inspiring 2 days that will undoubtedly change your life and transform your ministry.

Register Now: http://www.transformingchurch.net/LeadersForum.html

DETAILS:

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*with 2 nights at the Millennium
November 2-4
Millennium Resort
Scottsdale AZ.

*The Room Pricing Includes:
+ 2 nights rooming (double occupancy)
+ Opening reception
+ 2 breakfasts, 3 breaks, 1 lunch
+ Registration Fee
+ All resort taxes, fees, gratuities, and internet

Room Pricing:
$388* [Paid to the resort]
*These prices for double occupancy or per person. For single occupancy add $212.

All fees are non-refundable after 10/06/09

The hotel costs are paid to the Millennium. The registration fees are WAIVED for the first 75 people to register online. To receive free registration you must book your conference package at the Millennium Resort. TAG is not responsible for any additonal fees, nights, incidentals etc. incurred at the Millennium Resort.

Register Now: http://www.transformingchurch.net/LeadersForum.html

Sep
16

Trevor Bron

Trevor Bron

The truth about adding services to reach more people

I was 25 years old when the young adult ministry I had been leading for four years launched as a church. It had been a wild first four years, and we were excited for a new journey. While we were technically planting a church, I do not consider myself a church planter. I have huge admiration and respect for the people who move into an unknown city or state, join a health club and start a Bible study in hopes that they can bring those two things together and start a church. Our plant was a bit unusual in that we had become a “church within a church,” so that when we launched, we did so with about 800 people. We had been meeting on Tuesday nights, and we were committed to continue doing our main service during the week. Our first move away from our mother church was to another church about two miles away that was kind enough to let us use their space on Tuesday nights. We had moved for two reasons. First, to gain more of our own identity and second, we needed more space. Our new location was amazing. It was a cool-looking warehouse space with great sound and lighting. There was one challenge, however. It sat 1,800 people and we had only 800. The room felt overwhelming. At first, we did all we could to control seating and lighting in hopes that we could push the crowd forward and closer together. We then turned off all the lights above the seating sections we were not using. Our thought was that if it was dark, then maybe people wouldn’t notice the 1,000 chairs not being used. It wasn’t long until we began to grow into our new space. We quickly went from 800 to 1,500, and it was then that I first heard Bad Math Lie No. 2: When you reach 80 percent capacity in your auditorium, you are full. The pastor of the church we were meeting in came to me and said that we were at capacity and needed to make a move to two services so our growth would not be thwarted. I have since come to believe that this is Bad Math Lie No. 3: Going to two services is the solution to reaching more people. You may have heard the phrase, “The more hooks in the water, the more fish you can catch.” Technically this may be true, but logically, it’s not. If you have one pond with hundreds of hooks in it, at some point, you are all competing for the same fish. Going from one service to two services is not placing another hook in new water; it’s placing another hook in the same water. While some growth can happen this way, that growth is limited – or a short-term solution, at best. In the article, “Dealing with Bad Math Lie No. 2” (Church Solutions July 2009), I used this analogy: Your church runs 240 people on a Sunday morning. Your auditorium seats 300 people. This means that according to Bath Math Lie No. 2, you are at capacity. You decide to go to two services. After the initial excitement, you find that your first service is attracting 48 people and your second, 192 people. Both services take the same number of people to lead. The first service will most likely grow at a much slower pace. It is usually viewed as the “default” service that people go to on a Sunday when they can’t go to the main service. The second service will grow more rapidly. It won’t take long to gain just 48 people, which means you’re back where you started, but with fewer options. Two Are Better Than One While this may be true for people, it’s not always true for churches. Making the move from one service to two seems to be our first option when wanting to reach more people and/or deal with an overcrowded room. However, going from one to two services should be our third or fourth option, not our first. Accommodating growth can be a huge challenge – and when momentum is on your side, you want to do all you can to keep it going. That’s how we felt when our new church went from one service to two. If all churches had to deal with what we had to, I think more churches would be creative in finding alternate solutions. For most churches, going to two services means adding another Sunday morning option. For us, it meant doing two services in a short evening window. We had an early service (6:37 p.m.) and a late service (8:17 p.m.). The early service was designed for those who would leave work, pick up the kids, grab dinner and come to church. The second service was geared towards those who apparently were night owls. By the time the last service ended and we cleaned up our shared building and headed out, it could be close to 11 p.m. As many of you have already experienced, the two-service solution is rarely what it’s cracked up to be. The growth in one of the services is slow, the leadership is overworked, the innovation drops and it seems, at times, that it’s all we can do just to maintain. The church I attend now is a small community church of 200 