During my sixteen years of pastoring, I did a lot of funerals. I remember doing one in particular for an avid farmer who attended our church because, at the risk of sounding morbid, I specifically remember how impressive the casket was. On the side of it was an exquisite engraving of the deceased, driving a John Deere tractor — and it actually looked just like him! As time went on, I noticed a lot of families did things like that for their loved ones. I’ve seen everything from race cars to twelve point bucks engraved on caskets.
Holidays can bring new people to your church and create opportunities for impact. Most pastors can easily name the big days that bring high attendance. But knowing about big days and planning for them are two different things.
Too often, these calendar-given gifts sneak up on pastors, resulting in last minute planning and low impact. One of the biggest days comes early this year. Easter weekend is only a few weeks away!
When big days sneak up on you, the rule of thumb is to polish what’s working instead of trying to create something new. Creating new requires time and planning, and time isn’t on your side.
Team health is vital when it comes to ministry effectiveness. A healthy team encourages vitality and growth, while malignant teams leak poison into the organization. However, creating healthy teams isn’t easy. Every church, large and small, experiences internal friction because people will always be people – and people are wired differently. Plus, we have an adversary who’s always trying to disrupt the work of the church.
There’s a reason you can find thousands of books, blogs and podcasts on leadership:
Leading people is hard in any organization, and especially in the church.
I try to attend at least two or three leadership conferences each year. There is a lot of value in hearing talented, gifted people share their stories and experiences. In addition to hearing great speakers, the conversations with other attendees are priceless. Some of my greatest learnings and takeaways have happened over a cup of coffee in-between sessions with like-minded leaders.
My wife and I recently relocated to the Lake Cumberland area in Bronston, Kentucky. We love our new home, new friends and the lake isn’t bad either. But there are a few things I miss about our previous home. For example, I miss our large deck that was surrounded by huge oak trees. The oaks provided plenty of shade in the summer, but they also provided something else… squirrels.
During the first few years we lived there, they weren’t an issue. Fast forward several years and the squirrel population grew. After that, it didn’t take long to learn that squirrels could be a real nuisance, especially when they found their way into the attic. Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to get rid of them because the people who bought our house inherited the new fluffy-tailed family.
If I could give pastors a magic wand to fix one thing in their church, I believe most would wave the wand over their volunteer problem. I often hear the pain of a broken volunteer strategy. Words like disengaged, burned out, tired and overworked hang in the air.
Lots of things can contribute to a lack of volunteering, but the shifts you can make to energize this area of your ministry can actually be quite simple.
We love sharing stories from churches that have gotten unstuck. One of our goals with everything we publish is to encourage pastors. You may feel stuck today, but there is hope! Revitalization can happen.
So, in that spirit, today we’re sharing five questions with Burt Miller, the lead pastor of Solid Ground Church in Lewes, Delaware. We worked with Burt for about a year, and he and his church really began to see results about 6-8 months into the process. We’ll let Burt tell you about it.
I remember the days as a lead pastor when word-smithing a vision statement was of the utmost importance. Once crafted, I would post it everywhere a person may have the opportunity to read it (including the back door of the stalls in the men’s bathroom). I wanted people to memorize it, understand it and quote it at a moment’s notice. I think I may have been the only one who met those expectations.