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.
We’ve noticed this curiosity over the last few years when we share content related to Easter:
If we create content about planning Easter services and publish it when we think church leaders need it (e.g. in February), it goes unnoticed. If we publish content closer to Easter, when it’s mostly too late to make new plans or change existing ones, it gets lots of attention.
Abandoned church buildings of all shapes and sizes dot the American landscape—from the Northeast to the Southwest. A massive steepled brick church on Main Street in my city was torn down a few years ago. The congregation could no longer afford to keep it open, and the city block was coveted. The newspaper reported outrage, but it didn’t matter. The church couldn’t sustain its piece of history with a declining member base, a fuzzy vision, and outdated strategies.
Whenever we work with churches, we are always on the lookout for good stories to share. I recently got to talk with Brad Jenkins of Anthem Church in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. After 10 years of operating as The Gathering Church, Brad and his team merged with Liberty Church to further their reach—which meant Brad went from leading a church of 200 with five staff and one Sunday service time to leading a church of 500 with 12 staff and two services. Six months into the merger, Anthem contacted The Unstuck Group to help them sort out staffing, structure and ministry priorities through our strategic planning process.
Read on to hear about about what Brad and the team learned about leadership through the merger process.
At The Unstuck Group, we work with hundreds of churches each year. We observe a lot of different types of leaders, teams, structures and methods. However, many of these leaders have something in common—something we find concerning.
It Sounds Corporate, But It’s Actually a Spiritual Experience — An Energizing One.
When churches experience growth, the multisite conversation often comes up. But that doesn’t mean the next step is always obvious. There are several different strategies for launching campuses.
Whenever our team works with a church on strategic planning, the church pinpoints several “core issues” they believe are the most important things holding them back from being the church God has called them to be. After identifying those areas, they can make plans that will actually move them towards sustained health.
A couple of days ago, we hosted a conversation with Joe Sangl and Marty Schmidt about church vision and the common challenges of funding it well.