people. In the past five years, we’ve had two services off and on. Sometimes the second service was added to accommodate for growth, and sometimes a second service was added in hopes that new growth would occur. In both instances, however, there came a time when two services were not realistic. The move back to one service is usually done during the summer, with the explanation that attendance is down, and it’s a nice time for us all to be together in one service as a church family. Usually when the fall comes, the move back to two services never happens. Back to the Church Plant After two years of two services and a building change, we were once again faced with what to do next. A third weeknight service was just not an option. (We didn’t think a midnight service would attract anyone.) For the first time, we were forced to have an honest dialogue about the “best next thing” to do. In hindsight, I wish that we had that conversation before going to two services. On occasion, I’ve taught at churches that had three to five services. By the time I got to the third service, I couldn’t remember what I had said and to whom. By the fifth service, I couldn’t remember who I was, much less what I was saying. Since then, I’ve talked to many pastors who live in that nightmare each week, and I’ve learned that many use a script to keep things straight. While manuscripting, for many, is a great way to deliver a message, I couldn’t help but wonder what was happening to the spontaneity, the move of the Spirit, the sanity of the communicator. Many Hooks, Many Ponds? I think there is little thought given to what I call “the compelling.” The compelling is dialogue that occurs (usually late at night) among a table of committed Christ-followers who want to see the church doing more than what it’s been doing. Going from one service to two is not compelling: It is at best convenient – and at worst, contrived. Compelling means that we are willing to search and settle for nothing less than the most imaginative thing we can do. Our God tells us that he desires to do more than we can ask for or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Can God make this promise to us because he knows that we rarely ask for or imagine much? God wants our imaginations to be big so that we can see that he is bigger still. Glimpse the Compelling During the past few years, I think we’ve begun to see glimpses of this. The current move to multisite is a good start. Churches that are willing to go not from one service to two, but from one site to two cast more hooks in multiple ponds. Doing more than one site may or may not give you additional seats in your one service, but it can gain new people who would not come to a second service at your current location. Some churches are doing multiple services at the same time in the same building. For instance, while there is a traditional service in the main sanctuary, there’s also a contemporary service in the fellowship hall. The result is different venues, lay leaders and teachers – reaching different people, but using the same resources, vision and commitment. In our ever-advancing culture of technology, we continue to see churches that are willing to use nontraditional spaces and methods. One church in Houston uses movie theaters on Sunday mornings. The band is live, but the message is beamed in live via satellite from the main campus. There’s a church in Rockford, Ill., that for the first several years, didn’t have a teaching pastor, so they played DVDs of other pastors from other churches. A church in Edina, Minn., just launched its Sunday night service into a church plant. And there’s a church in Denver that still meets on Tuesday nights (in a shared building) and is reaching people who can’t or won’t go to church on Sunday. If we keep doing the same thing with the hope that the outcome will be different, we’ll be called insane. If we try new things with the hope that the outcome will be different, we’ll be called creative. If, however, we try compelling things with the hope that the outcome will be remarkable, we’ll be called passionate Christ-followers. What’s the most compelling thing your church could do to reach people or to gain a few more seats? What’s the most outlandish idea you can come up with? What does God want to do that is beyond your imagination? Trevor Bron is a senior consultant with TAG Consulting (www.transformingchurch.net), a transforming church consulting firm. He has experience as a church staffer and planter, business owner, event planner, entrepreneur and speaker. With clients spanning the nation, Bron’s strengths include communication, marketing, leadership development, organizational management, administration, and facility and site location.

[This article will be published in the November 2009 edition of Church Solutions Magazine]

Sep
14
Kevin Ford

Kevin Ford

As we begin our journey of understanding the Leadership Triangle and how its principles can shape the way you lead in your own organization, we will look back to the East Lake story again and again. It is a story that offers instruction, for sure. But more importantly, it offers hope of transformation.

Perhaps Eva Davis puts it best…
“We tore down hell and replaced it with heaven!”

We begin chapter two very soon. Use the story of East Lake Meadows and the leadership of Tom Cousins, I will introduce you to The Leadership Triangle. Once again, I invite comments and suggestions to help shape the book.

Sep
02

TAG 2 Color LogoToday on the Transforming Church website we have posted the 4-part podcast on Small Groups. The podcast is hosted by TAG Associates Rich Hurst and Beth Baron.

Go to http://www.transformingchurch.net and click on the “Free Podcasts” button on the lower left section of the main page. We hope you and your team find the free hour long podcasts to be informative and  transformative.